HTC Evo 4G LTE Hands-On Video & First Impressions

Sprint just officially announced the HTC EVO 4G LTE, which is a variation of the HTC One X announced at Mobile World Congress, plus a few little surprises. The key differences? A stylish makeover headlined by a red kickstand, a new Sprint service called HD Voice, a MicroSD slot, and a switcheroo from a Quad-core Tegra 3 to 1.5Ghz dual-core Qualcomm chip.

From a pure spec standpoint, the Evo 4G LTE is somewhat of a beast. It’s got a 4.7-inch screen HD Super LCD screen that is both humongous and gorgeous. Somehow they pack this huge display into a device that manages only .35-inches in thickness, 4.7-ounces in weight, yet somehow comes equipped with a 2000mAh battery. That’s a power combination.

While Sprint’s take on the One X doesn’t include the Quad-core Tegra 3 processor, the switch to the dual-core Qualcomm chip was necessary to allow 4G LTE support. Don’t be too bummed: tests have shown that this alternative performs just fine. Couple it with 1GB RAM and you’ll have no problem running Android 4.0 with HTC Sense 4.0 smoothly on your Evo 4G LTE.

Another change from the European version comes in the storage department. While the One X doesn’t have any external storage, the Evo 4G LTE has a MicroSD slot you can access by snapping off the top part of the phone’s rear. Almost like removing the battery door, but with the Evo 4G LTE the battery is not removeable. I don’t mind this as HTC’s unibody form provides minimal size, maximum battery savings, and a sexy sleek look.

You’ve also got 16GB of onboard memory, so media mavens will have plenty of space for music, movies, games, apps, and every other form of entertainment known to man.

Let’s talk about that sexy sleekness for a minute, because boy oh boy, the Evo 4G LTE is a looker. It’s standout style is sure to draw it’s fair share of lovers and haters, but you can’t argue that the device stands out. The red kickstand and red camera ring give the phone a very strong, dynamic look. It’s uniquely Evo in a day and age where uniquely designed smartphones are few and far between.

I’m also a big fan of the Evo 4G LTE’s rear being two-toned – with glossy plastic above and matte looking metal below the kickstand – but that uppger glossy plastic is a magnet for fingerprints. Case and point, check out the phone’s rear after only having touched the phone for 3 seconds (to turn it over):

Our readers were quick to point one potential pitfall of the Evo 4G LTE’s kickstand: it may be difficult to charge via MicroUSB while the kickstand is up because of the positioning of the kickstand in relation to the port. The kickstand is supposed to be supported in three different positions, which would render this complaint moot, but more thorough use of the device would be required in order to make a judgement.

Before rounding out the rest of the specs, let’s take a quick look at a feature Sprint is calling HD Voice. This is the first ever device to have HD Voice, and when I first heard the feature announced, it seemed like another PR-ish attempt to pack bold specs into a growing list of proprietary technologies that companies wear as a badge of honor. But don’t assume so easily- I tested the Evo 4G LTE HD Voice feature first hand and it absolutely makes a difference.

The test took place across two audio booths. I had the original Evo and the Evo 4G LTE in my booth and a Sprint rep had both phones in a separate booth. First we talked on the original Evo. Exactly what you’d expect. Then we talked on the Evo 4G LTE and… wow. I was pretty floored at the difference. Much more crisp, much more clear, almost to the point of sounding a bit fake, as if you’re listening to a television broadcast.

Then the Sprint rep turned on music. Loud music. Using the Evo 4G LTE I couldn’t really hear anything in the background. Switch back to the original Evo and… wow. Lots of noise. Turns out that Sprint’s HD Voice is much more than just a line in the tech specs. It greatly improved both audio quality and noise cancellation in a very obvious and welcoming way. Unless, of course, you actually want the person to whom you’re talking to hear something you’re playing for them in the background. Then it’d be a bit of a problem.

Moving onto the dual-cameras on the Evo 4G LTE, we’ve got a rear facing 8MP camera and 1.3MP front-facing camera. Like many others, HTC now has a quick capture capability which is nice (watch the video test from MWC), but as with the One X they’ve done away with a toggle between pictures/video mode. Now you have both a picture shutter and a video button on the camera UI, stacked on top of each other, allowing you to take pictures even while you’re recording video.

This is a great feature. I often find myself in the precarious position of deciding whether to snap a photo or grab a video in hopes of capturing that Kodak moment. The Evo 4G LTE camera allows you to capture both simultaneously, but I imaging pictures taken while filming video are merely screen caps from the HD Video. Still, in my opinion, a great feature.

Cutting edge techies will be happy to hear the Evo 4G LTE has NFC (Near Field Communications), which allows users to make payments with the swipe of their phone using various apps. While NFC has yet to gain widespread use amongst retailers, we’ll likely see higher rates of adoption over the next couple years.

As with all of HTC’s new handsets, the Evo 4G LTE comes with Beats audio, which provides enhanced audio integration across all features of the handset. Of course you’ve also got your typical smartphone standards such as 3.5mm headset jack, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and all that good stuff.

Prior to the announcement of this phone, everyone thought Sprint would unveil the HTC One X with a few slight changes. That’s exactly what happened, but I have to say the changes – both in style and specs – had more of an impact than I imagined they may. The red accents give the phone a uniquely Evo taste, the HD Voice quality is fantastic, the MicroSD slot is essential, and the kickstand is an added benefit many will enjoy. The swapping of processors may leave some tech enthusiasts yearning, but regardless, the Evo 4G LTE will immediately become one of the most powerful and well rounded mobile phones to hit the market.

The Evo 4G LTE will be available for pre-sale on May 7th for $199 but an actual launch date is still too be decided. We invite you to visit our HTC EVO 4G LTE Forums where it seems a loyal following has already gathered.

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  • http://briefmobile.com/ Korey Nicholson

    Did you happen to check the ##786# and see if there was a SIM card number or something to see if Sprint is using SIM cards for their LTE?

    • http://twitter.com/pvwashington Patrick Washington

      Sprints LTE is build into the chip, there is no need for a sim card.

      • lynyrd65

         There is definitely a sim card. Look at the pic up top.

  • BigBen7

    Wow!  The “HD Voice” seems pretty effective.

  • jd_from_da_80s

    When are you gonna learn HTC?  Once again, like the E3D, the usb port is in a horrible spot if you wanna charge & stream videos at the same time.  And what if I call somebody & actually want them to hear the music in the background? Not smart HTC.

    OK I’m being a dick about HD Voice, nice phone.

    • http://twitter.com/diesel209 Luis Perez

      The kickstand actually works both ways (with the charge port at the bottom & at the top)

      • jd_from_da_80s

         Oooh, I missed that part, thx!

        • http://twitter.com/IxAnonymousx Anonymous

          You didn’t miss it because hardly any websites acknowledge it. It is a nice feature that most people miss.

      • Tommy Thompson

        It actually works three ways. Allows it be in landscape on both sides and in portrait.

        • http://www.mark717.com Mark Seven

          In portrait?  How?  Upside down?

          • Tommy Thompson

            check the photos on The Verge

          • http://cashd00d.co.cc/ WHAT?

            No, leaned WAY back.

    • Mario Lintz

      I believe HD voice uses data. So, if you want to play music to someone on the phone perhaps you could just toggle the data connection, disabling HD voice. 

  • Aeires

    One big question, how much room are they allowing for apps?  I’ve previously owned two HTC phones and seen a few others and all sucked as far as app storage goes.  If they allow the full 16 gigs, awesome.

    • Diordna11

      I seen that two….

    • NYCHitman1

      Do you know anything about computing?

      • Aeires

        Irrelevant.  My Transformer allows me to use the full memory, and Motorola uses a ton of the storage for apps.  HTC skimping on app storage is BS.

        • NYCHitman1

          Transformer is a tablet, not a phone. In any event, are you really going to use more than 1 GB on applications? Doubtful. The odds are it will be partitioned for about 2 or 3, but that is way more than enough.

          • Aeires

            Type of device shouldn’t be that much of a difference, many of the functionality is identical. Even if it isn’t, Google just made alterations to the market to allow larger apps to be installed.  Downloading large game files is likely to start happening on a regular basis.

            And even still, Motorola gives users a ton of app space.  My co-workers Droid X has around 8 gigs available.  Having to move apps to the SD card is not a good answer, open up the memory and let us manage the space however we want.

          • NYCHitman1

            They do it that way for functionality purposes. It makes perfect sense. If this were as big of an issue as you are making it, you would see many more people around here screaming bloody murder, but it isn’t. Take it for what it is, or don’t take it at all. It’s really that simple.

          • LawrenceMcatee

            htc vivid screenshot of memory and partitions take from it what you will but I think this setup is ideal.
            “edit”
            The phone claims 16gb of internal storage, forgot that part.

  • Dirty Duffin

    Wants it …all my moneys are belong to you

  • Daniel Gallo

    The specs on this device are monster but not a big fan of the body. 

    • moises1204

      I just don’t understand why sprint like to turn  beautiful things and make it in to ugly ones, i just do not get it, this phone would have been the sexiest phone ever if the left it the way the one x look like and just add a kickstand to it.

      • tartan1515

        ^^^ This ^^^

  • Cipher Zero

    I don’t know why HTC didn’t use the same kickstand design as the Thunderbolt’s. The improvement in audio is definitely a good thing as the TBolt’s (and almost everything else by HTC) audio sucks, for the most part without headphones. Nice specs, now let’s see how serious Sprint is about their LTE network. I’m not a Sprint customer, nor have I been for well over a decade, but I’d like to see them have a real nationwide LTE network, since options are always nice, and AT&T will never be one of them for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Rochford/808118947 Ryan Rochford

    is the HD voice just VoLTE? or is this a servece you can take advantage of on 3G as well???

    • Covert_Death

      its a combination of hardware in the phone and technology over the voice network… its not part of the data connection at all its apart of the voice bands (3g and 4g are data, not voice… yet that is, when VoLTE comes out THEN 4g will be data AND voice)

      is is apart of the network vision rollout.

  • 8==>

    Damn great deal for the most powerful phone. $199.

    • ColtonWalker

      im guessing at&ts version will be $300 as well. its funny because this version is far superior. Unfortunately though at&t has lte in a lot more places than sprint 

      • http://cashd00d.co.cc/ WHAT?

        For now. By the time Sprint’s LTE phones are released, things may change.

        • http://cashd00d.co.cc/ WHAT?

          Follow S4GRU instead of just quoting “an article about it somewhere”. There are Sprint LTE sites live RIGHT NOW that are kept secret.

          • LawrenceMcatee

             are you saying the two test markets they have up and running are anything near the foothold att and verizon have on covering the country? Look I have sprint and I love it but I am not blind…. They are way behind the curve and it’s generally accepted even by sprint. Would I like to wake up tomorrow and realize indianapolis is all of a sudden lte and averages speeds of 40mbps or better? yes. Is this realistic? Only if I have ATT. *end rant*

          • http://cashd00d.co.cc/ WHAT?

            @Lawrence Mcatee: No, I’m saying that Sprint is working on LTE like madmen behind the scenes. I’ve been following their LTE upgrades for the past 6+ months. They’re going to surprise many people when it goes live and shortly thereafter. They have more than “two test markets” up and running right now.

  • sethcolin

    Do people seriously use the kickstand? I figured it to be a gimmick starting with the OG Evo. If there is no TV and you don’t have a tablet….. forget the kickstand and read a book. A real book. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=562415259 Chris Penner

      I use it all the time.  Using it right now.  It’s great on my desk.

    • EarlyMon

      Kickstands have very serious uses, so yes, some of us have seriously used it.

    • Off_Road_Racing

      When I had the G2, I had this awesome clear case with a stand. Yes, they’re great for playing games using your PS3 controller, and even better for watching Netflix.

    • Aeires

      Better sound if you’re streaming music, the speakers are angled better than if  it was lying on a flat surface.

      • http://cashd00d.co.cc/ WHAT?

        Exactly. That’s what I do when I’m in the shower, as I don’t have speakers in the bathroom. If you lay the phone on its face, the music escapes everywhere, and if you lay it on its back, the speaker is covered and the sound is muffled.

    • InyRules

      I used the kickstand on my original EVO all the time. I find myself having to prop my G-Nex against my keyboard at work when I want to watch something on it.

    • vcarvega

      I agree. I cringe at the thought of using my phone to try & watch anything longer than a 2-3 minute clip. But then again, I have a tablet and laptops. Given all the fuss ppl make over the kickstands… I’m guessing there must be areal market for it.

    • sentner

      I use the kickstand all the time on my Evo 4G… Most days while I’m eating lunch, I prop it up and read my books on the Kindle app.  Makes it much easier to read while eating than laying it flat on the table.

  • Jonathan Roman

    ugliest looking phone in a long time. nice fail. id rather import a euro one x

    • dreadnatty08

      For $800? Yeah, you’re not going to do that.

      • NYCHitman1

         Some people are actually stupid enough to do that lol.

  • james ortiz

    ugly phone i was considering it but no way on earth its hideous

    • NYCHitman1

       Slap a case on it and call it a day then, duh?

      • tartan1515

        I can’t stand this argument. It’s very over-played. Why not build something elegant (see HTC ONE X) and then allow people like you — who prefer their phone to look it was recently pimped by Xzibit — to put some gawdy case on it (ala Kraken)? I think HTC or Sprint (not sure who had a bigger influence on the Evo’s final design) just lost a lot of business class users who don’t use cases and don’t want their phone to look it belongs to their teenage son.

        • NYCHitman1

          Just saying that if it bothers you that much, don’t buy it. The appearance shouldn’t mean anything anyways. The phone is an absolute beast under the hood. Personally, I don’t mess with those ginormous cases (otterbox defender, trident kraken, etc..). I’m perfectly happy with a simple Seidio Active case w/ a screen protector.

          • tartan1515

            I hear you, but I completely disagree that “appearance shouldn’t mean anything.” Check out what happened to GM and Ford in the 80s and 90s when they thought appearance wouldn’t matter. HTC was really struggling in Q3 & Q4 of last year and most analysts agreed that their poor design decisions were behind consumers’ decisions to go with Samsung and Apple. Fortunately for HTC, it appears that they were listening and responded with the ONE X — a well-designed phone also with great internal specs. I’m just confused and disappointed that they seem to have taken a step backwards with design on this one.

            http://pocketables.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451c9ec69e2016764a3cd17970b-pi 

          • NYCHitman1

            We’re talking about a cell phone, not a car. While I do get your point, you have to realize that the device stays in your pocket about 50% of the time. Do you spend hours on end looking at the shell of the device? I highly doubt it. That’s why I feel that the appearance shouldn’t matter.

        • NYCHitman1

          Regardless, the argument is still extremely valid. Perhaps, “people like you” should stop getting your panties in a twist over appearances.

          • LawrenceMcatee

             People love/hate the design, HTC accomplished what everyone tries to do when designing ANYTHING Those that love it will talk about, Those that hate it will talk about it.

  • Aaron Soles

    Now the real test is battery life! I’d rather have a removable battery than SD slot, but if the battery life is great then that’s fine

  • bwhick

    You had me all up until “non removable battery”. A near perfect phone but i guess i will have to pass on it. Here is hoping the rumors are true that Sprint is getting the galaxy note.

    • Off_Road_Racing

      I’m guessing you want to get an extended battery, or have an extra battery. That’s the ONLY reason you’d need a removable battery.

      That’s not much of a deal breaker. But I think if the battery is going to be non-removable, it needs to be at least a 2,500 mA battery, because the Epic 4G Touch has a 1800 mA and that last me 4-6 hours average Webing, Gaming, Texting, Bluetooth streaming-Music usage.

      So maybe 2000 mA wouldn’t be so bad. o.O

      • NYCHitman1

         Neither of you are putting into consideration the power efficiency of the Krait S4 chipset. This isn’t your normal rape my battery SoC. Everything points to this device having great batt life. I would even dare say it could be comparable to T3′s 4+1 set up.

        • LawrenceMcatee

           I am all over this post….
          but have they posted anything in the way of actual real world battery life expectancies out of the one series?

  • gs6456

    I’ll probably get this phone, but I still think the styling is a big fail. It’s too complicated and busy looking. 

    • LawrenceMcatee

       I think they went this route intentionally I retail all att phones and in a stack, the only ones you can decipher are the htc vivid and inspire, every other phone is black with black on black and one “accent wall” of black texture.
      We can both agree they at least attempted to do something different and for that I applaud them!

  • http://twitter.com/uscarlos USCarlos

    If the HD voice is anything like HD radio, I will be thoroughly pleased. I love listening to talk radio in HD, it sounds like they are in the car with you. My friends are stunned by how different it sounds in comparison to standard am sound.

    This should be fun!

  • tartan1515

    That high gloss finish back cover is killing me. You’re telling me that now I’ll have to clean finger smudges off the front of the phone AND the back of the phone? Terrible design. Ugly too. I was really looking forward to replacing my OG EVO with this one. I just can’t overlook the ugliness.

  • Jason Ervin

    I’m a current EVO user and am drooling over the specs, but not so much over the two-tone back. Otterbox can solve that problem when the time comes. And from reading the comments the design seems unpopular, so maybe demand will spur inexpensive replacement options.

  • http://www.motoask.com/ Motorola Atrix forum

    Too big, gigantic device. I’ll need to modify my pockets.

    • Jason Ervin

      I partially agree, in that it’s a big device. For me it’s at the threshold of size and functionality. I just visited Best Buy to size the Galaxy Note next to my Evo and the Samsung looked ridiculous.

      • LawrenceMcatee

         anything that makes the og evo look small is too much.

  • Stephan Shin

    I know this phone is coming out in May, but it is LTG. Does it mean you won’t have 4G speed until it is build out in my area?

  • dominiej

    I DO NOT like the fact there isn’t a removable battery – and it’s a deal breaker for me.  Seriously.  I’ve had numerous occasions where my device froze and removing the battery was the only ways to fix it – I’m afraid of this scenario.  Also, if my battery were to go bad for any reason, I could not swap it out??

    I don’t like this in the slightest…

    • LawrenceMcatee

       I really hate to be this guy but in the iphones case you can hold down the power and home button for 10ish seconds and it physically detaches the battery, I am assuming htc and all the others (razor and razor maxx etc.) will have some sort of similar feature. Honestly I think they did that so when we drop our phones the batteries will stop flying out :/

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/6QGGOB6COBS4A2SE6XTXMWBH4M Albert

        there is.. the user manual for the one X is out and it explains how it works

        • LawrenceMcatee

           got it thanks!

    • LionFreak

       Who cares if the battery isn’t removable? I’ve only kept the same phone on an avg of 12months before upgrading… I’m just glad it’s 2000mA!

      • dominiej

         I care.  That’s who.

  • Marsg

    see this is exactly what i mean, why couldn’t they just release the one x for sprint but they had to go and make an entirely new phone with a diff name with the only diff being the kickstand and a slight design makeover. so much for only focusing on the ONE brand lol, htc changes their mind more times then Samsung releases a new phone. 

  • LionFreak

    Who  cares what it looks like…not sure what all the fuss is about! Beautiful screen, great new CPU that beats out the Tegra Quad, great sound… what more could one want except faster role out of LTE??

  • tartan1515

    The Susan Boyle of phones — crystal clear voice but ugly as sin.