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printed August 22, 2014
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Review: HTC Evo 4G

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Music

 

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The HTC Evo 4G has a solid music player app from HTC, but Android still needs a proper media sync tool to compete with the best music phones around. HTC's music player doesn't pack a lot of features, like an equalizer or advanced audio controls, and it lacks the easy search capabilities of the standard Android music player, which lets you search the Web or YouTube by simply clicking on an artist name, song title, etc. It does look very nice, though, and all my album artwork came through just fine. There's a sort of Apple Cover Flow-like feature that lets you finger through album covers, but this isn't for browsing, as moving through the line of artwork also skips to the corresponding tracks. When the phone is locked, HTC gives you music controls and album art on the lock screen so it's fast and easy to skip around without jumping into the music player. There's also a selection of home screen widgets to play music, in a variety of sizes from small to full screen.

The phone has solid hardware for music and multimedia fans. There's a 3.5mm headphone jack up top so you can listen to tunes on your favorite earbuds. The phone uses microUSB to connect with a desktop machine, and it showed up as an external drive on my Mac and Windows machines. Transferring music was drag-and-drop easy, and the player found my music files without any help from me. I'd like to be able to organize playlists and manage music on my desktop, though. The phone also packs stereo Bluetooth, and I had no trouble playing music through my stereo Bluetooth speakers.

Video

With its huge screen, the HTC Evo 4G makes an ideal video playing phone. I loaded a variety of video samples, and they all looked great on the WVGA display. The phone couldn't handle videos at the screen's 800 by 480 pixel resolution, but smaller videos resized nicely and looked sharp and colorful. Again, the video player is even more basic than the music player, but I was able to scrub through movies with my finger and manage playback easily. The video playlist doesn't give you titles with your videos, though, so if you have a few that are similar (like my test videos at various resolutions), you'll have trouble figuring out which is which.

There's a kickstand around back that props the phone up at a nice angle for video viewing. It's an easy option to watch some video without interrupting work on my desktop machine, or turning on my television set. It was most useful when I let the Sprint TV app play the news or program highlights while I performed other tasks.

Besides your own videos, the phone also uses the new high quality YouTube mobile service. When you have a 4G or Wi-Fi connection, YouTube will look for a high quality (HQ) version of the video you want. These YouTube HQ videos looked much better than what I'm used to on a mobile YouTube app. Videos that are high definition on the full site came through looking like a real TV broadcast, and not a streaming video. It's quite impressive and it makes YouTube much more enjoyable on a mobile device. Too bad it doesn't work on Sprint's standard 3G network, too.

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