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printed April 19, 2014
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Review: HTC Evo 4G

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The HTC Evo 4G is a very good phone, but more than that it's a sign of things to come. If Sprint had released the device without WiMAX, it would still be a top-notch smartphone, but 4G networking gives the Evo 4G even more potential. Unfortunately, my experience with the Sprint 4G network was less than satisfactory.

When it worked well, Sprint's 4G network offered fast, high quality video streaming from YouTube, faster Web browsing and, eventually, even video conferencing, a first for a device in the U.S. But most of the time it did not work well, and it couldn't even top the 3G speeds I saw on my Google Nexus One. Sprint says this will gradually improve, but until the WiMAX network is reliably much faster than the 3G options out there, does Sprint have a right to charge $10 extra per month for the privilege of using the HTC Evo 4G? It's a catch 22, since more revenue means a better network down the road, but the network isn't good enough to be worth the extra money yet.

In any case, the HTC Evo 4G stands on its own as a great smartphone. For basic calling features, especially the rich, detailed address book with all its social networking extras, the Evo 4G is the best in its class. It's fast and responsive all around, and I love the HTC Sense interface design. The phone browses the Web like the best phones on the market, and even Flash Lite can't keep this phone down. Music and multimedia features could use more advanced features, but even without the bells and whistles music sounded great and videos were fun to watch on the gigantic screen.

If I could improve the phone, I'd work on the high definition video recording to improve video quality. I might also tweak the auto correct feature on the software keyboard. The QWERTY is great, with some convenient shortcuts, but it still couldn't save my hasty fingers from making mistakes.

If you're in a strong WiMAX coverage area, the HTC Evo 4G is a no-brainer. Go buy it right away. If coverage is more spotty, as it is in my area, the Evo 4G is still a great choice, and it will probably get better in time, but that monthly bill is going to be a bitter pill you'll have to swallow to enjoy the benefits this phone offers.

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