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Review: HTC Evo 4G

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The HTC Evo 4G comes with the normal assortment of Google apps for messaging, as well as a nice selection of social networking apps. Google provides email support for POP and IMAP accounts, as well as a specialized app just for Gmail with support for labels and other advanced Gmail features. There's no instant messaging on board except for Google Talk, though plenty of other IM apps are available from the Google App Market.

Text messaging uses HTC's own Messages app, not the stock Google messaging app. HTC's app looks great, displaying messages in a threaded, conversational style. Even pictures from MMS messages show up in the conversation stream. In addition to pictures and audio files, HTC's Messages also lets you send vCard contacts and vCalendar events, as well as location data in the form of Google Maps links or even Latitude and Longitude coordinates.

For social networking fans, the HTC Evo 4G comes with the official Facebook app pre-loaded, plus a couple of extra apps exclusive to HTC. Peep is an above average Twitter app. You can check status updates, add pictures and location data to your tweets and browse the list of tweeters you're followed by and following. Peep doesn't allow you to check trending topics, though, and updates could be a bit sluggish. Friend Stream provides a variety of updates from your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Not only does it give you status updates, you also see when friends have posted new photos and albums and it even gathers the Web links your Facebook friends have posted to their walls.

The onscreen keyboard on the HTC Evo 4G is very well designed, and HTC's software QWERTY is my second favorite keyboard on any touchscreen phones. It's very useful with some cool features. If you want to type a number or symbol, you can just hold down the corresponding letter and the keyboard will offer the symbols for that key. You can also access speech-to-text features from the keyboard. It isn't perfect, but Google's speech-to-text is very useful in a pinch, like when I wanted to send an email while walking the dog. Even with these great features, I found the HTC keyboard less forgiving than the QWERTY on my Apple iPhone 3GS. The Evo 4G's keyboard is obviously larger, but I ended up with fewer mistakes on the iPhone because Apple's auto-correct feature is better than HTC's.


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