PROS / A built-in kickstand, FM radio and HTC's customary polish mark a phone that was superb in its day.
CONS / Its battery depletes quicker than any other Android phone in our lineup.
VERDICT / The HTC Evo 4G LTE was a powerhouse in its day, and remains a decent phone if you can't afford to pay any money up front. Unfortunately, it's showing its age.
When it was first released two years ago, HTC's Evo 4G LTE was a big hit for Sprint customers. The Android phone features a 4.7-inch screen, 720p resolution, a camera with a nice big aperture, and fun extras like an NFC chip and FM tuner. In its day, it was even considered fast. Today, HTC's other phones have long surpassed the Evo, but it's still notable for being free with contract, and the quality of its construction continues to match other flagships.
Like other top phones of the time, the Evo sports 720p resolution. That doesn't quite match the 1080p screens we expect from newer phones, but it nets the device a density over the 300ppi mark, so you'll have a tough time distinguishing between pixels. It lacks the noticeable crispness of newer screens, but the Evo's display is still bright and beautiful, even in sunlight. Don't expect the same depth of blacks as modern Super AMOLED displays, however, or the same angle versatility offered by IPS screens.
The Evo's camera would be considered average, were it not for its ƒ/2.0 aperture. Wide apertures let more light onto a camera's sensor, resulting in better pictures in any lighting condition. The Evo may be an older device, but you won't find a wider aperture on any modern smartphone. At 8 megapixels, its photos aren't particularly large, but they're crisp, vibrant and artifact-free.
The Evo's battery, on the other hand, is incredibly short-lived. Where other phones can last multiple weeks on standby, the Evo can only manage six days. You have about 7.5 hours of continuous talk time at your disposal, or just 5.5 hours of video playback time. In practice, even a moderate user will drain his or her Evo before the end of the day, so you'll need to keep a charge cable handy and plug the phone in whenever the opportunity arises.
As aged as its battery, the Evo's processor ranks with the slowest Android phones we reviewed. Newer apps on the Google Play store are built for more powerful phones, and they suffer here. Combined with the much older iterations of Android and HTC Sense that are installed on the phone, and the Evo's overall software experience feels sluggish and underpowered.
The HTC Evo 4G LTE is a flagship phone for a bygone year. It looks beautiful, feels great in your hand and can take lovely pictures, but it simply can't compete with the longer-lasting, speedier phones you can get from carriers today for as little as $50 on-contract. Nevertheless, if you're on a limited budget, it's worth slipping an Evo into your pocket.