HTC's EVO 4G LTE goes on sale at Sprint retail stores on May 18th for $199.99. I've had hands-on time with my unit since HTC's media event on Wednesday evening in New Orleans, and I'm pretty stoked about this Android powerhouse. It's an exceptional Android device that's paired with some great improvements over the One line.
EVO 4G LTE is my favorite iteration out of the series because it takes a great feature set and makes it even better, with a 2,000 mAh battery, kickstand, and a physical camera button. The kickstand is a nice feature, but the added battery capacity and physical camera button compliment two of the best features on this handset: the HD display and the exceptional camera.
Here's what I've discovered so far:
EVO 4G LTE has taken a formula that was already popular and added a few needed features to make it even better. But at this point, I can't recommend the whole package due to Sprint's horrendous 3G network speeds in many metropolitan markets across the country. Unfortunately, Sprint's 3G network is at the point of being unusable in many metro areas. During traditional office hours, it has taken me as long as seven minutes to download an app and six minutes to send a tweet; unacceptable in any circumstance.
Since there's no real indication of where Network Vision will improve coverage (outside of a vague site that doesn't provide a great deal of information), it's challenging to predict when the issue will be resolved. And there are markets that seem to be relatively unaffected. When I was in San Diego for CTIA Enterprise & Applications last year, Sprint performed admirably. But the fact is that Sprint is having serious issues in many metropolitan markets. I can personally vouch for the sluggish speeds in Charlotte, Dallas, New Orleans, and Seattle, and there are multiple threads on the topic scattered about the Internet. Expect Sprint's 4G LTE rollout to alleviate some of this, but until the nation is 100 percent covered, this will likely continue to be an issue.
Sprint offers an excellent value proposition, and I admire them as a company. Their scrappiness is an admirable trait in today's almost-duopoly market, but they have to work quickly on their network issues. At this point, I'm surprised more customers haven't voiced their frustration.
Outside of the network woes, the HTC EVO 4G LTE is an awesome Android handset, and given the $199.99 price, it's a smartphone I'd recommend to anyone looking for a high-end handset. I'm struck with the sense that this is a near-perfect Android phone for right now; a great combination of features in a great package. And it's $200, which is better than the $300 tier that the top two carriers have started to adopt with their high-end devices. Just watch out for sluggish data.