- Relatively small
- Solidly built
- Good battery life
- Capable camera
- No Microsoft Office-compatible software included
- Voice quality is just OK
- Some issues with camera flash
A capable device, and a good choice for those who are more budget-conscious.
The HTC EVO Design 4G is a mid-range smartphone some high-end features. It’s a worldphone that also supports Sprint’s 4G WiMAX network, and it has a 1.2 GHz processor and a 4-inch Super LCD qHD capacitive touchscreen display. It’s also equipped with a 5 megapixel camera with video capture and a 1.3 megapixel forward-facing camera for videoconferencing.
It is currently available from Sprint for $100 with a new two-year service contract and a $50 mail-in rebate. Without the contract (and carrier subsidy) this handset goes for $400.
BUILD & DESIGN
The EVO Design 4G is very similar to the HTC Amaze 4G, which shouldn’t come as any surprise since both devices are from the same device maker. What I like about the Design 4G is that it’s narrower than the giant-screen smartphones that are all too common these days. It fits nicely in the hand, and even ladies with smaller hands shouldn’t have any problems holding on it.
As far as looks are concerned, there’s nothing here that really stands out. That’s not a bad thing, and shouldn’t be taken to mean that the phone is unattractive because that’s definitely not the case here. But it is all black, with a metal HTC band that wraps around the back of the phone. The back isn’t textured in any way, so it should be slippery, but somehow my fingers always seem to find the top edge of the band and tend to stay put.
The EVO Design isn’t overly heavy, but it does have a weighty, substantial feel. About a third of the back is metal after all, and there’s also a metal bezel that goes all the way around the screen and covers a portion of each side as well. You won’t have to worry about flinging it across the room by mistake, but if you’re concerned about having the lightest possible phone this might not be the one for you.
The 4-inch Super LCD with a qHD (960 x 540) resolution is very nice indeed. It’s bright and sharp with beautiful color saturation. There aren’t any jaggy edges here, and photos and videos look great.
The only slight weakness is that it’s somewhat hard to read outside in bright sunlight, because this smartphone doesn’t have the eye-shattering brightness that I’ve seen on some of the other handsets I’ve recently reviewed. It’s still visible, though you’ll might have to shield the display with your hand now and then.
The EVO Design doesn’t have a physical keyboard. The on-screen virtual keyboard gets the job done, though since the display is relatively small at 4 inches, you’ll find that it’s more comfortable in landscape mode than in portrait.
Other Buttons & Controls
Like all of HTC’s Android-based phones, there are four buttons just below the touchscreen: Home, Menu, Back, and Search. These are always useful, which is why Google made them a requirement for several years.
There aren’t many other buttons on this device, and the ones that are there are small and understated. The Power button and headphone jack are on the top edge, and the volume (and camera zoom) up/down buttons are on the left side. The charge/sync port is on the bottom left side of the device.
Turn the phone upside down, so the camera lens is nearest you, and you can remove the bottom portion of the back cover by holding the phone in both hands and pushing the cover away from you. You’ll find the microSD expansion card slot on the side opposite the charge/sync port; the phone comes with an 8GB card already installed. Flip up the little tab you see that’s labeled “open” and you’ll find the SIM card slot. That’s a rarity on Sprint phones of course, since Sprint has a CDMA network, but since the Design is a world phone it needs a SIM card to work on GSM networks.