The HTC EVO Design 4G is based on Android Gingerbread OS 2.3.4, and it has a 1.2 GHz single-core processor. It’s responsive, and I have no complaints at all about the performance, but it isn’t a blazing fast device.
It received a score of 1543 from the Quadrant benchmark test. To put that in perspective, the Motorola Droid RAZR has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, and its Quadrant score was about 2700. That said, the Droid RAZR cost 3 times what the EVO Design does.
As mentioned above, the EVO Design is a world phone, operating on Sprint’s CDMA network domestically and on compatible GSM (non-iDEN) networks overseas. You can switch between 3G and 4G here in the U.S., depending on whether you want faster downloads or better battery life. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth work fine; I wasn’t able to test the Sprint Hotspot feature since the loaner device didn’t have that feature enabled on its account.
Call quality reports are somewhat mixed. Some of my test callers were very much less than pleased with the quality, saying that each word was clipped, while others didn’t mention any problems at all. I never had a hard time hearing or being understood, even in areas with relatively poor coverage such as my office.
As far as speed testing is concerned, those results varied quite a bit, with 4G download speeds from 1587 to 1002 kbps, uploads from 56 to 111 kbps, and pings from 106 to 143 ms. Strangely enough uploads were much faster with 4G turned off; on the 3G network the results were 504 kbps download, 457 kbps upload, and 120 ping.
The social networking experience is a great one, thanks to HTC’s Friendstream app. It combines all of your social activity into one hub and allows you to view everything as one stream or on a per-contact basis. You can also choose to use the standard Facebook and Twitter apps from the Android Market, of course, but Friendstream does offer a great experience that you should at least try for yourself.
Email and web browsing work exactly as you would expect on any Android device. There’s not any heavy customization on the EVO Design, so if you’re already familiar with these apps there’s nothing really new here. If you aren’t, suffice to say that you’re not likely to be disappointed.
All of the standard apps are here, including Calendar, Address Book, Calculator, and Clock. You’ll also find a voice dialer and a voice recorder, plus a couple of location/navigation apps: Google Maps and TeleNav GPS Navigator. Which one you choose is based entirely on personal preference. I prefer Google Maps because it’s so fast and easy to use, but that’s just my opinion.
Strangely enough there was no Microsoft Office-compatible app installed, such as Quickoffice or Polaris Office. I’m not sure if that’s an oversight on the loaner model I received or whether the Design is meant not to come with that sort of app. I know that folks tend to play more games on their phones than they tend to work, but if you happen to get a message with an important document attached you do need to be able to read it on your phone. You can purchase your favorite app in the Android Market, but it’s highly unusual not to include one. Perhaps it’s just this model’s low cost.
There are a few pre-loaded entertainment apps on the EVO Design, including Amazon MP3, the Kobo Reader app, NASCAR Mobile, Sprint Music Plus, Sprint Radio, and Sprint TV & Movies. There’s also a built-in FM radio, but you have to plug in a headset to use that feature so most folks probably won’t bother in this age of Bluetooth. There aren’t any preloaded games or even game demos, so you’ll have to find your own diversions in the Android Market.
If your media library is already digital (whose isn’t these days?) and you have compatible devices at home, you can use the included Media Share app to stream your media over Wi-Fi from your PC, DLNA-equipped TV, or other devices.
There’s also a Connected Media app that is designed to make it easier for you to share your photos, videos, and music with others. Just a couple of taps are all you need to select what you want to share and send it via Bluetooth, email, Facebook, Flickr, Gmail, SMS, Peep 9HTC Twitter, or Picasa. That same app also does some really nice slideshows, and also has a quick link back to the camera app so that you can take more shots.
The 5-megapixel camera is quite capable, though you’re unlikely to capture any photographic masterpieces with it. It doesn’t auto-focus constantly, so there is a slight delay when you press the shutter button on-screen. It isn’t a major delay, but if you’re trying to capture something particularly fast, like sports action or your child running, you’ll want to experiment in order to determine how much to anticipate the shot so that you don’t miss anything important.
There is an LED flash that does a good job of filling in, but low-light performance wasn’t particularly great. When in automatic mode, the flash sometimes fires when it shouldn’t, such as when you’re taking a photo of a dark object but there’s still a good amount of ambient light.
The 1.3 megapixel camera on the front of the device, above the screen, does a good job capturing profile pics or for use with a videoconferencing app so that you can talk to faraway friends and family.
Battery life is quite good, with the EVO Design lasting almost four days on a full charge with what I consider to be normal use — a few phone calls, surfing the Web, checking email, and playing just a few rounds of Angry Birds.
You should be able to get through a weekend trip without the charger, which is a plus for those who like to travel light. That’s a really nice bonus these days — few smartphones can last so long.