Monthly Archives: June 2010

HTC EVO… two weeks in

evo I stopped by a nearby Sprint store on launch day to see this huge phone I’d been hearing about, the HTC EVO. I left impressed by what I saw… impressed enough that I came back the next day to buy it.

A caveat: I have used iPhones, Windows Mobile, Palm, Android. I love the rapid evolution of mobile tech in recent years — the resulting competition in the marketplace can only benefit consumers and business users. I don’t subscribe to “there’s one device/brand/os that works for everyone.”

Yep, it’s big. However, even as a reasonably petite person, it doesn’t feel too large when I pick it up and use it. Size was my primary concern and I actually expected the size to be a deal-breaker before I saw it in person. That leads me to…

The extra real estate takes EVO from “squint so I can read the small type” to actually reading comfortably. (I confess, I’m one of those people who puts on glasses/contact lenses first thing after getting out of bed in the morning!) The screen is responsive and makes the EVO very pleasant to use.

Sense UI:
Although I’ve used Android devices previously (Moto Droid, Nexus One), I’d never used a phone with Sense UI. I expected to dislike Sense as an aberration of the stock Android UI, but actually am quite fond of it. HTC has done a nice job of adding customized apps that are quite attractive and useful, including Peep (which I use as my main Twitter client).

The 8 megapixel camera takes impressive natural light shots (I don’t like to use flash in any photography). It focuses quickly, so I can catch those “the cat is doing some cute that I want to share on Flickr” shots. It also offers “touch to focus” functionality (similar to iPhone 3GS), which makes it even easier to get good, well-focused shots.

Voice Recognition:
One of my favorite Android features is voice search, which I find amazingly accurate. I use it frequently – if you have an Android phone and haven’t tried voice search, you’re missing out!

Navigation Speed:
The EVO is zippy. Tap a shortcut and it opens quickly.

Google Apps:
Google apps are excellent across the board. I use Google Voice to provide visual voicemail for the EVO. I absolutely love Google Maps/Navigation which is easily as good (or better) than those expensive navigation packages I used to buy for the iPhone. A Google app that’s perhaps not so well known, Places Directory, is  another great way to use GPS to see what’s nearby.

Battery Life:
I’ve found EVO battery life to be as good, if not better, than I’ve seen with other smartphones like Nexus One and iPhone 3GS:
*  Yesterday I easily got over 10+ hours of active use (not standby) with GPS, wi-fi, and 3g on all the time, as well as live wallpaper and intensive data transfer activities (twitter, browsing, downloading audiobooks).
* On a recent work day, I had a few hours of conference calls along with data use and the battery was still at 50% even 15 hours after unplugging from charger.

Phone Voice/Audio Quality:
I’ve found phone voice and audio quality to be excellent. I live in a not so optimal cell phone zone (regardless of wireless provider), but haven’t dropped any calls. Nor have other parties complained I was breaking up (something I have experienced within the past 6 months with both AT&T & Verizon). It’s nice to be able to make cell phone calls from home. 🙂

Sprint apps:
Contrary to what you may have heard, the Sprint apps are actually quite good. I’ve used Sprint TV as well as Sprint Navigation (both free for EVO), and like them.

Favorite Android Apps:
Although not specific to the EVO, a few Android apps worth checking out (in no particular order)…

K9 Mail: Fast, full-featured mail client. (free)

Thompson Reuters News Pro: Full-featured news app. I especially like its stock portfolio feature. (free)

Evernote: I use Evernote as my digital brain and wouldn’t be without its mobile app. (free)

NYTimes: Well-done mobile app and great way to read NY Times content. (free)

ShootMe: A quick, easy way to snap screen shots. (free)

Swype: Excellent alternative keyboard, enables user to swype across virtual keyboard to type instead of tapping. See James Kendrick’s excellent review (including video) to see how it works. (free)

CallTrack: If you need to log/track your voice calls, Call Track is indispensable – it’s customizable and can automatically add each call to your Google calendar — incoming, outgoing as well as call length. (free)

DoggCatcher: Great podcast player. ($6.99)

aniPet Koi Live Wallpaper: Absolutely beautiful live wallpaper. ($1.99)