The dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Krait CPU is the chip maker's latest and greatest offering that's meant to take on the quad core Tegra 3 CPU. The Qualcomm MSM8960 is a 32nm process CPU, which means it's more power efficient than the 40nm architecture used in the Tegra 3, Tegra 2 and previous generation Snapdragon CPUs. That means a cooler running phone with longer battery life. The S4 has Adreno 225 graphics, which represent a significant improvement over the older Adreno 205 graphics processing power. The CPU scores a bit higher than the Tegra 3 in some benchmarks, and is significantly faster than older generation dual core CPUs, but so far don't quite beat the GeForce GPU in the Tegra 3 on graphics benchmarks (it's close though).
The phone has 1 gig of RAM and 16 gigs of internal storage with 2.3 gigs available for application storage and 10 gigs available for general storage (we're surprised to see this division of storage under ICS). There's a microSD card slot under the back cover, and that puts it ahead of the HTC One series and Galaxy Nexus that lack expansion.
Does the phone feel fast? Yes, it does. Is it powerful enough to carry you through your contract? Yes, it should be. Honestly, it has more processing power than any current application demands, so it certainly should age well as more apps take advantage of advanced CPUs like the Snapdragon S4 and Tegra 3 CPUs.
||GLBenchmark 2.1Egypt Offscreen
|HTC EVO 4G LTE
|| 56 fps
|HTC One X
|Samsung Galaxy Nexus
720p Super LCD: a Good Thing
The HTC EVO 4G LTE has a 1280 x 720 display that competes head on with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, HTC Rezound and Samsung Galaxy S III. The Super LCD has natural and rich colors with neutral whites, which are pluses vs. Super AMOLED displays that have bluish whites and unnaturally vibrant colors (though many like those better than life colors). The EVO 4G LTE has better than 300 dpi pixel density and that means you won't be able to see individual pixels. It has pleasing colors and good contrast behind the Gorilla Glass protection. Though you don't get the HTC One series lovely wrap-around glass effect, the display still looks painted on because it's so sharp.
The HTC EVO 4G LTE has a 2,000 mAh Lithium Ion battery that's sealed inside. That's a healthy battery capacity, and we appreciate that in an LTE phone with a large display and fast CPU. Happily, the Snapdragon S4 sips power in a miserly fashion, and that means even better battery life. Granted, we obviously can't test with LTE's famously hungry drain vs. 3G, but we have a feeling given the phone's 3G and WiFi stamina, that this phone should last through the day with moderate use on LTE. With a mix of 3G and WiFi use, we managed 1.5 days of moderate use that included social network background updates, email, web browsing, an hour of music playback with the screen off and 20 minutes of YouTube streaming.
Beats Audio and Multimedia
The EVO 4G LTE has Beats Audio (HTC owns a controlling interest in Beats), and the audio enhancement works with any brand of headphones. Beats has quite a few settings to choose from, ranging from the classic bass-heavy Beats EQ to classical, vocal and warm. That should help for those who like their music less managed by EQ, but who do appreciate some audio enhancement. The rear firing speaker isn't all that loud, but music and video sound excellent through headphones.
The phone can handle HDMI out using an optional MHL adapter that plugs into the micro USB port. The EVO has no trouble playing 1080p MPEG4 video and streaming content from YouTube and Netflix. The HTC has an FM radio that uses earbuds/headphones as the antenna.
HTC includes their own music app that integrates TuneIn Radio, Sprint Music and SoundHound for track info, artist info and lyrics. You can add other music apps to the player if you like. The Music app automatically got album art for our tracks and we like the rich interface and background playback feature. You can control playback from the lock screen, top taskbar and widget. And for those of you who appreciate Google Play Music and its cloud storage feature, have no fear: it's here.
Like the HTC One X, the HTC EVO 4G LTE has an 8 megapixel rear main camera with LED flash that can shoot continuous autofocus 1080p video with stereo audio while simultaneously shooting still photos (just press the shutter button while recording video). The fast f 2.0 lens and backside illuminated sensor are particularly well suited to low light photography. The dedicated HTC ImageChip brings such goodies as 60fps video recording, and dedicated image processing chips are a rarity in camera phones.
We love the many shot options, effects and settings that made us feel like we were using a dedicated digicam, and 1080p video recording is impressive, even in low light. As with the HTC One series, we noted over-saturation of reds but other colors were very good, and red does tend to pose a problem for digital cameras. Exposure and color balance are very good with an impressive amount of detail. This is one of the best camera phones on the US market.
HTC Sense 4 is here, and it's toned down from older versions. If you're a fan of HTC Sense, you'll appreciate it here and the continuity it brings from older devices. The famous HTC clock-weather widget is pre-installed, as is the lock screen with its quick launch apps. If you enable security you can use PIN unlock or use face unlock via the front camera. HTC's customized app drawer with tabs for all apps, downloaded apps and frequently accessed apps helps keep things organized. You can edit tabs and access the Google Play Store using the menu at the top right of the app drawer. We like HTC Sense and the polish it brings to Android ICS without glossing it over into oblivion.
If I were a Sprint customer, this is the phone I'd buy. In terms of quality, materials, features and specs, the HTC EVO 4G LTE is the one to beat. Unless you prefer the pure Android experience that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus offers, the EVO 4G LTE is our choice, and we suspect it will hold up well against the Samsung Galaxy S III.
Price: $199 with 2 year contract
Websites: www.sprint.com, www.htc.com/us/