We've had the HTC EVO Shift 4G on Sprint in our hot little hands for a few days now, and we've put it through its paces on the sometimes over-saturated and shaky 3G and 4G networks at CES Las Vegas where it did a lot better than our iPhone 4. The Shift 4G is available on Sprint for $149 with contract, and it's meant to be a keyboard-ed companion to the HTC EVO 4G rather than an upgrade or replacement.
The hardware bears similarity to the T-Mobile HTC G2: they're both sliders with large keyboards, a second gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 800MHz CPU, 4G and a 5MP camera. But the HTC EVO Shift 4G opts for a blue casing, a more bulging back and no metal battery cover. It also loses the odd slider that the G2 used, and that's probably a good thing.
The phone runs Android OS 2.2 Froyo with HTC Sense software-- we always enjoy Sense. It has a 1500 mAh Lithium Ion battery that has reasonable stamina when 4G is turned off, and as ever, 4G WiMAX is hard on the battery. Still, the Shift 4G outlasts the EVO 4G (we know, that's not hard).
The HTC EVO Shift 4G is a solid high end option where the Samsung Epic 4G once ruled solo. That said, it lacks the sex appeal of the Epic 4G and original EVO 4G, but it is smaller and has stronger features than Sprint's low to mid-range Android QWERTY smartphones.
Here's our HTC EVO Shift 4G video review. Our full written review will follow in the coming days.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview