Sprint's new EVO 4G LTE has everything but speed

HTC EVO 4G LTE premium smart phone (image courtesy Sprint ©2012)
HTC EVO 4G LTE premium smart phone (image courtesy Sprint ©2012)

Two weeks ago, there was little doubt that HTC was the star of the Exhibition Hall at the CTIA Conference in New Orleans. It was also clear that a lot of smart phones this summer will share the HTC One's guts.

At the HTC exhibit, the new Verizon Wireless DROID Incredible was only a few feet away from the new Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE. HTC One X, One S, and One V models all loomed nearby. It reminded me of Detroit's glory days when General Motors used to stamp out Buicks, Chevies, Pontiacs, and Oldsmobiles that were all different, but all pretty much the same.

The HTC EVO 4G LTE is the successor to the original EVO, a phone that brought lots of customers into Sprint stores a few years ago. It seems like eons ago, and Sprint could definitely use an encore in 2012, especially since it was left out of Apple's third generation iPad launch. The big question is whether the new EVO can pull it off?

It might. The new EVO is thin, light, and boldly styled (perhaps too boldly for some.) It has a vibrant 4.7-inch HD (1280x720) display with in-plane switching (IPS) that provides a wide viewing angle.

Powered by Android 4.0 ("Ice Cream Sandwich'), integrated with HTC Sense 4, the premium smart phone provides cool stuff like NFC, Android Beam, Google Wallet, and more.

On the hardware side, the new EVO's 8MP, f/2.0 rear-facing camera has a dedicated imaging chip that provides super-fast auto-focus and continuous shooting. You can also capture still images while recording 1080p video. The 1.3MP front-facing camera captures 720p video.

The unit also features Beats Audio, technology that strives to let you hear music the way the artist intended, including thundering bass, soaring midrange, and crisp highs.

Also standard are a 2000mAh embedded battery, dual-core Snapdragon processor, 16GB of built-in storage augmented by a microSD card slot, and a relocated kickstand. The speakerphone even turns on automatically when you place the handset face down, and two built-in microphones ensures excellent noise cancellation. The unit also supports HD Audio, if the network supports it.

The handset, which is constructed of Corning Gorilla Glass, machined aluminum, and plastic, weighs only 4.72 ounces and sells for $199.99 (when purchased with a new voice/data plan.) Sprint's smart phone plans start at $79.99 per month, with unlimited talk, text and 2GB Web.

The only downer, for now, is the limited availability of 4G LTE. Sprint recently announced that Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio are expected to have 4G LTE and enhanced 3G service by mid-year. The company also claims that 120,000,000 people will have LTE by the end of 2012, and 250,000,000 will have it by 2014.

That's great, but in the greater New Orleans area, your new EVO could be stuck using 3G until 2013. Owners of the original EVO dealt with the same scenario. Areas where WiMAX, Sprint's previous foray into 4G, was available were sparse, but the original EVO still sold like hot cakes.

Whether local EVO fans will upgrade, knowing 4G might not arrive until sometime next year remains to be seen. For more information about the newest HTC EVO, visit the Sprint EVO 4G LTE product page.