Home Should You Buy the EVO? Pros and Cons of the Next Big Android Phone

Should You Buy the EVO? Pros and Cons of the Next Big Android Phone

Forget the Nexus One, Google’s failed attempt at marketing its own “iPhone killer” via the web – the next big “Google Phone” is definitely going to be HTC’s EVO, the first 4G Android smartphone to hit the U.S.

Arriving June 4th on Sprint, the EVO comes with a loaded spec sheet that includes everything you could possibly want in a smartphone and then some: 4G, a built-in mobile hotspot, dual cameras, HDMI output, FM tuner and more.

But is the EVO being over-hyped or is it worth the price? We examine the pros and cons.

When we first heard about the upcoming HTC EVO 4G, announced at the CTIA conference earlier this year, it sounded like the perfect Android device. Not only does is it a 4G phone (via Sprint’s WiMAX, a next-generation cellular network), but it includes so many incredible specs, it was downright impossible for gadget junkies not to drool over the device.

But the reality is here, and by reality, we mean pricing plans. And the EVO is not cheap.


The pros list is easy – it’s a list of what the EVO offers:

  • 4G (via WiMAX)
  • 1 GHz Snapdragon processor
  • 1 GB built-in memory
  • 512 MB RAM
  • Wi-Fi
  • 4.3-inch screen
  • microSD card slot
  • 720p video recording and playback
  • HDMI out to your HDTV
  • 8.0 megapixel camera
  • 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Mobile hotspot capability for up to 8 Wi-Fi enabled devices
  • Visual voicemail
  • Live video sharing via Qik
  • FM tuner
  • Social networking integration and access to Android Market’s 30,000 plus apps
  • Sprint apps (Sprint TV, NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile)
  • GPS, compass, proximity and motion sensors
  • Option to pick either the HTC Sense UI or the stock Android experience


As for the cons, there aren’t many when it comes to the phone’s specs. Some may find the phone’s built-in kickstand (which allows you to prop up the phone to watch video) a design flub. It may also be a part that could easily break. But mostly, liking or not liking the kickstand is a point of personal taste.

Others will cheer for EVO’s ability to run Adobe Flash, a capability Sprint touts as “a full, no-compromise Internet experience.” However, this feature could also be seen as a detriment, potentially eating up battery life and overworking the CPU. Plus, Hulu, one of the major holdouts when it comes to Flash, isn’t switching to HTML5 video anytime soon. And Hulu is blocked on mobile devices anyway. That means no Hulu on the EVO, sorry.

But the biggest con may be the way Sprint has chosen to price the EVO’s data plan and services.

According to Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, who finally revealed pricing at a special event last week, the phone will be available for $199.99 (after a mail-in rebate) with a two-year contract.


To use the data service on the phone, you’ll need Sprint’s “Everything Data Plan,” which starts at $69.99 per month.

However, if you want to use the 4G data, you have to pay an extra $10 on top of your data plan. Those who do so have access to unlimited 3G data, too, but it still feels a bit like nickel-and-diming to charge extra for what’s arguably the key selling point of the phone. Why not just build it into the base price?

What’s more, if you want to share your phone’s data connection via the EVO’s Wi-Fi hotspot feature, that’s another $29.99 per month.

Given these prices, the EVO is not the cheapest option among today’s smartphones ($69.99 + $10 + $29.99 = $109.99), but it’s not the most expensive either. One thing to note, though, is that the $69.99 “Everything Data Plan” only includes 450 Anytime Minutes. If you want more minutes, you can choose the next step up – 900 minutes for $89.99. Now the phone is starting to get a little pricey ($89.99 + $10 + $29.99 = $129.99). Can you still afford it?

4G Coverage

Then there’s the fact that many are still without 4G coverage. (You can check Sprint’s 4G cities list here.) Clearwire, a Sprint partner who’s building out the 4G service, recently announced that 18 more cities would be getting 4G by the summer, but some of the larger cities (including N.Y, L.A., San Francisco, etc.) are still waiting. (You can see the complete list of Clearwire cities here). Is the price still worth it if you don’t have 4G?

Getting the Rebate

Another con: a mail-in rebate if you buy directly from Sprint. A better option is to head into a Best Buy or Radio Shack store instead where you can receive the $199.99 price immediately. Radio Shack even offers a free $20 gift card which can be used towards buying accessories when the phone arrives on the June 4th. (OK, that could be a pro).

Worth It?

Given the expense of owning an EVO, it’s now less of a sure thing for those looking for a new smartphone plan with the most minutes. The EVO offers a lot of great features, but they’re not coming cheap by any means, although that’s true for most smartphones.

And there’s one more concern, too. How is Sprint handling the Wi-Fi hotspot plan when this very feature is rumored to be included in the next version of the Android OS? Will they cripple the phone’s ability to upgrade?

We asked a Sprint representative this question and they simply referred us the phone’s spec sheet. When we followed up to reiterate the question, we received no response, not even a “no comment.” That’s a bit concerning.

Still, all this being said, the EVO looks like it will be a great device…but maybe just for those that can afford it.

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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