Tag Archive: EVO

I was waiting on the sidelines for the Sprint Evo to be released.  At the time, I had a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone…  the Palm Treo 800w.  What a turd that was.  I really can’t believe that old Windows Mobile platform lasted as long as it did.  The concept of trying to scale down a desktop OS to a pocket size was just plain silly.  This is why I looked forward to the HTC Supersonic handset.  At that time I didn’t know it would be called the Sprint Evo.

Usually in the past, Sprint had not gotten the latest and greatest handsets.  I always considered their selection to be somewhat second rate stuff.  This was another reason I looked forward to this handset so much originally.  It made a lot of promises.  Things of note were a large beautiful screen, 4G and the Android operating system.  Those very things are some of the reasons I’ve become disenchanted with this handset.

The screen – This has a huge, beautiful screen.  There is no doubt that the thing is gorgeous, however, this is not without it’s downsides.  The obvious downside is that the shear size of it makes the phone extremely large.  I didn’t mind at first because it was a lot thinner than my Palm Treo with the extended battery but really it doesn’t need to be quite as large as it is in my opinion.  Taking the screen down 1/2 and inch in size would make the phone a far more manageable size.  Also while I’m talking about the screen, the digitizer on this phone sucks.  Sure it works fine but it is getting a fog/film on it that cannot be wiped off.  A couple people have mentioned that I should use a screen protector but I have to call BS on that.  Why?  I gave my son my (already used) iPod 2G roughly 6 months ago.  He’s 3 years old.  If anyone could abuse a device with drool, sticky fingers and an occasional drop, it’s him.  Even considering all the abuse, when I wipe his screen off on my shirt sleeve even, it looks almost brand new barring a couple of tiny nicks.  Nicks I can deal with…  fog I cannot.

The 4G – This has always been fairly useless to me for the whole time I owned the phone for several reasons.  Most notably, it barely worked for months after I got the phone.  Even now, the coverage is spotty here in the Seattle area.  Aside from the lousy coverage, Sprint forces you to pay $10/mo extra for having a 4G handset whether you use it or not.  To add insult to injury, it’s not an always on thing.  It’s  a whole separate radio like bluetooth or wifi.  Turning it on drains the battery at an alarming rate.  If I turn it on and forget that I did, the battery will be dead by noon in some cases.

Android – Sorry, I don’t get it guys.  And it’s NOT that I don’t GET it.  I’m a Linux guy.  I first started using Linux in ’95 or so.  I just don’t like this incarnation of it.  Part of my gripes could be with the Touch UI provided by HTC but I really just don’t like the way the icons are organized and the navigation of the interface.  Nothing seems polished or finished to me.  The other pisser is that not Sprint or HTC will have any interest in upgrading the operating system to a newer revision when they stop selling the phone(should be soon now).  They would rather I buy a new phone.  That pisses me off when “evil” Apple has made the latest and greatest versions of iOS 4 work even on an ancient Touch 2G which they haven’t sold for at least 2 years.

Bugs – The bugs are unbearable.  I don’t remember much in the way of bugs when I first got the handset but over the past(less than a) year, all hell has broken lose with the gremlins.  One of the worst ones is where the phone rings and the screen will not respond to my touch.  I try to answer the phone with all my might and the sliding bar on the screen won’t budge.  Not much could possibly piss me off more than having someone call who I cannot call back due to corporate policies trying to ring me and my phone won’t allow me to answer the call.  That can waste a day or a week trying to get that person to call me again.  Quite frankly, my time is more valuable than that.  The next bug on my hate list that has started to pop up is that when I end a call, my phone will decide to call somebody else on my recent called list.  That’s really obnoxious trying to explain to someone that “no, I didn’t pocket dial you and I wasn’t trying to call you”.

Skype – So there is Skype on the Android now…. So what?  It’s absolutely, 100% useless as hell.  Why is this?  Well Sprint decided that Skype shouldn’t work on 3g or 4g.  It has to be used on wifi only.  I can’t even call Skype-only contacts on there.  This is total BS.  When I pick up my wife’s iPhone and try Skype on there it works perfectly.  I have an unilimted plan with Sprint.  In fact many/most of the plans Sprint sells are unlimited to my knowledge so what’s the deal with Skype not working?

Pocket dial/Pocket hang up – It’s too easy to grab your phone out of your pocket and pick up or hang up the phone on someone before you can even see who it is.  This is pretty annoying.  Not to sound like a fanboi but sorry, Apple has thought this feature through WAY better.  It is very unlikely that this would happen with an iPhone.

Sprint’s junkware – Dear Sprint, please let me delete the crap you put on my handset that ruins my user experience and gets in my way.  This would include blockbuster, Nascar, Sprint Zone, Sprint TV and most of all Sprint Football Live.  I’m a nerd, I hate Football and Nascar so why the hell would I want to look at those things on my phone?!?

Several months after I bought this handset, I purchased an old, used, outdated iPod Touch 2G.  Ever since then, I have carried around an iPod Touch(now a 4G) along with my Evo handset.  The reason for this is that the Evo handset simply doesn’t do everything I want or need it to and I find pretty much everything about the way iOS works to be far superior to the functionality of Android or at least Android on this phone.  When I look at my iPod Touch, (even the old 2G), the newness and appeal still has not worn off for me.  I hate to be an Apple fanboi or bigot but when my user experience is this bad on an Android device and that good on an ancient iOS device, I can’t really argue with the facts.

The real bummer is that I was forced to sign a 2 year contract to get this phone.  In the past, I had gotten 1 year contracts because I’ve always know well enough that mobile devices change quickly and 2 years has generally been too long of a time period to hold onto such a device.  My initial inkling was right.  I got the phone in May and not even a year later I’m ready to throw it off a cliff.

People have told me that I should root the phone to make it work the way I’d like.  Screw that though.  I don’t have time to mess around with a device that I rely so heavily on.  Are there things I like about the phone?  Sure!  Quite a few actually but there is only one thing I can think of that this phone does that my iPod Touch won’t….  make calls.

As much as I love my new HTC EVO 4G, so far I’ve been very disappointed with the so called 4G performance.  I am going to run a series of tests randomly, right now, and post my results here so you will see what I mean.

Testing 3G – I used the www.speedtest.net app on the from the Android Marketplace.  I’ve seen this number as high as 1.5Mbps but today I am getting 831kbps down and 295kbps up.

Testing 4G(local) -Speed testing while on 4G resulted in 2272kbps down and 370kbps up.  Better?  Yeah, sure, way better.  Worth $10/mo to me?  No way.  It doesn’t make the phone any more usable to me as it sits.  It’s also nowhere near the bandwidth that was promised.

Testing 4G(shared on hotspot) – Running speedtest.net on my iPod touch connected to my home wifi yields me a 4835kbps downstream and a 610kbps upstream.  No, I don’t have the fastest internet out there but it’s NEVER gone down in 6 years and I have a static IP.  Anyhow, this final statistic is the punchline of my whole blog posting…  When I connect my iPod to the EVO in 4G hotspot mode, I get a whopping 168kbps downstream and a 248kbps upstream.  I’ve repeated this test over and over again at different times of the day.  This is actually the fastest speed I’ve gotten out of the mobile hotspot.  Generally it has been under 100kbps.  I tested this before and after 2.1-update1 was pushed out to me and the results were the same.

One last note here is that it is NOT possible to run a mobile hotspot on 3G.  I find this extremely annoying since you can’t get 4G service everywhere.  Presumably the coverage won’t be as good even when Sprint does fix the speed problems.  This one poor decision on from Sprint means that this device currently cannot replace my Verizon Mifi.  I am patiently hoping that the 4G improves dramatically and will report back when I actually obtain some acceptable speeds.

I always carry my iPod Touch with me so I can listen to podcasts.  With the Touch, I also have the Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic with me.  These are not the most durable headphones and perhaps aren’t the best sound quality but they are definitely the best match to the iPod Touch because they allow me to control the iPod while it’s in my pocket.  I can stop/play, adjust the volume, etc right from the little 3-button mic/remote.

Since I always have them with me, I decided to see if they would work on my new EVO.  Do they work?  Sure, sort of.  There is a thread on Android Forums that goes into detail about specific functions of the headphones working or not.  But my findings are that the mic and headphones DO in fact work.  The middle button for start/play/hangup also seems to work.  The plus and minus button do not seem to work for me.  Lastly, I found that the volume is way too quiet for me to use these headphones as a headset in the car on the freeway.  I listen to my iPod in the same situation all the time with no trouble but when plugging them into my EVO, I couldn’t hear the other caller well at all.

Update 7/13/2010: My previous iPod headphones find kicked the bucket and I opened up a new pair.  I can now hear the other caller perfectly.  They work just fine for this application so I can wholeheartedly recommend them.  If you carry both devices in your pocket, the iPod headphones are a no brainer.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my new phone but here are a few of the things I DON’T love about it that I’ve found in the last few days.  In no particular order, here is my list of nitpicks:

My iPod Touch browser seems quicker – With a 1GHz Snapdragon, I was expecting big things.  It’s not bad at all but it doesn’t blow away my 2G iPod Touch.  That being said, the screen on the EVO DOES blow away the one on the touch.  I’d expect this much though because it’s a newer device.

My iPod keyboard seems smarterThe problem is that the Android keyboard thinks it’s smarter.  It tries to do more auto correction and completion than the iPod does.  There may be a way to tweak some of this behavior but I haven’t looked that deep yet.

4G coverage sucks at least it is in my area yet I’m still charged $10/mo extra for it.  This was NOT disclosed to me at the time I reserved the phone.  I only found out shortly before I activated the phone.  Furthermore, it doesn’t seem to reconnect to 4G very consistantly.  What I mean is that when I first connec to 4G, it will sometimes connect but even in an area where the signal is strong, once the 4G drops, I’ve yet to see it reconnect on it’s own.

I was under the impression that the mobile hotspot would be a free featureStupid me.  Why would I possibly expect them to give away a feature that they can charge for?

4G was supposed to work simultaneously with voice – It was my understanding that I would be able to surf the web or run a mobile hotspot simultaneously with a voice call.

You have to have 4G on to use the mobile hotspot – This really kind of sucks since the 4G service is currently so spotty around here.  I thought my wife would FINALLY be able to replace her ancient flip phone and her Verizon Mifi with this one device.  Not today…

Speedtest fail When I ran the mobile hotspot and did a speedtest from my iPod Touch, I got 16Kbps down and 892kbps up.  BOTH of these scores are absolutely pitiful but the 16kbps is worse than the lousy T-mobile GPRS aircard I got stuck in a contract with for a year.  I though THAT was bad but at least it was dependable and had good coverage.

Sense UI lacks refinement – The HTC Sense UI is very good and has features that put the IOS to shame BUT it’s not quite as polished.  One example is when I try to thumb between homescreens sometimes I will “catch” on a widget accidentally.  This would never happen on IOS.  I think Android/Sense UI are far more powerful than IOS but IOS is far more intuitive and user friendly right out of the box.  Argue if you like but which device would YOUR grandmother or a 4 year old have an easier time learning?

Non-existent standards – This phone features a micro HDMI port. Have you ever seen a micro HDMI cable or adapter?  Nah, me either…

No skype – I was really surprised that Skype hasn’t been released for this platform yet.  It’s disappointing since I use it for international calls to Canada.  I thought it would also be ideal because of the true multitasking too.  Hopefully when it finally arrives it can be used as a home screen widget.

Market Place woes – The market place is great because they allow anything but also horrible for the same reason.  There is a ton of garbage in there including unfinished apps, beta(abandoned) apps and fart apps.  I found one today called “Do not buy this app”.  Can’t they clean this crap out?  Would it really be that hard?

I firmly think that all of these problems I’ve mentioned are quite fixable and will probably be worked out in the first few months.  The exception being the Market Place.  I think it’s the wild wild west when it comes to vetting out good apps.  They have opened the flood gates to compete with Apple’s claim of 100,000 apps but they’ve ended up with 75% junk apps that would never have made it into iTunes in the first place.  That being said, I like that fact that Metasploit on Android without rooting is on the horizon and there are a stack of NES/SNES emulators available.  The fact that iTunes blocks applications like that is fairly irritating.  I also like the fact that I never have to plug the phone into my computer to load music, docs, calender/email sync, etc.  That being said, both the iPod Touch and HTC EVO 4G will be SHARING spacing in my pocket for the foreseeable future.

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