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Review: My first 6 hours with EVO

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Journeyman

Review: My first 6 hours with EVO

So I finally got it today from Best Buy. I chose them because of their awesome insurance policy (as opposed to Sprint's), which I just paid all at once.

I know there have been a number of reviews, but I felt compelled to throw one more into the mix for those who might be interested -- and also just to help clarify my own thoughts about my new phone.

First and foremost, I'm a little disappointed that it's not the glowing, elated spiritual experience as some have described.  It's a phone.  It's just a phone and it only seems marginally better than the original EVO (which I did indeed love).  However, I don't see many features that make me squeal with excitement. Quite the contrary.  It seems like a mostly stable workhorse capable of doing pretty much the same things I was able to do before.

While playing with and setting up the EVO this evening, I took down a few notes.  Here they are in no particular order

  • I picked up the Otter Box (my first one) and I really, really love it.  It fit the EVO perfectly and I was shocked that the relatively thick screen protector allows perfect use of the touch screen.  I have yet to experience any problem that I would've expected with such thick plastic.

  • The width of the phone (with the additional width of the Otter Box) makes it a bit difficult to use one-handed.  Holding it in my right hand, as I might in an automobile, I can't really use the back-button with one hand.

  • The screen is nice and bright and the resolution is great.  However, the colors are EXTREMELY oversaturated.  I'm in shock at how terrible the colors are.  I can't believe a company would even put such a display on the market.  I am a photographer by trade and am perhaps more sensitive to color reproduction than most, but this goes beyond being over-sensitive.  This is just pure bad design. I had the Nexus for a short time and while I hated the phone, I obsessed over how incredible the OLED screen was.  The Nexus screen was sharp, vibrant, and reproduced colors beautifully.  The Nexus made even my bad photos look beautiful.  The EVO, with it's bad display, makes even my best photos look somewhat embarrassing.  I admit that I must decide if this issue bothers me enough to consider other phone options.

  • Bluetooth/audio/mic issues.  I'm still working to figure out this issue and have not had time yet to explore all of the possibilities.  However, the first thing I did with my EVO was connect it to my car charger and connect it to the Bluetooth UConnect in my Jeep.  While messing with the phone, I immediately realized that while it is connected via Bluetooth to the Jeep, none of the voice command/recognition options worked.  I would hit the voice command buttons and the phone simply could not hear me.  Additionally, I noticed that some of the audio features, such as the touch tone sounds on the phone, were completely mute.  Again, I've not explored this problem in depth, but I have a bad feeling that this is going to be an ongoing issue and perhaps a deal breaker for the phone.  I'm not sure if this is specifically a problem I'm having with UConnect on the Jeep or with other Bluetooth devices.  I ride motorcycles and have a Bluetooth system in my helmet to listen to music, make calls, etc., and I'm worried that this will be a problem.  I will know more in a day or so.

  • Voice Command/Voice search.  Wow...this is VERY annoying.  As many of you know...at least those of you who had the previous, the single voice command button is now gone.  No longer is there a single button on that you can hit and do everything via voice.  This feature is now broken up into two older technologies - the google voice search and the Voice Dialer.  This system creates several problems which I'll try to address one by one

    • I can bring back some of the old functionality by pinning the Voice Dialer to the bottom menu, but it still functions poorly.  One of the benefits of using voice is to make the system as hands-free as possible.  However, if I hit the voice dialer and say "Call John Doe", it won't call John.  Instead, it pops up yet another menu asking if I want to call John Doe.  This is really dumb.  I don't want to have to look at the screen again and hit yet more buttons. I just want to hit one button, say who I want to call, and let it call them.  Of course this is also true if you want to "Launch Calculator" -- it immediately asks if you want to launch calculator.  Duh

    • If, however, I want to send a txt message to my friend John Doe, I need to use the google voice search widget instead of simply pressing the same Voice Dialer button.  Again, as I mentioned above, this functionality used to be unified. Likewise, if I want to "Navigate to Las Vegas," I have to use the google voice search rather than the Voice Dialer.   Simply put, the google voice search and the Voice Dialer functions need to be recombined like they were in the older EVO 4g.

    • Google voice search seems to only come as a 4x1 widget and not a shortcut.  I would love to pin a shortcut to the menu bar at the bottom.  For example, earlier I was in Google Play and suddenly realized I wanted to send a quick sms to my friend John Doe.  Instead of whacking the pinned Voice Dialer button (which no longer sends txts), I had to leave Google Play, go to my home screen where I now have the Google voice search widget, hit the mic, and then tell it to send a msg to John Doe.  Ok, so they wanted to reduce the abilities og Voice Dialer.  At least please give me an icon that I can pin the the lower utility bar so I can do a quick google voice search from any screen.  Maybe, hopefully, there is some other way of doing this and I'm unaware of it....if anyone has suggestions, I'd love to hear them as I'm going to sorely miss a single button capable of dialing numbers, sending texts, navigating me home, and searching for pictures of kitties.

  • Side power plug...I know there's already been some debate about this, but I really, really hate the side power port.  I often use my phone in the car for all kinds of purposes (PLEASE no lectures on this one...I'm not always moving and I'm sometimes in the middle of no where on a gravel road with no traffic).  With the power port on the side, it is not easy to hold or operate the phone while it is plugged into the car charger.  Often I use the GPS while I'm exploring back roads...I sit the phone on my lap and glance down from time to time.  With the port on the side, the phone is always yanked into landscape position.  By default, most of the apps, windows, and menus on the EVO are in portrait position.  This makes auto use of the phone far more complicated.  I have to pic up the phone and hold it in my hand for it to be useful -- but I really don't want to be driving around with a phone in my hand....especially when I'm just using it for simple reference (like gps or directions or even to change a playlist while at a stop light).  Also, it's really annoying that you can't have it plugged in the power and keep it on the kickstand....what's up with that??

  • On a positive note, voice recognition seems to have improved a bit.  Time will tell on this one.

So, in summary, I do indeed like the phone, but unlike the opinions of many others, I do not feel it was worth the extended wait.  Being only slightly better than my EVO 4g, it seems to be only a minor upgrade to me.  Still, it's nice and I'm a fan of the EVO overall.  I have mentioned above several things which have annoyed me immensely, but there are so many things about Sense and EVO which are nice and almost don't have to be mentioned (obvious stuff like user friendly menus, widgets, etc.).  Even though I'm an Evofanboy by admission, I will have to reconsider my position based on the poor display and the reduced functionality of the voice command features, though I'm sure this change is universal and I'm not going to get better voice commands on any other phone.

Oh....and I'd like to close with one question that perhaps someone has had experience.  Last year, on my EVO 4g, I began playing with Google Voice. I got my Google number, hooked it up to my phone, and began making lots of calls.  It was kinda fun....but a month later, I realized that, even though I had been calling other mobile numbers (I get free mobile to mobile in my package), I used up all of my Anytime minutes as calls made with Google Voice seemed to always be registering as land line calls.  Is there any way to avoid this?  Was it an accident?  Even if I was calling another Sprint customer, I was using my Anytime minutes.  This made Google Voice extremely expensive (my bill increased by 100 bucks that month because of playing...never made that mistake again).  I am about to begin using my Google Voice account for business, though, and would like to find a way to avoid this issue.  Am I understanding this correctly?

4 REPLIES 4
Highlighted
Sprint Product Ambassador

Great review - thank you!

On the UConnect issue, I've reached out to the VP of the Sprint / Chrysler UConnect team to get a point of contact to see if we can help you troubleshoot this.  Haven't used it myself before.

On Google Voice, Google bought up blocks of unused phone numbers from regional and local landline providers -- thus the numbers will show in the national database as 'landline'.  I've seen the reports before and I really don't know how that would get fixed.  Something to be aware of for sure. . .

Looking forward to seeing discussions on you other points - thanks again for posting!

Will

Product Ambassador, long time Sprint employee
Highlighted
Sprint Product Ambassador

Bit more info and a couple questions on your Jeep:

First, you can check www.uconnectphone.com  to see what the capabilites are between your Jeep, Radio and the HTC Evo 4G LTE -- *if* it's listed on there.  It may not be listed yet, but similar (Evo 4G) phones should have similar capabilites.

Second, which specific vehicle and radio are you trying to pair your HTC Evo 4G LTE with?  That'll help the engineering team.

Thanks,

Will

Product Ambassador, long time Sprint employee
Highlighted
Journeyman

wingland wrote:

On Google Voice, Google bought up blocks of unused phone numbers from regional and local landline providers -- thus the numbers will show in the national database as 'landline'.  I've seen the reports before and I really don't know how that would get fixed.  Something to be aware of for sure. . .

Looking forward to seeing discussions on you other points - thanks again for posting!

Will

Thanks!  I'm definitely liking the phone even with the few issues I pointed out.  I neglected adding all of the positive points (which there are many), but I figured most Evo lovers already knew why we chose Evo (HTC as a brand, Sense, construction, etc.).

The Google Voice issue is trouble since, as I mentioned, I'm wanting to begin using one of my Google Voice numbers for business.  I'm already using it with a headset on my PC and it's very powerful...love it.  It would be equally powerful on my Evo if not for the fact that it will quickly consume all my Anytime minutes and begin charging me.  Since there is considerable encouragement for Google Voice/Sprint android integration, this is a BIG issue.  Integrating will mean that we will be paying alot of extra money on our monthly bills -- and I already carry a rather high bill.  So thanks for looking into this and possibly making some suggestions.    

Highlighted
Journeyman

wingland wrote:

Bit more info and a couple questions on your Jeep:

First, you can check www.uconnectphone.com  to see what the capabilites are between your Jeep, Radio and the HTC Evo 4G LTE -- *if* it's listed on there.  It may not be listed yet, but similar (Evo 4G) phones should have similar capabilites.

Yeah, the new Evo 4g lte is no yet listed on the UConnect site.  However, I did use my old Evo 4g extensively with UConnect and had no issues at all.  It worked perfectly and seamlessly.  The only feature it didn't make use of was voice SMS texting and apparently few phones actually can do this with UConnect anyway.

Second, which specific vehicle and radio are you trying to pair your HTC Evo 4G LTE with?  That'll help the engineering team.

I currently have the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon with the basic radio package which is the RES Media Center 130.

I wasn't in the Jeep yesterday so I didn't get a chance to troubleshoot this issue to confirm it is persistent, but I should have a chance this evening since I'm about to go out anyway.  But, as I mentioned in my first post, it seemed that connecting to UConnect disabled a few key features of the phone - such as voice recognition and some system sounds (like touch tones).  Perhaps there was more disabled, but those were the only things I noticed immediately.  I'll know more a bit later.

I did, however, connect the Evo to my motorcycle helmet's Cardo Systems Scala Rider G4 bluetooth system and it worked (mostly) flawlessly -- meaning, it worked as well as the older Evo 4G.  While on my bike, I can connect via bluetooth and merely hit a button on the helmet to launch the Voice Dialer.  An ongoing annoyance is that I can't access other features of the phone like "Navigate to..." "Search the web for..." and similar stuff.  This sort of thing is handy when using the phone as GPS....no biggie...maybe the technology just isn't here yet

Thanks for writing back and addressing these issues.  It's appreciated.    

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