First Look: HTC Evo Shift 4G (Sprint)
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First Look: HTC Evo Shift 4G (Sprint)

2:20 /

For those who crave a physical keyboard, the HTC Evo Shift 4G is a solid choice with a more wallet-friendly price than its 4G competitors, and it doesn't sacrifice too many features.

Hey everyone! I'm Bonnie Cha, senior editor at cnet.com and I'm here with your first look of the HTC EVO Shift 4G. This phone was introduced right before CES and it's Sprint's 3rd 4G smartphone and it also happens to be their most affordable one yet at $149.99 with a 2-year contract, and the cheaper price usually comes with some trios and it's true that the EVO Shift doesn't have a couple of the higher-end features, but it still got a lot going for it. I'm gonna start with the design first. The EVO Shift has some similarities to the HTC EVO 4G like the 4 touch-sensitive button below the display, but it's more compact device and also has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. I know style is a personal thing, but I happened to like the smaller form factor even though it means you get a smaller display. The touchscreen is still sharp and bright so that fact wasn't a huge issue for me. I also like that the phone has a very solid premium feel to it, unlike the Samsung Epic 4G, which feels plasticky and sleek. I do have to say that the Epic 4G still has the better keyboard, but the EVO Shift isn't bad either. The buttons are bit smaller and flatter, but there's a decent amount of space between them, so I didn't have too many mispresses. The d-pad here on the lower right side is also small enough so that it doesn't make it awkward to use the keyboard. So, going back to the features, I'll start with what you're not getting and that's a front-facing camera for video calls and HDMI port and a 1 gigahertz processor. What you are getting is an Android 2.2 with HTC scents, 4G with mobile hotspot capabilities and a 5 megapixel camera. I think that's a pretty fair list for the price and the smartphone has performed solidly so far. Even though it's using an 800 megahertz processor, the Shift has been responsive and running smoothly. Call quality was also good, but speaker phone calls sounded a bit to me. You don't get very good reception here in the CNET office, but I did get some pretty zippy 4G speed here in Manhattan and it worked great as a mobile hotspot. Overall, the HTC EVO Shift 4G is a really solid device. The Samsung Epic 4G certainly offers the more powerful processor and larger screen, but if you're on a budget or for smaller devices, I'd say that EVO Shift is an excellent choice. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your first look of the HTC EVO Shift 4G.

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