>>Hey everyone, I'm Bonnie Cha, senior editor at CNET.com and I've got your first look at the much anticipated HTC Evo 4D for Sprint. As many of you know, this is the first 4G Smartphone available in the US and that comes with a lot of pressure. Does it deliver on all the hype? Well, let's take a look. As far as the design, the Evo is very similar to the HTC HD2. It's actually a bit bigger than the HD2, but the HTC still manages to keep it relatively thin, so it's still pretty manageable. Plus, you might be willing to overlook the large size when you get a glimpse of the massive display. Measures 4.3 inches diagonally and has a sharp WVGA resolution, so it's fantastic for viewing webpages, photos and reading texts. There's even a handy kickstand on the back that will let you prop the phone on a desk so you can watch videos or slideshows, without having to hold the device in your hand. The Evo is also relatively easy to use and extremely customizable thanks to the HTC Sense. Sense is HTC's custom skin for the Android platform and it's always been our favorite 'cause it makes the OS look less techy and actually enhances a lot of the phone's core applications. For example, in the phone app, a tabbed menu on the bottom lets you easily filter through messages based on status, attachments, group, or meeting invite. And then also improves the standard Android media player by bringing up a nicer Coverflow-like interface. Underneath Sense, the Evo is running Android 2.1, which is currently the most recent version of Android available, so you're getting some of the latest features like Google Maps with navigation, voice-to-text entry and live wallpapers. But, if you're an Android fan, you know that Android 2.2, also known as Froyo, is coming soon. I asked Sprint about whether they would provide an update to Froyo when available and they said that they're not announcing anything right now. But what we should focus on right now is the 4G capabilities of the Evo. The Evo is the first phone to take advantage of Sprint's WiMAX network, which claims to provide wireless speeds of up to 10 times faster than today's 3G. Average 3G download speeds come in at around 600 kilobits per second to 1.4 megabits per second, while 4G averages around the 3 megabits per second to 6 megabits per second. Sprint's 4G isn't available in New York yet, so I went down to Philadelphia, where they do have it, to put these claims to the test. And the Evo did deliver. I averaged around 3.42 megabits per second for download speeds and upload speeds of 0.93 megabits per second. So it was on the lower end of the spectrum, but I also did a 3G speed test to compare with 4G and I was getting 0.77 megabits per second down and 0.35 megabits per second up. So definitely a huge difference. The Evo also comes with a number of features that can take advantage of 4G. It's actually going to be the first to ship with a YouTube high quality player and also ships with a quick video chat and a front-facing, 1.3 megapixel camera so you can make video calls. Unfortunately our reviewing unit didn't come pre-loaded with the quick chat app, but we're hoping to check it out later. The Evo can also be used as a mobile hotspot and can connect up to 8 devices. Just be aware that this is going to cost you an additional $30 per month. The silver lining there is that there is no data cap. There's a lot more to this phone, but the video would go on forever if I tried to cover it all. Overall, I'd say the Evo 4G is easily the best Smartphone that Sprint has to offer and certainly one of the best Android phones on the market. It's packed with tons of features and it's powerful and it does deliver on the 4G promise. I'm just disappointed that they're launching it with so few 4G markets. Currently, Sprint's WiMAX network is live in 32 cities and the carrier promises to bring that up- bring that total up to 44 cities by the end of the year, including New York, San Francisco, LA, Cincinnati and Miami. I think the additional $10 for 4G is a fair price but it's unfair to me to make this add-on mandatory. And I know a lot of people have been unhappy about this. In the grand scheme of things, Sprint's data plans are much less than its competitors and there's no data cap with a premium add-on. But still, if you live in a 3G only market, I can understand why you'd be unhappy about paying for something you're not actually getting. Hopefully, Sprint can really start lighting up additional 4G markets quickly so people can get their money's worth and let the Evo 4G really live up to its full potential. The HTC Evo 4G will be available starting June 4th for $199.99 with a 2 year contract.
I'm Bonnie Cha, this has been your first look at the HTC Evo 4G.
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