The EVO Has Landed

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I am officially an iPhone defector. The HTC EVO 4G running Android is now living in my pocket.

Picked mine up about 9AM Friday at a Best Buy store not far from me and even then the Sprint activation system was feeling the burn as countless others also grabbed a little piece of the future.  It took about an hour and multiple attempts as the system kept kicking back “Service Unavailable” errors.  The port finally went through and I was out the door.  5 minutes after that the EVO was hot.

I still think the iPhone is a great handset but with the issues of AT&T network reliability – especially when it comes to handling calls – the iPhone has a clear weakness or two.  Yes, I suppose it is an internet device but it is also a phone, right?  Apple also has this exclusive deal with AT&T and now it seems they are stuck with a partner that is getting a reputation for being the least reliable wireless network. And who can forget AT&T’s announcement of the elimination of unlimited data on iPhones, iPads and other AT&T devices.  Bad move. Bad timing.  I had to go. But please don’t tell AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.

Now I am a Sprint customer and happy with my new digital friend.  I will be paying close attention to the performance of the EVO and the “Now” network, whatever that means and with some upcoming travel I get to try things away from my home network.  Here are a few things about the EVO 4G that I have noticed in the few hours that I have had it in my possession.  Concerns I share with other potential iPhone converts I’m sure:

It’s Too Big

The comparative size to the iPhone is a non-issue.  Both are about the same thickness and width.  The EVO is maybe 1/4 inch taller than the iPhone (by the way, the EVO turns that into about 1 inch of extra screen width that really highlights the wasted space on the iPhone surface and the new iPhone screen is rumored to be even smaller than the current 3GS screen. For me, the EVO actually ends up being smaller than the iPhone. How does that magic trick work?  I have an extra slab of power in the form of a Mophie Juice Pack – that’s a slide on case with a built-in battery.  When your iPhone battery is gasping for breath, turn this little monster on and it will charge the iPhone battery.  If you travel with the iPhone it’s a great setup but it makes the iPhone twice the thickness of the EVO and just about an 1/8″ taller.  I’ve been carrying a small brick around with me.  If you are an iPhone user considering the EVO 4G and you’re concerned about size, don’t be.  I know how the pictures posted in various places online look but this is something you have to feel.  In your hand.  In your pocket.

It’s not an iPhone

Nope, it isn’t. It’s a different experience but one that is just as satisfying as iPhone OS.  HTC Sense running on Android 2.1 is just as intuitive as the iPhone when you first fired it up.  After all this time with the iPhone, you know where stuff is and you know how it works.  This is like when you move into a new house and you can’t find the light switch.  You have to take an extra look, you have to think about for a bit, and then you find it. After a short period of time you figure it out.

Syncing Data

iPhone and Mac OSX use MobileMe.  HTC Evo 4G uses Google.  A little thought will make the transition pretty quick.  Never have been a PC guy so Mac users, first – BACK UP YOUR ADDRESS BOOK AND iCAL DATA!!!! If you goof the conversion you can always fix it. Since my wife and I now both have Android phones, we sync and share the same data.  I chose to create a new Gmail account for the sole purpose of syncing contacts and calendars and use Spanning Sync which will do a two-way sync between Address Book and iCal on your Mac. Then both phones are signed into the same account – which I learned is not the same as signing into an email account.  If you follow the setup wizard you’ll be just fine.

Battery Sucks

The only comment I can make at this early stage is that the EVO battery seems to be comparable to my experience with the iPhone battery.  When I bought the EVO, I got all the same tips I got with my iPhone 3G and 3GS when I bought those.  Turn everything off.  Turn off WiFi. Turn off 3G.  Turn off GPS. Turn off Bluetooth. Don’t use the web browser on days when the temperature is about 85.  Ask for directions before turning on Navigation.   All the same crap.

It’s basically turn off the lights when you leave the room but I do think it odd that there is not a power management setting to handle this stuff.

UPDATE: I installed free version of Advanced Task Killer on the EVO.  This app can be set to shut down all the apps you’re not using at the moment to conserve power. (Android is different from iPhone in that it multitasks and that means every app you run stays open until you forcibly shut it down.)  I chose to set it to shut down everything when the screen is off.   Going to bed with about 10% power remaining on the battery and not charging overnight, I fully expected a dead battery or very close to it when I woke up.  The battery was still at 8 or 9% and I had even left WiFi on, too.  Not bad.

Should I Wait for the New iPhone

We’ll most likely find out on Monday at WWDC what the actual new iPhone will be.  If the new iPhone converts into a flying car, then you should wait and get the iPhone.  If it doesn’t, buy the EVO.  The new iPhone will be better than the old one.  It will improve on existing iPhone features, add a few, maybe improved battery life, better camera for stills and video (if you really need a camera get a camera).  Hey, if it’s what you want you’ll be happy with it.

So that’s it.  I switched.  One day there will be another phone better than this one and I’ll probably get that one, too.  I’ve had a history of doing that and I haven’t always made the right call but this time I’m pretty sure I did.

And if neither the iPhone or HTC EVO 4G don’t do it for you then maybe I can sell you one of my old phones. Like this one:

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everettmarshallThe EVO Has Landed

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