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Summary:

The iPhone 4 has been officially outed, its specs shared. Having just purchased the Sprint EVO 4G, however, I am happier about my purchase than before the latest device from Apple was announced. Here’s how the two phones stack up against one another.

iphone-4

The new iPhone has been officially outed and details of the next phone from Apple have been shared by Steve Jobs at the WWDC. The phone is pretty much the same as the prototype that walked into a bar recently (but failed to walk out). Jobs shared all the details about the iPhone 4, and made a case for this being the best iPhone ever. He’s right about that, but having just purchased the Sprint EVO 4G I am now even happier about my purchase than before the iPhone 4 announcement. Here’s how the two phones stack up against one another.

Hardware

  • Thickness: iPhone 9.3 mm; EVO 12.7 mm
  • Display size: iPhone 3.5 in.; EVO 4.3 in.
  • Display resolution: iPhone 960×640; EVO 800×480
  • Rear camera: iPhone 5 MP; EVO 8 MP
  • HD video recording: iPhone yes; EVO yes
  • HDMI out: iPhone no; EVO yes
  • Front camera: iPhone yes; EVO yes
  • Kickstand: iPhone no; EVO yes
  • Dual microphones (noise cancellation): iPhone yes; EVO no

Software

  • OS: iOS 4; Android 2.1 (2.2 promised soon)
  • Navigation: iPhone no; EVO yes (two free apps)
  • Video chat: iPhone Wi-Fi only; EVO Wi-fi/3G/4G (two apps)
  • Multitasking: iPhone limited; EVO full
  • Carrier support (U.S.): iPhone AT&T; EVO Sprint
  • Mobile broadband support: iPhone 3G; EVO 3G/4G (WiMAX)
  • OS updates: iPhone via iTunes; EVO OTA
  • Hotspot: iPhone none; EVO mobile hotspot (carrier charge)
  • Flash support: iPhone no; EVO Flash lite yes, Flash 10.1 coming

It may seem like I’ve stacked the deck against the iPhone, and perhaps so. I do believe the iPhone 4 is a sweet smartphone, and it has the full Apple ecosystem behind it, which is powerful stuff. I also believe that the Sprint EVO 4G is the most advanced smartphone hardware available — that high-res iPhone screen aside –and it can certainly hold its own in this head-to-head comparison.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d): Will Metered Mobile Data Slow the App Market’s Growth?

  1. Yah this time its far more evident – Android is even before Froyo the best OS on stronger platforms.
    What I liked is Job’s try to dismiss the fact that their app approval system is EVIL. 5% reject based on 3 factors. Yah right well tell that to the widget based apps. And who the heck needs that approval system in the first place.

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  2. GoodThings2Life Monday, June 7, 2010

    Go EVO! :)

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  3. No tethering? Where are you getting your info? See: http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/more-features.html

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    1. Tethering and a wireless hotspot are two different (albeit related) things. Tethering isn’t a bullet point above.

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  4. The biggest downside to the Evo IMO is the battery life. And it appears battery life is a plus for iPhone4. I want to avoid the evil Apple App Store, but are there any solutions to the Evo’s pathetic battery life?

    A week ago I didn’t think I was missing anything by using my Treo Pro. Now with these two device releases, things have changed somewhat.

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    1. I believe the differences in battery life don’t come from any significant hardware or technical differences (although I believe the Snapdragon is fabbed at 65nm and the A4 at 45nm, which may account for some small power savings; additionally, the likely reason for a non user replaceable battery is because Li-ion polymer is being used which will take up less space than a cell and be more flexible in terms of space constraints, but is less user-replaceable friendly–I expect the battery to be a bit higher than the 1500 mAH in the Evo, but not markedly so.)

      The real difference in battery boils down to a matter of philosophy. Apple has developed a utopian style OS where “multitasking” if it may be called that is limited to a few key application genres, and then everything else is the result of clever app-state saving. This will have notable gains in power consumption.

      However, for better or worse, Android offers true multitasking. The upside is that users and programmers aren’t constrained by artificial limitations. The downside is that poor coding and policies on the part of developers, and poor app management on the part of users can result in multitasking run amok, which will lead to significant battery diminution. In other words, Android users have the “freedom” if you will, to run dozens of apps and widgets that will constantly poll for data (twitter updates, facebook statuses, weather, stock, etc.), and with that freedom comes the added responsibility and frustration of managing that more intensely.

      On my Evo 4G, I’ve taken the time to round up all the poorly managed apps (I’m looking at you, Sprint Zone app) and ensure that only the program I want and need are frequently updating. The result is that when my phone is sitting on my desk, getting email as it comes in and so on (wifi on, 4G off, BT on), the power consumption is nearly flat on my power consumption history chart.

      I will note that it’s extremely not-user friendly to properly optimize application management for battery life, and the misinformation floating around the web regarding task killers does not help one bit. There’s a lot to be said for Apple’s utopian design — it works and I imagine battery life will be great. That said, it’s not for me.

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      1. NEOTERIX, I’d call an extra wide area radio for WiMAX a significant hardware difference in battery life for the EVO.

        That radio pumps energy out with the intent that it be received miles away at a Sprint WiMAX base station. It operates at a higher data rate than the 3G radio in the iPhone which inherently requires it to use more energy as well. In addition the EVO’s CDMA radio has to run simultaneously with the WiMAX radio so it can still make/take voice calls. Whereas an iPhone gets to use it’s 3G radio for both voice and data at the same time. Plus it is early days for the WiMAX radio being used so they’re still finding ways to optimize it’s power usage.

        This past Saturday I took my Overdrive into the Sprint store and their technicians installed software that Sprint hasn’t released OTA yet. They then told me I could see an extra half hour of battery life due to better optimization in it’s WiMAX radio.

        I look forward to a similar optimization for my EVO. :-)

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    2. There are 20 battery tips for the EVO here: http://www.goodandevo.net/2010/05/20-tips-to-improve-htc-evo-4g-battery-life.html

      With my normal usage, I’m getting about 36 hours on my EVO (and I didn’t even apply all of the tips).

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  5. Sammy, just carry around one or two removable batteries (something the iPhone does not offer). The batteries are small, inexpensive and charge super quickly!

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    1. You do realize there are dozens of extended power solutions for iPhone, from small power packs from Energizer and Richard Solo that plug in to the dock connector to form-fitting cases that double battery life like the mophie Juice Pack Air.

      And unlike secondary removable batteries, all the iPhone battery solutions allow SIMULTANEOUS charging of internal and external batteries.

      How do you charge that secondary battery when it’s not popped in the phone after it’s been drained?

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      1. Seidio sells a charger for simultaneous EVO and spare battery charging: http://www.seidioonline.com/product-p/bd3-bcsi3hddn-bk.htm

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  6. What about the battery life, the iPhone 4 is supposed to be a step forward here, while the EVO appears to be a step back in comparison to other Android phones (battery life wise).

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  7. EVO’s too big for me, simple as that. How about an Incredible versus iPhone 4 head to head?

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  8. A little disappointed to see this, since such checklists are worthless. I could easily put one together where the iPhone “beats” the EVO, or is “beaten” by any phone you’d probably care to name.

    In any case, here are a few thoughts:

    iPhone has free navigation with the MapQuest 4 Mobile app. Works pretty well, too.
    iPhone has tethering in the US (been global for quite some time). Yes, there’s a carrier charge.
    Banging the Flash drum for smartphones? At what point will the iPhone’s success prove that Flash on a smartphone is a non-issue? You gonna call for an FM radio and removable battery next?
    iPhone multi-tasking is “limited”? Really? Groan…

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  9. Tethering should have been clearly stated as “hotspot” and has been changed to reflect that.

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  10. The battery for the Touch Pro 2, HTC Hero and HTC snap will fit perfectly into the Evo. I have a total of 2 backup batteries. So power is not really a issue for me. I just swap it out when it gets to 15% power. Just buy a backup if you don’t have any old batteries laying around. Look on Amazon or EBay or something. I mean its not that hard…

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    1. For normal use you shouldn’t have to replace the battery half way through the day. It’s awkward and don’t have room in my pockets for spare batteries.

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      1. I have only owned the EVO for three full days now, but in my “normal” use the battery life is good enough for a full day. Certainly feels comparable to my Palm Pre, which itself wasn’t great, but good enough. And over the past three days I have been using the EVO more heavily than normal for configuration, testing, installing apps, playing with the GPS maps, etc. And I had several long hotspot sessions with my iPad.

        When Seidio has a high cap battery that fits the original back I will buy that, but I always have a spare battery in my bag for emergency use regardless of run time of the original.

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      2. @ Robert: Seidio already sells a 1750mAh slim battery that fits the original back. The capacity isn’t much higher than the original 1500mAh and there was that whole thing on Battery Boss about Seidio batteries not living up to their stated capacities, but I bought one for my EVO anyway. I have pictures here: http://www.goodandevo.net/2010/06/quick-look-seidio-1750mah-slim-battery-for-htc-evo-4g.html

        Even though you don’t have to prime li-ion batteries, I’m following the outdated instructions on Seidio’s packaging (must be left over from nickel battery days) so my battery results are as “correct” as they can be. Runtime is supposed to improve after 5-6 full charges, so we’ll see. I’m only on my 2nd at the moment and battery life seems about the same with my regular usage. After the battery is “primed,” I’ll run more standardized tests than just my personal usage patterns.

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