Sprint EVO 4G Reviews Roll In: 4G Nice but Drains Battery


The first reviews of the Sprint (s s) EVO 4G are appearing on the web, and I haven’t seen any surprises to knock it off my want list. Sprint and HTC have joined to bring what is undoubtedly the most powerful Android phone, make that smartphone, ever produced. The reviews do a good job showing how smooth and fast the performance is on the EVO. Reviewers also seemed impressed with the 4G performance when coverage was available, although 4G connectivity hits the battery hard.

This battery drainage on 4G is what I expected; the Sprint Overdrive modem I use is rated for 3 hours of 4G connectivity and the EVO 4G is working the same way. It’s a given the battery must be hit hard using 4G. Hopefully Sprint and HTC can tweak this battery usage somewhat over time.

The most thorough review I’ve seen of the EVO 4G is by Chris Ziegler of engadget. His video review shows every aspect of the phone’s operation, and he seems impressed with the EVO so far. Other reviews of interest are Sascha Segan’s of PC Magazine and Walt Mossberg’s of the WSJ.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): To Win In the Mobile Market, Focus On Consumers



Any phone used as much as you used the Evo will drain the battery pretty quickly. Has anyone done any real world test on the battery life yet? When I got my Touch Pro 2, I had to charge it 3 times a day. Now that the new toy effect wore off, I can charge it once every 3 days. Yet I put it on the charger overnight incase I feel like watching some movies or playing games. I still use it for everyday things, just not playing with it as I know what it does now.


Sorry for the miss-understanding. What’s being installed are not repeaters, they’re full fledged micro 4G towers. For instance, if you lived in a city not covered by Sprint 4G, like most cities in the U.S., you would lose 4G reception entirely a few feet from the store (though a Sprint two-year contract will still require you to pay for it.) As per your experience, you would see an excellent in-store demo and possibly a terrible out-of-store reality. If in fact it’s standard carrier practice to install repeaters and access points in retail stores to improve the sales experience, I would call the practice “deceptive”.

While most purchases and new contracts are covered by a trial period which allows returns without an ETF, having gone through the experience with the iPhone and AT&T due to poor coverage, I would prefer carriers improve the quality and depth of their coverage and that in-store demos more closely reflect reality.


We’re seeing reports the Radio Shack is adding 4G access point in stores where the phone will be sold even in cities that supposedly already have 4G deployed. Good for making sales but what does it say about Sprint’s confidence in 4G? Looks like Walt was right on the money…


All carriers use repeaters, this is not specific to Sprint. When I tried the iphone the signal was very strong in the store where I got it, yet when I went home several blocks away, the signal was much weaker. My home is closer to the At&t tower.


The battery drain while on 4G was due to several connected devices via the Hotspot. Those devices were streaming radio, video as well as surfing the net and email. Four to five hours is great. Also, many reviewers are not aware that if the EVO is in a 3G area only, with the 4G radio on, the EVO will continue to search for a 4G signal, draining the battery. It is recommended to toggle off 4G when not in a 4G area. However, with a consistent 4G signal, the power management is much better as opposed to a 3G signal with 4G toggle off. Keep in mind, Sprints 3G network is more than capable of handling the EVO.


Mossberg made another important point in his review: that the 4G data speeds failed to match the hype, even with the relatively mature Baltimore network. Sprint’s response: his sample size was two small. (You can prove anything with statistics, just ask AT&T.)

Mossberg and others have been doing their testing with relatively few to none 4G devices on the network. One has to wonder that when these Sprint 4G networks, still available in relatively few cities, come under any stress that the data rates will leave consumers scratching their heads as to why they pay a premium for the service.


I would not call Mossberg’s review, a review. He had the EVO for a week, he barely talked about the features, it was more about the network. Not to mention Mossberg is as biased as they come. I do not take anything Mossberg says seriously. The same goes for Bonnie Cha from CNET.


This will be the best phone for maybe 30 days then Verizon will launch something better and of course the new iPhone comes out. No consumer should choose a carrier for 2 years based on getting the best phone out at that moment. Good luck with that Sprint customer service. There is a reason they are still bleeding customers out the back door even with the lower rate plans.


It will be the best for a while and then it will be a neck and neck race with the new Iphone and the Moto Droid 2.

You’re wrong about Sprint though. They don’t require you to stay with your phone for 2yrs. With a Sprint Premier (most people are) you can renew your contract 12months in. Also, their service (customer and phone) has improved drastically. Where they have been bleeding customers has been the Nextel folks. That merger was a disaster.


I didn’t say you couldn’t change your phone. You are still signing on with the carrier for 2 years. Also, as someone that works in the industry I can tell you they are still losing customers on the Sprint side, not just Nextel.

@GOODTHINGS2LIFE – My point was that given the selection of alternatives today consumers should factor in other things than just the phone. The iPhone was the only game in town 1-2 years ago.


Funny, I’ve been saying the same thing about people switching to AT&T for such a fruity phone for 3 years now…


I’ve been with sprint 10 years now and they have never bled me, in fact they have done just the opposite on many occasions. I usually upgrade my phone every year anyway. So tell me this, why do you think at&t just announced a hike in their termination fees from 175 to 325? And just 3 days before the (or my) evo comes out? Coincidence? I think not.


If you’re going to be tethering your smartphone and expect all-day battery life you can either keep on dreaming or pony up the cash for an extended battery. The standard 1500mAh (or 1800mAh on my Touch Pro 2) may get half a day at best, which is why some folks buy a second standard battery to swap as needed.

Since I don’t like to break my work flow to replace batteries, I considered buying a Mugen Power 4500mAh extended battery for my smartphone for uninterrupted power. The problem though is that it makes the device fatter, heavier and prevents me from using my desktop cradle.

Eventually my solution came in the form of an Energizer 8000mAh battery pack. About the size of a blackberry, this pack goes on my belt and can power my smartphone whenever I need extra juice without having to power down and swap. Priced about the same as the Mugen battery, this gets far more performance, and it works with ANY device, so I don’t lose my money spent when I upgrade smartphones. It also lets me keep my smartphone slim and light.

Swapping batteries is a pain because it interrupts my creative process, never mind making me remember to keep both charged. If your device doesn’t have an option for an extended battery, or you just don’t like fat batteries, then the Energizer makes for a terrific accessory.

Wilson Hines

I don’t even care if it drains the battery like a bath tub loosing water! My HTC Touch Pro can’t even make it from one side of 14th Street in NYC to the other side while tweeting, photoblog’n, and using Google Maps and taking the occasional phone call. So, I’m used to it. I carry two batteries already.


James, sometimes you and I just read things differently. Engadget’s remarks for battery life were on the positive side. Generally stating that with as hard as they were hammering the 4G, they got 3+ hrs on a not full charge.

“Amazingly, we got some three hours and 13 minutes of run time while using the EVO continuously as a 4G hotspot — and when we say “continuously,” we mean we were streaming high-quality audio the entire time. What’s more, the phone wasn’t even fresh off the charger when we started; it had been on and in heavy use for two hours and four minutes prior. Bottom line, this thing seems to be a champion on a 1500mAh battery; we can’t even begin to fathom what a massive aftermarket pack would do to it.”


I agree – it is weird that he lead with battery drain but then touted Engadget’s review which referred to it, as you note, as amazing.


I think James’ take on battery life accurately reflects the aggregate opinions of all the reviews he referenced, not just Engadget’s comments.

James Kendrick

Yes, I was referring to all of the reviews collectively. I also made it clear that I wouldn’t expect the EVO battery drain to be less than the Overdrive that is doing the same function. I’m happy with it and still want an EVO big time.


Remember when the iphone didn’t include 3G because the chipsets weren’t efficient enough to not drain the battery too quickly? Eventually they did. Looks like we are at the first stage for 4G chipsets.


I’m also concerned about battery life on the EVO, but are we sure the reviewers are doing those initial battery “training” steps of fully draining and charging past full, etc.?


Just remember James, it may be the most powerful phone right now, but like the N1, this will be considered the number two contender within a few months. But hey that’s the way it is with most mobile tech, no?


Something’s gotta give with these high end phones. They are great spec wise but if you can’t use it all day. . . a brick isn’t what you need half way through the day.

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