I’m going to keep this pretty short just because the unit is like, uh, almost identical to the GSM one we tore apart and reviewed a little while back. The HTC Shift is coming stateside, as you all know by now. It’s going to be available starting today, and is a Sprint unit. So besides the CDMA chip in place of the GSM one, what exactly is different? For starters, since it’s a US unit, you’ll get a US keyboard instead of the atrocious UK keyboard (sorry, fellas, but it really is bad). You also get better build-quality, at least in our view. The HTC software on the device seems to be pretty solid compared to our other Shift, and it makes a world of difference. For a little back story, I took the original GSM Shift with me on my vacation (because Sprint’s coverage isn’t the best) and the HTC Communications Manager failed on me big time. Crashed at start up, no chance of using the 3G modem that’s built in, and definitely no SnapVue. It rendered the whole device useless and this is a frequent problem with the GSM model for me. Additionally, the slider mechanism sort of broke despite my attempts to “baby” the unit. On the flip side now, the Sprint Shift we’ve been putting through the paces is a rock-solid trooper. No software crashes, amazing build-quality, and just a better overall feel to it. Something a little strange, though, is that the leather case that comes with the GSM model, is actually “built-in” to the CDMA unit. You can take it off by removing the T6 screws that hold it in place, but you’re left with the screw posts and it’s a little awkward. Having the case is nice, don’t get me wrong, it’s just weird and a little uncalled for if you ask me. Sprint’s Ev-DO service works well when you have full coverage, but personally there’s no comparing it to the 1700kbps + speeds I got with AT&T’s HSDPA. It will be interesting to see how this unit is priced on a carrier here in the US as the $1,500+ price tag is a lot to swallow for this first generation product that’s slightly underpowered and has some kinks to work out. Well, now you’ve got a choice, people. CDMA or GSM? If they fix the software issues and build quality with the GSM units, I don’t think there should be a question which to choose from. That is, of course, if you’re not a Sprint subscriber.
But then again, who is?