Hands on with Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G LTE

Sprint and HTC have been partners for years, but it wasn’t until the HTC EVO 4G launched in June 2010 that the companies realized their potential. HTC’s sleek, technology-packed flagship smartphone and Sprint’s unlimited data plans were a match made in heaven for smartphone power users, and the EVO 4G was the first handset to truly offer a complete package to Sprint subscribers. While Sprint’s EVO line of devices has remained popular for the carrier — Sprint has sold more than 7 million EVO-branded smartphones and tablets to date — the company has yet to recapture the magic introduced with the original EVO 4G. With the new HTC EVO 4G LTE that Sprint and HTC unveiled on Wednesday, however, Sprint hopes to do just that. Hit the break for our hands-on impressions of Sprint’s new flagship smartphone.

We spent some time with Sprint’s flagship device for 2012 ahead of tonight’s press conference, and we left impressed. Powerhouse Android smartphones seem to be a dime a dozen these days, and although the EVO 4G LTE is certainly a cut above almost every device currently on the market, it doesn’t quite recapture the magic created by the EVO 4G, which was among the first of its kind.

The handset’s hardware is truly unique, and it is instantly recognizable as an EVO device. The red accents are unmistakable and the kickstand made famous by the EVO 4G is back — and improved. The red aluminum kickstand on the EVO 4G LTE is now spring-loaded, so it can support the device in landscape orientation with the display turned to the left or to the right.

The case on the EVO 4G LTE is made from a single piece of anodized aluminum that has a great look and a nice, soft feel. As an added touch and a means of further distinguishing this smartphone from the pack, HTC machined the edges of the smartphone to remove the anodized coating and leave a smooth polished aluminum finish that circles the outer edge of the device.

While we weren’t able to spend as much time as we would have liked with this sleek new smartphone, we did give it a quick spin and walked away very impressed. The 4.7-inch Super LCD display with 720p HD resolution is absolutely gorgeous, and the dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor helps the Sense 4.0 user interface jump from screen to screen with ease. We fired up as many apps as we could launch on the new EVO and the phone was completely unphased.

Our biggest qualm with the handset after the short amount of time we spent with it is absolutely the styling. This is a slick smartphone with a unibody anodized aluminum case and brushed detailing on the edges, but it is completely ruined by the glossy black cover at the top of the device’s back. HTC had to use a material that would allow radio waves to easily pass through, but a matte rubber-feel plastic like the material used on the back of the HTC One S would have looked infinitely better. We’re sure there is a reason HTC chose the material it did, but the glossy plastic really does ruin the look of this otherwise sleek smartphone.

While Sprint hasn’t yet announced a release time frame beyond some time in the second quarter, the HTC EVO 4G LTE will be available for pre-order starting May 7th, and it will cost $199.99 on contract. We’re definitely looking forward to reviewing this new flagship smartphone but in the meantime, be sure to check out our hands on photos of the HTC EVO 4G LTE, which are linked above.

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