Will the 4G-enabled HTC EVO View 4G for Sprint soar past the Flyer? Read our full review to find out.
HTC EVO View 4G Report
What happens when you take the Wi-Fi only HTC Flyer tablet and soup it up with 4G WiMAX and boost the internal storage to 32GB? You get the HTC EVO View 4G for Sprint, which will be known as the Flyer's slightly more capable big brother. It resides amongst the more portable tablets on the market with its 7-inch screen, but retains the same internal hardware specs as the Flyer with a 1.5GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. The tablet also runs on an Android 2.3 Gingerbread and HTC Sense 3.0 sandwich, and that's about as polished as you can get in the realm of Android these days. The EVO View 4G offers unlimited data activity while connected to Sprint's 4G network, so if you happen to live in 4G WiMAX territory, then you're going to want to take a gander at the HTC EVO View 4G. Otherwise, the Wi-Fi only Flyer might be the better bet.
The EVO View 4G is architecturally identical to the HTC Flyer, though the little tablet sports a stealthy all black design compared to the Flyer's grey and white motif. The rugged aluminum body construction was carried over, making the EVO View one of the most solid tablets on the market, especially compared to the Galaxy Tab 10.1's flimsy plastic build. But it was the size of the EVO View 4G's screen that truly perplexed us.
It has a 7-inch 1024 x 600-pixel touchscreen with stellar sensitivity and a high-end picture. Colors and brightness were snazzy, though we did detect a trifling of stepping along rounded edges. This was not present for HD content, but certain icons on the screen and pictures in the Internet browser exhibited the phenomenon. But that 7-inch screen was a bit too small. The HTC EVO View looked like a typical HTC smartphone designed for a giant—Gulliver's Tablets if you will. When we consider the fact that the largest smartphone screen out there is the Samsung Infuse 4G's 4.5-incher, the EVO View 4G is only 2.5 inches larger!
The one edge the View 4G has over the Flyer is 32GB of internal storage vs. 16GB. Both have MicroSD card slots, but unearthing the top panel that houses the 5-megapixel camera lens, Power/Lock button, and 3.5mm audio jack was like attempting to unsheathe the Sword in the Stone. HTC should have designed the hatch removal system differently because we had no idea the panel could even be removed initially. The EVO View 4G has a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, as well as Home, Menu, and Back haptic feedback controls along the horizontal and vertical borders of the screen. You'll also notice the Scribe Menu control that can be activated with HTC's Scribe Stylus pen, which we'll get to in a bit.
Software and Interface
Just as we had documented in our Flyer review, the EVO View 4G's software and UI tag team was nothing short of dazzling. We're talking Android 2.3 Gingerbread and HTC Sense 3.0, which, in our opinion, is the most beautiful and refined user experience within the Android jungle at the current moment. We also found the EVO View to perform identically to the Flyer, courtesy of its 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 1GB of RAM. The tablet also gave us Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, an internal GPS antenna, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, and an accelerometer for 3D gaming and motion. Hot specs for a hot little tablet.
If you haven't seen HTC Sense 3.0 experience in our reviews of the Sensation 4G, EVO 3D, or HTC Flyer, get ready for an enhanced UI test drive. The EVO View 4G's lock screen is the first destination on the route, offering four shortcut icons that could be dragged into the unlock ring in order to jump right to that particular application or program. For instance, if we wanted to take a quick picture, all we had to do was drag the camera icon into the ring and the EVO View 4G fired right up into Camera mode. Accuweather animations could also be customized on the Lock screen, and the Weather widget was rife with full-screen weather animation action. 7 Home screens provided plenty of widget real estate, and HTC Leap was instant, allowing us to pinch down all Home screens onto one screen as smaller icons to select.
The dropdown menu was also revamped and more intuitive to use, giving us a Quick Settings tab that harbored all of the Power settings such as Wi-Fi, Mobile Network, 4G, and Bluetooth. Speaking of 4G, the EVO View is compatible with 3G or 4G hotspots for up to 8 devices. We will warn you that HTC Sense 3.0 is widget heavy, though the beauty of Android is that they can be tossed away and replaced with icons if needed. We liked the new shortcuts menu that consisted of three customizable icons, an Application icon, and a Personalize icon. Just like any other high-end Sense device, the EVO View 4G can be customized via wallpaper, skins, or themes, which are like profiles for Work, Play, etc. Overall, the View 4G's software is certainly the prettiest gal in town.
And, as any top-notch internet tablet should offer, the EVO View 4G's browser was a step above the rest. We've seen the Motorola XOOM Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1's internet browsers and while they're functional, they just don't have the same level of intuitiveness that the EVO View 4G and Flyer's does. For instance, the EVO View featured a drop-down gallery of our currently open windows with the ability to switch between them all. The address bar offered Back, Forward, Refresh, Search, Bookmarks, Add (Bookmark or Homepage), and currently active windows, so the need to hit the Menu control was almost nonexistent. By far, this was the best browser experience on an Android Tab we've seen yet. When we loaded our favorite Flash-heavy page, it loaded everything from videos to pictures to drop-down tabs. The tablet demonstrated itself as a high-end internet machine, so if that's your prime concern, you'll have no problems with the EVO View 4G.
Multimedia and Productivity
The main event at this arena is the EVO View 4G's Scribe feature, which is governed by an electronic stylus that enabled us to draw all over the EVO View's screen. Keep in mind that unless you sign up for a two-year contract right now with this thing, it's $80 extra. But, you're going to want it because the HTC EVO View 4G is only half the tablet without its Scribe. Just like a glorified Microsoft Paint program, the stylus could be used to write notes using a multitude of pen types like calligraphy, market, pencil and pen to name a few.
We could erase and highlight text using two specialty buttons on the stylus, and pictures, files, audio, and documents could be inserted into our notes. We could also enter Capture mode, which allowed us to use the stylus to take a picture of the screen by tapping once. This was, we could annotate a web page, but we could also draw on pictures we captured with the EVO View 4G's camera. We could even highlight and make notes in the Reader program, just like with a tangible book except without the permanent factor.
As for an entertainment device, the EVO View 4G was stocked. Its Music widget connected directly to Amazon MP3 for quick downloads with the ability to store files to the Amazon Cloud. HD movie trailers could be streamed from HTC Watch, and Blockbuster came preloaded on the tablet. For games, the Android Market was readily available, though 100% HD Games from Gameloft came preloaded. Need For Speed Shift was already on the EVO View 4G, though it was only a demo version and just a tease. Microsoft Exchange Active Sync for corporate email, SMS text messaging, Polaris Office, PDF Viewer, and a complete Task Manager for killing programs were just a few extras in the mix. The EVO View 4G is basically a large Super Smartphone without the ability to make calls.
This is one of the few realms where the HTC EVO View 4G differs from the Flyer. Since the EVO View 4G gets the 4G WiMAX connectivity, in addition to general 3G action, the battery has more of a strain put on it, especially in roaming zones. So, expect a battery performance that is a few rungs behind the Flyer, which was fantastic. The EVO View 4G's battery endured a lot of web browsing, multimedia, and Scribe action, and within an 18-hour period including an overnight standby on 3G, the battery was at 70%.
Just like the HTC Flyer, the 5-megapixel camera on the EVO View 4G was nothing special. Images were not particularly detailed and colors were a crap shoot depending on the Auto Focus and Exposure. It was a highly intuitive Camera interface with some fun special effects, but overall the camera was not a point-and-shoot compact replacement, especially since it lacked a flash, which ultimately made low light shooting not possible.
The tablet was capable of 720p HD video capture, but, like the Flyer, it was lackluster and looked like glorified VGA quality. The best part about the HTC EVO View when it came to pictures was its Snapbooth, which was like Apple's Photo Booth. Here we could take advantage of the 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera to distort our faces into frightening portraits. Check out our last three samples for a scare.
HTC EVO View 4G – infoSync Diagnosis
Well, our favorite tablet got 4G and 16GB more of internal storage. Yes, the EVO View 4G is certainly more capable than the Wi-Fi only Flyer. We see it optimal for those who don't need a big-screen smartphone like the EVO 3D, yet want a device that will quell their needs for Internet, multimedia, and productivity on the go. The camera performance was lacking, but the rest of the tablet was top notch. With a larger screen and better camera, the EVO View 4G would be unstoppable.
Price and Release Date
The HTC EVO View 4G will be available from Sprint on June 24, selling for $400 with a new two-year contract.