Who has two thumbs and is holding the latest phone in Sprint's Evo line? This guy, of course. Meet the HTC Evo Shift 4G on Sprint -- with its four-row sliding keyboard, 4G high-speed data all the usual HTC goodness.

Initial impressions are pretty good. We like the 3.6-inch screen size. Not too big, not too small. The phone's a bit on the portly side, but having a 4G radio and a sliding keyboard will do that. The chrome accents on the bezel, speaker and capacitive buttons are a nice touch.

There's no front-facing camera, and no HDMI out port. We can live with that. Others might not. To each his own.

But here's the really cool thing Sprint told us -- it's time to stop thinking as the Evo 4G as just a phone, and the Shift as a follow-up. They're just the start of the Evo line. More phones are coming (and fairly soon, it sounded).

We've got a bevy of pictures and a hands-on video after the break.   And while you're at it, be sure to swing by our Evo Shift 4G forums!

 

YouTube link for mobile viewing

 

Reader comments

Hands on with the HTC Evo Shift 4G

46 Comments

The idea of EVO become a line of phones was something that I tried to bring up in the EVO Shift 4G forums but very little people picked up on as a discussion. I hope this definite news increases the discussion of possible EVO's in the future

The Wirefly review has that, and I'm sure Jerry's video will as well. Without HDMI-out and FFC, I guess I'll need to pass. I use my front camera just enough to make it necessary for me on future phones, and since I have the HDMI cable (even if I rarely use it (until CM gets full HDMI-out support)) I want a phone that has it.

Great move HTC... the Epic has been sucking up all of the android news from sprint primarily because of it's keyboard. Sliding in a competitor is a good move (pun intended)

By the way... have I mentioned that I'm VERY frustrated at my OG Palm Pre? hmmmmmm

Seems like Sprint is playing the "me too" game with the 'line of phones thing'... Droid worked well for VZW, maybe EVO will for us!

They might be on to something (too)

I wonder what they'll use instead of "Bare-knuckle Bucket of DOES"?

well the first EVO was a huge hit, and i thnk by sprint introducing an EVO Line is a great idea as well...the EVO Shift isnt for me but may be useful for others. I think the SHIFT is gonna do great. its accually seems like a great beginner phone. but we'll see

Hmm, does look a bit thick, but I guess if you want a keyboard, that's what you get.

I'm not too surprised about leaving out the HDMI, since I haven't heard of too many uses for it yet, but I'm a bit disappointed about the FFC. One of the advantages of Android over iOS is the videochat that can work not on WiFi, you'd think they'd want as many phones with a FFC as possible, especially a phone in the EVO line, in which the FFC was a major selling point.

Looking at the specs the Shift should feel about the same as the G2 if you have held one of them.

The Epic is technically thinner than the Shift surprisingly but should also feel very similar though the edges taper off on the Shift which will probably give the illusion that it is thinner when you hold it. The Epic is pretty much the same thickness all the way to the edge.

I would like to see some benchmark test, you know to shut the people up about it being only 800mhz. Everybody sees that and forgets that it comes with a better CPU then the original Evo did. Let's put the 2evos up side by side and do some test, I would like to see how good this phone stands against the compilation.

I don't have a problem at all with battery life on my Evo. I think people complain about the Evo's battery life after playing Angry Birds for 2 hours, on the phone for two more, then using the internet with 4G on.

i don't get the "portly" thing. If you compare the thin Incredible specs to the official Shift specs they are the same except for just 3.25mm dif on thickness. Does that really make it a bit portly ?
(Good for you HTC to cram all that in and only add 3.25mm though)

I've been saying for a while that the Evo has become a franchise. Sprint would be screwing themselves if they didn't make it one.

Didn't read every post, but is this rely the G2 on Sprint. And does it have gingerbread and the new sense?

I want to hear them talk about the sliding mechanism. Is it nice and firm like it will last? Is there a definite open and closed position like a sort of click into place or is it smooth sliding all the way from closed to open?

That's what she said!

Seriously though, people said the same thing about the original EVO and the Droid X before they were released, notice how no one does anymore. It will fit in a pocket just fine.

Screen is way to small, 3.6 really? Once I got rid of my Droid (with a 3.7 inch screen) for my fascinate I couldn't do less than a 4 inch screen. Would have been a nice 4.3 inch slider...=(

no FFC, only 800 mHz processor (I know it's a newer processor and outperforms the older snapdragons), 2 gb rom but only 371 mb left (Apps2SD helps this but with my SD card recently fried in my hero i'd rather leave some apps on the internal memory if possible). overall disappointed yet may still get it (anything is an upgrade from the hero).

3 questions

1) Where did Dieter get that awesome watch?
2) Why you doing it on the ground and
3) Aren't you awful near the pool?

I wonder if the Evo line will just be products from HTC or will different manufacturers be involved.Good work Phil.

Thanks for the demo! So since no front camera, give us some new on the next phone that will be small with a slider and HAVE a front camera! Any ideas on it yet? Talk at CES???

4g tax is going to kill this phone, wihout video chat etc are you getting the "premium" experience that Sprint is making you pay for? I can barely stand the charge on my Epic with how rarely I can get 4g service.

I think this is a nice phone but I personally wouldn't give up my EVO for the Shift. I've become used to my 4.3 inch screen and don't think I'd go below 4.0 inches (that's what she said) for my next phone. I do want a keyboard on my next phone though so we'll see what comes out by then.

The keyboard is more like the HTC Touch Pro2 than the Epic, although the TP2 keyboard is better than either. The dedicated number row and shortcut keys would have been nice to have on the Shift as well. Why would they not use that design??

The best news in the whole video was the Evo line becoming a brand. Great move by somebody on sprint's end truly. If they can get their marketing department together and actually show people the phones and not focus so much on business users this WILL be a big hit. I'm rooting for sprint win loose or draw. I appreciate the efforts they've made to improve the company.

Sold My Evo To Get Thiss Boss Phone, Buying Off Wirefly So So Much Cheaper Then Best Buy & iHave To Pay Full Price ;/

Is Sprint even AT the show? Seriously, Evo Shift, that's all? Nice phone mind you but not the flagship phones announced so far.

If I didn't know better I'd think this was the Verizon show. Every *hot* new phone has been AT&T or Verizon. Infuse, Droid Bionic, Atrix, Optimus Black, Inspire, Xperia Arc. That's quite a list of flagship phones and not ONE of them is Sprint.

Any mention of the Epic 2.2 upgrade, after all, you guys are at the show.

Okay, rant over. Just disappointing to see exactly ONE Sprint phone and everything else for all the other carriers.

Great Phone! Still don't think I'm going to part with my White EVO 4g just yet, I love the size. I played with this phone for about 4 days and I must say it's well built, but a little heavy. HTC needs to figure out a way to keep the rear camera a bit more protected also, both EVO phones the csmera is in a compromising position for scratching. Also, the first EVO was known for the FFC, this phone should have had one also, like a trade mark. I will say compared to the EVO 4g, the Shift is blazing fast...