Contract-free and prepaid carriers are gaining in popularity. But when prepaid Android devices starting hitting those markets, they tended to be lower-tier phones. But recently we have seen plenty of great devices hitting various prepaid carriers, one of them being the HTC EVO Design 4G, which recently hit Boost Mobile.
Looking to get a taste of Ice Cream Sandwich in your hands, without breaking the bank monthly, and locking yourself into a new two year agreement? With lower monthly costs and the same high quality, could the HTC EVO 4G Design be your next Android device?
While being on a prepaid carrier, the HTC EVO Design 4G still features all of the goodies that you would receive on a high end post paid phone. The combinations of the camera, great design, and the recent addition of Ice Cream Sandwich make it a great device.
Unfortunately they buried Android 4.0 underneath Sense 3.6 which does not make it feel like that much of a difference. The battery door is in a less than ideal position, and somewhat difficult to get on and off.
You would expect for a prepaid carrier to offer a mid range device at best, but the EVO Design 4G is definitely above that. With Android 4.0, an 8MP camera, large screen and more the experience of the device is a great one.
Inside this review
HTC has always been known for the hardware they produce, they tend to bring Android devices to the market that carry great design along with incredible build quality. While the price tag has been slashed, and the contract eliminated, the build quality was not sacrificed in any way.
Looking around the hardware you will notice that this device is exactly the same as its brother on Sprint, but let's check out what is has regardless.
Starting at the top you have the headphone jack on the left and the power button on the right. Down the bottom there is a beveled edge and only a single hole for the microphone.
Along the left hand side of the EVO Design 4G is the volume rocker at the top, and down below that there is the micro-USB charging port. Bouncing over to the right side there isn't much to see, no ports or buttons to be found.
The front of the phone is pretty basic, the same slab design we have seen before with the speaker at the top along with the front facing camera. Below this is the HTC branding followed by the display, and at the bottom are the four capacitive buttons we thought wish were a thing of the past.
Flipping it over is where you will find some clean design and a great look overall. On the top you have a speaker on the right and the camera on the left, with a LED flash right above it. In the center there is a brushed aluminum style band with the HTC branding in it, and down at the bottom is the battery "door". The door slides down revealing a plastic piece that holds the battery in place, along with a micro-SD card slot on the left side.
Overall the hardware is well designed, and features some great lines, and solid build quality.
Under the hood
The HTC EVO Design 4G features a 1.2GHz single-core processor, nothing to write home about but it sure won't disappoint either. Whether checking e-mail, surfing the web, playing some games or putting it against any other test you may want to, the processor can hold its own rather easily.
As for memory and RAM, you will find 768MB of RAM alongside 4GB of internal memory. Unfortunately after the OS and bloatware you are left with about 1GB of space for applications, but you can also add up to a 32GB media card.
The EVO Design 4G does feature a 4G radio, and speeds will vary depending on your location and the coverage that is available.
Packing a 1520mAh battery odds are that you should make it through the day with some ease, unless you are an extremely heavy user. Of course your experience will vary, and tons of things have potential affects on this, but overall it performed rather well.
When we reviewed the HTC EVO Design 4G on Sprint it was running Sense 3.0 on top of Android 2.3.4, and unfortunately when we first started with this one we thought it was the same. Hopping into the settings we noticed the device is actually running Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0.1 underneath Sense 3.0 providing a very un-ICS-like experience.
Starting with the lock screen you will notice that it is all what we have seen before. Giving quick and easy access to four applications is a huge plus as many of us like to get in and out while using our phone.
Once into the actual home screens you will notice a very familiar HTC feel, with various widgets and icons placed around the screens. Standard it comes with seven home screens, you are able to add, move and delete these if you wish as well.
Jumping into the app drawer you have all of your applications in one long scrolling list, and down at the bottom they have placed some easier ways to navigate. Along the bottom you will see an option for All Apps, Frequent and Downloaded. This will make finding that application you need much quicker and easier for you.
Unfortunately there is quite a bit of bloatware on this device, as there is with just about any prepaid carrier now. They load up the devices with their own stuff, and out of the box there is nothing we can do about that.
As we have seen in other Sense devices, HTC tends to offer the ability to change the themes with various others, and that is present as well. Preloaded there are three different skins, but they also give you a quick and easy option to download more if you wish.
For once I am almost disappointed to report that the device is running Ice Cream Sandwich. While sure it is almost the most current version of the OS, it is buried beneath an outdated version of Sense, and feels nothing like it should.
HTC has been known to include some great cameras on their smartphones of late, and while the camera on the HTC EVO Design 4G won't quite stack up against the One X, it is still a great camera. Coming in at 5 megapixels for stills, and 720P for video, the camera on paper sounds great.
Putting it to the real world test is always a struggle, you read 5MP and you instantly think it has to be pretty good, right? Plenty of times we have seen some poor cameras get included on devices, but luckily this was not the case on the EVO Design 4G.
Whether in low light, or great lighting the pictures that were captured were great in quality. If you are looking to be a professional photographer with this thing you won't be impressed, but if you are just looking to capture memories on the go, this will definitely do that for you.
While the HTC EVO Design 4G on Boost Mobile won't be for everyone, it is a great device for those looking for a high end device with a low end price tag. Prepaid carriers often offer great promotions, giving similar benefits to what you would receive on a contract account, without all the added costs.
Running Ice Cream Sandwich, packing a 4 inch display and a 5MP camera, the device is nothing to simply glance over. HTC has not skimped out in anyway on the device, they have definitely given it all the necessary bells and whistles to make this phone a great daily driver for you.
Setting you back $299 on the initial investment, and rate plans starting at $55 a month, this could very well be your next favorite Android device. Keeping in mind that for every six months of proper payments Boost Mobile drops the price of your bill by $5, coupled with the fact that their plans offer unlimited everything, this device becomes that much more appealing.