Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE.

"But I wanted the HTC One X!"

So we've noticed. But here's the deal, Sprint fans. You're getting the EVO 4G LTE. The Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE. And you know what? It might actually be better than the One X.

Crazy talk, I know. But think about it. No, wait. First, go back and read our HTC One X review. Now let's think about it. How much of the EVO 4G LTE (or the E4GLTE for not-so short) is exactly in line -- on paper, anyway -- with the One X? Quite a bit. And, more important, it's in line with features of the One X about which we're still shouting from the rooftops.

And it doesn't stop there. Consider:

  • Both have a 4.7-inch Super LCD2 display. It's gorgeous.
  • Both have 720x1280 resolution. Beat that.
  • Both have the Qualcomm S4 processor at 1.5 GHz. (Which, by the way, really isn't "slower" than the Tegra 3 variant because it has half the cores.)
  • Both have HTC's excellent new camera and app.
  • Both have Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
  • Both have Sense 4.
  • Both have Beats Audio.
  • Both get you 25-gigabytes of online storage from Dropbox free for two years.

But, no. It's still not the One X.

So you've got the internals of the LTE version of the HTC One X, same as what we're going to get on AT&T here in the U.S. It just looks different on the outside.

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It's pretty obvious that form the get-go Sprint set out to replace the original EVO 4G, which along with the original Motorola Droid is one of the most important phones in Android's life thus far. It didn't want the One X. It wanted the next EVO. 

Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE.

And so we got something that is the One X, but isn't the One X. The polycarbonate shell has been traded for a two-tone paint job, with HTC's excellent soft-touch coating on the bottom, and glossy black plastic up top. What's so wrong with that? The soft-touch is as good as it ever was. And while glossy plastic remains a fingerprint magnet, it does give nice contrast to the matte finish on the rest of the phone. HTC was right to point out how the red kickstand serves as a transition between the two. A harsh transition, but hardly a haphazard one. (We are, however, sad to see the charging contacts are gone on the E4GLTE.)

And speaking of the kickstand, it's probably the best-designed kickstand we've seen. It looks like it's a part of the phone, and not just something used to prop it up. You might even have trouble opening it the first time, it's so well integrated. Yes, like the original EVO HTC ThunderBolt it means you can't use the kickstand properly and charge the phone at the same time -- the plug is inaccessible. Just flip it over. Seriously, Sprint thought of this. They went so far as to actually remind us that you can do it.

But, no. It's still not the One X.

"You haven't even mentioned the bigger battery or microSD card yet!!!"

Nope, we haven't. That's called intentionally burying the lede. Sprint (OK, HTC) squeezed an extra 200 mAh into the E4GLTE battery, for a total of 2,000 mAh -- more capacity than the One X. (That said, no, it's still not removable.) There's a dedicated camera button. (Huzzah!) And there's also a swapable microSD card for extra storage. So along with the 16GB that's already on board, you can add up to 32GB more. Can the One X do that? Nope.

And what about Google Wallet? Sprint's still the only officially supported carrier. (More or less, we suppose.) Or there's the new "HD" voice calls. (Jury's still out on that -- we need some real-world testing.) Or there are all the other wonder apps that Sprint loves to put on its phones. (OK, we almost made it through that sentence with a straight face.)

The point is this, ladies and germs: No, the EVO 4G LTE is not the HTC One X. But it's not supposed to be. It's based off it, to be sure. But it's Sprint's phone. It's Sprint's design. It's Sprint's baby. While perhaps we would have preferred Sprint to keep consistent with the HTC One naming strategy (and for HTC to have the clout to more strongly encourage it), it does make sense to go back to where it all began -- EVO -- even if it causes a severe case of alphabet soup.

Are we going to declare the EVO 4G LTE "better" than the HTC One X? Not yet. We've got to get some real usage under our belts. And even then, it's a moot point. You're not going to get the HTC One X on Sprint. Just know that the EVO 4G LTE has all the makings of a major phone, even if it doesn't look like you expected.