HTC Evo vs iPhone 4 Review

Earlier this year the iPhone 4 and the HTC Evo came out in full force.  Being an Apple fan (not a fan-boy though), I’ve enjoyed the improvements that I’ve seen on the iPhone.  But, there are some major benefits to going with an HTC Evo if you haven’t sold your soul yet.  Here’s the breakdown as I, your humble technology gadget reviewer, see it.

iPhone 4


iPhone 4 Specs Review

iPhone 4 Physical Dimensions

  • Height: 4.5 inches (115.2 mm)
  • Width: 2.31 inches (58.6 mm)
  • Depth: 0.37 inch (9.3 mm)
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces (137 grams)
  • Screen Size: 3.5 inches diagonal (88.9 mm)

HTC Evo Specs Review

HTC Evo Physical Dimensions

  • Height: 4.8 inches (121.9 mm)
  • Width: 2.6 inches (66.0 mm)
  • Depth: 0.5 inches (12.7 mm)
  • Weight: 6 ounces (170 grams)
  • Screen Size: 4.3 inches diagonal (109.2 mm)
The Evo wins hands down in this category. The only way the iPhone would win in this one is if you don’t want to carry around a 6 ounce gadget. Being that it’s only 1.2 ounces more than the iPhone, if you care that much about weight in your pocket, drop a few keys off your keychain and call it a wash.

Results: Evo wins

iPhone 4 Power Review

iPhone 4 Power Specs

  • Processor: ARM Cortex-A8 Apple A4
  • Memory: 512MB
  • Graphics: (960-by-480) PowerVR SGX535 GPU (326 pixels per inch)
  • Storage: 16GB or 32GB
  • Battery: audio: 40 hrs
    video: 10 hrs
    Talk over 3G: 7 hrs
    Browsing over 3G: 6 hrs
    Browsing over Wi-Fi: 10 hrs
    Standby: 300 hrs

HTC Evo Power Review

HTC Evo Power Specs

  • Processor: 1 GHz Qualcomm QSD8650 (Snapdragon)
  • Memory: 512MB
  • Graphics: (480-by-800) TFT LCD (216 pixels per inch)
  • Storage: 8GB standard microSD card, upgradable to 32GB
  • Battery: audio: 18 hrs
    video: 6 hrs
    Talk over 3G: 5.5 hrs
    Browsing over 3G: n/a
    Browsing over Wi-Fi: n/a
    Standby: 146 hrs
In this race, I’m torn. There are big benefits to be had with removable microSD cards (even though it only comes with 8GB standard, which is way way too low) and the award-winning Snapdragon processor. But the practicality of it is that the battery life on the Evo is horrible. It’s so bad, that even attempting to find these specifications took some work because HTC didn’t release them and doesn’t talk about them when they market the phone. It’s very unfortunate for practical use. Throw the great screen resolution on with the iPhone and we’ve got a winner.

Results: iPhone 4 wins

iPhone 4 Cool Features Review

iPhone 4 Cool Features Specs

  • Camera(s): 5.0 megapixel rear-facing with 720p HD video at 30 fps and LED flash and an 0.3 megapixel front-facing one which takes 480p video at 30 fps
  • Input: Multi-touch touchscreen display
    Dual microphone
    3-axis accelerometer
    Digital compass
    Proximity sensor
    Ambient light sensor
  • OS and apps: Apple iOS 4.0, about 185,000 apps at the time of this writing

Buy now from Best Buy

Buy the iPhone 4 now from Best Buy!

HTC Evo Cool Features Review

HTC Evo Cool Features Specs

  • Camera(s): 8 megapixel rear-facing with 720p HD video at 30 fps (which someone hacked to go up to 60 fps) and dual LED flash and a 1.3 megapixel front-facing one which takes video at 30 fps
  • Input: Multi-touch touchscreen display
    Dual microphone
    3-axis accelerometer
    Digital compass
    Proximity sensor
    Ambient light sensor
  • OS and apps: Android, about 80,000 apps at the time of this writing

Buy now from Best Buy

Buy the HTC Evo now from Best Buy!

In this one, it’s really a comparison between the number of apps in the store vs the camera. My vote goes to the camera because with more than 80k apps in either app store, I can just about guarantee that any app I want probably exists. So, hurrah for 8 megapixel cameras. That’s more than some slightly aged point and shoot digital cameras still on the market.

Results: HTC Evo wins

Final Results of this Review

In the end, the big kickers of practicality are the things which end up frustrating users the most. The largest glaring mistake HTC made in this phone was the lack of battery power. We might be able to blame the super-powerful Snapdragon processor for that, but regardless, when you can’t go a full day without a charge, it’ll start getting on anyone’s nerves.

The other features of the Evo far outshine the iPhone 4, so if you’ve got a plug at your cubicle or you can plug into your car regularly, the Evo would win. If you travel at all though, you might just stick with the iPhone and enjoy that super-high resolution screen.

For my money, because of my lifestyle, I’m going to stick to my iPhone 2G and save my money for the next gadget that has the best of both worlds in about 6 months.

What did you think of this iPhone 4 vs HTC Evo review? Love it? Hate it? Tell me in the comments, but be civil please. :)

Oh, and if you’d like to formally vote on which is better, you could win an iPhone 4. Enjoy.

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

27 Comments on "HTC Evo vs iPhone 4 Review"

  1. Matt Langdon says:

    Glad you posted this. I’m struggling with my iPhone 3G due to both poor coverage and a massive slowdown since the OS updated. I have a friend working at Verizon who would love to sell me a Droid, but I have been unimpressed.

    Who carries the Evo?

    I’m impressed that you’re still using an iPhone 2.

  2. nate says:

    Thanks man. Yea, the coverage and network isn’t something I put into the review because personally, my iPhone is jailbroken and I’m on T-Mobile. Plus, each network is better or worse depending on where you’re at in the country (or even the city).

    The Evo is Sprint’s phone.

    Good luck man. I hope a better phone comes along that you can use. I think one of the biggest downfalls of these smartphones is the battery and the antenna. Even though it’s old school, the older phones with the taller antennas generally get much better reception than smart phones. This info comes straight from a friend of mine who works at T-Mobile corporate and it generally just makes sense anyway.

  3. DowntownRob says:

    Dimensions-wise the iPhone 4 is smaller, thinner, and lighter. Yet the Evo wins? Hmm. Plus, the resolution on the iPhone 4 makes up for any size issue, it’s gorgeous.

    My biggest complaint about Android phones besides the above is the user interface and ease of use. Plus, the # of apps, nor quality of apps, are a huge difference. There are tons more apps in the Apple app store by big-name brands, and tons of apps that are of higher quality, than the Android app store.

    But, things are changing… check out the new Samsung Facinate or Epic, pretty cool phone. Still no iPhone 4, but getting closer. :)

    • nate says:

      @DowntownRob, the iPhone is barely smaller (yet the screen size is bigger on the Evo), barely thinner, and barely lighter. That’s pretty much a wash. So yea, the Evo wins for having a bigger screen and better camera. However, you’re right about the resolution (as noted). It is gorgeous.

      But yea, I think the only reason I didn’t declare an overall winner is because the Evo’s battery absolutely sucks. Not to say the iPhone doesn’t have a bunch of good things going for it. But in just a straight up total feature comparison other than the practical battery problem, sorry… the Evo takes it.

      I think the next gen phones will be pretty awesome. Everyone wants to one-up the iPhone, which makes for great competition and the consumers generally win when that happens. Yay for us!

  4. Angela says:

    I actually own an Evo and my husband as well and yes the battery life does suck but its something that can be worked around. We both love our phones. As far as the market goes we are getting more and more all the time the big name ones too as mentioned above. They have started releasing things for android that were only on apple. I personally have never owned anything i related nor do i care to. I dont want to have to buy the same product 4-10 times over for minor upgrades when they are behind on things android allows you to do. I have not alwaya been an android customer, before my evo I was a bb user

  5. Rick says:

    I personally own the EVO. I have never owned an iPhone, but I have used one a lot. As far as ease of use goes, I actually have to give the nod to the EVO. The Apple OS is definitely more slick, but I really don’t think it is easier to use. One of the most annoying things about iOS is that you can’t access any application’s settings within the app itself. You have to exit the app, and go to a separate settings application. To me, this makes the phone more difficult to use- not to mention, a lot slower.

    The battery life on the EVO is the biggest issue. However, I spend a lot of time in my car; so, my phone stays plugged in pretty regularly. This keeps the battery life from being a real issue for me. However, if you were able to use the iphone as a navigation system (for free), battery life would be an issue there as well! The EVO’s battery life really isn’t any worse than earlier generation iPhones, and people love their iPhones. I think it’s an ok trade-off, considering the amount of stuff your smartphone is capable of doing.

    In the end, I would choose the EVO 100 times over the iPhone. I like having the bigger screen. And, after seeing my friend’s iPhone 4, I don’t think the Retina display looks a whole lot better than the EVO’s. It’s definitely not worth sacrificing the screen real-estate. But, both devices are great phones, and they cater to two different groups of people. This is just my personal opinion.

  6. logan says:

    good review. love my new 4. feels sweeter. processor is faster and the facetime is crazy awesome. my partner lives out in LA so that is so nice. love my new unlocked cell phone. easy to manuever. texting and emailling isn’t so bad. and i havn’t had any reception problems. wish the white one would come out soon. anyways great phone recorder and camera are really crisp. got my iphone unlocking and htc unlock codes for free too! got my last couple 4’s at 2 thumbs way up

  7. Matt says:

    I used to be a Sprint customer, and I was happy with my it overall, the only problem was that I didn’t like my old phone. So I had a choice – to get and HTC Evo or to switch to AT&T and get an iPhone 4. I did not want to switch, because AT&T plans are horrible (the same family plan without unlimited data would cost me about $40/month more then same plan at Sprint), so I tried to convince myself to liking the Evo phone (my friend turned his iPhone 4 back in and HTC Evo from Sprint earlier because he couldn’t afford to pay for AT&T data, but as soon as he got it, he became very disappointed with the phone), so before making a final decision (and as I said I wanted to like Evo as I wanted to stay with Sprint), I was able to compare both phones.

    Well, it’s clear that Evo has a horrible and ugly interface, scrolling is sluggish (iPhone is way smoother even with more apps on background), freezes a lot (compared with the same number of apps on both phones running on background).

    Evo’s camera gives better resolution photos, but only in normal light conditions. Once it’s dark Evo’s photo and especially video quality is way worse then iPhone’s, plus Evo’s camera doesn’t auto refocus while you are shooting videos (iPhone does, you also can manually refocus it on iPhone during video shooting).

    We also tried to watch the same youtube HD video on both phones (Evo had 4g coverage in that spot, iPhone had a descent 3g coverage). For some mysterious reason, Evo froze 4 times while playing the video (on 4G), while iPhone played it smoothly.

    Conclusion: I was able to get a good AT&T discount through my wife’s job and ended up getting an iPhone, my friend turned his HTC Evo back to Sprint before his 30-day trial expired.
    As I said before I wasn’t biased before I looked and compared both phones myself, and as some might say that iPhone is only for housewives…. well, I am a software engineer myself, and I can say that whenever I need all that extra crap they put in Evo, I can use my laptop for it, and I need my phone to be reliable and comfortable to use (especially when I am driving), so iPhone 4 is a better fit for me.

  8. Chris says:

    Nice review, and pretty accurate from my experience. I’ve owned both the Iphone 4 and the Evo and while I think both are awesome phones in their own right, the Evo just does more, plain and simple.

    What the Iphone does better though, it really does better. That display, wow, theres nothing else like it out there, its stunningly crisp. It also feels almost imperceptively quicker than the Evo, I thought, not that the Evo feels slow in the least with the android 2.2 – its pretty much instantaneous in its response, but the Iphone was almost telepathic. Styling of course is subjective but I really liked the metal and glass sandwich of the Iphone, it just felt and looked more substantial than the comparatively plasticky appearance of the Evo.
    Battery life was somewhat better than the Evo, but, in my opinion, like so many other phones out there, still woefully inadequate. I had to get a Mophie Juice Pack for the Iphone to guarantee making it through the day without charging. It blows my mind that any company makes a phone these days that they know many people will use heavily all day for browsing, gps, and all kinds of other tasks and then puts in a battery thats hardly any bigger than a basic flip phone of a couple years ago.

    Which leads me to the Evo. I’ll get my only gripe out now. Everyone has heard how bad the battery but, sorry, it really is beyond attrocious, just awful. I just cut to the chase and bought a 3500mah extended battery about two days after getting the phone. Its simply a must have if you dont have the time and patience to be looking around for outlets by the end of a busy day.

    Having said all that, the Evo flat out rocks and is just a joy to use. The larger screen is wonderful to browse on, its as clear and vivid as you will ever need, extremely impressive. Reception and call clarity I thought were hands down better than the the Iphone. I love the free navigation with the satellite turn by turn views. The voice recognition for nav, web searching and texting, ( yes, speak your text message!), is simply incredible, unbelivably accurate. Ease of making folders and widgets on any screen, direct dial icons for frequently called numbers, making a song a ringtone with two clicks (something that was a major hassle on the Iphone). Simple things that Iphone overlooks, for instance a flashing light when you’ve missed a call of have a message. And how about being able to just take the back off and put in a new battery. instead of having to send the phone in!?! Expandable memory. The list goes on and on.

    The final straw that led me to the Evo and Sprint was ATT’s bogus limited data plans. They said 70% of their customers use less than their 250mb plan each month. I burned through about 150mb in about 4 days of moderate use. That and tacking on a data plan without our consent after we purchased an unlocked smartphone from a third party just tore it, but thats another story.

    So in the end it was a no brainer for me. I was really reluctant to give up my Iphone 4. I’d had a 2g before that also and was wondering if I was doing the right thing, but after having the Evo for a month theres been absolutely no remorse.

  9. daniel says:

    I am a big fan of both phones but Just felt the HTC is the winner by far the ability to hook up to my tv and the replaceable memory cards make a not stop storage multimedia phone that can make u really happy. Now the as far as the battery goes you have to understand that you can actually buy an upgraded battery and tons of extra battery and charging options but you can’t even touch the battery on the iPhone.Now its your turn weigh out your options I love something that I can upgrade alittle you always get what you get with Apple products.

  10. braun says:

    I own the htc incredible and love it. I have heard talk that the iphone 4 was going to come to verizon but who knows. The main thing that will proubly keep me with droid though is the sd card. Why apple dont have that on any of there devices that I dont understand.

  11. Albert says:

    The Evo has a better camera but try taking pictures in the dark I still prefer the Iphone way better pictures even in the dark!

  12. Johnny Herrera says:

    Thanks for being honest and comparing both heads up. I have always loved the iphone and my sister is an iphone fanatic for a long time now. I on the other hand have been a sprint customer for a long time and I’m sure if sprint would offer and iphone would have one. ATT plans are to expensive on the family plans and for the price of one att I have two sprint phones with unlimited data. I still have the hts hero but I just got my wife the evo and I see the big differense in the speed of the evo and its fast for my area. My friend with his iphone can play videos alot better on his iphone 4 and for some reason the screen size doesn’t really look smaller on the iphone. Thanks Johnny

  13. Jimmy Herrera says:

    I like the review. It is a lot more personable than counting star ratings on a website. Thank you for that.

    I just finished a 2 year contract with AT&T and I was ready to upgrade (with the carrier that would best fit my need) to a smartphone. I posted the question on Facebook to ask my friends and family who they thought would be my best choice. I was so bombarded by different opinions about carriers and smartphones that in 2 days of searching price plans and reading reviews, I have yet to decide what my best route is. Maybe you can help me Nate. Here is my situation in a nutshell:

    I currently pay for 3 non-smartphone lines with AT$T. With 1400 anytime minutes with rollover (which is the minimum required to be able to add an additional 10 out of network phone numbers) and unlimited texting on all lines (only AT$T offers that for $30) I pay right around $150 every month icluding all those additional charges. Even if I were to sign up with Boost Mobile’s everything included plan, I’d have to pay pretty close to full price for their smartphones (about $150 for each phone). There would go my savings. The other major carriers don’t seem to have the diversity of plans to be able to offer any savings either, plus most phones worth upgrading to require a 2 year commitment.

    Although I haven’t owned a smartphone, I don’t know if I would appreciate ATT’s exclusiveness of applications usage and Wi-Fi hotspots even if I did decide to pay full price in order to avoid a 2 year contract.

    My wife, son, and I have not really had the need to enter into the new technology mode, but I think that pretty soon, relying on non-smartphones is going to be obsolete. Right now continuing with AT&T contract-free and not spending money on new phones seems to be the correct choice. I should also mention that there is no 4G coverage in my area and AT$T reception has been the best around here. Maybe waiting until a 4G network with coverage everywhere along with nonexclusive awesome phones at a great price is the way to go. Your thoughts?

    • nate says:

      Hi Jimmy. Thanks for the kudos on the review. I appreciate that. Just about everything on this blog is something I take time and put effort into, so it’s nice that someone sees it for what it is.

      As for your question, I think you’re probably making the right choice in waiting it out. The phones will get better and better, and when you finally make the leap perhaps the network of your choice will provide a good 4G connection, which will make the speed something worth waiting for. The alternative is to get a smartphone but have a reduced performance because the network doesn’t support it. In that case, you might as well just have a regular phone since the internet speeds won’t be something you’ll enjoy.

      That all being said, I actually run my iPhone on EDGE via T-Mobile (I jailbroke my phone, which is why I can do that). I use the web all the time since my job (read: my business) depends on it, and I’m totally fine with it’s speed. And even though I’m a technologist, I have a pretty high tolerance for old technology as long as it works well for your use case. I don’t really get gadget envy too often. Since you sound similar to me in that regard, I’d recommend waiting. You’ll get more for your money later and you’ll hopefully have a network that supports the technology properly.

      I hope this helps Jimmy. Good luck in your choice.

  14. tom paul says:

    thanks for the review. The one thing that would make me venture out of Apple Land is the voice recognition for SMS. I drive all the time, and people insist on texting me while I drive. Is there any app for making this function easily on the Iphone 4?

  15. Rick says:

    @ Tom Paul- Vlingo is a great app for speech to text. It’s free for Android, and I believe it’s free for the iPhone as well. It works great.

  16. Anonymous says:

    glad yu posted this bcuz i was in my way too get nthr iphone 4 bcuz of the camera but now i want the evo n stay with sprint

  17. Peppers says:

    I totally agree. I have the evo™4g and I love it but had I known the battery life was this horrible I would have rethought it.

  18. Angela says:

    We have AT&T and the HTC is available now on their network. The battery for the new one does suck. I’m still on 3g iphone and am fine with it, even though it is running slower. I’m waiting to upgrade also and playing with his phone. I’m the techie in the house but not one to get the latest gadget either. My one question is how to play my itunes on the HTC eEVO and can u use ITunes? Thanks for your great review.

  19. Todd T says:

    Thanks for the review. Well-written and effectively presented. I hear there’s a special battery that addresses the battery-life problem of the evo, but that it makes the phone significantly bulkier.

  20. I have the htc. It works great. When I use my friends Iphones I just laugh.

  21. Eileen says:

    Hi, I have an EVO right now and am actually struggling with the decision to switch to the iPhone. Though I do love the EVO, you are 100% right when you say to be near a charger because I only have to text on my phone for 30 minutes and play a game for a minimal time period to be drained down to half a battery. I charge my phone on average 2 times a day, faithfully, and sometimes 3 depending on how my business is running that day and if I’ve had a fair amount of phone calls. Luckily for me, I stay at home so that is not a huge problem except when I am not in the room that it is charging in. Overall though, I am not happy with Sprint service and have found Verizon to be much better. Luckily Verizon now offers the iPhone which is why I am even considering the change. Overall, a GREAT review…one of the best I have seen. You went over everything clearly that a person would need to know, and it really does come down to preference. Carrier, camera, screen size and size of phone, applications, and mostly battery life. You’ve covered everything though, so thank you!!

  22. marissa says:

    I never understood whats so great about the iphone. Many of my friends have iphones and love them, but i think iphones more of a name brand than a quality phone. I have the htc evo and the battery life lasts me all day, and ive never had a glitch. I use my phone quite often, so its not like it just sits in my pocket all day and thats why the battery lasts me. Htc evo is a great phone, and from the looks of it, the iphone 4 is nothing special.

  23. glenn says:

    I use to have a big problem with my evo battery. Simply turn off gps, wi fi and 4G when your not using it and your phone will last all day. Untill I did this my phone was dying all the time now I have no complaints about the phone. I’ve never paid for an app or music from this phone everything is free you can’t get that with the I phone. Even the web browsing is insane ! The evo is by far the best phone out.

  24. ivan says:

    I got an Evo it’s very nice fast and does everything the Iphone plus PLUS more it’s rooted and the best thing I don’t have to deal with I tunes it got flash support and really never a problem with it on the battery side well we got to know it removible so I got an extra one in my pocket that I don’t use so often cuz been in my vehicle most of the time I’m getting juice for it 32 gbs and the best was the price very cheap and apps man i got what I need it will be sick to have 100 in your phone like you are going to use them android market got pleanty for everything you need if I need somethong from a friend like a video music or pictures just hook it to your computer and set… same if you want to give anything no I tunes crap nedded

  25. indigo says:

    Stellar review… You just sold me on the iPhone 4 ;-) man, that 8 megapixel on that dinosaur sized evo tempts any photographing junkie, but , battery life is important to an ever-going gal. Thanx for the words of wisdom

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