I’ve been playing with the EVO Design 4G for the better part of a month now, after showing off the hardware and software quickly in October. Today, we’re back with our full review of the device to answer a few questions. Is this the premier mid-range Android device on Sprint? Does it live up to its EVO name? Is this the world phone you’re looking for? But first, let’s go over some specs.

The Design 4G is packing Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)  HTC Sense, a 1.2 GHz processor, 4-inch qHD display, 5-megapixel rear-camera, 1.3-megapixel front-camera, Wi-Fi, and World Phone capabilities. So how does this hardware hold up with the software? Head on after the break for our full review.

Hardware: 

The Design 4G is packing a relatively nice set of hardware under its belt. Having a 1.2 GHz processor the device is snappy, not seeing many hang ups at all. The processor is able to run apps very smoothly — making for a great overall experience when it comes to speed, so it’s definitely not lacking there.

Another place the Design 4G isn’t falling behind is the screen. While its not up to Retina display or AMOLED standards, the Design 4G’s screen displays nice, crisp, colors. And the screen is also bright and vivid. Battery life on the device lasted my close to a day, and the battery charged relatively quickly.

In the hands, the Design 4G has a nice comfortable fit. The 4-inch screen isn’t big in the hands by any means. The capacitive buttons — home, menu, back, and search — are accurate to the touch and in a good position. A power on/down button is on the top along with a volume rocker on the side. The device is charged with a mini-USB cable on the left side, leaving for an overall great layout.

A place where the Design 4G is lacking is the camera. The 5-megapixel rear camera seems to have some serious issues when it comes to blurriness and crispness. After shooting a video, I’m left with a feeling of dissatisfaction — especially in low light settings. The camera comes nowhere close in comparison to the Galaxy S II or PHOTON 4G’s 8-megapixel camera. If you’re big on taking pictures this is a sure downfall.

Call quality on the Design 4G in some cases was lacking. At times I was left hearing fuzziness or echo from the other caller, after testing it several times. Sadly, I wasn’t able to test the world phone capability of this device. The SIM card is located at the bottom of the device and is somewhat of a pain to get out. Once you get the SIM card is removed, it’s a matter of putting another one in to get the world phone kicking. I was also unable to test 4G speeds and call quality, seeing as those depend on the area.

Software:

The EVO Design 4G is running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) with a HTC Sense 3.5 overlay. In this device’s case, unlike others, Sense seems to be overlaid nicely not causing any discomfort during my period of testing. It seems to be implemented fairly well, but you could always use a home switcher or Launcher Pro if Sense isn’t your thing (it usually isn’t mine either).

When it comes to Gingerbread, there’s really nothing special here. Like almost every Android device out there you’re presented with Google’s widerange of pre-loaded apps and Market that has over 360,000 apps.  Gingerbread on this device definitely runs smoothly with minimal hang ups.

It is unclear when (or if) this device will be receiving the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich. This could be a drawback for many user. At the time of this review it is unclear if Sprint and HTC will leave the Design 4G in the dust.

Wrap-up: 

HTC used a fairly good set of hardware on the Design 4G. While its not cutting edge like some other offerings, it certainly gets the job done. I was never left feeling hung-up, and web browsing and app usage felt great.  The camera is a downfall however.

Coupled with its world phone capabilities, the Design 4G seems like a great buy at $99 — but is it? For someone who looks to travel the world often or is on a budget this definitely seems like the choice for you. But for the average user who stays put in the states most of the time and has some money to spend, look farther to Sprint for some other offerings like the Galaxy S II or Photon 4G.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Form factor
  • World phone capabilities
  • Sleekness
Cons:
  • A bit Dated hardware
  • Camera
  • Call quality

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