First Look: HTC EVO Shift 4G

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Evolution seems to be a bit less violent this time around. The just-announced HTC EVO Shift 4G attempts to build on the brand started with the much-hyped EVO 4G superphone that launched back in 2010′s summer. Instead of forging a new path with a fresh form factor and top-tier specs, the HTC EVO Shift 4G does things a bit more low-key.

That’s not saying the Shift 4G isn’t a quality kit. It is. Inside the somewhat thick body is the same speedy 800MHz Qualcomm MSM7630 CPU found in the fast G2 and myTouch 4G. Up front is a 3.6-inch 800 x 480 LCD which makes the HTC Sense skin running on top of Android 2.2 look bright and crisp. Of course the Shift 4G rocks WiMAX 4G for Sprint’s network along with EVDO Rev A.

As with many mobile phones, proper reviews cannot be written overnight and seeing how we just got home from a long week at CES, what follows is more of a first-impressions. We need to see if this EVO packs a better battery life than the first model and that’s something that’s best tested with real life experiences and long-term benchmarks.

Hardware:

  • It’s thick and hefty but slightly less than Verizon’s Droid 2
  • The bezel isn’t black. It’s like a dark royal blue but only noticeable when placed against a black backdrop
  • The backplate uses the same chintzy tabs found on the original EVO. I already broke one of the tabs.
  • The keyboard has great tactile feedback and key placement

Software

  • Uses HTC Sense — a drawback in my opinion but some people like it
  • Runs quick and smooth without any noticeable lag or hesitation
  • Loaded with Sprint’s trademark bloatware and Amazon’s Kindle app
  • Start up: 43 seconds
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