Sprint continuously brags about its flagship 4G Android phone the HTC Evo. It is a great piece of hardware, but it is also a relatively large device with a premium price tag. Enter the HTC Evo Shift, currently Sprint's least expensive Android 4G phone. The Shift runs Android 2.2, includes a slide-out keyboard and is noticeably smaller than the EVO and Sprint's other slide-out 3G/4G phone, the Samsung Epic (see specs below). The Shift is also priced at $150 (with a two-year contract and mail-in rebate) compared to $199 for the HTC Evo and the Samsung Epic. It is a responsive, well performing smartphone that we liked in many ways. But, in exchange for the slide-out keyboard and lower price, it doesn't include all of the features of some other high-end smartphones. For instance, it lacks a front-facing camera and doesn't include HDMI output.
4G, where available, is of course all about speed. By the end of 2010, Sprint had rolled out its 4G WiMax network to 70 cities across the U.S. The service provider claims that 4G offers peak download speeds of more than 10Mbps and peak upload speeds of 1Mbps. Since you probably won't get "peak" performance all of the time, Sprint says average download speeds range from 3 to 6 Mbps. When a 4G network is not available, the EVO Shift automatically connects to Sprint's 3G network which offers average download speeds of 600kbps – 1.4Mbps. If Wi-Fi is available, the Shift will choose to connect to that as its preferred network.
Sprint offers various plans for its 4G phones. The least expensive is $79.99 per month, which you'll notice is higher than the company's standard $69.99/month "Everything Data Plan." That's because the company charges an extra $10/month for any 4G phones on any plan. Another hidden service cost is that Sprint charges $29 per month to use the device as a hotspot. You can, however, also pay for a $10 one-day hotspot pass. The Evo Shift can become a hotspot for up to eight other devices.
HTC Evo Shift 4G
Specifications & Features
When you add it up, including taxes and fees, you'll likely spend about $90 or more per month for any 4G smartphone on Sprint including the new EVO Shift 4G. If that's the case, should you opt for the new EVO Shift over the acclaimed EVO? Read on as we answer this question and many more in our hands-on review.