So let’s say you’re on Sprint’s network. Even if you’re not a techie, you probably know that 4G is all the rage right now…and thankfully, Sprint’s got a few choices for you in that department. But what if you like the design and the “Sense” Android skin of the Evo 4G, but also love the slide out keyboard of the Epic 4G–and you want it at a cheaper price? Buddy, have we got a phone for you…

DESIGN

The Evo Shift is beautiful. It has a 3.6 inch screen, which, in my opinion, is the perfect size for a smartphone. The edges are almost blue, which makes it look very sleek and original compared to most of its Sprint relatives. The top has an easy-to-access-in-your-pocket lock button and headphone jack, while the left side has the micro usb port and the volume rocker, which is sort of awkwardly placed (when sliding the keyboard up, you’ll almost always hit the volume button). You’ll just need to slide it up in the right place. The back has a great rubbery texture that not only looks and feels great, but also helps you grip it better when texting (although this does make it harder to take out of your pocket). Speaking of texting, this phone has an amazing slide out full QWERTY keyboard with a d-pad that feels great in your hands. The only thing I dont like is that it isn’t spring loaded–but that’s less a knock on the phone, and more of a personal preference.

OS

Now, I could go off on a whole other rant where I discuss the issues and benefits of having an Android phone, but that could get very dull; and frankly, my editor wouldn’t let me. But I will say this: As frustrating as it can be to have an operating system that allows device manufacturers to lay custom skins on top of the OS, HTC’s “Sense” is the best of the best. Not only are HTC’s widgets by far the coolest in the industry, the Sense UI is ridiculously easy to navigate–something we can’t say about every custom skin out there. Ok…enough of the tech talk; bottom line?  Android 2.2 Froyo runs great on this device. Obviously, if you have a problem with Android OS to begin with, this isn’t going to be the phone for you; but for the many of you who love Android or were simply on the fence about giving an Android device a try, I encourage you to try out this phone.

CAMERA

This might be the one place where the Evo Shift could be improved…and it’s got nothing to do with the quality of the photos or video. Now you probably think I’m going to say it lacks because it only has a 5 megapixel sensor; but I think people have been focusing too much on the number of megapixels a phone has. There is a lot of scientific and technical wizardry that goes into making a good camera (that has nothing to do with megapixels) that I couldn’t explain, even if I had the slightest clue as to how it worked–and this phone is living proof of that. The shift takes beautiful stills and amazing 720p hd video. My only problem with the Evo Shift’s imaging? The lack of a front facing camera. One of the best things about 4G is the ability to make high quality video calls anywhere you go. If it weren’t for that (and the lack of a kickstand), this phone would be an exact mini-me of the excellent HTC Evo 4G.

SPEED

Another great thing about the Evo Shift 4G is the network that comes along with it. Now I haven’t tested many 4G phones, but from what I can tell they are fast; maybe not as fast as any of the advertisements will have you believe, and still not quite as fast as a good WiFi connection, but definitely a good step up from 3G. Another thing that’s great about a 4G Android phone is its ability to be a WiFi hotspot. I’ve tested out multiple devices at once on this hotspot and I must say the speeds are amazing–especially impressive when you consider that you’re sharing the bandwidth among multiple devices. Now lets talk about the phone itself. This phone is running an 800MHz Qualcomm processor with 512 MB of internal ram, which on paper sounds great–especially when you consider that the Shift sports a smaller size screen; but some of the time I found the phone to be slightly unresponsive. Obviously there are many things that factor into a device’s speed; but for everyday surfing, streaming, and moderate gameplay, rest assured, the Evo Shift will meet your needs.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Now the real question is: Is this phone worth your hard earned cash? And the answer is, for 150 bucks, absolutely. The Evo Shift 4G is a great phone, and I’d gladly give up a front facing camera for a price tag that’s $50 less than the Evo 4G. And whether you’re texting on the full keyboard, playing angry birds, or sharing the Internet with all of your friends, this phone will not only let you get the job done, it’ll let you get it done in style.

 

 

 

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