Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Moving from the HTC Touch Pro to the Evo 4G

Five days ago I read up on the Evo. I read as many reviews by tech blogs (Engadget, Gizmodo, Wired et al) as I could. They mentioned a lot of things, like the screen size, the speed, the Android OS, camera, and all the fancy stuff. One other thing they always mentioned is the battery, particularly how bad it is. Many blogs reported as low as 8 hours of battery life; sometimes as low as 6 hours. (The linked article, from Fortune at CNNMoney.com, reports 4 hours; I have no idea what he's doing to the poor phone to kill it that quickly.)

Those reviews made me seriously reconsider purchasing an Evo.

I got over it. I took a risk. On Friday, I bought an Evo. I've played with it a lot the last four days.

Here's my thoughts.

I'd go into detail about the camera, the screen, and any number of other features, but they've been reviewed ad nauseam by every other tech blog. (If you want to read very good reviews about them, check CNET, Engadget, Wired, and Gizmodo.)

I'll cut to the major thing I wondered about: the battery. When I first bought my HTC Touch Pro a year and a half ago, the battery only lasted about 8 hours, just like the reviewers of the HTC Evo reported. However, what I found was that in order to get a full charge out of the battery, you need to run it down completely, turn off the phone, do a hard reset, and then charge it--still powered off--for at least 8 hours. From then on, the battery on my HTC Touch Pro lasted 36-48 hours on standard use.

I figured the Evo would have the same issue. I also guessed this was the cause of the poor reviews. So when I got my Evo, I played with it till the battery died--it lasted about 4 hours--and then powered it off and let it charge overnight. The first day I had it after the full, overnight charge, I customized the screen, downloaded at least 20 apps, configured all websites/bookmarks, and sent over 100 texts across 18 hours before the phone finally said "15% battery life remaining, please charge battery".

The second day, without all the configuration taking up battery life, I got 36 hours out of the battery before charging, and even then, it wasn't even to 20% yet.

Whoever reviewed this phone and said it gets "about 8 hours of battery life on standard use" clearly did not know how to utilize the battery life. The main trick to getting good battery life is to use WiFi whenever possible over 3G, only enable GPS when you're actively using it, and adjust the screen to the minimal necessary brightness.

So, the battery on the HTC Evo 4G, if you know what you're doing, will last for about 36 hours. More if you actually run it down all the way. Less if you use all the features gratuitously and unnecessarily, but that's true for anything. You won't get 12 hours of movie watching off of it, but if you're in a situation where you need several hours of entertainment and are not within any possible outlets for charging, might I recommend an alternative form?

Be smart about the battery and it'll last.

If you're interested in an Evo, or thinking about getting one, I highly recommend it. To date I have not found a thing on the phone I don't love.

A few recommended apps if you do pick one up:
  1. Brightness Setting: an app that lets you adjust the screen size easily when set as a widget; fantastic for managing the battery life.
  2. ChompSMS: great SMS messaging program, gives nice speech bubble format.
  3. doubleTwist: syncs your iTunes playlists to Android, which is crucial if you're used to using an ipod. It's slow--it takes over 24 hours for mine to be ready to sync due to the volume of music on my system--but it works, and that's well worth waiting.
  4. LED Desire: turns the LED "flash" from the camera into a usable LED flashlight. Also can be used in conjunction with other apps--very useful when lighting is bad and you want to use the barcode scanner.
  5. ColorNote: colored post-it and checklists. Just handy.
  6. gWakeUp: so far the best app for alarm clocks I've found. I wanted to find something equivalent to gAlarm for WinMo, and this does a decent job.
I hope this has been helpful and informative. If you have questions, just ask in the comments and I'll respond as best I can.

EDIT: Now that I have all of my apps configured, on my current battery charge--which was charged from the provided USB cable that I connected to my PC while syncing music yesterday--it's lasted for 28 hours and is at 40-50%.

EDIT 2: Another thing I thought of; if you do purchase one, don't pay the $30 for the "screen protector" Sprint sells. It's rather pathetic. Buy one of the $10 ones from Skinomi or ZAGG InvisibleShield. Much more effective.


Orga said...

Oh yeah, I definitely have to comment on here. I've used the Droid for a while (stolen Saturday T_T). Humor me while I post some additional random musings.

-First off, good on the battery thing. How weird is it that HTC consistently does that? I've never heard of another brand where something like that works.

-How are you liking the Sense UI? I rocked the vanilla Android experience, and the improvements that are coming with 2.2 make me think I need something like that less and less. The only thing I really wish I had was HTC's widgets, but Beautiful Widgets and Open Home should give you just about everything your heart desires. If you don't feel like paying money, there are plenty of quality widgets and ADW.Launcher or Helix Launcher are also fine app drawer replacements.

-Brief Google perusal indicates that chompSMS couldn't receive MMS; I'm assuming that's no longer the case. If it is, may I recommend Handcent SMS? Hugely customizable, up to and including pop-ups for your texts (if you're in to that kind of thing) and a separate lock screen for accessing your text messages (if you don't want people all up in your business).

-The default Android Power widget has settings for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, data, GPS and screen brightness (toggles between 0%, 50% and 100%). Just throwing that out there.

-If you want something for notes, you need to be using Evernote. You just do.

There were other things that I had installed, but I can't remember them all. The above are some good alternatives for people not rocking the Sense.

Tim said...

-I really don't know what's up with HTC and the need to reset/initially charge the battery a specific way, but at least we've figured it out.

-So far Sense UI is great. The Touch Pro also had a form of the Sense UI over WinMo, so there's some familiarity with it. I really like it, but I've never experienced straight up Android, so I can't say if it's better or not.

-I have received and sent picture messages on chompSMS. I think you can set it to also send video, but haven't tried that yet. ChompSMS also has the custom lock screen option; sounds like they probably took a lot of ideas from HandcentSMS or other programs and integrated the features.

-I use the default Android widgets for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and 3G/4G; the brightness is the only one I got a custom widget for since it allows 0-100% at 20% intervals, which is nice. There's an auto-brightness feature in Android, but it only seems to use like 50% and 100%; at night it was still very bright. With the custom widget I can all but turn the brightness off, making it very pleasant to use in darkness.

-I tried Evernote on WinMo and couldn't get into it. Maybe I'll give it another chance.

I have to say, I can't even tell what's Sense UI and what isn't. It's integrated seamlessly.

And in regards to Chris' comment about walking on the highway--we DID get to an IHOP, did we not?? =P

Jan said...

Mugen power batteries just update the 1800mAh extended battery for HTC EVO,
Hope can prove more battery life for my Evo