The HTC Evo launched Friday to great fanfare and record-breaking sales. The iPhone 4 was announced Monday and will be open to pre-order on June 15. It will probably also break sales records. Both the Evo and the new iPhone are at the center of a gigantic circus of hype and fluffy ads.
With this much chaff in the sky, it can be hard to tell which device actually deserves your $199 ($299 for the 32 GB iPhone 4). The Evo has 4G, a larger screen, full multi-tasking and a battery life that is proving to be legendarily bad. The new iPhone has a thinner profile, longer battery life, retinal display, and the same stupid artificial limitations that hobbled previous iPhones.
Both phones can handle face-to-face chat. The Evo uses Qik while the iPhone 4 uses FaceTime. Based on what we saw during the keynote, FaceTime will be somewhat easier to use, but much more limited. It only works over WiFi. By contrast, the Evo can video-chat over 3G or 4G. And it's only a matter of time before better video-chatting apps hit the Android Market.
It's hard to come to a display verdict here. The Evo has a much larger screen (4.2” versus 3.5”) but the iPhone has an ultra high-def retinal display. This is one of those things we're going to need to see in person a lot to make a verdict on. Jobs claimed it blew OLED out of the water. That is an extraordinary claim, and it'll need to be backed up by evidence more convincing than what we saw at WWDC.
The iPhone wins in style. While the Evo has a weight and size that I (with my giant ape hands) find satisfying, the iPhone 4 is just freaking gorgeous. It is slim and sexy and will turn heads whenever it comes out of your pocket.
The iPhone 4 also has the battery edge by a substantial margin. The Evo can't compete with...well, any other smartphone when it comes to longevity.
In terms of UI, both phones are very close. The Evo runs Android 2.1 with Sense UI right now, and will run 2.2 at some point in the near future. The iPhone 4 will sport iOS4 right out the door. When Froyo hits, the Evo will be pretty much even with the iPhone 4. Until then, Apple has the edge.
Connectivity is extremely important in a smartphone. For some people, it is the largest factor in their purchasing decision. The Evo wins here hands down. AT&T simply cannot compete with Sprint's 4G network in terms of quality...assuming you live in a 4G city.
That's really what it all comes down to. 4G isn't nearly as fast as the ads claim it is, but that doesn't stop it from being an absolute revelation. Pages load instantly, videos stream without stuttering or buffering and laptops connected through the hotspot feature can handle torrents or streaming HD video with little to no slowdown.
If you live in a 4G city and don't mind being a little careful with your battery (or getting an external charge pack) the Evo is a clear winner in my eyes. If you aren't in 4G range, or you want a phone you can take on a 12 hour shift without needing to charge it, the iPhone 4 is your gal.