Impressive display, great looking phone, no 4G LTE network to support it

When it launches in the near future — the phone was supposed to be released on May 18th but a delay caused by a patent spat between HTC and Apple has left things up in the air — the HTC EVO 4G LTE will easily be one of the most impressive flagship smartphones Sprint has ever released. And one of the ugliest. And one of the slowest.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I truly have no idea who might look at the back of the HTC EVO 4G LTE and think to him or herself, “now this is one gorgeous smartphone.” In my unscientific study, I did not find a single person who liked the look of this phone. Instead, each and every person I handed the device to said it was “ugly,” “gross,” “nasty,” or “hideous” without any provocation.

Aesthetics are open to discussion but performance is not. This smartphone, which includes the term “4G LTE” in its name, is the slowest flagship device I have tested in recent memory. Compared to Verizon Wireless and AT&T’s LTE networks or even T-Mobile and AT&T’s HSPA networks, the data speeds I experienced while testing the EVO 4G LTE were simply pathetic.

Of course this phone is slow, you might say to yourself. Sprint hasn’t yet begun to roll out its next-generation 4G LTE network!

This is indeed the case, and while Sprint is under immense pressure to catch up in terms of network technology, launching the EVO 4G LTE without any 4G LTE network to support it — and having the audacity to include “4G LTE” in the device’s name — is putting the cart before the horse at best. At worst, it’s disingenuous.

The simple truth is that most customers who consider purchasing the “EVO 4G LTE” will do so with the belief that the phone will come alongside “4G LTE” service. For early adopters, this will not be the case. In fact, even months from now as 2012 rolls into 2013, a huge chunk of Sprint’s nationwide network will still not support LTE service.

At $199.99 on contract, the EVO 4G LTE offers a user experience that is second to none… as long as you cover it with a third-party case and stay within range of a Wi-Fi network. If you would prefer to roam about freely and maintain fast data speeds, or if you shudder at the thought of ruining the handset’s 8.9-millimeter thick profile with a bulky case, looking elsewhere might be the best option.

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