The Evo Shift has a lot to offer but there are some significant learning curve issues to resolve to make it work for you. Below you will find photos of the form factor of the phone as well as photos and video taken with the phone. Can you believe you can actually capture HD video with a device this small that does so much? Amazing. The first thing you need to know when you get into an Andriod phone is you have to open a Gmail account to use it. Normally this would be cool with me because I am an avid Gmail user and love lots of the products that Google offers.
The problem is that the phone automatically downloads the Google calendar and Google contacts. This is a great thing if you have been using Google calendar and Google contacts correctly but I have been using Microsoft Outlook and Plaxo for years in order to sync my calendar and contacts. So when I got the phone and started using it I had outdated numbers and things were disconcerting to try and use the phone right out of the box. For some however it may be the easiest transition you have ever made into a new smart phone.
The next big hurdle for me was trying to sync my phone and get the correct data into my phone. This became quite a bit of a hurdle. Finally I was able to sync Google Calendar with Plaxo but I am still in limbo with my contacts. There is a built in sync program on the HTC memory card but I have yet to make the phone and my PC communicate as it should so I'll have to let you know when and how I get that resolved.
There are a lot of things this smart phone got right finally.
- The slide out keyboard is very nice. It is backlit and the keys are better than anything I have ever used in a smart phone. It also has a nice navigation tool built in and the sliding mechanism seems very solid.
- The operating system seems very intuitive and is easy to figure out right off the bat.
- I love that they figure out your location and include the weather as part of your start up screen.
- The Voice Search feature is astounding. You can say something like Map of Lake Geneva, or Call Matt Mason Photography. Then the phone figures it out and does it! I am very impressed with this. Smart phones have been trying to do this for years but the learning curve is steep and the margin for error made it seem like a impractical toy.
- Voicemail has a very practical tool. Visual voicemail allows you to see the message on your screen and you can back it up or move it forward using a timeline and toggle feature. So many people say their phone numbers fast and don't repeat it so I used to find myself hitting the Five Key on my old cell phone 3 or 4 times trying to hear the phone number while I wrote it down. This will save a lot of time.
- I know that the Iphone had this feature but I am glad it is in the Android too! When you make a call or answer a call as you bring the phone up to your ear the display turns off. This is useful because it preserves battery life but also ensures your earlobe doesn't hang up the phone on an important client. Also helpful is that the phone magically realizes when you pull the phone away from your ear so you can ready the display such as your calendar.
- Any function you tap on the virtual buttons makes a small vibration to give you feedback that you have made connection. That seems helpful to me as I navigate around the screen.
- This camcorder video is amazing in a package this small.
- Size. I like that this phone is smaller than the its big brother EVO. But if you gave me the choice of a free 15 inch Macbook pro or a 13 inch I would take the 13 every time. Smaller is better to me.
- Scrolling and gestures are much like the Ipod/Ipad/Iphone and I appreciate that. Glad to have the same feel I have become used to with Apple products.
- Apps are useful, easy to download and install and there are hundreds that I might be interested in. I am however resisting games for now. Maybe later. Here are some apps I downloaded right away
- USA Today
- ESV Bible
- You Version (put out by Lifechurch.tv)
- Pandora (Have to try this soon!)
- Advanced Task Killer (This is an absolute MUST download app) Do it now.
- There is a built in Flashlight that uses your camera flash as a flashlight when you are fiddling around in the dark. So cool! The more I learn about this phone the more I feel like I got the coolest Swiss Army Knife ever! It has every gadget you can imagine.
- FM Radio that uses your headset as the antennae. It really works!
Here are some concerns and issues I have with the Evo Shift smartphone.
- As nice as the form factor is I have found that many times I accidentally hit the virtual home button and go back to the main screen. This is annoying and if you have big hands may be an issue for you too.
- Battery life. You would think that by now they could come up with a phone that can do everything and not run out of battery by 4pm. But there are some fixes to help preserve battery life. A must have is: Advanced Task Killer.
- 5MP camera. Not sure why they downgraded from 8mp from the full EVO. But seriously I am a pro photographer and I don't need my phone to replace my Canon 5d MII.
Overall I am pleased with this phone but I wish the learning curve in some areas was faster. Take a look at some of the photos I took of the phone and with the phone as well as some videos shot with the Evo Shift 4G.
My wife's first reaction to the phone? This is beautiful! And she is right. It is a very nice looking.
As a wedding photographer one of the things I want to see is how my images appear on the screen. I am very impressed with the screen resolution and the Iphone like gestures with the pinch-in and pinch-out to see more detail.
The photos the camera takes are satisfactory. Not incredible but my expectations for a camera phone are low no matter what. I shoot with a pro camera and when it has to count I don't rely on a 5 Megapixel camera. However, I do think the flash really helps with indoor photos.
I cropped this photo tight to show some of the disappointments you might experience if you crop the photos much.
I look forward to using the camera phone in situations where I didn't think to bring my main camera. I can think of situations on the golf course etc!
I do like the saturation of colors the camera performs.
It seems to me that people commonly take photos of themselves especially with a loved one. So I tried taking this photo "driving down the road" ... (not legal in Wisconsin I bet) but the button is on the opposite side of the screen. Kind of awkward. Would be nice to have a button on the backside maybe.
Beautiful sunrise. I had to take this photo because #1 I dont' see many sunrises and #2 I had the phone for less than 24 hours and wanted to see how it performed. Again not excellent but adequate for what it is.
I wanted to check out the video and had planned to capture some footage of the ice boats on Lake Delavan.
I love my nephew Owen and he is such a good sport to put up with me testing my video and photography equipment and the like. In this video you can tell the microphone is a bit muffled. Maybe my finger was in the wrong place. But I think the video is crisp for such a small package. Impressive even.
Matt Mason is a wedding photographer in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. His creative approach to shooting photography makes him one of the most sought after photographers in Southeast Wisconsin and Walworth County.