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Do you think Chris Pirillo's opinion of Sprint's new Android phone, the HTC Evo, is too harsh, or do you agree with his appraisal?

asked Jun 20 '10 at 09:05

jhagedon's gravatar image


edited Jun 20 '10 at 09:11

I have the Evo and am mostly very satisfied with it, though it is not without flaws. I do think Chris's review was a bit harsh, but not because I think his criticisms were wrong. I just think he was creating mountains out of molehills.

The unlock screen: sure, it would be good to explain what to do right away. It's really not a big deal though. The shape of the lock screen already indicates what should be done, if you touch it incorrectly it eventually does tell you what to do, and once you've figured it out once you never have to figure it out again. It's an extremely minor issue that should be fixed, but does not warrant the outraged response Chris gave to it.

As for battery life, I agree that the Evo doesn't have very good battery life but it can certainly get through a work day with moderate use. Mine lasts 8-10 hours on one charge with moderate use. I leave BlueTooth, WiFi, and 4G off when I'm not using them, but leave GPS on. I've also modified the settings for my various account syncs so that they happen less frequently.

Both of Chris's assessments of the battery life were flawed. The first time he posted about it, you could see that he left Sprint Navigation running in the background the whole time. Navigation drains battery fairly quickly because it is constantly using the GPS. There's really no excuse for him having left it open, since the icon was impossible to miss on the top of the screen. All he had to do was re-enter Sprint Navigation, hit the menu button, and exit. The second time he posted about battery life, you could see in the video that he left BlueTooth, 4G, and WiFi on the whole time. Again, these are obvious drains on the battery, and we know there was no reason for them to be on since he was complaining about idle battery use. Even on my old Palm Centro, I turned off BlueTooth unless I was using it because I didn't want to drain the battery unnecessarily.

MobileCrunch compared the Evo to a Ferrari in their review which Chris linked to on Twitter. It's an appropriate comparison, seeing as how Ferrari cars only get about 10-15 mpg. I knew before the phone even came out that I should expect to plug it in as often as possible in exchange for all the power that it's packing. Any tech geek who doesn't expect that simply from the device specs alone isn't paying attention. That said, since the device is a Ferrari, it is a mistake to market it to the average consumer who may be less willing to trade battery life for power. In that sense, the Evo is definitely not an iPhone killer. That doesn't mean that it's a bad device.

Like I said, though, the Evo is not without its flaws. Primarily, the WiFi radio is not very good at all. I am confident that this will be fixed over time, but I don't know if it is a hardware or software issue. If it is a hardware issue, early adopters like me may be left with faulty devices. It is my single biggest complaint about the phone, because I get a poor connection in places where my laptop connection is excellent.

The device is currently limited to 30fps, but there have been a number of complaints on this issue so I think it will be fixed eventually through a software update. The iPhone camera is also definitely better than the Evo's, but I think the Evo's is perfectly acceptable.

I just don't count the battery among those flaws, because it should be obvious based on the Evo's specs that it will have poor battery life. Even when I was using a Palm Centro, I made a point to leave it plugged in overnight, when I was in my car, and occasionally at other times throughout the day. The Evo is way more powerful, and so I do the same: it stays plugged in while I sleep, when I drive, and when I'm at the computer (through USB).

The Evo is a Ferrari, and it has the terrible gas mileage to go with that fact, but I'm happy to be driving a Ferrari instead of a more reasonable sedan like the iPhone. In exchange, I get a huge screen, a nice kickstand for viewing media, and the generally excellent Android operating system to top it all off. Using Android, I get push notifications for GMail, an incredibly customizable homescreen through the use of widgets (something I couldn't imagine going without now that I've used them), great integration with most other Google services, and a more open and free Marketplace*.

iPhone certainly has its place though, and the iPhone 4 looks like a great device. It's certainly the device I would recommend to my mom if she asked me what phone to get today to replace her flip phone. That's the beauty of market competition: you get a variety of different options that appeal to different types of people. For me, the Evo is preferred over the iPhone hands-down, but for others that won't be the case.

The thing is, it's important to remember that just because a device is not the right choice for you that doesn't mean it's a bad device. That's where Chris goes wrong and what is so upsetting about his review. He acts as though the fact he doesn't like how the Evo unlocks or that it gives more options than he thinks is necessary means that the Evo is a poorly made device or that Android is an inferior OS. It just means that the Evo isn't the device for him. If he had made his video without sounding and looking like he was coming completely unhinged (seriously, his hands were shaking he was getting so upset), then I think people would have been a lot more responsive and respectful toward him.

*I realize the Android Marketplace is also not without flaws, but I prefer Android Marketplace's flaws over the iPhone App Store's flaws. It's simply a matter of personal preference.

answered Jun 22 '10 at 03:52

secretmethod70's gravatar image


I'll bet that Sprint now wishes that they could take the Evo back and pretend they never sent it to him! I have the Evo, and agree wholeheartedly with Chris's opinion. I'm glad it's been less than 30 days so I can return the darn thing. Just counting the hours for my new iPhone 4 to arrive!

answered Jun 20 '10 at 09:15

jhagedon's gravatar image


The only thing I'll say, is that I wish he could have reviewed a real Android device, like the Nexus One. Pretty much everything he criticized in the video was either due to Sprint's lousy software or HTC's Sense UI.

However, I'll agree and say that the Android UI could definitely be smoother and slicker (but the stock UI, Sense is ugly anyway).

answered Jun 20 '10 at 13:38

eddieringle's gravatar image


No, I don't think it was too harsh. After having to watch the video and help gather comments from YouTube to prepare the blog post, I have a very good idea of what he was trying to accomplish with this video/post.

  1. You shouldn't have to turn off features and functionality to get the battery to work at its full potential.

  2. It should be simple for EVERY user to understand when it comes to basic things. Why the hell should someone have to read an entire users' manual in order to figure out the swipe thing? Just because things like that are easy for many of us... does NOT make it so for millions of others.

One commenter on YT actually summed it up best when they said:

"Best video I've seen about the EVO 4G. I like how you consider what the average consumer will think and aren't afraid to criticize."

That's the key, folks. Chris ALWAYS approaches a review from the mindset of the average user, unless the device in question is only made for experts. Most consumers fall into the "average" device/computer user area. They understand the basics of their devices, gadgets and gizmos. However, they don't necessarily understand all of the hard-core functionality. This is where Chris is saying that HTC went a little too far.

I've never used either device. I've read literally hundreds of reviews on both as part of my job. I have to say I agree with Chris. HTC missed the mark. That phone is not "perfect." It's a first iteration. We'll see what happens in future ones.

answered Jun 22 '10 at 04:02

Kat's gravatar image

Kat ♦♦

I looked for a way to PM you but couldn't find it, so I apologize in advance for posting this here, off-topic.

I notice that our discussion has been removed. I thought it was interesting, and I don't think I was disrespectful in any way. I'm just curious why it was deleted.

(Jun 22 '10 at 16:51) secretmethod70 secretmethod70's gravatar image

one thing that i got from the video on you tube is that it is probably has more potential then the iphone and i feel it will be a good platform. it has a lot of work. and i feel that is what Chris wanted to get across

answered Jun 20 '10 at 09:22

trueb's gravatar image


I believe Chris makes intelligent and objective comments. It's one of the reasons I value his advice and watch his videos. I need him to be harsh when it comes to tech because most devices aren't exactly cheap. I depend on him (as well as others) to make decisions on technology that is relevant to me in order to help me make informed thoughts and opinions as well.

answered Jun 20 '10 at 14:35

mosesd's gravatar image


No. i always go by Chris's opinion. I really do. I love the honesty. You can trust him. I hope. --- Until some day the Ad men (Mad Men) will get to him and money will cloud his opinion. I hope that never happens.

answered Jun 20 '10 at 09:10

conoraleckelly's gravatar image


It matches the reviews of many others. One such notable reviewer, one that many product makers consider the make it or break it critic ( the one that that matters the most as to whether a device sells or not ), is Walt Mossberg. The worst part of the Evo from reviewers' persecutives was battery life, it's so horrible that Sprint had planned on telling customers to only use the 4G network when they absolutely have to... so not only is 4G hard to find, they don't even want you to use it very much at all due to it's power consumption. This completely removes the primary point of this device, to be 4G.

Along with this, many customers are now complaining of touch screen responsiveness issues, in which the device needs to be grounded by being held within a hand to work properly, which means if it's not held such as if it's in a car holder / adapter, the half top of the touch screen wont function / respond at all.

answered Jun 20 '10 at 09:14

Granit's gravatar image


edited Jun 20 '10 at 09:18

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Asked: Jun 20 '10 at 09:05

Seen: 1,112 times

Last updated: Jun 22 '10 at 16:51