I have officially embraced the Android ecosystem and, at the same time, kissed the Palm Pre bye, bye. I live in the Richmond, Virginia area and am one of the 1.2 million people who lost power. To conserve my Pre's battery life, I shut it off, FULLY CHARGED. I turned it on a total of three times. Well, turning the damn thing on must use a ton of battery life because turning it on, checking a few things and shutting it down FULLY DRAINED it. That, coupled with poor reception, a flimsy build and its abandonment convinced me that enough was enough. A trip to Best Buy netted me an HTC Evo 4G from Sprint.
The build quality is excellent. The phone has a nice feel and the build is solid. A slider, the phone features a nice physical keyboard and a really nice screen. I have to say, the keyboard on my Pre was more responsive than on the HTC, but I don't feel like I am fat fingering it all of the time either. The on screen keyboard is better than that on the iPad in that when I tap a key, it, you know, actually works. (I, L and M seem to be problematic on the iPad.)
Android is a bit chaotic but usable. My son's Samsung Instinct feels sluggish at times while, so far, the EVO seems pretty quick. Web pages load up quickly, the Facebook app is pretty responsive and the over all app selection is pretty decent with only five crapware apps from Sprint pre installed. Two of those apps, the NASCAR and Football apps, while nicely done, are totally useless unless you are a fan of either or both sports. The TV app is junk. And, well, you get the picture.
Speaking of pictures, the built in 5 mp camera is nice. It takes a more than adequate photo but the video appears to be a little on the choppy side. Not sure if that is a problem with the phone, software or just a process running in the background that is slowing the device down.
The syncing capability is on par with what I had for my Pre. All I did was give it my GMail credentials and off it went. Now, this pre-supposed that you use Gmail and already have some kind of syncing taking place. Otherwise, setup is a bit more involved. After a good Sprint connection was established (they seem to have very spotty coverage in Richmond at the moment) it took about fifteen minutes for my contacts, calendar and mail to get synced.
My Best Buy/Sprint experience, though, is less than desirable. The Sprint personal was somewhat knowledgeable, but was more interested in what another young customer was doing than taking care of us. Since it was close to closing, this was probably inevitable and, for me, not a huge problem since I just wanted the phone and nothing else. Still, Best Buy's customer service is less than stellar. Sprint, however, deserves the gold medal for deviousness. When I bought my Pre, I was forced into a thirty dollar a month data plan. I still have that plan-had to keep it for my son's Samsung as well as my soon to be fiance's Blackberry. Well, imagine my surprise when I was informed that I have to pay an additional ten dollars a month for data for this new phone. It is definitely time to go over the pile of money I am paying Sprint. It is ridiculous and makes me wonder just how a company can be so mismanaged as to lose money while gouging it's customers this much. Absurd.
Overall, I am pleased with the phone...so far. Unimpressed with Android, well more like underwhelmed with Android than anything else. The requisite apps are there: Evernote, Angry Birds, Netflix, et. al. It feels solid and, best of all, the price-$0-was right. If you want a decent smartphone, are on Sprint and don't mind Google, this phone is for you.