The HTC Design is by no means a top of the line Android device. This budget handset however is pretty powerful and impressive for it’s class and touts some nice features for a handset that costs a mere $99.99 on a new 2 year contract with Sprint. In an age where dual cores(and now talk of quad cores) are a norm this handset packs a 1.2ghz single core snapdragon processor. Being so use to using a dual core phone for a while I had a bias going into this review not expecting much, and thinking I would be unimpressed by it’s performance. I was mistaken, it actually impressed me more than I had thought and held up pretty well performance wise.
MSM 8655 1.2GHz + SQN1210 (WiMAX)
- Operating System
Shipped: Android Gingerbread 2.3.4
ROM version: 1.19.651.1
ROM: 4GB eMMC, RAM: 768MB
- Memory Card
8GB (class 4) card
4.0-inch Super LCD with qHD resolution 960×540 16M-color capacitive touch screen with multi-touch capability
CDMA dual-band EVDO + WiMAX + HSPA/UMTS and GSM/GPRS/EDGE network
5 MP color CMOS with auto focus support
1.3MP front camera
Bluetooth® 3.0 + High Speed,
Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n,
3.5mm stereo audio jack,
micro-USB (5-pin micro-USB)
4.8” x 2.4” x .47”
The screen is a 4 inch Super LCD display that is sporting qHD resolution. The resolution on this smaller screen looks beautiful. The colors were nice and bright. I was quite impressed the the screen quality on this device. It was a very responsive to touches and didn’t seem to have any inconstancies. The whites were a little off and appeared more like off whites than whites but this is something I have noticed with other HTC qHD displays like the one found on the Sensation and EVO 3D. I would compare the quality of the screen to those two devices only in a smaller form factor. It was a huge plus that a handset at this price would have such a nice display. It’s viewing angles were pretty decent but not as good as say an IPS or Super Amoled display. Viewing was no problem even outside. It was a bit difficult to see when the sun was shining directly on it but then again at times my Galaxy S II is hard to see in direct sunlight as well.
The HTC Design sports a single core 1.2ghz snapdragon processor. Overall this single core performed pretty well. I would even go as far as to say it can keep up with some of the HTC dual core phones like the Sensation or EVO 3D in some respects. I didn’t really notice any lag or anything while using the phone doing normal tasks and it was quite snappy. I did notice a bit of lag when I had a bunch of apps open and doing things at the same time. ie updating a bunch of apps on the market at the same time as playing music and playing a game will cause the phone to lag a bit. Again, overall I was quite impressed with the performance of the device considering it was only a single core phone. I have owned multiple dual core phones and devices and have to say this phone could actually keep up with some of it’s bigger brothers with the exception of multitasking with a bunch of apps at the same time. I never really pay attention to benchmarks as I don’t believe they reflect real world performance so with that said: On Quadrant standard it got an average of 1648 after 5 runs (1687,1604,1644,1674,1631) which isn’t really impressive for today’s phones but for a single core phone it is pretty decent. I will stress however this phone was a pretty solid performer. It didn’t have me thinking it was a slow or sluggish phone at all when doing normal everyday tasks. The user experience I had was much like that of my old sensation or my old EVO 3D. It averaged about 42 MFLOPS in Linpack running a single thread and about 36 MFLOPS in multi-thread. In Antutu Benchmark it averaged around 2850. I would have included screenshots of the test results and I did think that I had taken them, but then I learned the phone wasn’t saving the screenshots. It was appearing like it would take a screenshot even giving me notification a screenshot had been taken and saved to my SD card but after searching the contents, not a single screenshot was saved.
While most newer handsets are boasting 8MP cameras the Evo Design 4g has a modest 5MP camera. I will not lie, I have always loved the HTC Camera app. So in terms of the camera software I really liked it. It was easy to use and intuitive. Still camera shots shoot up to 2592×1456 and video recording up to 1280×720. I took a picture while traffic was moving and was quite impressed how clear the picture came out (See picture below of street/car, that car was going about 30mph) You can also see how well it handled the motion of a train pulling into the station. I was pretty impressed with the camera as I usually am on HTC devices. The front facing camera is a 1.3MP camera and didn’t really impress me, but I honestly haven’t seen a FFC that I’m blown away by. They always seem to be pretty bad in my opinion and I never really use them.
Battery life was on par for this type of device. With moderate usgae(surfing the web, reading xda, sending emails etc..) I got about 12 hours of battery life with just about 4 hours of awake time. Yesterday I tested streaming a movie with netflix over wifi. When I began the movie I had 100% battery. I fell asleep while the movie was playing but woke up not long after it had ended and I was down to 15% after only 2 1/2 hours of awake time. I was really unimpressed with this but after I watched the movie I let the phone site idle and at 15% it lasted over 24 hours. So even though it quickly dropped when watching a movie I have still managed to squeeze 27 hours out of the battery with 3.5 hours of awake time. When the phone just sits idle with zero use I was able to get a good 2 or so days out of it. Since the device is a single core it does use less power than a dual core, but it also has a CDMA and WIMAX radio which will chew through more juice than GSM.
Overall I really liked the design of this phone. It is a bit heavier than some handsets coming to market but I actually like the weighted feel in the hand (I also liked the way the EVO 3D felt in the hand). It felt nice and comfortable to hold. The phone is built pretty solid and I honestly have no complaints about it. The only thing I can say is that I would prefer if the micro USB charging port was on the bottom of the phone as opposed to the left side of the phone and maybe I would prefer if the camera sat flush with the back of the device instead of rising out a bit. The body is made of brushed aluminum and has a soft touch kind of feel on the back. It’s a very nice looking device. The battery door compartment was a bit tricky to get off the first few times but it seems to have gotten a bit easier to open now. Also when you open the battery door you will notice the battery is held in with a clip so it doesn’t slide out when the door is removed. On the top of the device you have the power button and 3.5mm headphone jack, on the back you have the 5MP camera and flash, on the left side you have the volume rocker and micro USB port, on the front you have the 1.3MP front facing camera and 4 inch qHD Super LCD Display and there is nothing on the right side of the device.
The HTC Design is running Gingerbread 2.3.4 with the Sense 3.0 UI. People either love or hate Sense. I tend to be someone in the middle. I always loved the eye candy of sense but hated the way it bogged down a phone and used so much system resources. However, I’m pretty fond of Sense 3.0. I think HTC did a great job with it. Is there still room for improvement? You bet, but I must say Sense 3.0 is the best version of sense yet(I have yet to play with sense 3.5 or 4.0). On this device it runs pretty darn smooth too which again I was surprised since it’s only a single core phone. The phone did have the standard Sprint bloat which most can be uninstalled. Also Carrier IQ has been removed with the most recent OTA update. Native screen shot is built into Sense 3.0 by holding down power and home at the same time. However, When I did try to take a screen shot the phone told me it took a screen shot and saved it on my sdcard but I could not find the screenshot image anywhere on the device. I was a little disappointed about that.
I tested this device playing a few different games. Angry Birds, Samurai II Vengeance, Dragon’s Lair and Dungeon Defenders Once again I was expecting games to be laggy considering I was working with a single core processor but was quite impressed with the performance once again. I did notice load times were a bit longer than on a dual core device but once loaded the games played pretty smoothly with little to no lag. Samurai II had some slowdowns at times but to be fair I have also seen this happen on a dual core phone/tablet with this game.
IN THE BOX
- Sprint World Phone Sim Card (pre-installed)
- Charging Brick
- Micro-USB/USB cable
- 8GB SD Card (pre-installed)
If you are looking for the latest and greatest handset this might not be the device for you. However, If you are looking for a budget handset that packs a lot of great features, is well built and performs well then this phone is for you. It’s a very good phone for it’s class and I was impressed with the display(even though I wished it was a bit bigger). Some of it’s pros: Display/Resolution, Build Quality, snappy for a single core processor, Camera software. Some of it’s cons: Only a single core processor, native screenshot didn’t seem to work for me at all, phone did get a bit laggy when multiple apps were open at the same time and/or when multitasking. At 5.22 Ounces it might be heavy for some for this size device, It actually feels heavier than my Galaxy S II. I’m rating it 3 out of 5 just for the simple fact that in comparison to other current devices, it’s a bit behind on the times with it’s single core processor.
RATING: 3 droids (out of 5)