Does Sprint's EVO 4G battery make it a non-starter?

June 3, 2010: 6:04 PM ET

The EVO needs to be charged at home and at work.   And that's OK.

When I first heard about the Sprint EVO 4G, I was floored.  This was exactly the phone I wanted.  Huge, bright screen, 4G capability with hotspot, 720P with HDMI, front facing camera, fast processor, KICKSTAND.

Using the EVO is just as amazing.  The huge screen makes touch typing a breeze.  Watching video is fantastic, especially with that kickstand.  The camera isn't bad -- which is great for a smartphone -- and the front camera is perfect for Skype video conferencing. There really isn't much to complain about.  Some people might not like its size, which is understandable, but it is only millimeters bigger than an iPhone or an Incredible and only grams heavier.  I don't notice the difference in my pocket.

Sprint also offers UNLIMITED Internet.  Verizon caps you at 5GB, AT&T at 2GB.

Image Credit: Engadget

The sound is also good and the HDMI out works as advertised.  In almost every area, it is the best smartphone I've ever used.

But, as they say...every rose has its thorn.

Heavy use drains the battery.  Light use drains the battery.  In fact, not using it at all drains the battery.  Fast.  I don't understand why because I am not using 4G here in NYC and I use the Verizon HTC Incredible all day without battery issues.  The HTC Incredible uses the same Snapdragon processor at 1GHz.

I have a charger at my desk at work and a charger at home.  I need them both.  The EVO lasts four hours for me with constant use...maybe double that life if I take it easy.  There is no way it will last a full day and still be usable.

There are lots of ways to tweek the phones battery usage but there is no magic bullet.  I tried:

  • charging with the power off
  • not using live backgrounds
  • disabling Sense widgets
  • setting my brightness to low
  • turning off Wifi when not in use
  • disabling IM apps that run in the background
  • turning off the hotspot when not in use

These tricks gave me a few more hours.  But I still can't make it home without getting at least a small charge at work.  I am not alone in this at all.  Look around at other reviews.

That's right.  This phone can't do a full day on one battery.

But, I don't really mind.  The phone is that good.

I had hoped that Sprint (S) had an update coming that addressed this.  I asked their PR team.  No response.  Nothing in the pipeline it seems.

I hoped that HTC CEO Peter Chou would have some enlightening news on the EVO battery problem today at the AllThingsD conference. He did not as you can see from this unofficial transcript from Engadget.

12:22PM Question is about battery life.

Walt: I agree, the battery ran down alarmingly fast on the Evo when I tested it.

Peter: We are using extreme modes, and the battery is a concern. What we're trying to do is -- the battery is removable, unlike the iPhone -- you can remove it and replace it. This is one area that we're really working on improving. I don't have a lot of good news.

Q: So I should sell my second phone and just buy a bunch of batteries?

Oh question asker, you cad.

Peter: Well, if you're just checking email your battery life should be okay...

That has to be a first.

There is some hope, however.  On the day before the EVO is launched, you can root the EVO and  install Froyo, the next generation of Android OS which is meant to be more efficient.  This news isn't going to affect many potential EVO users directly, but it means that Sprint/HTC/Google may have an update coming sooner rather than later.  And that may address this serious battery issue.

Also, as some commenters have mentioned, some third party batteries might give you some extra life.

As for me?  I'm good with an extra charger at work for now, but I understand if that isn't an ideal situation for everyone else.

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Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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