SLIDESHOW

Hands-On With the HTC EVO View 4G Tablet

HTC’s first tablet will appear on Sprint this summer. How does this 7-inch tablet stack up? Here’s our take.

Up Close With the HTC EVO View 4G

The HTC EVO View 4G is not just another 7-inch Android tablet. In just a few minutes of hands-on testing, it revealed a number of appealing traits. The EVO View 4G is one of several anticipated U.S. versions of the HTC Flyer, introduced in Europe at last month's Mobile World Congress. The EVO View 4G incorporates some cosmetic changes and will be branded by Sprint. Starting this spring in the United States, Best Buy will sell a Wi-Fi-only version of the tablet, which will be called the HTC Flyer.

(This slideshow features photos of both the black EVO View 4G and the silver HTC Flyer.)

The Back of the Tablet

The EVO View 4G has a unibody, anodized aluminum back and smooth, curved edges that make it comfortable to hold. It weighs 15 ounces.

Side View: Hand-Friendly Dimensions

The EVO View 4G is reasonably compact, at 7.7 inches by 4.4 inches by 0.52 inch. Although it has approximately the same thickness as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7-inch, this tablet is more comfortable to hold.

HTC Sense Overlay

One differentiating factor for this tablet is that it runs Android 2.3 with HTC's Sense interface overlay for convenient access to specific tasks. The HTC Sense adopts an alternative approach to Google's Honeycomb widgets for making your home screens more useful. HTC and Sprint say that they will offer a Honeycomb upgrade for the EVO View, but they declined to commit to a time frame for the upgrade.

Spin It Around

With HTC Sense on the EVO View, you can rotate bidirectionally among seven home screens, in a three-dimensional cube. Shown here is the calendar view in midflick through the carousel.

Sense: Redesigned Lock Screen

One new part of Sense is a lock screen that lets you select the icons that appear there. If you drag the semicircle up and over an icon, you'll jump directly to that activity.

Clear Text

One thing I noticed almost immediately was that the EVO View 4G seemed to handle glare better than other tablets. The air gap between the LCD and the glass touchscreen wasn't especially noticable, and text looked sharp and crisp on ordinary Android menu screens, as well as on e-book pages opened in an e-reader app. Some aspects of the screen (as well as the tablet's aluminum design) reminded me of the Barnes & Noble NookColor. I look forward to taking the tablet for a longer spin once it ships, to see how these casual observations hold up over time.

Gentle Curves

The EVO View has contoured edges, with a distinctly designed power button located at the upper right (when you hold the tablet in a vertical upright position).

4G Camera

The rear-facing 5-megapixel camera has a reddish accent, in keeping with the EVO series design. Beneath this removable, slightly textured cover lies the MicroSD card slot.

MicroSD Card Slot

Like many Android tablets, the EVO View 4G has a MicroSD card slot. It hides under a removable cover to the right of the model information label. In this view, you can also see the rear-facing 5-megapixel camera at the lower left.

Comfy Volume Rocker

Among the design features I liked on the EVO View was the volume rocker, shown here, which has a unusually pleasant feel.

Single Port Does It All

Like the EVO 3D, the EVO View 4G has a single MHL (Mobile High-definition Link) port for handling USB charging, USB connectivity, and HDMI-out.

Rotating Menu Nav Buttons

Since the EVO View 4G began life as an Android 2.3 device, it has the three Android navigation buttons that are standard in Android 2.x units. The soft-touch buttons reorient from vertical to horizontal position, depending on how you hold the tablet. To the right of the standard cluster of buttons is an extra button for use with the HTC Scribe pen (for inputting content directly on the screen).

Pen and Tablet: A Beautiful Combination

The Scribe pen has a comfortable amount of heft; it features smooth metallic sides and two buttons.

Pen Input

Tap on the pen button, and you'll get your choice of apps that work with the pen, including Notes and Sketchbook. If you want to grab and annotate a screen, just tap on the screen to initiate the capture. The creative and productive possibilities for transforming the tablet experience via on-screen input are enticing. This feature alone gives the EVO View 4G instant appeal.

Change Pen Brush Size

You get a few options for the pen, including the brush size options shown here.

Change Pen Input Color

Here's where you can change the pen's color options.

Change Pen Type

And finally, you can change the style of the pen.