The Best Smartphone for Video Playback

I’m always surprised when I see someone watching a movie on an iPhone. The screen seems too small and you have to either hold the phone or hunch over it to watch. On top of that you need to transcode your content into an iPhone friendly format to get it to work.

While you still need to do the latter to watch videos on the EVO 4G, the screen and the kickstand make it a much better experience. The display is great for watching movies or TV show. It’s large enough that you can actually get into whatever you’re watching without squinting to see what’s going on. The contrast ratio of the EVO’s display comes in handy here more than anywhere else.

The kickstand is perfect for propping the EVO 4G on a desk or a tray table in a plane. The combination of the two really make this the ideal movie playback platform. Better than any other smartphone I’ve used. While no Apple, Google or Palm phone made me want to transcode my movie library, the EVO 4G does.

The phone supports .mp4 files with stereo audio. You need to stick to simple profile H.264 for encoding and lower bitrates. I found that ~800Kbps was a great balance of file size and image quality.

The biggest problem with video playback on the EVO is simply battery life. On a single charge in airplane mode I could only get 3 hours and 38 minutes out of the device. Granted I had the brightness all the way up but you're simply not going to be able to watch more than two movies on the EVO 4G. It's comparable to a laptop in that sense but unlike your laptop, walking around with a dead phone tends to be even more inconvenient. At least if people are trying to get ahold of you. Thankfully the EVO does have a removable battery, so just plan on carrying at least one spare.

To get videos onto the phone just connect it via USB to your computer and copy the files over. The Videos app will find the movies on the drive regardless of folder, you can just stick them in the root of the microSD card.

The app only works in landscape mode and isn’t heavy on controls. You can pause, scrub and stretch your content to fit the odd aspect ratio display. The Videos app also lets you view videos taken with the EVO’s camera and browse photos on Flickr/Facebook. Duplication of features is prevalent throughout HTC’s Sense enabled version of Android.

FM Radio & MP3 Playback The Keyboard
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  • DaveGirard - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    you're missing the iPhone 4 in the battery life and there is only one phone in the H.264 page.

    And I think you need to set your white point properly for the iPhone 4 pics. Saying that's the best picture you can produce is not accurate.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    The iPhone 4 review is next, and the white balance was actually a problem for the iPhone 4 - regardless of where I tapped to sample the white balance pretty much came out that way.

    More on this tomorrow...

    Take care,
  • SandmanWN - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    "The size of the screen is really what sets the EVO 4G apart from the competition, and honestly I couldn’t think of a better phone for browsing the web. Loading full websites is a pleasure and the screen is large enough where you can actually read a lot of content, even while zoomed in. I’d be willing to go as far as to say that it is almost too small for the ideal web browsing experience."

    This whole paragraph is confusing and contradicting. You say you couldn't think of a better phone for web browsing. Then say you you can read a lot even while zoomed in, which I think you meant to say out there. Then you contradict the first sentence and say it is almost too small for web browsing.

    I think that paragraph needs a mulligan.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    I've cleared it up a bit :)
  • tipoo - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    It would be great if you could include Evo 4G benchies in the iPhone 4 review.
  • rf40928 - Friday, July 2, 2010 - link

    Yeah, I guess u saw the Evo benchmarks.

    I have an Evo and Im considering a Iphone 4 ( my cousin got one )..

    I posted above the following: ... funny how the Iphone 4 review that Anand did proves Iphone 4 on a "slower" 3g network is consistantly faster then the Evo on a 4G network when it comes to the web .. I guess 4G's Peak performance is theoretically better.. but are Sprints 4G average 4g Speed numbers better then ATT's avg 3g speeds?? would seem not.."
  • yibrushn - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Sorry just gotta make 2 corrections. The front camera is 1.3 mp and the screen is TFT not AMOLED.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Fixed and fixed :)

    Hmm that was actually a bit confusing, Sprint lists it as an OLED screen and it is very similar to the OLEDs we've used in terms of color calibration but all the data I can find points to a TFT display.
  • DigitalFreak - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    I thought the screen thing might have been a typo, until I saw there was an entire paragraph describing the "AMOLED" screen. :-/
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    That was absolutely my bad. HTC appears to have calibrated the screen to mimic the other OLEDs, it's overly red. Combine that with the OLED listing here and it resulted in my mistake. I was wondering why viewing angle was so bad for OLED, I should've been more careful in my research there instead of just making an assumption. I will be more careful in the future.

    Thanks again for catching the error early on.

    Take care,

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