HTC EVO Shift 4G: Fast and Affordable

The flood of 4G phones at CES 2011 started with the ($150 with a two-year contract from Sprint). Available January 9, the Shift 4G is a follow-up to last year's popular , the first 4G phone on Sprint's WiMAX network is somewhat of a lesser version of its brother. If you are a keyboard addict and don't like the large size of the EVO 4G or the high price of the Samsung Epic 4G, the Shift 4G might appeal to you.


Like just about every HTC phone I've ever set my hands on, the Shift is attractive and solidly constructed. Measuring 4.6-by-2.4-by-0.6 inches, the phone is a little chunkier than other smartphones due to the keyboard, but the curved, soft backing makes it feel really good in hand. The unit we got is Midnight Blue, which is a nice departure from the legions of glossy black handsets out there.

The EVO Shift 4G doesn't have the large 4.3-inch display like its brother. Instead, it has a 3.6-inch display, which might seem like a downgrade to some. In my opinion, it actually makes a lot more sense however, given the extra bulk needed for the keyboard. The phone would simply be too large to accommodate for both. Below the display, you'll find the same circular touch buttons you'd find on the EVO 4G: Home, Menu, Back and Search.

The keyboard isn't the best; the keys feel a bit stiff. They are nicely spaced, however and there are plenty of useful shortcut keys. But when it comes to the best QWERTY keyboard of CES (there are only two new phones at the show that sport them), the Motorola Cliq 2 takes the title.