This post originally appeared on TheDailyGetUp on June 10, 2010.
Google tried to sell the Nexus One through their own website, which seemed a little too ambitious for its time, and it didn’t exactly work out as planned. Verizon later scrapped the Nexus One in favor of another HTC-built Android device. Enter stage left, the HTC Droid Incredible, the latest to bear the Droid monicker. It has a faster processor than the formidable Motorola Droid, a better camera, and possibly a better virtual keyboard than the Droid’s physical one. And with that, the Incredible assumes the role as the usurper of the Motorola device as top dog on Big Red in one felled swoop.
So why the mini review as opposed to a full blowout? For one, it shares a lot of similarities with Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G. It’s been out for a few months, but we absolutely adored the Incredible and have gotten a few requests. So here you go guys, this is for you.
If you can’t tell from the unboxing pictures, the design DNA of the HTC Incredible is fairly slick and to-the-point, keeping true to the Verizon Droid monicker. In it’s own way, the Incredible is incredibly sexy. It just looks like an expensive device. Not by sheer force of will like the HTC EVO 4G, bur rather in the same way that the iPhone is, by being simplistic and not a device that screams audacity, yet is of a superb build quality.
It even borrows a little bit from the iPhone’s single piece of glass as the front panel, broken only by a single circular button under the screen. That button also houses the optical track pad in its center. Because there’s no tactile feel to the trackpad, that was something we had to get used to. We would have preferred a trackball but we understand the design choice, as the trackpad isn’t susceptible to tight hipster pant pockets, and we could hang with that.
Otherwise, there isn’t much to physically note on the Incredible. On the whole device, there are a total of three well-placed physical buttons — the volume rocker on the left, the On / Off button up top, and the select button / optical trackpad on the front surface. The volume rocker and On / Off buttons are protruding just enough to find without looking and are placed to feel natural in either hand. There are also the four non-physical capacitive buttons that we have come to find on recent Android devices under the screen.
You pick it up and realize how super thin it feels. We have a Nexus One and the Incredible is ever so slightly thicker, by half a millimeter, but the Incredible feels so much more thinner. It’s all about perception and illusions. The back is tapered along the edges and ridged, making it seem thinner than what it really is.
And on that back panel, there’s an 8 MP camera with a dual-LED flash. In what is becoming a theme, the camera bulges outward, much to our chagrin. Why that is becoming a staple in HTC-designed Android phones, we don’t know. We’d love to be the fly on the wall in one of those design meetings. Our guess is that it can probably be attributed to the interior being so tightly packed for slimness, but don’t hold us to that.
We loved the attention that was given to every part of the phone. There was personality injected into the device, even down to under the battery cover.
Battery life was actually not much different than the EVO’s as it touts a smaller capacity battery. We managed to get through a full day’s use clinging on for precious battery juice.
The screen on this baby is gorgeous. It’s got the same resolution as HTC’s EVO 4G and text is sharper by virtue of having a smaller screen (at 3.7-inches as opposed to 4.3-inches on the EVO) and thus a higher pixel density. Like the Nexus One, it touts an AMOLED screen and colors are saturated — very saturated. Depending on preference, you may or may not like it. We thought it a tad on the saturated side, but couldn’t knock it because the screen was just that gorgeous. Though that wasn’t without drawback.
Like most AMOLED screens, it suffers from outdoor readability. It’s a touch better than its Google Phone counterpart, but not by much. We still had to do some serious cupping of the screen on bright days.
There weren’t many weak points with the phone’s camera. Picture sharpness was similar to the EVO 4G, so we’re not complaining. Colors weren’t as saturated on the Incredible, but if you never compared the two, you’d think picture quality to be superb, which it is. On a computer monitor, pictures look really great.
Video recording was inconsistent at times depending on lighting conditions. Overall quality was about average, lackluster at times and superb at other times.
Video Test 1
Video Test 2
Need we tell you about how good Verizon is? There is a reason why everyone wants an iPhone on Big Red. As usual, Verizon didn’t disappoint. Call quality was above average to our extremely sensitive ears. We did, however, get a dropped call once — yeah, we were as surprised as you are.
What makes the Incredible such a good phone is in the software. It’s nearly identical to the EVO 4G, but there’s one major difference: the responsiveness.
The Incredible feels oh, so fast. Swiping from home screen to home screen feels effortless and the slightest swipe will send you along your way. There is little, if any perceptible lag anywhere. Compared to Sprint’s recent halo device, Verizon doesn’t load a bunch of custom apps onto the device, thus minimizing the judder and slow downs.
For some reason, software on the HTC Incredible is extremely tight, with little Verizon interference. There is some integration with Verizon services. For example, under the built-in messaging app, you’ll be able to see all the text messages, picture messages, and the voicemails.
What can we say? We loved this device and felt it came nowhere short of its name. The smaller form factor sat particularly well with us. Sure, it doesn’t offer a 4G network, video calling, or an awesome kickstand, but the Verizon-faithful have themselves a fine device. For $199 on a 2-year contract, there are only a handful of devices worth consideration, this certainly being one of them.