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HTC Droid Incredible Review

Highs

  • Bright, colourful, 3.7-inch AMOLED screen
  • Google Android 2.1
  • 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash
  • 8GB built-in memory
  • Light, sleek, uncluttered exterior

Rating

Our Score 8
User Score 8

Lows

  • Poor voice quality at both ends of calls
  • Below-average battery life
  • No dedicated camera shutter button
HTC’s Droid Incredible hits high marks for its speed, camera quality and light weight, but falls apart on cell phone essentials like battery life and voice quality.

Introduction

HTC’s Droid Incredible is essentially a jaguar-sleek version of the original Motorola Droid – comparatively the aging lion at this point. But the easily mockable moniker is not exactly appropriate. The iPhone was incredible. The original Droid was nearly incredible. This Incredible is more like the smooth, mature, professionally executed conclusion of all previous Android phones – the apex of the Android art. Apex – that would have been a good name. But it may not even live up to that description.

Features and Design

If you hold the original Motorola Droid and the Incredible side-by-side, there’s no contest, at least physically. Even though both occupy the same two dimensional area, the Incredible is about 13 percent thinner (0.47 inches deep to the Droid’s 0.54 inches) and more importantly, nearly an ounce and a half lighter than the pocket-sagging Droid. In some places, the Incredible is even thinner thanks to its sculpted, form-fitting rear cover, which is irregularly carved to match the battery compartment.

Both also run Android 2.1, which provides, among other things, seven roomy home screens compared to the Droid’s three. Tapping the Home key from any home screen gives you an iconic view of all seven.

Inside is where the Incredible raises the Droid bar. It’s powered by a swift 1GHz Snapdragon processor, compared to the Droid’s 550MHz engine, which means everything loads faster. YouTube videos load nearly a third faster on the Droid.

What the Incredible lacks is Droid’s slideout QWERTY, which is why the Droid is so bulky. Whether this is an improvement (beyond the weight issue) is a personal choice. If you don’t like touch keyboards, you won’t like the Incredible, especially considering its too-thin QWERTY in portrait mode, and vice versa.

The Incredible also includes an FM radio, lacking on the Droid. More importantly, Incredible includes 8GB of built-in memory, so you may be able to avoid prying open the battery cover to thread in a microSD card.

Buttons and Jacks

Like the Droid, the Incredible is largely devoid of external bulges and buttons. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a nearly flush power button up top, a similarly discreet volume toggle on the left perimeter, and that’s it. Touch keys for menu, back, home and search are positioned below the screen and above a tiny concave optical mouse, which functions like the trackpad on a laptop.

Display

Both phones sport a similarly long 3.7-inch, 480-by-800 pixel display (The Droid’s LCD is actually 800 x 854), the Incredible shows off an AMOLED, which is theoretically brighter and more battery-friendly than LCD, although you won’t see much viewing improvement considering Droid’s stellar screen. The Incredible’s AMOLED is a bit glossier, brighter and more colorful than Droid’s also excellent LCD, but these are slight differences perceived only by holding the two screens side-by-side.

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