Recently smartphones have started popping up like weeds. The Droid Incredible from HTC is just one of the latest. The Droid Incredible features many great features which include a large screen, a fast processor, and lots of internal storage.
- 1GHz Snapdragon CPU
- 8GB of internal storage
- 748MB of internal ROM
- A microSD slot (up to 32GB)
- 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash and autofocus
- 480 x 800 AMOLED capacitive touchscreen
- Android 2.1 with HTC’s Sense UI on-board
Much of the hype around this new smartphone is that it includes a lot of internal storage and a fast processor. With 8GB of internal storage, 748MB of internal ROM, and a 1GHz processor this is all set to be a powerful phone. In addition to all that there is also a microSD card slot which supports capacities of up to 32GB.
On the back of the Incredible is a digital camera. The camera boasts a high 8 megapixel resolution, which makes it one of the highest resolution cameras in a smartphone. In addition, the camera includes a dual LED flash. The flash will be helpful when taking pictures in the dark. Hopefully, the actual performance is as good as the specs indicate.
The screen on the Incredible also has some great specs. The screen is a 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen AMOLED with a resolution of 480 x 800. Hopefully, the screen will also live up to my expectations.
Last but not least in this list of features is the Android OS with HTC Sense. While young in terms of development time, the android OS is feature rich and has a lot of support behind it. There are several phone makers and a lot of developers that are all developing for the OS and helping to make it better.
As far as design goes the HTC Droid Incredible is very simple to look at. The front is dominated by the WVGA display. Below the display are four touch-sensitive buttons (home, menu, back, and search), and an optical trackpad. Above the display is the earpiece.
The top only has two items of interest, the power button and the headphone jack. I am glad that the headphone jack is the standard size so adapters are not needed.
The left side also has two items on interest. They are the volume up and down button, and the micro USB port. The micro USB port is used for charging the battery and also for plugging into a computer for transferring files.
The bottom of the phone has the microphone and a hole for a lanyard loop.
The back is mostly plain except for the camera with flash, and a speaker. The back does have a tiered look to it, it almost look like it was designed after a topographical map. The tiered look is not without its purpose. The raised parts are for the battery and other components that stick out a bit more.
That’s it for the outside. The rest of the interesting stuff is on the inside. To get to the inside the entire back has to come off. Fortunately it is very easy to remove the back. Inside are the battery and the SD card slot. Having a battery that is easy to replace is very important if you are a heavy user and you need to change it because you run out. HTC also offers an optional larger battery in case you don’t want to change one out.
All of this packed into a package with dimensions of 4.63 x 2.30 x 0.47 inches, and a weight of 4.6 ounces.
So now we get down to the nitty gritty. Just how well does the HTC Droid Incredible perform with all these features?
First, lets start with the most obvious feature and the one you will use the most, the screen. For the most part the screen fills it purpose with flying colors, but there are times when it falls far short of my expectations. For example, when using the screen indoors it looks beautiful and vibrant; however, when taken outside on a sunny day, the screen is almost impossible to see. This is extremely frustrating because you have to find a shady spot every time you need to make a call (because you cannot see the numbers). Most of the time I am not in direct sunlight, so I don’t find this too distracting.
Next lets look at the camera. The camera is like many other cellphone cameras, it has a small lens, and a small flash. Despite these limitations the camera does do a good job. The 8 megapixels really help the pictures to be large, and the built-in features like auto-focus and spot metering help keep the images sharp and in focus. Videos also looked great on the camera in both 800 X 480 and 640 X 480, but the sound is not so good. I can only assume that the video uses the same microphone as the phone, and it is way too small to pick up anything but the closest/loudest sounds, especially when outside, or in a big room. I think a larger microphone on the back next to the lens would be much better for videos. The last part of the camera I want to talk about is the lens. As you can see from the pictures it sticks out from the back rather than flush like other phone cameras. This fact makes it very easy for the lens to get dirty. I find myself having to constantly clean it whenever I want to take a picture. Their really needs to be some kind of automatically retracting lens cover put in place to protect the lens.
Next is the sound. For the most important stuff the sound was great, I never had any trouble using the earpiece when talking on the phone. However, I ran into trouble when watching movies and playing games. These activities use the speaker on the back of the phone. Not only is this speaker small, but it is facing the wrong direction. This is especially evident when outside, but having the speaker facing away from the user made the sound soft and hard to hear. I ended up having to cup my hand around the speaker to try and redirect the sound back to the front. For movie watching and game playing it would have been very helpful to have a front facing speaker.
Finally lets look at the software. The software is the source of some of my greatest enjoyment and also my greatest frustrations with this phone. I am not going to cover the Android OS extensively because it goes beyond the scope of this review, but I am going to talk about a few of the stand out features that I either really like, or really dislike.
First off is HTC Sense. Sense is a bunch of features that HTC added to the Android OS. This features include Apps, Skins, Backgrounds and more. For the most part they did a great job with the look and feel, and also with the apps. Sense integrates very well with the rest of the OS and for the most part, you cannot tell where Sense ends and the OS begins. The Apps that HTC includes are an improvement over the Google only apps, but they are not without problems. For example syncing to Facebook, Gmail, and Twitter will often cause an error message to popup saying that it has stopped working, and the time and weather apps will sometimes show the wrong location, time, and subsequently the wrong weather forecast. In fact, I have had to turn off the automatic time syncing because, for whatever reason, it sometimes thinks I am in Texas, when in fact I am in Utah. This causes the time to be off by an hour and mess up my schedule. I have tried turning on GPS to fix the problem, but I don’t think those apps use GPS, they must get their location info from somewhere else.
Next is the app list. The app list is where you have to go if you want to kill a running app, uninstall, or just clear the cache to free up memory. This section is also the source of some of my biggest frustrations because whoever designed this screen forgot to include the ability to sort alphabetically. So in order to find an app you have to slowly scroll through the entire list because your app could be anywhere. Since it is quite feasible that you could have a lot of apps on the device, not including the ones that are built-in, this process could take quite a while. Fortunately, if you are just looking to kill a running app there is a filter that only shows running apps, but they are still not sorted alphabetically.
App List Filter
As far are the processor goes it is nice and snappy, but if you have too many apps running it can really slow things down. There needs to be an easy access task list and kill functionality. Also when switching apps, rather than letting the old one stay running it would be nice if it gave an option to kill the other app.
Battery life on this phone is good, I am able to go all day with the wireless turned on and I still have a good amount of power left when I get home. I am not a really heavy user, but even if I was I could turn off wireless, get a bigger battery, or even carry a second battery with me. Even if the options are not ideal, the fact that I have options is better than not having them.
My next test would be with the data, but if you have been reading my other posts you will know that I don’t have a data plan. I bought this phone on my own and I use Page Plus for my service. Page Plus not only uses the Verizon network, but they are also much cheaper.
Warranty and Support
Unfortunately, the warranty that comes with this phone is through Verizon. Since I did not buy my phone through Verizon I don’t get a warranty. Even those that do get a warranty don’t get much because it is only 12 months.
Fortunately, I have found many forums which provide support for the phone so if you do have a problem there are other options.
Overall I am happy with the phone, I understand there will be things I don’t like, and software is never bug free. I have managed to tweak the setting in such a way that I am satisfied with what I have. I am especially happy with the fact that I found a way to skip the required data fee. That alone makes all the short comings of the phone easier to swallow. If you are looking for a new phone (especially if you don’t want to pay data fees) I recommend you look at the Droid Incredible and read my other post about skipping the data fee.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|