I had Verizon’s HTC Droid Incredible for 24 hours, they took it away, and then just as quickly sent me another one so that I could spend more time with it. I’ve had it about 2 weeks, although I’ve only been using it for one. As I mentioned previously, the Incredible lives up to its name.
It sports a rubbery backing that I like, covering a bright red “racecar” interior that peeks through around the camera lens and the speaker. The indentation on the backing actually follow the lines of the internal parts. I can appreciate that HTC is calling out that they designed a lovely device both inside and out. You have to remove the backing to get to the battery (replaceable) and the memory card slot.
Not that you really need that memory slot. The Incredible has 8 GB of memory built-in. That’s on top of the 1Ghz Snapdragon processor. This phone is faster than my first iMac. Full specs: 3.7? AMOLED capacitive display, 512MB of RAM, 512 ROM, 8GB of internal storage, an 8 megapixel autofocus camera with dual-LED flash, Wi-Fi, an accelerometer, digital compass, Bluetooth, GPS, and Android 2.1 with the latest Sense UI.
The Incredible comes equipped with a dual-LED flash 8 MP camera, fully loaded with similar customizable options that you might find on a low-end point-and-shoot camera. In fact, this phone could eliminate my need to carry a small point-and-shoot camera. Low-light photos and video aren’t bad. Not fantastic, but we are still talking about a mobile phone.
Right. It’s a phone. I haven’t had any dropped calls and it seems to have good call quality. People can hear me and I can hear them without any buzzing, hissing, popping, or blank spots. Here’s my first issue with the phone, and apparently I’m not the only one. I don’t seem to have consistent 3G. It can be sitting side by side with my Droid, which will be showing 3G, and the Incredible will not. Again, I haven’t had call quality issues, so maybe this is a display issue and not a reception thing.
As far as hardware goes, there’s an optical directional pad (which I’ve rarely used), a microUSB port and volume switch on the left, and power button on the top. That’s it. To launch the camera, you need to use the software.
I love the Android OS and have no complaints. Everything I ever used on my iPhone seems to exist in the Android market. Last night I counted up the apps on my Droid: I’ve downloaded and am using 42 apps. Now, the standard OS only gives you three screens to play with, but Sense UI adds four more. The Incredible will let me load up and easily access countless apps and widgets, as opposed to just accessing them through a pop-up menu.
Sense adds some other great features, but my favorite by far is the ability to pinch in and see all 7 of my screens – sort of an Alt-Tab fuction for the phone.
Other Sense-only widgets include a nice email viewing widget, an SMS viewing widget, and Sense’s own FriendStream. FriendStream lets you view your Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr streams without having to go to each individual app. Since it only pulls in one Twitter app, I don’t actually use it. I do like that I can post directly to Facebook and Twitter from FriendStream though – it’s a nice addition to the phone for someone who isn’t quite as account-overloaded as I am.
Sense also does away with the standard Android email app and uses Sense Mail, which accesses IMAP, POP, and Exchange accounts. As opposed to a true combined inbox, you have a pop-up view of your accounts, letting you know where you have new messages. I love 90% of the email program. It offers pre-filtered views, including the useful threaded Conversations, as well as Unread and Attachments.
This is where my second issue with the phone comes in though. I’ve posted this question to every forum, hoping there is just something I’m missing. I have gotten into the habit of starring/favoriting/flagging specific email messages on my phone to pay more attention to them when I see them on my computer later. I cannot find a single way to flag/star email messages within Sense Mail. I can do it in the Gmail app, and I can certainly download the stock Android mail app or K-9 and do it there, but not in Sense Mail. I notice that the Mail Widget on the HTC Hero (also Sense) even has a Flag option built in, so it’s not like it’s a foreign concept to the folks at HTC. So I’m working on this one. It is a dealbreaker for me in that I’d have to download and use an alternate email application.
Contacts are integrated with Facebook. This is good and bad. You can easily link contacts, as the Incredible is actually pretty conservative with its choices in linking. However, if you unlink, all sorts of weird things happen. For instance, I unlinked my stepmom’s Facebook account from the contact card for her and my Dad. Yet suddenly, my stepmom showed up as a contact all on her own, when she wasn’t originally. Weird.
HTC gives you an option to actually sync with your PC (not your Mac). Yes, you can use your Android phone and not have all of your information in the cloud. The software comes built into the phone. Alternatively, you can join me in the cloud and just allow your phone to show up as a hard drive on your computer. This worked with both my Mac and my PC. When I added a microSD card (16GB), it showed up as yet another drive.
I loaded videos, music and photos onto both the phone and the SD card without a problem. The Incredible found them, despite my slightly crazy-on-purpose filing system, and siphoned them off to the correct areas. This also included ringtones and notification sounds. (Note: The latter options had to be in specially designated folders to be recognized.) Sense makes the default music app slightly more aesthetic, which is nice, and I had no trouble pulling up and playing several episodes of True Blood on the video player.
YouTube is a little different. The Incredible automatically defaults to the lowest-resolution video on the site. You have to specifically tell it to show you the HD version. When I first watched the Muppets Bohemian Rhapsody on the Incredible, I was shocked at the low-res, until I realized I needed to just specify the resolution.
I’ve also heard complaints about the lack of brightness. But Boy Genius discovered that the Incredible default brightness setting isn’t the brightest, for battery saving most likely, which dims things a bit. Crank up the brightness setting and the colors just pop off of the screen.
Battery life is lacking a bit. Once I got used to the phone and wasn’t playing with it more than I usually might, I discovered that it didn’t last me an entire day. My default settings include turning off Bluetooth and GPS and dimming the screen, but those didn’t seem to make much of a difference. I’m hoping this is something they can fix with a firmware update, as they seem to have with the Motorola Droid.
I’m anxiously awaiting the accessories. There is a desk clock mode and car kit mode, similar to the Droid. While the Incredible doesn’t have the magnets in it, I’m hoping a rumored car dock and desk cradle will find a way to trigger those options. I’m pretty attached to my Droid accessories.
Back in the fall, I reviewed Verizon’s Droid and Droid Eris, right as they were being released. I loved the HTC Eris, but finally settled on buying the Droid for myself. Why? Because I wanted the “real” Android operating system and not the Sense UI wrapper around it.
And yet, tomorrow I’m “upgrading” my Droid to an HTC Incredible, which is really just an Eris on steroids and similar to the Google Nexus One. I’m getting an Android phone with the Sense UI wrapper. In my video review, I may have mentioned that I’m a little nervous about trusting HTC with this. After all, they haven’t (to my knowledge) released Android 2.1 for the Eris yet, even if leaked versions are available.
Regardless, I’m holding my breath and jumping in. It’s a good sign when the reviewer runs out to buy the phone.