HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE.

The Droid Incredible 4G LTE is a solid phone on Verizon with a ridiculously long name.

It's easy to dismiss Verizon's new Droid Incredible 4G LTE. It's easy to look at the specs on paper, glance over at the HTC One line, shake your head and move on. After all, DInc 4G LTE, in addition to having a ridiculously long name that reads more like a spec list than anything else (seriously, Verizon -- stop it), isn't a member of the HTC 2012 Cool Club, whose ranks include the One X, One S and One V.

The Incredible (we're going to call it that from here on out -- have we mentioned how ridiculous its full name is?) lives in a sort of middle region. It's an obvious successor to the DInc 2, which we reviewed last year. But for as good as its hardware is, it's missing a few features that would otherwise put it on the top shelf. On the other hand, in shines in a few places where other phones don't as well.

So keep on keeping' on for our full Droid Incredible 4G LTE review.

The one-take walkthrough

The Droid Incredible 4G LTE hardware

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE.

This no mistaking it -- this is a Droid Incredible. Think back to the first phone in this line, released in the spring of 2010. The basic formula remains the same. Black slab, large (but not too large) display, cool red accents, and a nicely designed (we call it "plateaued") battery cover.

The third iteration of the Incredible follows those same rules. It's got a 4-inch display, same as the DInc 2. (The original DInc was 3.7 inches.) It's at qHD (960x540) resolution, which gives you an excellent pixel density of 275 pixels per inch. It's using a Super LCD display, and the only real difference we can tell between it and the Super LCD 2 on the much larger HTC One X is that the Incredible's display doesn't appear to be floating atop the device. Not a deal-breaker, though.

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE.HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE.

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE.HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE.

Going back to a 4-inch phone always seems like a breath of fresh air, and that trend continues with the Incredible. It's a comfortable 4.8 inches tall and 2.4 inches wide. It's not the thinnest in the world at 0.46 inches, and it certainly stands out against the likes of the 0.307-inch HTC One S. But it's not so thick that you'd be ashamed to pull it out of your pocket. The corners are nicely rounded, the edges are angled to help provide some grip. Your index finger (or either hand) can easily find the power button up top (accented in red), and the volume rocker is easily reachable on the right-hand bezel.

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE.

Flip the phone over and you've got a new iteration of the DInc's tiered battery cover. This one's got some added texture for even more grip -- a nice addition. The camera lens also has a red accent, as well as the ubiquitous Beats Audio logo. It's also interesting how the battery cover is notched at the top-left corner, allowing the glossy plastic of the phone's front shell to wrap around. It's another one of those design things that only HTC does.

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE.

Pop off the battery cover, and you've got access to the 1700 mAh battery. That's a lower capacity than many of the more recent phones, but there is only so much room to work with in a 4-inch device. The microSD card and SIM card (remember, this is an LTE device) are smartly tucked away here, and there are pins for a capacitive charging battery cover. (That'll be sold separately.)

What's under the hood

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE.

The Incredible's powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, clocked at 1.2 GHz. Don't worry that it's 300 MHz "slower" than other recent HTC phones. In fact, forget we even wrote that. You won't notice. It's got 1GB of RAM on top of that.

Storage-wise, you've got about 5.3 gigabytes of space at your disposal, but that's not counting any microSD card storage you add. (You're on your own to provide the card.)

The 1700 mAh isn't exactly huge, but neither is it tiny. You should be able to get through most of a day on it. Using LTE data will eat up battery life quicker, but that's nothing new. Standby time is pretty good.

The Droid Incredible 4G LTE software

This one's pretty simple -- the Incredible is running Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, with Sense 4.0. That's the same as the HTC One line of phones, and we're just as happy as it on the Incredible as we've been on HTC's other 2012 smartphones. Be sure to read our complete Sense 4 walkthrough for the full skinny on that.

We fully expect the Incredible to be updated to Jelly Bean. Eventually.

Droid Incredible 4G LTE

You've still got seven homescreens on which to put app icons and widgets, and there are a bunch preloaded for you. (Google play has been relegated to a second screen -- long a pet peeve of ours.) And we hope you like Let's Golf 3, cause it's preloaded. Real Racing 2 is also on board, but as a stub app, meaning the extra 600MB file it needs to run must be downloaded separately. There's also a stub app promoting Slingbox. It's not the actual Slingbox app -- just an advertisement for it. Great. Oh, and the usual Verizon apps are on board as well -- VZ Navigator, V CAST Tones, Verizon Video, My Verizon Mobile, and Verizon own app store.

The Droid Incredible 4G LTE cameras

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE.

And this is where we find the biggest difference between the Incredible and the HTC One phones. The Incredible is lacking the dedicated "ImageSense" processing chip that's in the HTC One phones. The camera apps still look the same, but the shutter speed isn't quite as quick. It still has all the filters, though.

As for the pictures themselves, how do they stand up side by side to the HTC One X? We put the 8MP rear shooters up against each other, and here's what we found:

Droid Incredible 4G LTE pics on the left, HTC One X on the right. Images open in full resolution in a new window.

Front-facing camera

Rear-facing camera

Other odds and ends

We're not done just yet. A few other thoughts on the Incredible:

  • GPS and Bluetooth work as advertised. No issues there.
  • HTC's keyboard is preloaded, and it's still pretty good. 
  • The Incredible's speaker is surprisingly loud.
  • If you're looking for a quick way to turn off 4G LTE data, you can stop now. There's no built-in toggle.
  • Verizon has some pretty annoying Wifi reminders added in. There are hacks to turn it off, but that doesn't exactly excuse anyone here.
  • Simultaneous voice and data is a go.

The wrap up

We always mention display size (and usually dimensions of the phone itself) as a matter of procedure. But in the Droid Incredible 4G LTE's case, the 4-inch display really has become a selling point in an era of phones that look at one-handed use like something the kids of yesteryear cared about.

If you want an Android phone on Verizon that's not in the gargantuan category, this is what you'll be be offered. So it's not an HTC One phone. We're really OK with that. 

The one major strike against the Incredible is its price. For an extra $50 you can get a Galaxy S3 with a better (and bigger) display, more storage and a greater likelihood of software updates further down the road. On the other hand, the S3 isn't an HTC phone, and it's going to be too big for many folks.

Our bottom line is that you could certainly do worse than the Incredible. But you don't have to stretch much more to do better, either.

 

Reader comments

Verizon HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE review

28 Comments

This is a good review, as usual, but I have an issue. You guys say that you take so long to write and release your reviews because you want time with the phone, this is admirable and awesome. My issue is, I don't see any special insights in this review that I didn't see in other reviews that came out in a timely manner after the phone hit. It is pretty short, the information is fairly basic, etc. I am all for taking the time to fully get to know a phone before you publish a review but I feel like that fact should be reflected in the review, which I didn't (and usually don') feel was the case.

But yea, good review as usual. This phone will definitely appeal to a certain group of people but I feel like they could have done a more direct copy of the One S and still named it Verizon Incredible 4G LTE One S By HTC and Verizon or whatever. It would have the better camera, and probably get better support from HTC (edited because I originally said Verizon, which is a joke) (I base this off them saying they intend to support the One line of phones, this is not a One phone).

Edit: I tried to make this as least bitchy as possible, you guys do excellent work (the best in the biz actually) and I don't want to take away from that. I just feel like more could be done or said with the time you have. I could very well be wrong.

How about some pics (or at least a good explanation) of how the size stacks up to the other phones in the class. A lot has been said as of late about "oversized smartphones" so this could be the entry that wins over a lot of people who prefer something smaller... But how much smaller is it?

No reason to leave my rezound on Ics desensed. Its been my most solid phone yet. Can't wait till we get new kernels

VZW needs to give it a rest with the "Droid" bit. It's getting tired.

18-24 year old males aren't the only people ponying up for smartphones anymore. Please stop putting the big, dumb, red eye on your phones.

-Suntan

Is that why every review of this new Dinc spends the first part of the review addressing the fact that this is not a "One" series phone, then goes on to complain about the naming structure VZW has picked?

-Suntan

The DROID advertising with the OG Moto Droid was what put Android on the map. So, no, they probably shouldn't stop using it.

Cool story bro.

So? The Droid line has served it's purpose in the past and continues to serve a purpose in the eyes of Verizon.

My browser on this crappy Windows XP computer is spazzing out. My reply was attached to the wrong comment... twice.

I have said it before and will say it again. The "Incredable" name use to mean something. The phone that carried that name should have been Verizon's version of the HTC One series phones.

Wait, what?

The Incredible (yes, it really is spelled with an "i") was never really incredible even when first released.

It was always simply a down-packaged Nexus One, with CDMA substituted for GSM radios.
It was late to the party then, had nothing new to offer, and was never the top of the line.

I absolutely agree the phone was a Nexus One for CDMA. But when I got my original Incredible looking at specs for other Android phones that were released at the same time My impression was the Incredible had a better camera than the Nexus and for me the best Android phone on the market at the time.

Perhaps there were other non verizon phones (excluding the Nexus One) that were available to y'all GSM folks on other carriers that rivaled the incredible but for my part i wasn't aware of them at the time.

On verizon, it was smaller than the Motorola Droid (which was a down-packaged nexus One with CDMA/CDMA2000 radios and a keyboard) so in the android lineup (still tiny at that point) it was incredibly desirable... See what I did there?

I checked this thing out yesterday at a Verizon store (while out and about) and yikes; that's one small phone. I know that will appeal to many, but being accustomed to the 4.3" screen and the overall size of the Thunderbolt, the Dinc 4G felt like a toy in hand. Build quality felt lacking as well (see similar comments on Verizon’s website).

Btw, the name is ridiculous, sounds like something Sprint usually does. And the Droid branding had its day in the sun, but can you say, “Jumped the shark”?

Kind of strange how battery life differs from other reviews. So far only a couple have said subpar life while more have gotten good to very good usage time. Could it be a problem with the phone itself? Well, it's nice to know my Rezound isn't too bad but I do like the designs of both the Incredible and Rezound.
Read more at

it's more of an upgrade than the Dinc 2 was to the Dinc 1. The only improvement of the Dinc 2 over the 1 was faster processor, and slightly better battery life, and screen. Dinc 4G has 4G obviously, insanely faster chip, better battery life and screen, and RAM, also better camera

As Robin Quivers would say "4 inches is fine!" I think there is room for new 4" phones, but this is certainly not "top of the line" stuff, but I wouldn't put it in the same category as other mid-level devices. If the build quality were a bit better and if it had to darn imagesense chip it would be a great choice imo.
Also, call me crazy, but I've always liked the Dinc design.

The thing about specs is that you really only need the extra horsepower to drive graphics, and if you have a 4" display chances are you will have the exact same visual experience as someone with a 4.8" display and a faster cpu/gpu. So, all the talk of "not top of the line" for smaller form factor phones is hogwash. As long as it can run the latest version of Android, you are fine!

I agree - the only thing I think this phone is missing to make it "top of the line" is the photo chip and nicer build quality (I've heard reports of creaky cheap feeling plasticiness).

When I heard about the "One"s the Once S was most appealing to me so I was more than a bit dissapointed that they took that phone and knocked it down a couple notches with some compromising compromises.

Just like with PC gaming - I remember being able to play many games well on my ageing PC, but when I upgraded my monitor to a larger size the resolution I was playing at all of a sudden looked like garbage. My monitor size had now dated my "processing power". If you can be happy with a smaller screen you can get by with less horsepower (and probably use much less battery power).

This phone looks good, to me. I'm going to wait until November to purchase, hopefully price will have dropped some.

I just don't get why they didn't go with the One X or One S. This phone will be forgotten as quickly as the Rezound I'm afraid.

It's Feb. 14, 2014. Still no update to Jelly Bean. Once again an OEM is artificially limiting their phone(s) for no technical reason at all. O_o