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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.