HTC Droid Incredible review: Touchscreen phone is all that

The interface on the HTC Droid Incredible allows you to have seven screens open at one time. / Jeff Rauschert

Back in December, I raved about the original Motorola Droid. I mentioned that I thought the Android operating system would be fine-tuned in the upcoming Droid releases.

Fast-forward five months to an updated OS and a different manufacturer. The phone I was eagerly awaiting has arrived. It TMs appropriately named the HTC Droid Incredible, because the phone is just that " an incredible touch screen device.

The Incredible has a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and is extremely fast. Even with five open apps, the Incredible never lagged in performance.


Getting to the actual phone on the Incredible is easier than on the Droid. A co-worker of mine pointed out that the phone is treated as an app on her Motorola Droid. The Incredible phone is a permanent part of the bottom of all the home screens.

The Incredible doesn TMt merge Facebook data (contact TMs photo and profile info) in the address book like the Droid. However, you do get a favorite callers list atop the dial pad and a contact list that has to be clicked through separately on the Droid.

The clarity of the phone is top-notch. I always make it a priority to test a unit by calling my father, who has trouble hearing. He thought I was on a landline phone.

I also tried the phone with the Motorola H17txt Bluetooth headset. The setup was a breeze and the voice quality was impeccable.

Using the speakerphone in a conference room setting worked well during a 30-minute call. I TMll precursor this by saying it was tested in a room with carpet and no windows among four people.

I work in an area with traditionally poor cell service. While I often struggle to get a minimal signal with some Verizon phones, the Incredible gave me at least two bars at the most remote location I could find.


The HTC Incredible is thinner than the Motorola Droid because of its sculpted rear cover, which is irregularly molded to house the battery. Also, the Motorola Droid has a tactile keyboard, which makes it slightly thicker. If you need a keyboard, the Incredible isn TMt for you.

However, it TMs extremely easy to type on the phone. In fact, I TMll go as far as saying it TMs the best touch screen keyboard I TMve ever used. The keyboard is an eighth of an inch wider (from the left of the Q to the right of the P) than that of the iPhone.

This leads to faster typing. Plus, I enjoyed being able to hold down a key to get the shift row for additional characters. To top it off, the HTC Incredible also has built in voice input on any text field and it works very well.

The Incredible doesn TMt have large buttons. There TMs a 3.5mm headphone jack, a power/sleep button on top and a volume rocker and Micro USB connection on the left side.

There are touch keys for menu, back, home and search below the screen and above a tiny optical mouse, which functions like the trackpad on a laptop. You use the optical mouse by thumbing over the control in the direction you want to move and you can even press down to select an item.

I would have loved a dedicated camera button. It TMs not a huge issue, but it might have made taking pictures easier. Read more on that below.


The screen on the Incredible is a 3.7-inch, 480-by-800 pixel AMOLED display, which is brighter and more battery-friendly than LCD. However, visibility in bright daylight was mediocre. Under overcast skies, the screen was usually fine. But in bright sunlight, it wasn TMt as good as the Droid TMs screen.


While 8 megapixels on a mobile phone might sound impressive, the Incredible TMs camera wasn TMt as good as advertised.

First, I would have liked to see an alternative to using the optical trackpad. This made the phone shake and resulted in blurry pictures. It definitely takes time to get used to this.

The Incredible took bright, vivid pictures in natural light. But, in low light, the dual-LED flash washed out most photos " especially objects that were close to the camera.

It TMs hard to keep from blurring indoor shots having to touch the screen or optical mouse to take a picture. As I played with metering options and spent more time with the camera, it became easier to use.

The video recorder captured 800-by-480-pixel MPEG-4 footage. While not HD, it TMs still a capable recording device. You can use Qik to edit video. It TMs free from the Market store.


There are several ways to get music onto the phone if you don TMt want to use a service such as Pandora. You can either connect via USB and drag and drop or use an app like doubleTwist to sync with iTunes playlists and podcasts. You can also buy music from your phone through Amazon TMs MP3 Store. Mac fans should try TuneSync for syncing iTunes. It TMs $3.99 through the market.

Battery Life

I TMve concluded that I TMm going to have to charge my phone every day. This is the case with whatever phone I TMm using. So, it didn TMt surprise me to see that by the end of the day, the Incredible warned me that it had little battery life remaining. I TMm not going to bore you with how much talk time or standby time you TMll get. As long as it gets me through the day, I TMm happy.


Android 2.1 on the Incredible runs seven home screens compared to three on the Droid. Tapping the home key from any home screen gives you an iconic view of all seven. It TMs similar to Expos on a Mac computer.

The phone never slowed and scrolling between pages or up and down long lists happened without hesitation. The user interface was wickedly fast and responsive.

HTC even improved on copy and paste for the phone, making it iPhone-like, but giving users the option to share selections via a contextual menu.

Voice-to-Text used to only be available for Google Search. Now, you can use voice-to-text almost anywhere that requires text-input including writing text messages and E-mail. This is an outstanding feature.


In regard to the HTC Incredible TMs browser, it works great and renders web pages very fast. You get Flash Lite, but not the full version. So, don TMt be surprised when some flash pages won TMt work properly.

You can pinch-zoom pages in as far as you want, you get a nice screen shot of bookmarked pages, and they can all be viewed in landscape or vertical configurations.


Six months ago, the Motorola Droid was the phone to own. If you still need a tactile keyboard, it TMs still a solid choice.

But today, the HTC Incredible easily surpasses the Moto Droid in nearly every category. It feels good in your hand, it has all the apps you need and the multimedia experience is fantastic. Plus, it TMs blazingly fast.

Even in a world where new technology will replace today TMs top gadget, the Incredible will be powerful enough to get you through at least a two-year contract.


Processor: 1GHz Snapdragon processor with 512MB RAMStorage: 8GB of internal storage; MicroSD slot which can handle an additional 32GB for a total of 40GB of space.Screen: 3.7-inch WVGA AMOLED,Camera: 8MP with dual LED flash; 800-by-480-pixel MPEG-4 videoAudio: 3.5mm headset jack and poweredConnectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, AccelerometerWeight: 4.5 ouncesBundled apps: Quickoffice, a PDF viewer, HTC's Teeter game, and Peep, the company's built-in Twitter client; FM Radio (headphones are needed); Free Google Navigation (turn-by-turn navigation); Friendstream (for merging Facebook, Twitter, etc.)