Giving a phone a name like the Incredible can be tough. Out of the box, it already has to live up to its name. Luckily for HTC and Verizon Wireless, the Droid Incredible is pretty darn impressive. But I'd be more likely to use the word "incredible" to describe two of its Android rivals, the HTC EVO 4G and the Motorola Droid X.
Price and Availability
The The Droid Incredible costs $199.99 when you sign a new two-year service contract with Verizon Wireless. That price is the same as what Verizon is charging for the newer Droid X, what AT&T is charging for a 16GB iPhone 4 and what Sprint is charging for the HTC EVO 4G.
At first glance, the Droid Incredible looks a whole lot like most of the other touch-screen based smartphones on the market today. It's slightly longer and thicker than an iPhone 4, but shares the same basic design, with a big touch screen and a sole hardware button on the phone's face. Unlike the iPhone, however, the Droid Incredible has four touch-sensitive keys below the display, and its hardware button is actually an optical joystick, which you can easily use to navigate through the phone's many options.
The Droid Incredible boasts a 3.7-inch screen with a high resolution (480 by 800 pixels). The screen is bright and colorful, but not quite as sharp as the smaller (3.5-inch) screen found on the iPhone 4. But when viewed next to the mammoth 4.3-inch screens found on the newer Droid X and EVO 4G phones, the Droid Incredible's once-roomy screen seems to shrink in size.
The Droid Incredible is an all-touch-screen phone; no hardware keyboard here. The on-screen keyboard is roomy enough for most typing tasks, though I did find myself occasionally hitting the wrong key.
Verizon's cellular network is well regarded, and it proved its mettle during my tests of the Droid Incredible. I never dropped a call. Call quality was very good, too, with voices on both sides coming through loud and clear. I didn't notice any background noise or distortion.
The Droid Incredible ships with Android 2.1, which was the latest version of the Android OS when the phone launched. Android has since been updated to version 2.2, though, which is already available on Google's Nexus One. The Incredible should be updated to Android 2.2 later this summer.
Android has come a long way from its earliest versions, though, and even version 2.1 offers a refinement that previous versions were lacking. Navigating through the OS's many options has gotten easier, though I found the phone a bit sluggish at times, when switching screens or launching apps. And Android is still a bit geeky enough to overwhelm some newbies. For more details on Android, read my complete review of the mobile OS.
In addition to the Android OS, the Droid X features HTC's Sense user interface, which offers some useful options for navigating through the Android OS. HTC has added new features to the Sense UI, include one called Leap, which lets you view thumbnails of the apps that you have open, so you can switch between them or close out of them. The Sense UI also includes Friend Stream, which lets you view information such as social network status updates.
The combination of Android 2.1 and HTC Sense is a winning one. The phone's interface and menus look slick and polished (something that's not always true of Android phones), and navigating through its many options is a snap.
The Droid Incredible supports Verizon's high-speed 3G network, as well as Wi-Fi wireless networks, so you have plenty of options for speedy Web browsing. And, in even better news, the browser on the Droid Incredible is quite good. Too often, Android's browser requires you to dig through menus to access simple functions (like the address bar or the back button). Not so on the Droid X: the address bar is just where you'd expect to find it, and you can use the handy back button below the display to move back through Web pages. The 3.7-inch screen also offers a good amount of real estate for Web browsing, and you can pinch and spread the screen to zoom in and out as needed.
What you won't find on the Droid Incredible -- yet -- is support for Adobe's Flash technology. You'll get this support, which will allow you to view multimedia Web pages as you would on a desktop computer, when the Droid Incredible is updated to the next version of Android.
Like the Droid X and the EVO 4G, the Droid Incredible features an 8-megapixel camera. The camera includes a dual flash, and can capture videos in HD.
Overall, I was slightly disappointed with the camera's performance. Many of my images were blurry, especially when I tried to capture moving subjects. I experienced a noticeable delay between the time I pressed the on-screen shutter button and when the camera actually snapped the photo, so that I often missed the subject I wanted to capture.
The Droid Incredible offers a decent selection of multimedia features, but nothing to rival the excellent multimedia options found on the Droid X. The Incredible offers a basic, but very usable, music player, the standard YouTube app, and an FM radio (though you'll need a headset to get reception).
The Droid Incredible launched before the Droid X and HTC EVO 4G, and without competition from those two phones, the Incredible would be the must-have Android smartphone. But the Incredible must now compete with both of those phones, which diminishes its appeal. If I were about to spend $200 on an Android-based phone from Verizon, I'd be hard pressed to come up with a reason why that money should be spent on the Droid X.