Review: HTC Droid 'Incredible' A Winner - InformationWeek

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4/21/2010
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Review: HTC Droid 'Incredible' A Winner

The latest Android smartphone earns its name with super-fast performance from its 1-GHz processor and an amazing AMOLED display.

Verizon HTC Droid 'Incredible' Smartphone
(click image for larger view)
Verizon HTC Droid 'Incredible' Smartphone

Using the HTC Droid Incredible is about as good a smartphone experience as one can ask for. The blend of hardware design, raw power, and HTC's Sense user interface overlay make for a highly customizable handset that is sure to please most power users. There are a few quirks, but for the most part, the Droid Incredible delivers on all that its name implies.

As information about the Incredible trickled onto the Internet, it was clear that the device had real potential. After using it for several days, I can say without doubt that it is the pinnacle of the current Android crop. It easily bests the Motorola Droid (Verizon's biggest hit in recent memory) and is surely the premier handset being offered on the Verizon Wireless network. Let's see what makes it so good.

Overall, the Incredible feels very good to hold in your hand. The surfaces are pleasantly rounded off and the device has a comfortable weight. There are only a few buttons. The most important are all on the front, under the display.

There are four capacitive touch keys that activate some of the Android platform's main functions, such as Home, Menu, Back, and Search. The Incredible also makes use of an optical mouse button. Swiping your finger across the optical mouse button moves the cursor around the screen. This button also doubles as the shutter release for the camera.

From a design perspective, touch phones have become a rather boring lot. It is difficult to design a touch phone with lots of personality, due mostly to the limitations introduced by the large display. By mandating a display measuring between 3.2 and 4.0 inches, there's only so much designers can do with the space around the display.

The front of the Incredible isn't all that unique, but the back plate is. There are contour rings that wrap around the Incredible and give the back plate some added oomph. The camera lens is a bright red, which goes well with the black coloring of the phone. Peel the back plate of the Incredible off, and you'll find that the guts of the phone are bright red, too. That's not something you see too often.

The Incredible's display is simply amazing. HTC opted for a 3.7-inch AMOLED screen with 800 x 480 pixels. It is bright, colorful, easy to read in sunlight, and is one of the better displays I've seen on any mobile device. The high pixel count means pictures, video, text, icons, graphics, documents, and Web pages all look their best. I watched several movies on the device, and was extremely pleased with the quality. The Incredible far surpasses the iPhone when it comes to quality of video playback.

What's most important about the Incredible's design and hardware is that none of it gets in the way. It all just works, and lets the user do what he/she wants without any trouble.

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