HTC's Incredible 4G LTE gives Verizon a powerful flagship device to do battle with AT&T. Powered by Android, it hold its own against competitors like the Galaxy S3. But can it beat them?
I half-expected the Incredible to resemble the One X, but Verizon made extensive changes. What you're left with is a hybrid of the X and Incredible 2, with Big Red's fingerprints deeply-imprinted. Unfortunately, the Incredible is inferior to the X, and most of the differences highlight the X's strengths and the Incredible's weaknesses. For starters, the design. The X looks more like the Nexus, with sleek curves and a premium matte finish. The Incredible, meanwhile, comes with a texturized back. It's nice, but the red accents and soft-touch plastic haven't changed from the original Incredible. I expected at least a little innovation, and the capacitive buttons seem antiquated and unnecessary.
At the same time, the Incredible has a leg up on the X if you prefer a more compact device. I know the trend to bigger screens is in full force, but sometimes you just want to phone that's comfortable to hold with one hand. The Incredible is just that. A reasonable 4-inch display means the body is easier to cradle than its super-sized rivals. That said, it's also a lot chunkier, spanning half an inch in girth compared to the S3's svelte 0.3-inch profile and the X's 0.4-inch waist.
The screen, meanwhile, falls short. The 960-by-540 pixel resolution leaves you with a pixel density of 275-ppi, which translates to above average, but not mind-blowing detail. For comparison, the iPhone's Retina display boasts a 326-ppi density. Fonts can be jagged and the clarity disappoints, and even older models, like the Rezound, offer sharper definition, despite a larger size. Still, I was happy with the viewing angles and brightness level. The Incredible's screen lacks any major problems and it's decent, just not great. Whether it justifies the high price tag is another matter.
The 8-megapixel camera is the most incredible thing on the Incredible. It uses an f/2.2 aperture that captures a good amount of light. With the same great sensor as the one on the X, and photos come out sharp and vivid. The shutter clicks instantly and the dual-LED flash helps in low-light to clear up the room, so you don't have to worry about quality. On most phones, problems with quality are rooted in lighting -- but not here. It's exceptional. You can even take photos while recording 1080p video. Clips come out equally sharp, and the two-shooting option is wonderful if you're taping a soccer game and want some stills as well. Meanwhile, the 2-megapixel front-facing lens is adequate for video chat. But, as expected, it lacks the clarity to do anything else.
The Incredible runs on ICS, upgraded to adds refinements like gesture controls, a more streamlined interface and improvements to typing and spellcheck. Unfortunately, it also runs HTC's Sense 4.0 interface. The layer isn't a huge flaw, but frankly, I would have preferred a vanilla version of Android. Sense relies on horizontal "cards" to multitask, which is more hassle than it's worth. But it also adds some interesting touches, like pop-up tabs on menus. HTC also added Beats Audio to give a bass-heavy and fuller-bodied sound. It doesn't come with Beats headphones, though, so if you plan to listen to music, I'd suggestion you buy a pair. Sense features icons that are uglier than vanilla Android. I do appreciate Beats for louder music, but it was HTC Car mode that won me over -- it works great when you're driving, since it just gives you essential information in large font, so you don't have an accident while looking at notifications.
Verizon went a little overboard with the bloatware -- there are 15, mostly uninstallable, apps, and that's a bit annoying. I'm sorry, but I can't imagine anyone using VZ Navigator instead of Google Maps. But it's preloaded and stuck on the phone. The main draw, of course, is 4G LTE speeds, and Verizon offers arguably the fastest service around. The iPhone comes in just 3G, so the Incredible is a worthy contender if you're looking for speed.
A 1.2-gigahertz dual-core chip keeps everything running smoothly, and combined with the smooth software and blazing 4G LTE, you won't have to wait for anything. Okay, maybe one thing: you'll have to dawdle while it charges. The 1,700 mAh battery won't last a day with LTE turned on, so be sure to shut it off when you're not online. If you conserve power, you can eke out a day, but it's wise to pick up a charger for the car or office. The 5.2-gigabytes of storage, meanwhile, is paltry. But you can add up to 64-gigabyte with a microSD card -- so buy one.
At the end of the day, the Incredible is a strong device, but it commands a top-of-the-line price. That's steep, considering the screen is mediocre. The Rezound, instead, is decent alternative -- it also features an 8-megapixel camera, a fast-enough 1.5-gigahertz processor and runs on Verizon's LTE network. The Rezound doesn't run on ICS, though, but HTC plans to push out an upgrade soon. Other than that, the Incredible has no glaring flaws. If you're going to pay for a flagship phone, the X or the S3 are better choices, since they have the complete package, including the screen. ♦
I'll start with the exterior. The shell is pretty basic. It's black with red accents -- a bit boxy and feels just like previous Droids. The Galaxy S3 is definitely sleeker, whereas the Droid is, well... plain.
The overall size is just a bit larger than the iPhone 4S, but its 4-inch viewing area is nearly half an inch larger -- a definite plus. But at 960-by-540 pixels, it's significantly lower-quality than the S3's 1280-by-720 screen. But it's not bad.
While the S3's emphasis is on performance, the Incredible's is on entertainment -- specifically games, videos and music. It runs on a 1.2-gigahertz SnapDragon S4 chip, so things run pretty smoothly.
There 8-megapixel 28-millimeter lens take good, if not great, photos. A "Video Pic" feature lets you take photos while recording video. It's pretty nifty and you can also add effects with one-touch. A front-facing lens is decent for video chat. Paired with Verizon's 4G LTE, it works pretty well.
I listen to streaming radio, and the Beats Audio filters really make it sound great. Not just music, but everything. Beats sells a headset for $180, but it works well with any pair of headphones. Bass can be a bit heavy. But it's still clearer than anything else out there.
Rounding out the features, the Incredible has plenty of storage, plus a microSD slot, the battery offers enough juice for music and video. And Android 4.0 works like a charm -- especially with HTC Sense 4.0. There are some nifty apps, like a weather program that shows you trends in your area and notifies you of alerts.
Compared to the Galaxy S3, the Incredible is definitely more low-key. But it's still one of the best -- and one of the few running ICS. If you can afford the extra cash, I'd say the Galaxy S3 is a better choice. But given its price point, you really can't go wrong with this phone.
When recording audio, the playback sounds hollow. But other than that, I can't really complain.Was this review helpful to you?
Coming from the Incredible, the Incredible 4G LTE is even better and as good as advertised. The 4-inch display is smaller than most high-end devices, which is nice, because it fits easily in your hand or pocket. Don't worry, it's still large enough to comfortably watch videos and browse the web.
The 1.2-gigahertz chip and 1-gigabyte RAM make this phone super-fast. Since it runs on Android, the Google services that come on all Android phones are here too -- Google Maps blows Apple's Maps out of the water. You can customize the software to your liking.
The camera is much better than on the Incredible too. The photos are great indoors and out, and the video screenshot feature is really good. All that media needs storage, and it comes with a microSD slot that can take cards up to 32-gigabytes, so you'll have plenty of room for music, videos and other big files. The music sounds great with Beats Audio too. I've don't have problems with battery life, but I charge my phone every night.
I would have liked to see a unibody case like the one on the HTC One. It's not bad though. Also you won't be able to output video without a media link cable, which costs a ridiculous $75. There's also one annoying thing about its Android platform: if you want to close apps, you have to go into the settings. If you have too many apps running, the audio in videos starts to run out of sync. Maybe a problem with RAM.
Overall, I can't complain. The Incredible is still better than most phones being sold. If you prefer a bigger screen, then you may want to try another phone.Was this review helpful to you?
I used to own the original Incredible, and I just upgraded to the 4G LTE. The design and style of the 4G LTE, as well as the usability and customization are all vastly improved. And 4G is fantastic. I've only had the phone for a few weeks, but I've already fallen in love with ICS -- the facial recognition unlock feature is awesome and you can set custom shortcuts at the bottom of each screen for faster loading of apps and widgets. I put my favorites in each panel now, much easier to do that with previous Android versions. My old Incredible could take a beating, and I'm hoping the 4G LTE can do. It's a keeper.
One gripe I have is the Wi-Fi. It seems to have a mind of its own. It's random and sporadic, and I'm hoping Google releases a fix for the problem.Was this review helpful to you?
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