The original Droid Incredible was released as the third wave in Verizon’s push to battle Apple’s iPhone with modern, capable Android phones. Though its internals and display were almost plucked straight from a Nexus One, the exterior of the device took on a more aggressive and playful tone, with crimson red accents around the camera and under the battery cover. The 1 GHz Snapdragon SoC, large (for the time) 3.7” AMOLED display, and cutting edge 8MP camera made the phone worthy of its place as a ‘halo’ device on Verizon. But that was when ‘halo’ devices had just a few months in the spotlight before being replaced by the next best thing.  

A lot has changed in the 30 months since the Incredible’s premier, but the family resemblance is hard to miss on the Droid Incredible 4G LTE. Released as the third iteration of the Incredible line, the Incredible 4G foregoes the new styling and philosophy of HTC’s One series, maintaining instead the classic Incredible styling of the past, advanced ever so incrementally. The back is defined by its odd hump made of soft-touch plastic, and now featuring a ribbed texture to improve grip. The red accents persist on the power button, front speaker grill and around the camera lens (and the superfluous Beats logo), but beneath that battery cover is just an expanse of matte black. The edge of the device is rimmed by black chromed plastic, and the now 4” display sits raised above the main body, and with a raised edge to protect it when laid face down. HTC has opted for dedicated capacitive buttons, in the now familiar ICS locations, and a large Verizon logo is planted above the screen. 

The bottom of the device is otherwise bare but for the voice mic, while the top has a second mic for noise cancellation and stereo audio recording, along with the power button and headphone port. The volume button is now on the right side (when viewing the screen in landscape), and isn’t quite as raised or distinguishable from the surrounding plastic as I’d like; the left side sports just a microUSB port. The battery cover retains the HTC legacy, being thick and laden with antennas; this in contrast to Samsung’s battery covers which tended to be almost terrifyingly flimsy. Beneath it you’ll find a microSD slot and the microSIM tray, and a respectable 1700 mAh battery. With the same power-sipping 28nm internals (and underclocked at that) of the One S, and One X for AT&T, that battery should do the Incredible 4G justice, but more on that later.

Physical Comparison
  Apple iPhone 4S HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE HTC One S HTC One X (AT&T)
Height 115.2 mm (4.5") 121.9 mm (4.8") 130.9 mm (5.15") 134.8 mm (5.31")
Width 58.6 mm (2.31") 61.0 mm (2.4") 65 mm (2.56") 69.9 mm (2.75")
Depth 9.3 mm ( 0.37") 11.7 mm (0.46") 7.8 mm (0.31") 8.9 mm (0.35")
Weight 140 g (4.9 oz) 132 g (4.66 oz) 119.5 (4.22 oz) 129 g (4.6 oz)
CPU Apple A5 @ ~800MHz Dual Core Cortex A9 1.2 GHz Dual Core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 1.5 GHz Dual Core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260A 1.5 GHz Dual Core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960
GPU PowerVR SGX 543MP2 Adreno 225 Adreno 225 Adreno 225
RAM 512MB LPDDR2-800 1 GB RAM 1 GB LPDDR2 1 GB LPDDR2
NAND 16GB, 32GB or 64GB integrated 8 GB NAND with up to 32 GB microSD 16 GB NAND 16 GB NAND
Camera 8 MP with LED Flash, Front Facing Camera 8 MP AF/LED Flash, VGA front facing 8 MP with AF/LED Flash, VGA front facing 8 MP with AF/LED Flash, 1.3 MP front facing
Screen 3.5" 640 x 960 LED backlit LCD 4.0" 960 x 540 Super LCD 4.3" 960 x 540 Super AMOLED 4.7" 1280 x 720 LCD-TFT
Battery Internal 5.3 Whr Removable 6.46 Whr Internal 6.27 Whr Internal 6.66 Whr

At nearly a half inch thick, the Incredible 4G is making no feints towards svelteness, and while HTC devices never feel plasticky and cheap, their design language has moved forward, yet this device remains in the past. But with updated internals, and a display whose only concession is size, this phone shouldn’t be a slouch. But is there really a place for a mid-range phone in todays market? Let’s dig-in and find out. 

 

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  • lunarx3dfx - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    It will be interesting to see what happens with the new iPhone, but just like Mac vs. Windows, Google and Microsoft can only do so much to optimize for devices considering how varied they all are. Throw in some LTE radios and things get even more interesting. On that point though, I have a Galaxy Nexus and a Focus Flash, and I was completely impressed by the battery life Microsoft was able to squeeze out of Windows Phone. Of course, they restrict what SoC's manufacturers are allowed to use.

    As far as Android is concerned, I don't know which phone you have, but my Galaxy Nexus running the stock rom but rooted outlasts my girlfriends iPhone 4S in battery life. With Android devices, it has been my experience that battery life truly varies device to device.

    As far as UI responsiveness, Google started to fix that with ICS and have made it almost perfect if not perfect on Jellybean. However, you can't really blame them yet again for how laggy Android has been in the past considering the fact that hardware acceleration for the UI was pretty much not an option until ICS was released. Anything running ICS or higher has to be designed to a standard, meaning a GPU that can handle hardware acceleration.

    Microsoft and Google have a much more difficult task than Apple when it comes to designing, maintaining, and improving their mobile OSes because of how varied the hardware is. They don't have the option to optimize to the extent that Apple does. Considering that I think they have both done a fantastic job so far, and it is only getting better.
    Reply
  • sssbbb - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    What's 3G? Reply
  • legoman666 - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    How is that a $150 phone + 2 year contract is considered budget whereas a $200 phone + contract is not? The difference after 2 years is a whole $50 out of approximately $2300.

    Please stop ignoring the cost of contracts in your consideration.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    Doesn't he say clearly enough that the difference is just 50$, and this is not very much - from where ever you look at it. And that difference remains, whatever else you're spending on the phone, contract etc. Reply
  • tbutler - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    Except that the contract cost is going to be the same no matter which phone you choose. So by reductio ad absurdum, phone cost should never matter, because it will always be a small fraction of the contract cost.... right?

    But, y'know, people do care about these things for some strange reason.
    Reply
  • bill4 - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    With these absolute garbage Motorola and HTC droid phones-usually incredibly overpriced too boot-, being their "flagships".

    I mean this thing is pathetic by todays standards, 960X540? I'm not surprised it's overpriced too, Verizon phones always are. I'm actually shocked they only charge 199 for the GS3 instead of 299 like they usually charge for top phones, but I think they just didnt want to look horrible compared to the other carriers on that one, if they could have gotten away with it they probably would have priced the GS3 at 399 on contract.

    I still remember when Verizon had the "HTC Thunderbolt" and everybody thought it was so awesome, ATT got the same phone a little later called the inspire for $100 less and nobody cared, because ATT customers dont have nothing but garbage to choose from on a regular basis.. I think Verizon customers rival Apple for their love of being overcharged.

    Verizon is absolutely awful.
    Reply
  • danjw - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    So Verizon made HTC nerf their version of the HTC One XL? Most of the benchmarks seem to come in worse then her counter parts on AT&T and Sprint. Epic fail Verizon! Reply
  • chrnochime - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    I'd be happy with a 4" screen phone instead of something even larger. I don't use the phone to play games and nurture my fb page every 10 minutes like a lot of people do or even browse that often, so anything larger is just too bulky to carry around.

    Looks like I'd end up with an iphone, if there's nothing that's not huge running android in a few months...
    Reply
  • geniekid - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    Too bad about the battery life. I really want a 4 to 4.3" phone, but form is secondary to battery life for me. As it stands, I'll probably give up one-handed usability for battery life by getting the SGS3. Reply
  • amdwilliam1985 - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    One-handed usability with SGS3 is very possible. Don't get fool by the Apple cool-aids about 3.5" one-handed and >3.5" 2-handed.
    I'm surprise to see a lot of girls in the NYC subway using SGS3 with 1 hand, if they can do it you can too. It just takes some time to get use to it. But once you got used to it, you can't look at or type on a puny 3.5" anymore. Trust me, I went from 3.5"(iPhone 3gs) to 4.5"(TMobile SGS2) and I can't go back anymore.
    Reply

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