The highly anticipated HTC Incredible was well worth the wait. This miniature powerhouse not only looks prettier than a stack of Monets, but also smokes most smartphones when it comes to performance.
Weighing in at 4.6 ounces and spanning a mere 2.3 x 4.6 inches and .47-inches thick, the diminutive device feels sleek and almost toy-like in hand. The black body, festooned with stylish red flourishes, makes it hard to slap on a protective case. The sleek look is enhanced by the buttons, which are flush with the surface of the 3.7-inch, 480 x 800-pixel OLED touchscreen (except the optical joystick).
With a 1-GHz Snapdragon processor, the Incredible is so speedy, it makes the Flash look like a morbidly obese couch-jockey. An iPhone took about 16 seconds to fully load Wired.com; the speedy Incredible browser took a mere five seconds. And speaking of which, the Incredible supports the Flash Lite 4.0, so you won’t see any of those annoying blue Lego icons that pop up when browsing on the iPhone.
While the Incredible took about 37 seconds to boot up (compared with iPhone‘s 22), it was much speedier during use. Scrolling through menus, activating apps and the like all took much less time.
The Incredible runs Android 2.1, the latest version of Google’s mobile OS. It also has seven screens that you can customize to your liking with pre-installed or downloadable widgets and programs. Designated buttons for Menu, Homescreen, Back and Search make navigation easy.
The optical joystick — a touch-sensitive button that allows you to scroll and select items — is a bit tricky at first but we found ourselves warming up to it after a few days.
Compared with other touchscreen phones, the display was very responsive to our swipes. And the shiny screen didn’t accumulate finger sludge nearly as fast as an iPhone. Performance outdoors is poor however: The Incredible’s screen gets washed out to the point where it’s not readable in direct sunlight.
The 8-megapixel camera with LED flash performs so well, we abandoned our trusty Canon point-and-shoot in favor of the Incredible’s photo and video-capturing skills. Colors are vivid and there’s surprisingly little noise. When you’re done playing Jimmy Olsen, you can upload your images via Bluetooth to your computer, or to Facebook, Flickr, Peep or Picasa, and share them with anyone willing to look.
We were able to stream radio shows and watch videos with ease. A minor gripe: YouTube clips don’t play fullscreen. Pleasingly, the battery lasted for two days of moderate use; if you’re a phone-attached-to-the-ear type person, you’ll definitely need a daily charge.
The phone’s name might be a tad pretentious but we’ll be damned if it doesn’t live up to it. If you’re a Verizon customer looking to upgrade to Android, this is one of the finest phones available on that network we’ve yet seen.