It’s pretty easy for me to gush wildly about Android phones as I’m a bit of a mobile technology geek. From my first mobile device the Apple Newton 130 to Microsoft Palm sized PC based competitors to the Palm Pilot, to my current favorite of Android based devices I’ve mostly kept on top of the current state of the art.
Of course I couldn’t always afford the latest and greatest, so like any geek worth their statistical prowess I’d read & re-read any materials I could find on my favorite mobile devices. Nowadays, that fascination and passion has turned to social media (sorry folks, you’re stuck with me), but mobile is one of the key technologies in our mobile lives and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t check out new things.
So when an opportunity to check out a new Smartphone or other piece of mobile tackle comes along, I’m all over it. Such is the case with Verizon’s Droid Incredible (by HTC).
The Incredible is an Android based Smartphone with host of great features. I’ll knock out some of the top items a techy geek like me thinks are important. It’s got a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 3.7” 480×800 AMOLED display, 8 megapixel camera with flash, and 1xEVDO rev. A 3G from Verizon. Things I’m taking for granted are here too: Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, Android 2.1 (Eclair), microSD (up to 32GB), push mail (Gmail/Exchange), and Micro USB connection/charger.
Personally I’m on my 2nd Android phone (the Nexus One), and have had the opportunity to use many others (Droid, Droid Eris, Hero, Cliq, MyTouch 3G, G1) so I felt pretty comfortable with the device. The phone is a “candy bar” style, meaning it’s basically a slab, and doesn’t have any flip-out or slide-out parts – and that’s a darn good thing in my book. Less stuff to break.
The large screen dominating the face of the phone is fantastic brightly lit and crystal clear, with flush touch-sensitive buttons for Back, Settings, Home, and Search built into the lower edge. An “optical joystick” is a nice alternative to the standard Android trackball, works well, and is intuitive in function.
Performance of this phone is excellent, matched only by the Nexus One, and probably by other phones based on the 1GHz Snapdragon processor. This alone makes Android exceptionally snappy and fun to use. Video streams play without stutters, and audio quality is flawless – either from the included 8GB microSD card, or streamed over a variety of wireless options.
Since this is an HTC device, sold by Verizon, it carries the signature HTC Sense UI. This enhanced interface that rides on top of Android, provides a bit more consumer-centric interface than the default one designed by Google. It also brings a uniformity of usability when you compare your Incredible to your friends Droid, Eris, or Hero and other HTC phones on other networks.
I didn’t use the camera too much, but it worked as expected and I thought the quality of the pictures was perhaps a bit better than on my Nexus One. This is probably due to the 8MP camera in the Incredible, and the ability to upload directly to Picasa was flawless. Below is a sample picture I took out the window.
That brings up another aspect of Android that folks like me take for granted. All Android phones, the Incredible included, are closely tied to Google online services. That’s not to say that you can’t use other services, and tools, but the integration of Gmail, Contacts, Calendar, Talk, Voice, and Picasa is impressive. This is what you’d expect from well planned online integration – something that each of these online services were not originally designed for but have developed into over time. The HTC Sense UI doesn’t break this as much as enhance it.
Here’s a few pics to show how the Incredible stacks up with a few Android phones I had lying around. (From left to right: T-Mobile G1, T-Mobile/Motorola Cliq XT, Google Nexus One, Verizon/HTC DROID Incredible)
Stacked up to show thickness.
(From top to bottom: T-Mobile G1, T-Mobile/Motorola Cliq XT, Google Nexus One, Verizon/HTC DROID Incredible)
There are a couple of personal opinions I want to share as well. One about the phone and one about Verizon & Skype.
- First, the case on this particular phone is as creaky as an old guy’s knee (I should know, I’m developing one). It’s probably because this is a promotional unit that’s seen several different people over the past couple weeks for review purposes – exactly why I have this one. But if the case gets this loose and “creaky” in few weeks use, what will it be like in year? Like I said, it could simply be this unit.
- Second, the relationship of Skype and Verizon – and my point is directed more at Skype than the big V. I really want to thank Skype for signing up with Verizon to only allow the Skype Android Client to be offered to Verizon customers only – what a bunch of bullshit. There are millions of Skype customers on Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and pre-paid networks too – thanks for leaving us out in the cold.
To conclude, the Verizon Droid Incredible is a great phone. It’s a sister to the much-vaunted and desired Google Nexus One, and is available and supported through Verizon. You can order the phone now, but don’t expect it to ship until May 14th – though I’ll tell you it’ll be worth the wait.