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HTC Incredible Review

 

HTC Incredible Review

 
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At this point, the HTC Incredible should seem like pretty familiar territory to our readers. We first caught wind of the device in a ROM leak back in December of 2009, and shortly thereafter saw lots of little snippets on the phone that made it clear it was headed our way. Of course, it's a potent combination that's been put together here -- an HTC-made, Verizon-locked device sporting a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, 8GB of internal storage, 748MB of ROM, a microSD slot (with support for up to 32GB cards), an 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash and autofocus, 480 x 800 AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, and most importantly, Android 2.1 with HTC's Sense UI on-board. The combo of America's largest (and some say best) 3G network with a super-fast, Sense-equipped Android phone is a match made in nerd heaven. We've seen a near-exact device in the HTC Desire -- basically the Incredible for the European market -- and the internals and screen technology are almost identical to the Nexus One, but the Incredible has a personality that's all its own. So is this the next killer device on the US market? Or have we heard this tune before? Read on for the answers you seek!

Hardware

As you've seen in the leaked photos (and more recently, press photos), HTC and Verizon have teamed up to make what looks like it would be a fairly tame, streamlined device into something decidedly edgier. Instead of going for a predictable smooth back, HTC has given the Incredible a tiered, weirdly angular soft-touch casing which the company says is meant to evoke the styling of a race car. We weren't immediately psyched on the concept, but after getting it into our hands, we'll admit that the decision wasn't completely crazy. It not only sets the device apart from its slate touchscreen contemporaries, but actually gives you a little something to hold onto when you've got the device in your grips. While it looks like this odd decision could add thickness to the phone, when we compared it side-by-side with the iPhone 3GS and Nexus One, they were all about even.

Beyond the racing flair, HTC has added some subtle red highlights on the phone (around the camera lens and on the ear-piece), but it's kept things pretty clean around the sides. Up top there's a sleep / power button on the left-hand side, a standard headphone jack on the right, and along the left side of the phone you've got a volume rocker and Micro USB connector. We definitely miss the inclusion of a dedicated mute switch on the recent crop of Android devices, and we wouldn't have complained about a camera button -- but those two minor niggles are certainly not deal breakers.

On the front of the device you've got that big, beautiful WVGA display, four touch-sensitive hard buttons (here arranged in HTC's familiar home, menu, back, and search configuration), plus an optical trackpad standing in for the typical trackball found on earlier phones. We were pleased to discover that the wonky sensitivity on the hard buttons we experience on the Nexus One were nowhere to be found here.

All in all, the Incredible looks and feels like a modern, sophisticated smartphone with a lot of that masculine edge that Motorola imparted to the Droid along with the curvy smoothness the Droid Eris sports. It's almost like the two devices mated (which kind of makes sense). It's a handsome phone, though we suspect some people will be bothered by the Verizon-inspired tweaks that have been made here.

Display

In general, the Incredible's display was very reminiscent of the Nexus One screen -- that should come as no surprise, they're identical -- though the touch response seemed notably better here, likely a software issue. Because these displays are the same, it means they share the same issues; we disliked the color intensity on the Incredible just as we did on the Nexus One. Reds and oranges, in particularly, look overwhelmingly saturated here, and other colors aren't truly represented. It's just too colorful, if you can believe it. Another somewhat major issue that we struggled with on the Incredible (just as we did on the Nexus One) was the awful screen visibility in bright daylight. We had numerous occasions where we simply could not answer a call or take a picture due to the AMOLED display's poor showing outdoors. In overcast settings (such as the one above) it was usually bearable, and If you crank the brightness all the way up on sunnier days you can get some visibility, though once you're outside and can't see the display, that's a bit of a challenge.

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