First Impressions: HTC Droid Incredible (from a DROID owner's perspective)


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  1. sooper_droid12

    sooper_droid12 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I thought I would provide other DROID owner's with a first impression of the HTC Incredible. Getting your hands on an HTC Incredible might be a little difficult. My buddy pre-ordered his as soon as it was available for pre-order and received it a bit ahead of schedule yesterday -- 3 days, ahead of schedule. So, with a brief hands-on with the device, here's how it measures up with our DROID:

    Form Factor/Design
    Obviously, the two are different form factors. One's a slab, the other's a candy-bar. One's fully touchscreen, the other incorporates a full-QWERTY slider. What you'll probably be pleased to hear is that the Incredible is not that much thinner than our DROID. It's thinner, but it doesn't look thin like, say, an iPhone looks sitting on a table, floating almost. The Incredible very much has that "Droid" look -- squarish, unabashedly industrial.

    How much thinner it is depends on where you're measuring. As I suspected, the camera lens on the back of the Incredible juts out and so at the top of the device, it's almost the same thinness as the DROID. Since it doesn't lay flat, the bottom of the device is notably thinner. Conservative estimates are about 2-3mm different.

    Plasticky is an accurate. The back of the phone doesn't have that nice tactile feel of the DROID (and the topographic feature is hideous), but it is considerably lighter, almost toy-ish. What I will say is that this phone will be pocket friendly (not back pocket of your pants, per HTC's recommendation). It's a shirt pocket friendly phone. The DROID is a brick when it comes to this battle, but that has a lot to do with the all-metal chassis and requirements to be a slider.

    Interface
    The touchscreen is very responsive. Compared to my experience with the Nexus One, the four soft keys at the bottom were DROID-like responsive. No double tapping, re-aiming your touch shenanigans. The touchscreen tracked really well with finger inputs and I didn't have any issues with it.

    Sense UI on the Incredible is... well, incredible! It's so fast; it's so slick. Any Eris owners or Hero owners are going to want to jump to this phone. It makes those devices look silly running Sense. Speaking about speed...

    Performance
    I don't know what HTC did. Maybe they optimized Sense UI to utilize the GPU more, since the release of 2.1 Sense coincided with Google's release of the NDK. Whatever it is they did, this device is the FASTEST Android device I've had the pleasure of playing with (even compared to the Nexus One). The page-to-page transitions are so fast, so fluid. Opening apps and widget functions are so quick. They happen almost instantaneously.

    I did a non-scientific test of speed versus my DROID with the following things:

    1) Beautiful Widget vs. HTC Widget: With BW, you know if you press the weather image, it brings up the 4-day forecast? In a side-by-side comparison between BW and HTC, pressing on the weather image INSTANTLY opened the 3-day forecast. Okay, maybe not instantly, but like, in a second. Whereas, the DROID was easily 2-3x slower.

    Okay, okay, you're probably thinking, apples to oranges. BW isn't HTC and I'm sure there are intrinsic differences...

    2) Market: So, I thought, level the playing field, let's open up an app like the Market app. I have to say, the same results -- Incredible was 2-3x faster than the DROID.

    3) Browser: Opening the browser was very similar between the two phones. Navigating pages was not too dissimilar though, with both phones pulling 3G signal. Speaking of 3G signal, I did note that the DROID was pulling a stronger 3G signal than the Incredible. Where I would have 2-3 bars of signal, the Incredible was waffling between 0-1 bars. Perhaps, the Incredible has inherited the weak 3G antennae of the Nexus One, but VZW's service compensates for it?

    Incidentally, just to give you an idea of how good Helix is on the DROID. I have to say that the screen-to-screen transitions between the two phones were JUST AS smooth and just as fast. Furthermore, my DROID was carrying more than a handful of widgets, in addition to folders, apps, etc. while the Incredible had a few empty screens and two widgets running.

    Screens

    I have to say that the Incredible's screen looks better than any of the other OLED implementations I've seen in the past (Nexus One, Omnia II). That's weird to me because they're the same OLED. There was less perceivable yellowing that what I've seen in the past. But like all accounts have said, the screen is colorful, clear and vibrant. But how does it compare to the DROID's screen?

    Honestly, I've had the same qualms about the OLED screen ever since I laid eyes on it with the two devices I mentioned above. 1) It's useless on a sunny day. With yesterday being the first sunny day after a series of torrential downpours, it was an issue. 2) The display is clear, but it's definitely not as SHARP as the DROID's screen. There is the same sort of "grid"/"pixel" look to the screen I just can't stand.

    Contrast, I would say was on par with the DROID. Blacks are definitely blacker, but even at ~30% brightness, the DROID's LCD was just qualitatively better, in my eyes than the OLED at the same setting. Don't get me wrong, OLED is an outstanding display, but the DROID's display is still hands down, the best LCD implementation on a smartphone and to me, the sharpness is unrivaled, even by the Incredible.

    What I do like about the Incredible's display, which is naturally going to be an advantage of the OLED is the actual distance from display to glass is much less than the DROID's. What I mean by that is, if you look at the DROID's image, you can tell it is at a distance from the glass surface, whereas the Incredible's is so close to the glass it's like you can touch the image.

    Conclusions
    I will still have to play with it some more to give a full, in-depth review of the device's features, but I am seriously impressed by the Incredible's speed vs. the DROID and I would venture to say even faster than my experience with the N1. I'm sure it has something to do with making more use of the GPU. Opening things like the camera was a pleasing experience, compared to the "pure" Android implementation, even if dark performance is still lacking (like the DROID).

    So after playing with the phone, would I recommend it? I think I'm still holding firm to my initial, pre-test assessment of the device. If you're on the fence about an Android phone, get the Incredible. It will be a satisfying experience. If you're an iPhone user, looking to jump ship, pick up the Incredible, it will rock your world. If you're an owner of a DROID wondering if you should drop it and pick up the Incredible, I say, "Wait."

    It's a great phone, no doubt, but it has its limitations. It doesn't represent that large of a step forward to necessitate a change of device. With the next version of Qualcomm's chip slated for a Q3/Q4 release in smartphones, LTE and Android releasing another 12-15 phones by year's end, no reason to ditch the DROID now.
     

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  2. Lock-N-Load

    Lock-N-Load Well-Known Member

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    well done.. thanks for the review
     
  3. 3devious

    3devious Well-Known Member

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    If you and your friend have time, could you compare non Helix Droid vs non Helix Incredible. Also, is your Droid stock or did you root and overclock it? I am just wondering how much longer of a shelf life the Droid will have. HTC came out with a slider... and promptly said that it was GSM. Also, if LG makes an android device with a keyboard, I am on it!
     
  4. edge

    edge Well-Known Member

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    I heard it can play videos on hulu but my moto droid can't. Why not. Don't they both run 2.1?
     
  5. CegAbq

    CegAbq Well-Known Member

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    Good review - thanks.
     
  6. gwlaw99

    gwlaw99 Well-Known Member

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    I played with an Incredible today and It felt much lighter and more comfortable in my hand. It is more "plasticy," but overall it was more comfortable for me. Screen scrolling was very fast and smooth, but the HTC sense has always been this way. Even the Eris was faster in this regard than the droid. The screen was beautiful, but looked a bit dim compared to the Droid. I did not see it in sunlight. The browser was fast and pinch soom and auto-fit worked perfectly. The browser doesnt have one feature. My personal preference is that text auto-fit does not activate until a double tap, that way if you zoom in on a picture, auto-fit doesn't move the picture off the screen.

    Would I swap my droid for it? Only if I wanted to stop playing games with the Droid. After getting my Game Gripper--I could not use a touch screen for games again. If I did not play games, I would choose the Incredible, but I wouldn't burn an upgrade on it (will need at least Evo specs for that). Such is life in the world of gadgets.
     
  7. Fabolous

    Fabolous Superuser VIP Member

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    I think something's off about the way the Incredible reports signal strength through bars. Some reviews I've read state that while the bars were low (1 to 2), the signal (dBm) was actually fairly strong.

    Did you happen to compare the actual signal strengths by going into settings, about phone, status?

    I'm curious, because my dad's up for an upgrade in a couple months and this phone is probably the one I'd recommend to him unless there are signal issues, as his office is somewhat of a VZW deadzone. Then...I'd make him get the Incredible for me and I'd give him my Droid, lol :D
     
  8. Crazy_J

    Crazy_J Well-Known Member

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    Damned good question. With the incredible coming clocked at 1ghz how long until it too gets rooted and oced if possible.
     
  9. Fabolous

    Fabolous Superuser VIP Member

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    It's got the same processor as the Nexus, which has been overclocked to roughly 1.1-1.2 GHz.

    When you start so high, there's not too much more room to go, at least on the current gen of Snapdragon processors.
     
  10. rushmore

    rushmore Well-Known Member

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    The reception issue is my big concern. I preordered an Inc and pick it up at BB tomorrow. Will also get a Droid to compare. I think the Inc's radio may be wimpy, compared to to Moto Droid. Too much trending info to not consider this.

    "Blind" fanboys will like it if terrible radio, but coverage is huge for me. Droid I tested worked EVERYWHERE in Kentucky that I tried it. Inc needs to perform the same way. This is not the first person to make the radio comparison comment.
     
  11. captaincanada84

    captaincanada84 Well-Known Member

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    Great job with the review. I'm not buying an Incredible myself, but it was interesting to read about it from the opinion of another Droid user.
     
  12. sooper_droid12

    sooper_droid12 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I will try this the next time I get a chance, but from my experience, stock has been pretty comparable to Helix. Helix incorporates Sense like scrolling, so while the speed may be the same, the smoothness is enhanced. My DROID is bone stock, not rooted and not overclocked... yet. These are all post-contract plans, but at the moment, it's not.

    As far as DROID's shelf-life, it's got the shelf-life of most smartphones -- about a year. Remember that our version of the OMAP SOC is contemporary to this generation of the Snapdragon in the N1/Desire/Incredible. The second generation OMAP and Qualcomm chips will be hitting the market late Q3/Q4. In that regard, any of the current smartphones will be a generation behind.

    I will be sure to do this next time. I didn't think about it because I was so pre-occupied gushing over the new tech. I think you'd understand :) But yeah, I'll add it to the list. What I want to do though, is check the signal strength where signal strength would otherwise be hard to come by. I noted the difference while in another buddy's house, in a rural area, in his basement. Can't get more confounding than that!

    This is true. I heard that right now, they have OC'd the Snap to tops 1.13GHz. Remember, the Snap runs UP TO 1GHz. Ti issued a statement saying that the DROID's chip can run upwards of 1GHz as well, but at a detriment to power consumption and some stability. This is why 800MHz has been found to be the sweet spot.
     
  13. cggorman

    cggorman Well-Known Member

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    That means your percieved performance difference will evaporate once Rooted and OC'd... HUGE...MAJOR difference. HUGE.











    Did I say it was quite a difference?:D
     
  14. 3devious

    3devious Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry that we ended up asking you to do more work after you put the time into writing a nice review. Your post just made us really interested and eager to make a bunch of different comparison.

    Thank you for sharing that information. I'm mostly curious about the Incredible. I love it when a good phone comes out whether I end up with it or not.
     
  15. sooper_droid12

    sooper_droid12 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Trust me. The temptation is there. Perceived difference is one thing. There is actual benchmark data that confirms clock-for-clock, the OMAP chip is very potent. Trust me, it's very, very tempting. And once contract is up, I'm running, not walking, running to root and OC will be the first thing I do.
     
  16. cggorman

    cggorman Well-Known Member

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    Would you say the pixelation visible in the Incredible display is the same as on the Nexus One? Caused primarily by the PenTile pixel geometry?

    That is the major deciding factor that drove me to the Droid (instead of N1) in the first place. Man, Do I LOVE the Droid display. Wish I could get it in a 60" version...
     
  17. potatolover1102

    potatolover1102 Well-Known Member

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    By the time your new contract is over their will be droid and incredible 2 lol. Root will mean nothing lol.
     
  18. CegAbq

    CegAbq Well-Known Member

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    ditto
     
  19. Fabolous

    Fabolous Superuser VIP Member

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    Yeah, the Incredible uses the exact same AMOLED screen as the N1. What has changed from the N1 though is the multitouch controller, which is a much improved, newer version than the one in the N1.

    This video does a nice job of demonstrating:

    YouTube - Droid Incredible multitouch test
     
  20. cggorman

    cggorman Well-Known Member

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    OH! Crap, I thought the Incredible had the same screen as the HD2...

    Nevermind, then. Pass. LOL
     
  21. terry.g.johnson

    terry.g.johnson New Member

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    I have had a Droid since day one and love it, however being a gadget wonk I'm temped by the Incredible. That said I have concerns about the screen and the speaker on the Incredible. I use the navigation feature daily with the Droid mounted to the car mount attached to the windshield. I find the screen adequate(marginally) in bright sunlight and fear that the Incredible screen would not work in this "killer" application. The Droid speaker is loud enough to work in this navigation mode and as an alarm clock in the desk mount. I also use the speaker and Pandora (when no one else is around) with the phone on my belt. Once again the volume is adequate and the sound quality is good enough that I prefer this mode to wearing ear phones. The question is, how will the Incredible perform in these applications?
     
  22. rdillz

    rdillz Well-Known Member

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    Excellent review! Thanks for sharing.

    Just as I thought, its not enough of an upgrade over the Droid, to spend $550+ for slightly better performance. I am dying for more RAM though! But I'll wait. All plastic body and no media dock for the Incredible are deal breakers for me as well.
     
  23. Redflea

    Redflea Well-Known Member

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    Really well done review...the part I'm most interested in for any follow-up you can do is regarding actual reception strength and how bad is the screen in bright sunlight. I'm thinking about recommending the Incredible for my wife (she would love the lighter weight aspect) but her particular office location has bad service, so she needs as good a signal as she can get...
     
  24. derek533

    derek533 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review. My biggest concerns regarding the Incredible, are signal strength and battery life. You have confirmed (sort of) the signal strength issue. Over in the Incredible forum, battery stamina is being reported as all over the place.

    Hmm, very intersting indeed.
     
  25. snapcase

    snapcase Well-Known Member

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    Nice review. And cool video about the multi-touch. While the Incredible is pretty nice looking, I still like my Droid. The one big thing that doesn't make me want to move away from the Droid is the screen. None of the others have as nice of a screen. Sure it'd be nice to have a bit faster of a phone, and that improved multi-touch, but I'd still wind up disappointed with those OLED screens.
     

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