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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  • aNYthing24 - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    The One S has a Super AMOLED display, not a Super LCD. Reply
  • Omega215D - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    Kind of strange how battery life differs from other reviews. So far only a couple have said subpar life while more have gotten good to very good usage time. Could it be a problem with the phone itself? Well, it's nice to know my Rezound isn't too bad but I do like the designs of both the Incredible and Rezound. Reply
  • pikahatonjon - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    what is with the differences with the EVO 4G LTE & the Htc One X (att) in the contrast test.
    also, is the Tmobile Galaxy S 3 actually brighter than the At&t galaxy s 3. arent the 4 phones listed above pretty much identical to each other( one series & galaxy s series) what is with the huge diference in the brightness/contrast test
    Reply
  • Rockmandash12 - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    The One X has a Super LCD 2 display, not a TFT display. Reply
  • JimmiG - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    How many more years until Android phones can match the iPhone 4S in terms of 3G web browsing battery life?

    The Nexus One got 3.77 hours back in 2010 vs 4.5 hours for the iPhone 3G. Fast forward to 2012, and the iPhone 4S has more than doubled the battery life to 9.85 hours, while most Android devices have just barely caught up with the iPhone 3G.

    Clearly Apple uses the same batteries as everyone else, so it must come down to incredibly lazy programming and poor power use optimization on the Android side. Some OEMs have apparently taken it in their own hands to optimize battery usage (Samsung, HTC), but this should really be something provided by the core Android OS. Battery life should be the main focus on for the next version of Android!
    Reply
  • zorxd - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    The iPhone has a small display. It consume a lot less. AMOLED displays are also not very efficient for displaying white backgrounds found on many web sites.

    Android's battery life isn't bad. Just look at the cellular talk time.
    Reply
  • lunarx3dfx - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    What zorx said. You can't compare the iPhone and most Android phones Apples to Apples because of design differences. I'd be willing to bet money that if you had identical devices, the only difference being that one has an A5 and one has an S4, the S4 would wipe the floor with the A5 in every category except for maybe GPU performance.

    Not only is the S4 almost certainly more energy efficient due to be being a newer architecture, but it will also smoke it in terms of performance per watt.

    A5= Dual Cortex A9's @ 800 MHz
    S4= Dual Krait Snapdragons @ 1.5 GHz

    On top of clock speed Krait is the ONLY ARM based CPU on the market with out of order execution which is why it is faster than Quad Core CPU's (Exynos 4 and Tegra 3).

    Jimmi, I would recommend that you learn a bit about how all of this works before you comment again. The iPhone is a good device (although you couldn't pay me to use one), but in terms of theoretical performance it was out-dated before it was ever even announced.
    Reply
  • Phasenoise - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    He indicated, as the article states, that the iphone has superior 3g web browsing battery life.

    So, for him, perhaps picking display or CPU technologies which consume more power is a poor trade off. He doesn't appear to be interested in theoretical performance, just actual real world browsing usage which as we know is generally not Incredibly taxing (pun intended).
    Reply
  • lunarx3dfx - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    The reason I brought up performance, was to illustrate my point that Apple doesn't necessarily make a more efficient product as much as they use low power components. I'll admit that I did get a little lost in my own argument. Oops. Reply
  • JimmiG - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - link

    We will see when the next iPhone comes out with a much bigger display and higher clock speeds but still better battery life. The same thing can be seen with Windows vs OSX on laptops with similar specs - Apple simply spends more time optimizing the software side of their mobile devices.

    It's not limited to just AMOLED displays, and secondly, the CPU should not spend a lot of time at the highest clockspeed and voltage when you're browsing, especially with 3G which should be bandwidth limited. Unless of course the system is poorly optimized.

    I'm an Android user myself, and battery life is the Achilles heel of the system. At the end of the day, my Optimus 2X is down to ~15% of battery while coworkers' iPhones last for two days without charging. It was the same with the Nexus One before that.

    Just like the unresponsive and choppy user interface, it's important to realize when there's a problem that needs to be fixed.
    Reply

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