UPDATE: This preliminary review was written based on a relatively short time with this smartphone. A much more in-depth review has now been published based on extensive testing:
Verizon could soon have a new flagship smartphone: the HTC Droid Incredible. It will run Google’s Android OS on a very fast processor, as well as a range of other high-end features.
I’ve only had a couple of days with it, which I don’t think is enough time to write an in-depth review. Still, here is my first impression.
The Droid Incredible is going to have a tablet shape designed around a 3.7-inch WVGA (480 x 800) touchscreen. It will be an AMOLED display, the best type currently available, with colors that are more vivid and crisp than you’ll find on an LCD.
The design is a good compromise between pocketability and large screen size. At half an inch thick, it’s going to be thinner than many of its competitors.
To get this slender shape, there’s no physical keyboard. Instead, you will enter text onscreen. In my preliminary testing on a pre-release unit, I found that this works fine in landscape mode, but the tiny keyboard in portrait mode is almost more of a hassle than it’s worth.
Below the screen is an optical joystick. For me, this is only useful when writing text, since I can position the cursor with very fine precision. For most other tasks, tapping the screen with my finger was easier and faster.
The Droid Incredible is going to run Google’s Android OS 2.1 on a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon, one of the fastest smartphone processors available. There’s no doubt this model has outstanding performance. I put it head-to-head with my Motorola Droid, and the Incredible was consistently faster.
Layered on top of Google’s user interface is HTC Sense, which extends the standard UI with additional features, like more buttons and widgets. Possibly my favorite widget is the one for email, which makes it easy to quickly skim through your latest messages to do a bit of triage.
Thanks to the Android OS, this HTC model is going to include a highly-capable web browser, possibly the best available on any smartphone.
The Droid Incredible will offer a balance of productivity and entertainment software. Business users may be happy to read that it will be able to synchronize email, calendar and contacts with Microsoft Exchange Server, and come with a viewer for Microsoft Office files.
In addition, it allows you to synchronize messages and personal data with Google’s services, comes with music and video players, and supports Flickr to share and view photos.
Other High-End Hardware
The Droid Incredible is going be Verizon’s first with an 8 megapixel camera that will offer auto-focus and dual LED flash.
I tested the GPS receiver and Google Navigation, and it works well; it quickly locked in on the satellites, Google’s app was its usual excellent self, and the device’s internal speaker was loud enough that I could hear the turn-by-turn directions in my convertible.
Verizon’s 3G mobile broadband network is going to be a boon to this device, and it’s going to sport Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
In addition, the Droid Incredible is also is going to have 8 GB of internal storage and a microSD memory card slot.
At this point, I’m impressed with the HTC Droid Incredible. It’s good looking and powerful, and I expect it to sell very well on Verizon if you want a relatively slim Android OS smartphone with great performance.
A full review will be available on Brighthand.com after additional testing.
Pricing and Availability
Verizon Wireless is going to launch the HTC Droid Incredible April 29. It will cost $200 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement.
Customers will need to subscribe to both a voice and data plan. Nationwide Talk plans start at $39.99 a month, while Email and Web for Smartphone plans start at $29.99 for unlimited monthly access.