The 1GHz Snapdragon processor that powers the HTC Droid Incredible 2 is aptly named, because this smartphone is blazingly fast. There was no waiting at all when switching between apps, and apps also loaded very quickly, just a few seconds at most.
It’s somewhat disappointing that this model is launching with Android OS 2.2 (Froyo), and not the newer OS 2.3 (Gingerbread). Still, HTC has made some custom modifications that mimic what’s in the newer OS, such as the bounding tabs that make it easier to select text.
You’ll not find support Verizon’s 4G LTE service in the Incredible 2. That’s somewhat disappointing and helps solidify this as a mid-range model. It has 3G, of course, and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS, but those have become standard features on even the cheapest smartphones.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth work great, though getting my Wi-Fi connection set up was a bit more finicky than it should have been. I had to “forget” and then re-enter my user name and password to finally connect to my corporate network. The 3G Mobile Hotspot feature works flawlessly, allowing you to share your cellular connection with your laptop. There’s a definite emphasis on security here, as I don’t remember having to choose an 8 character minimum password before the Incredible 2. It’s a real battery hog, of course — I started from a full charge and the mobile hotspot function completely drained the battery in just over four hours.
Voice quality is good though not spectacular. In quiet environments, such as inside my home or office, the voice experience was extremely good. Outside, such as when I was walking to lunch, there were some issues with the party on the other end hearing the the cars passing by better than I could be heard. Granted I was walking along a rather busy street, but I’ve tested out other smartphones when folks on the other end couldn’t hear any road noise at all unless someone happened to honk their horn, etc.
An HTC app called FriendStream takes care of all of your social networking needs, unifying your Facebook and Twitter feeds into one coherent stream of information. You can also choose favorite people to pin to your homescreen using the Favorites widget. Tap their photo to see your latest text message conversation, and tap again to call, text, email, view their contact info, or view on Facebook or Twitter.
The email experience is great, as always; my one small problem of having to show pictures in each individual message is an issue with the Android OS, not the phone itself. The web browsing experience was also very pleasant, with fast loading pages (especially on WiFi, of course), and flash worked perfectly on the sites that I tested. No matter how complicated the site, it showed up quick, and the pick/zoom feature worked smoothly.
The productivity experience is the standard Google one on the Incredible 2. You’ll find the usual Calendar and contacts apps that you’ll find on any Android device, but there was no to do/task manager or notes application. There’s also a built-in calculator, of course.
The News application is pretty bare bones in the looks department, but it gets the job done, allowing you to keep up with all of your RSS feeds on the go. It does in with Google Reader if you’re already using it, keeping the same organization structure and folders.
Quickoffice is included for working with Microsoft Office files; you’ll have to store your documents on the included microSD card. Adobe Reader is also pre-installed so any PDF files you happen to receive as email attachments.
The navigation experience is good, whether you choose to use the standard Google Maps app or the Verizon Navigator. Verizon Navigator is a little slower than Google Maps, with more overhead, but it offers more information about local points of interest such as restaurants and gas stations, plus traffic reports. No matter which of the navigation apps I used, my location was pinpointed accurately and quickly.
There’s a lot you can do with the HTC Droid Incredible 2, from playing music and games to reading ebooks and taking photos and video. No matter what the entertainment category, please note that several apps have been added to the device. You’ll find the full suite of Verizon add-ons, for example, such as V CAST Apps, V CAST Media, V CAST Music, V Cast Tones, and V CAST Videos. The alphabet is our friend here, since all of these apps are way down at the bottom of the app list. They serve their purpose of course, but I suspect that most folks won’t really use any of them, preferring instead to go directly to the source with Amazon MP3, You Tube, and other services.
The standard Android Music player is included, plus Slacker Radio, and the expected V CAST Music as mentioned above. The music experience isn’t as good as it should be, due to a surprisingly average external speaker. I was expecting great things from the SRS WOW HD surround sound speaker, but the sound quality wasn’t very rich at all. It wasn’t horrible by any means, just not as good as I expected. Headphones offer a much better experience, and also enable you to use the built-in radio app by acting as an antenna.
The gaming experience is top notch. There are several demos preloaded onto the phone, including Let’s Golf 2 and Need For Speed Shift. Or perhaps I should call them demo icons, because tapping either one will inform you that a more than 100 MB download is necessary to launch the app, and that it would be a good idea to use WiFi. That’s somewhat misleading and a little frustrating.
I downloaded my usual set of freebie games to play on the Incredible 2, and they all look great. I was able to swap gems with abandon in Jewels and to navigate through the maze in Labyrinth very smoothly, with no glitches or frustrations. And if you’d rather read a book than play games, you’ll need to download the Amazon Kindle app because it wasn’t included on the device.
The 8-megapixel camera takes fantastic photos, making you look like a better photographer than you actually are. The camera has dual LED flash capability and I found it to take very good pictures in just about every circumstance. There’s an excellent zoom feature, and I’m glad to report that even when you use the strongest zoom settings to bring distant objects a little closer the photos still come out very well.
There’s a little loss of detail of course, and lighting issues are a little more pronounced, but it still works quite well to capture landmarks, buildings, and other shots that might otherwise be missed because there was no way to get close enough to take a better photo.
Focusing and taking the shot are very quick, so even when you’re trying to capture an action shot you might get better results than you were expecting. The camcorder function is capable of recording video in 720p for a great high definition experience.
While I can’t recommend that you use the Incredible 2 as your only camera to capture a once-in-a-lifetime event like a wedding, it’s plenty good enough to use as your daily point and shoot camera and camcorder.
Battery life has been a slight disappointment with the Incredible 2. It easily lasts all day, but I can only get halfway through the second day without having to recharge the phone. It’s nice not having to worry about it dying on me in the middle of the day when I start with a full charge, but it is definitely not a good idea to leave your charger at home even if you’re just going away on an overnight trip or for the weekend.