Verizon Wireless HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE Review

A couple of years ago, it seemed like everyone I knew with an Android smartphone was using the HTC DROID Incredible. I can recall seeing people with one nearly every where I went. It was at the time -at least in my area- a very popular smartphone. HTC followed it up by releasing the DROID Incredible 2 a year later, and I knew a few people that upgraded to it. In fact, I have a couple of friends that are still using a DROID Incredible 2 today. So there is no doubt that this line of phones has been successful for HTC and Verizon.

Now Verizon Wireless has released the HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE, a device that not only has an impressively long name, but also offers several improvements over it’s predecessors. Read on for our full review.

Design & Hardware:

The overall design of the HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE is rather attractive in my opinion and it reminds me a lot of the two older models. The back of the device is made of a black soft-touch plastic and features a oddly shaped bulge with grooves, which provides a good feeling and secure grip. The phone is nice and compact when compared with some of the other Android smartphones available, and the small size combined with the well thought out battery cover makes for a device that simply feels great in the hand.

   

   

Going around the device, you will find the power button, secondary microphone and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top. The volume rocker is on the left side, while the micro USB charge/sync port is on the right. The main microphone is located on the bottom of the phone. On the rear you will find the 8 megapixel camera with LED flash and the main speaker. Removing the battery cover will expose a user-replaceable 1700mAh Battery, the NFC antenna and slots for a microSD card and a micro SIM card. The front of the Incredible 4G is dominated by a 4 inch display, just above it is a VGA front facing camera, while three Android buttons (Back, Home and Recent Tasks) reside directly below it.

Screen:

The Incredible 4G has a 4 inch display, which almost seems small when compared with some of the other Android smartphones out there these days. In some ways, I actually liked the smaller size, it makes for a device that is comfortable to stow away in your pocket and easily managed with one hand. The only times I wished for more screen real-estate was when watching videos or playing games. For those two tasks, the phones with larger screens have an obvious advantage, but for the majority of what I use my phones for, the Incredible 4G’s screen was the perfect size.

The display itself features a qHD resolution of 960 x 540 pixels (275 ppi). I found the display to be pretty good looking, with bright, vivid colors and sharp text. It isn’t the best looking display I have ever seen on a phone, but it certainly isn’t bad either.

Performance:

The HTC DROID Incredible 4G is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4  processor and comes with 1GB of RAM. This combination works great at providing a fast and smooth experience. Launching or switching between apps happens with no noticeable delay and navigating menus or scrolling long lists is smooth and without lag. The included hardware handled the most graphic intensive games available with ease and scored well with every benchmark I tried.

   

Battery:

HTC equipped the DROID Incredible 4G with a 1700mAh battery that has no trouble lasting the majority of day. Battery life is determined by a bunch of variables, such as what you use the phone for and how good the coverage in your area is. So its impossible for me to say that any phone will last everyone all day, but I can tell you that the Incredible 4G had no problems lasting a full day of use for me.

Call Quality & Data:

I haven’t encountered any issues while using the Incredible 4G for making or receiving calls. Calls sounded great on both ends, volume levels from the earpiece and the rear speaker were good, and I didn’t have any dropped calls. The DROID Incredible 4G performed excellently as a phone.

Data speeds while on Verizon’s 4G LTE network were as impressive as usual. I experienced download speeds as high as 12.88 Mbps and upload speeds of 7.46 Mbps, which I am very happy with. I did notice that my review unit spent a lot of it’s time on 3G while inside my home or office, but quickly switched back to 4G LTE as soon as I step outside. This is common behavior for the 4G LTE devices that I have used in my area though, so I know it isn’t the phone at fault. It also wasn’t much of a concern for me since I have WiFi to use while indoors any way.

Software:

My Incredible 4G LTE review unit is currently running Android version 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and includes version 4.1 of HTC’s Sense user interface, which offers a lot of new features and tweaks over stock Android. Overall, I liked the latest version of Sense, it isn’t nearly as resource hogging or cartoonish-looking as some of the other OEM skins I’ve used in the past and it offers some nice customization options.

   

   

There are six different Scenes to choose from, they include the default Verizon Scene, HTC, Social, Work, Play and Travel. Each Scene applies different settings and widgets to your home screen based on what type of Scene it is.  For example, the Travel Scene features several clock faces with different time zones, while the Work Scene provides easy access to your emails, schedule and important contacts. On top of the different Scenes, you can customize the device further by selecting one of four skins, which will change how any of the six Scenes look.

Like other HTC devices, the Incredible 4G features Beats Audio integration. Once you have connected a pair of headphones to the Incredible 4G, a Beats Audio icon will appear in the notification bar, from there you have the option of toggling the feature on and off. I spent some time doing just that, and there is a noticeable difference in audio quality between the two settings. With Beats Audio on, songs become louder and voices sounded clearer. There is also heavier emphasis on both the low and high ends. In comparison, without Beats Audio enabled, the same songs sounded muffled and monotone. I am honestly impressed with how well the Beats Audio on the HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE works.

To compliment the Beats Audio integration, HTC included their new music app, which allows you to listen to all of your locally stored music as well as link to several streaming services such as Pandora, Google Music, TuneIn Radio and Slacker. This phone is great for anyone that loves music.

   

Besides the usual goodies that come with Ice Cream Sandwich, the device also comes with a selection of software from Verizon that includes Amazon Kindle, Amazon MP3, Verizon’s Apps store, Let’s Golf 3 HD, Mobile HotSpot, My Verizon Mobile, NFL Mobile, Real Racing 2, Slacker Radio, Slingbox, VCast Tones, Verizon Video, Visual Voice Mail, and VZ Navigator.

I haven’t heard anything official about a Jelly Bean update for the HTC DROID Incredible 4G yet, but based on it’s specs and release date, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a upgrade for this phone sometime in the future.

Conclusion:

There are a lot of things to like about the latest DROID Incredible. It offers fast performance, Verizon’s 4G LTE network and all day battery life in a small, attractive and affordable package. Verizon’s online price for the HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE is currently set at $99 with a new two-year agreement and after a $50 online discount. At that price, the DROID Incredible 4G is a bargain. I can confidently recommend this phone to anyone that is in the market for a compact Android smartphone that offers great performance at a affordable price.