HTC Droid Incredible Review: More Like Impressive

The Droid Incredible follows HTC’s standard remix formula: Two parts existing phoneware—Android 2.1 with Sense, speedy processor—one part fresh spice—Verizon’s network.

To proceed directly to the spoilers, this is the best Android phone you can buy on Verizon, which, at the very least, makes it the best smartphone you can buy on Verizon. It’s also possibly the best Android phone you can buy in the US for now—with the caveat that running a custom user interface introduces the high possibility it will get screwed on future Android updates from Google, as owners of HTC’s other custom Android phones could attest to, still waiting patiently for the update to 2.1 themselves.

Sense and Desire, Revisited

The Incredible is essentially the same as the Europe-only Desire, but shoved in a black-and-red hot rod body with a pumped up 8-megapixel camera, running on Verizon’s network. It’s got the same Android 2.1 plus Sense interface combo, which adds a few new features over the old version, such as the OS X Expose-like “Leap”—pressing home or pinching zooms out with a swooshy animation to reveal all seven of your desktop screens—and Friend Stream, which aggregates news feeds from Twitter, Facebook and Flickr into a single flow.

Since we’ve already covered that ground in detail, if you wanna know about the software, I’d check out our earlier review, which covers all of that ground. The two bits I’ll note separately about the software is that it’s got the most usable Android touch keyboard in existence, and it’s remarkably fast and responsive—like the fastest I’ve ever seen an Android phone running the Sense interface. It’s almost shockingly fast, actually.

HTC Droid Incredible Review: More Like Impressive

The Hardware

The Incredible might be the world’s first mullet phone: flat, straightforward business in the front, stylized rubber party in the back. In fact, if you pop the back condom off (it’s got ridges and it’s rubber, it’s basically a hard condom), the Incredible’s hot-rod red underneath. It saves the phone from verging into boring-as-hell territory. Slightly thicker than a Nexus One or iPhone, but lighter, it feels (and looks) chintzier than both.

The phone’s face is its 800×480 AMOLED display, with four capacitive touch buttons and an optical joystick. The display appears to be the same as the Nexus One, a super-saturated crowd pleaser, which also happens to have a few color reproduction issues. Running the test patterns, the Incredible also showed the same kind of color fringing that the Nexus One has. For all but the nerdiest of people though, it’s a non-issue. It’s a really pleasant screen to feast your eyes on, even if it’s not producing the most technically accurate colors.

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