ThatJeffSmith

HTC Incredible Review

After waiting nearly six weeks to receive my Incredible, I can honestly say it WAS worth the wait.

Updated: Friday, July 16, 2010 Two Weeks Later…

I have had very few problems with the phone and have been able to successfully navigate around them. The very first problem was with activation.

  • Phone would not activate on its own.
  • First Verizon support guy would not activate my phone.
  • Second Verizon support guy, Chris, did activate it for me!
  • While I was waiting for my phone to activate, Chris did share with me two juicy bits of news:

  • The v2.2 OS, Froyo, is due out later this summer for the Incredible.
  • The update will also allow the video camera to capture 720p content, just like the upcoming Motorola X.
  • Chris said the Verizon folks had a training call with the HTC people, so take this gossip for what it’s worth.

    Let’s Talk About the Battery
    I can go about a day using this phone before a re-charge is required. I have not had the phone long enough to really know for certain how good or bad it is. By that I mean in the five days that I have had it, I have been using it way more than I usually would. Playing with apps, trying out features, etc. I think I am going to be OK, but I do feel better knowing that I have two larger extended batteries I can upgrade to – a huge advantage over phones where the battery is not accessible.

    Accessories
    I picked up a car charger, screen protector, snap-on hard cover, and 16GB microSD card to extend the storage capability of the phone. The hard cover is a must-have as it protects the protruding camera lense on the back of the phone. With it on, the camera is now recessed and not prone to be in contact with anything when you rest if on it’s backside. With corporate discounts, I have now invested about $100 into my Droid.

    Navigation
    Wow. This was one of the major reasons I was driven to the Droid: Google Maps and turn-by-turn navigation. My wife and I gave it a test run and it exceeded all of our expectations. It was much more accurate than our Garmin device (which is 3 years old), and just easy to follow the directions. I am pretty sure the traffic overlays is just going to be a toy for me, but it is nice to know it is there if you need it. It is extremely fast in re-calculating directions after you have missed a turn. I heard my wife utter ‘Wow’ at least three times in our short trip.

    Apps
    I found only two applications lacking from the phone, and I was able to alleviate that in a few seconds. Advanced Task Killer for managing running processes on the phone (not all apps have a Close/End/Stop feature) and AK Notepad for taking notes. The applications I wanted were very easy to find like Yelp, Pandora, and Flixster. The two disappointments I have ran into are:

  • No Tweetdeck
  • No iTunes – or any app that makes searching and buying music easy. Amazon MP3 is great, but not available for download with the Incredible. I was able to find the package for download off of a forum but I am not brave enough to install it outside the Droid App mechanism today.
  • Getting Used to the Phone
    My two points of reference are my old Blackberry 8830 World Edition and my wife’s Apple iPod Touch. Apple has Droid beat on the interface. The iPhone is intuitive enough that my Dad was able to use it on day one. It took me several hours to get the hang of the Droid, and I am afraid other people may not be wiling to put in the time to do the same.

    After a while I noticed that the phone is much easier to use than I originally thought. It is possible that I am actually trying to hard with the phone. For example I could not for the life of me figure out how to paste. I needed to get my phone on my my house’s WiFi network, which requires a 40 character key (another story, another blog!) So I emailed myself the key and copied it. When I went to paste it into the text box, I just could not figure out how to do so. So I turned to one of the Android Support Forums. The answer was staring at me right in the face. I only needed to finger press for a few seconds in the text box, and the ‘Paste’ command becomes available.

    Voice Input
    It was this feature that wow’d my wife into wanting a Droid phone of her very own. Anytime you need to type something, you also have the option of speaking it instead. I would say the Incredible is about 95% accurate. You could dictate emails instead of typing them if you are not fond of the touch keyboard. It works great even when there is a lot of background noise.

    Email/Contacts
    I had my Exchange/Hotmail/G-Mail/Twitter/Facebook networks setup and working in about five minutes. My only problem is the duplicate contact entries I now have where my Blackberry contacts were imported. A super-slick feature is the ability to ‘link’ a phone contact to an existing Facebook friend. This is great at filling in the gaps and getting head-shots of all of your phone entries.

    Twitter
    I know I said earlier I was dissapointed by the lack of Tweetdeck availability for this phone. However, the default client, ‘Peep’ is great. It blows the TwitterBerry app I was using on my BlackBerry out of the water. Another interesting app, ‘Friend Stream’ actually brings in posts from both Facebook and Twitter into a single ‘stream.’

    Camera
    I can use it. That’s about all I can say. People that know what they are doing when it comes to taking pictures will love it I am sure. I will use it post embarrassing pictures of my friends. Maybe if I see a famous person at an airport I will take a video.

    The camera lens is now flush with the phone b/c of the cover

    Music
    If I am disappointed with this phone in any aspect this would be it. The music playback fidelity is great. The problem is getting content onto the phone. I have to setup the phone as an external drive to my PC and drag files over. This is a drag, pun-intended. Once the files are moved, everything works great. You get cover-shuffle, search, and all that iPod fancy stuff you have gotten used to over the years. I will probably move files over every now and then when I get bored. Otherwise I will rely on the integrated FM radio and Pandora for my tunes. I will continue to travel with my iPod, esp as my iPod battery is good for 6-8 hours of continuous playback and holding close to half of my 1200 album collection.

    Video
    If you want to make your iPhone friends jealous, this is how to do it. Pull up any website and just watch the video stream effortlessly. It works great even now on the 2.1 OS which does not have the full Flash support promised in the v2.2 update.

    The Button That is Not a Button
    The Incredible has an input on the bottom of the phone that looks exactly like a button. If you have ever used an iPhone or iPod Touch you will be cursing for several hours as you re-program your brain to not press it. Pressing it does nothing. It does not wake up your phone. It does not take you to your list of running apps. It is pretty much reserved for when your phone wants to be a camera.

    Don't try to press this 'button'!


    Two Weeks Later…
    Now that I have had the phone for awhile, I want to share a few things I have noticed:

  • The camera is great! Sharing pictures to Facebook, Twitter, etc could not be simpler.
  • To put the phone in landscape mode, you can only rotate the phone counterclockwise. Rotating clockwise does NOTHING. This is annoying as the iPhone and iPod Touch do this with no problems.
  • It is a little too easy to dial someone. I like the native Android better over the HTC Sense. In the native Android, there is an actual ‘Dial’ button next to each contact name. On the Incredible, touching the person’s name automatically dials. It takes some practice to finger-swipe browse your contact list without causing a mis-dial.
  • Incredible or X?
    My wife and I went into the Verizon store at 11:30AM EST on launch day of the new Droid X by Motorola in Cary, NC. They were already sold out – which Verizon had been bragging for weeks that THAT WOULD NOT BE A PROBLEM – but they did have a phone we could play with.

    The X is huge. The screen is just massive, and it makes a the touchscreen for typing much easier. However, it was too big for my taste. My wife probably would have bought the phone if they had it in stock, but since they did not, she is now considering the X or the Incredible. My advice, if you want a phone, go with the Incredible. If you want a mini-PC, grab the X.