HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE (Verizon Wireless)
Typical Price: $199.99
CNET Editors' Rating: 3.0 / 5
The good: The HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE shoehorns fast 4G LTE data and Android Ice Cream Sandwich into a compact, attractive package.
The bad: The Incredible's screen isn't very impressive, its camera isn't as advanced as those on HTC's One series handsets, and its battery life is mediocre.
The bottom line: HTC's Droid Incredible 4G LTE is compact and costs less than Verizon's other smartphones, but it still adds up to a raw deal.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
Two years ago, HTC really created a winner with the original Droid Incredible. Its name was bold, the phone's performance fast, and it packed tons of features comparable to other smartphones. The company's follow-up product, the Droid Incredible 2, was a decent device, but lacked the zing of 4G data when it debuted in 2011. Now, still another year later, HTC and Verizon Wireless have teamed up again to create the third sequel, the $149.99 HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE. While this fresh Incredible finally boasts 4G LTE and an adorably small design, it confirms that the franchise has fallen flat in many other ways.
If you're a fan of HTC's Droid Incredible series, the latest incarnation shouldn't throw you any curves. Just like the Incredibles before it, the Droid Incredible 4G LTE is smaller than your average Android phone and sports a muscular, almost sci-fi aesthetic complete with Verizon red highlights.
Measuring 4.8 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide by 0.46 inch thick, the Droid Incredible 4G LTE has the footprint of its immediate predecessor, the Droid Incredible 2. At 4.66 ounces, though, the Incredible 4G LTE is a tenth of an ounce lighter.
Further in line with its futuristic feel, the phone's back is textured with a raised trapezoidal hump sculpted in unsymmetrical edges. It's a classic HTC design element carried over from the previous Droid Incredible 2 and original Droid Incredible. Frankly, I really dig it since it makes the device look like some sort of classified high-tech weaponry from perhaps an alternate universe.
Under the thin and funky battery cover is a 1,700mAh battery and microSD and 4G LTE SIM card slots. Thankfully, you can access these without touching the battery. Also on back is the phone's 8-megapixel camera with LED flash.
Above the screen is a VGA front-facing camera and below are the usual Android navigation controls. The right side holds a thin volume rocker, and on the left sits a Micro-USB port. On the top edge of the phone is a 3.5mm headphone jack and a tiny power button.
Helping the Droid Incredible 4G LTE keep its profile down is its 4-inch Super LCD screen. Despite being larger than the iPhone 4S' display (3.5 inchrd), it's small compared with the screens on other Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) (4.8 inches) and the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx (4.3 inches). Also, the Incredible's qHD (960x540 pixels) resolution isn't terribly sharp when compared with those on the iPhone 4S (960x640 pixels) and Galaxy S III (1,280x720 pixels).
On that note, while the Droid Razr Maxx technically has the same qHD resolution and therefore less pixel density, to my eyes its AMOLED display offers superior image quality. For example, colors were much more saturated, viewing angles deeper, and shadow details greater on the Maxx than on either the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE or HTC One X (4.7-inch Super LCD2, 1,280x720 pixels). Even so, I still had plenty of fun watching high-quality movie trailers such as Ridley Scott's space horror flick "Prometheus" and other videos on the Droid Incredible 4G LTE.
As for text entry, the Incredible doesn't offer many options, but thankfully it's a good one. The default, and only, keyboard layout is the standard HTC Sense arrangement. Its keys are easy to hit, provide just a touch of haptic feedback, plus many double as often-used punctuation marks and numbers.
If you're hoping for Google's recently released Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS on the Incredible 4G LTE, you'll be sorely disappointed. Yes, it makes a good effort by including Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which up until last week was the top of the Android line.
On top of Android HTC layered its Sense 4 user interface, which I've always enjoyed. As on the new HTC One X, HTC One S, and HTC One V handsets, this updated version of Sense is lighter, more responsive, and plain less in-your-face as Sense 3 was. Gone is the crazed perpetually spinning carousel of home screens and aggressively 3D weather graphics. You can, however, enjoy full-screen weather animations or set this as the Incredible's live wallpaper if you'd like.
Instead of the usual five home screens, Sense features seven, which you can fill with apps and widgets to suit your tastes. By default, the main screen showcases HTC's iconic weather clock widget, which has graced all its phones for years. Pinching the primary home screen or tapping the Home key pulls up a helicopter view of all seven home screens at once. This lets you jump between them directly as opposed to swiping left or right to land on the screen you want.
Features and software
Inside the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE you'll find all the basic Android smartphone capabilities including a few advanced extras. There's GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 (the freshest version supporting low-power accessories), Wi-Fi, plus a mobile hot-spot app to share the handset's 4G LTE connection with other mobile devices. This privilege will cost you extra, though -- about $20 on top of your data and voice plans.
Besides support for the staple Google services such as Gmail, Google Plus, Maps, and Navigation, HTC adds some software spice of its own. The company's Watch video store hawks movies and TV shows to rent and purchase, while the Music app wraps up Google's Play music storefront, Slacker Internet radio app, locally stored tracks, and Amazon Music in one location.
Additional apps on the device include a hefty selection of free and paid software and services such Amazon Kindle, Let's Golf 3, Real Racing 2, Slacker Radio, and Slingbox. Verizon infused the Incredible with some of its bloatware, too, like My Verizon Mobile, NFL Mobile, V Cast Tones, Verizon Video, and VZ Navigator. The handset's microSD card slot can accommodate cards up to 32GB.
From the moment I fired up the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE's 8-megapixel camera, it was clear this is not a member of the company's lauded One series smartphones. HTC's One class handsets such as the One X, One S, and One V, all have special electronics designed to handle the demands of image processing.
The Incredible lacks such hardware, which HTC calls the HTC ImageChip. As a result, the Incredible can't pull off the One line's fancy Continuous Capture (burst mode) feature. Thanks to Ice Cream Sandwich, however, the phone lets you snap pictures while rolling the video camera.
The Incredible's camera is nimble, capturing shots in under a second and its autofocus locking on just as fast. Still, compared with the One X, the Incredible's imaging system felt more sluggish, a slight but definitely perceptible difference.
Still-life shots were clear and with rich if oversaturated colors. Under low light, some color noise became apparent and nabbing fast-moving subjects was difficult in these conditions. Things improved outside especially in bright sunlight and I was treated to eye-popping colors in flowers and trees. The Incredible's backlit sensor was also able to pick out details that would have otherwise been lost in shadow.
Videos that I recorded were acceptable, but not of outstanding quality. Though the phone can capture 1080p HD resolution movies, details were soft and sometimes jerky even with the stabilization function engaged.
HTC bundles lots of features and settings with the Droid Incredible's camera. Special scene modes include HDR, Panorama, and Lowlight just to list a few. There are also a host of slick filters to give your photos a classic feel such as vintage (warm and cold), country, negative, and posterize.
Another difference between the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE and HTC's current superphones is its slower 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor. The company's One X and One S both feature faster 1.5GHz dual-core S4 chips. The Linpack benchmark highlighted the difference, with the Incredible notching 149.4 MFLOPs (multithread) on the test. The HTC One X by contrast achieved 179.6MFLOPs (multithread) running the same test.
Synthetic benchmarks aside, I felt no lag or dips in performance when navigating through the Droid Incredible 4G LTE's menus, home screens, or when launching applications.
I tested the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE on Verizon's CDMA/LTE network in New York. Similar to other handsets I've reviewed on the carrier, voice quality was very good with no discernible buzzing or audio artifacts. Callers said my voice sounded lifelike and free of static. To my ears, voices were rich and easy to understand, even if the phone's earpiece doesn't get very loud even at its highest setting.
One of the issues that plagued the first Droid Incredible was notoriously short battery life. This 4G LTE version is no endurance runner, either. In my anecdotal battery drain tests, the phone played an HD movie continuously for 6 hours and 56 minutes. That can't hold a candle to the Samsung Galaxy S3's long playback time of 9 hours and 24 minutes or the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx's marathon 15 hours and 16 minutes. Still, the Incredible beat the HTC One X's time of 6 hours and 35 minutes.
Connecting to Verizon's 4G LTE network, I enjoyed fast data throughput on the Droid Incredible. Downloads averaged a blistering 14.6Mbps, while I measured average uploads speeds at 9.1Mbps.
The $149.99 HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE, despite suffering from an unfortunately long name, is a victim of circumstance. Priced lower than Verizon's other more-compelling smartphones, namely the $299.99 Motorola Droid Razr Maxx and $199.99 Samsung Galaxy S3, it straddles the fence between low-end and cutting-edge Android devices. The problem is, though, that it doesn't play the balancing game well, offering a decent amount of features for a price that should be lower. For just $50 more you could have the Galaxy S3 that offers a superb camera, better screen, and many more features. If you must have a phone to survive all day and then some, the Droid Razr Maxx is your pricey but unbeatable option.
|Cellular technology||LTE / CDMA|
|Band / mode||LTE 700 / CDMA 800/1900 (Dual Band)|
|Talk time||Up to 574.72 min|
|Short Messaging Service (SMS)||Yes|
|Combined with||With digital camera / digital player|
|OS provided||Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS|
|Included accessories||Standard lithium ion battery, Micro USB cable, AC adapter|
Average User Rating: 3.0 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 3
4 Star: 1
3 Star: 0
2 Star: 1
1 Star: 1
Better Options are available
Rating: 1.5 / 5
on February 12, 2014
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
Pros: Nice screen
good call quality
easy to use
Cons: Very Laggy when changing screens
auto connect to random wifi is annoying
Calls to multiple people at the same time
Randomly dies then decides to turn on a day or 2 later
Summary: The first few weeks i had this phone i had no complaints. Then the load time to get from any app back to the home screen went from a few seconds to a few minutes. Then i had to start applying some TLC when pluging in the charger or it wouldn't charge at all. After that things just got worse, trying to load apps took minutes at a time, sending texts turned into a chore as it took FOREVER just to load the messages, i only send/recieve about 700-800 a month, never keep any after 2 months, and limit storage to 250 per sender so it should be a memory issue. Finally the worst 'con' happened; on a full charge, it died and refused to turn on or respond at all to the charger being inserted. I pulled the battery attempted to hard factory reset it and no response. I was literally abot an hour away from going to the verizon store when it turned back on simply by hiting the power on. the next few days it was back to its old laggy self, when it decided it didn't want to work any more. Its been about 48 hours since it passed away. i'll update this if it decides to pull a Jesus after 3 days, but if not this review will stand and i'll be forced into getting a new phone. Thanks for reading!
Not a Bad Phone.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
on July 16, 2013
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
Pros: Screen is very clear
Responsive touch screen
4G is WICKED fast
Cons: Keyboard is too small
Sometimes a little laggy
Still stuck on ICS 4.0.4
Beware the charger defect
Summary: First smartphone I've ever purchased, upgraded last summer from my Samsung Reality. Originally started out as a nice phone...it was one of the first that had 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on it, which I felt was a step up from many other devices that were still running 2.3 Gingerbread. I've noticed a lot of comparisons to the HTC One series of phones when people review this. If you're on a budget and need a good phone, this would be the one to get.
Call clarity on this phone is great, nice big speaker on the top. Speakerphone is a little bit oddly placed. Its quality is okay, just make sure you cup your hand around it if you're in an area with a lot of ambient noise; it's not very loud. 4G is very, very fast, but it will drain your battery life a lot quicker than if you run 3G, 1X or WiFi.
I don't use the camera feature that much, but from what I can tell from the pictures I have taken, it's very impressive for a smartphone. Front facing camera is a little bit less so, just because its smaller.
There are a couple of things I feel take away from this phone a little bit, hence the 3.5 star rating. I love it to death, but there are some problems. First off, the keyboard. It's a touch screen, and the keys are quite small. Especially considering I have huge hands. I've had to rely on autocorrect more than I'd like to admit. Also, to go along with that, there is an option to change the keyboard to a different language's layout, namely French and German. Be careful, as the language changes will also change the placement of some letters, so you may go to type an "A" but have accidentally hit the keyboard button, changed it to French, and now you'll type a "Q" instead.
The second thing is the software. Google Play is very slow and laggy on this device, and a lot of the push notifications on social media (namely Facebook) are delayed by up to 3-5 minutes. Also, HTC had stated that this phone would be getting the Android 4.1 Jellybean upgrade in the spring, but it still hasn't happened yet. Not complaining about that, considering 4.0.4 ICS is still a very stable Android OS.
The last thing, and this is probably the biggest one, is the charger defect. I was made aware of this about 2 months into having the phone. There is an issue with one of the connector wires in the charger port coming loose, which means that the phone doesn't recognize there's a cable in the port. You could have this thing plugged into a wall, and it won't charge. Or, it'll charge for about 45 seconds and then go haywire, leaving you with about 11% battery at any given time. My Verizon tech told me this is a KNOWN PROBLEM with these handsets, and traded the dysfunctional one out for a new one. Now, thankfully, I haven't had any problems. There is also a known issue where wires in the charger/USB cable will fray if bent frequently. I just swapped that cable out with an old one from an LG phone and now it's fine.
Battery life is still averaging 2 days per charge, with heavy text and social media use.
Bottom line: This is a great entry level smartphone. Good features, not top of the line, enough to get your feet wet. Watch out for the lemons, and if your phone starts losing a charge drastically, take it in to get it fixed.
This phone is amazing honestly!
Rating: 5 / 5
on March 30, 2013
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
-Youtube is flawless
-Great size phone
Cons: -Htc sense
-Still on ics 4.0.4
Summary: i took it off my charger today at 8:30 and its been 12 hours since!
It has reduced me to tears three times in 12 hours
Rating: 0.5 / 5
on January 27, 2013
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
Pros: I may have been given a rare lemon, and that's the nicest thing I can bring myself to say about it.
wont turn on
Summary: I have tried to turn it on three times in a row, and it just loads and loads and loads and then shuts down. Yes, I am touching the screen with enough regularly to make sure that this isn't timing out.
Did I mention that I've had this for twelve hours?
The things I found out while it could still turn on:
It's so bloated that I can be using 80+% of the ram when I have less than 20mb being used by apps.
Youtube randomly pauses. I checked to make sure that it wasn't me. I put it down while a video was playing and watched it pause itself three times in a video.
No I have not downloaded a bad app.
I absolutely love this phone.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
on January 11, 2013
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
Good camera and flash
Cons: Keyboard is small
Summary: This is a great, easy to use phone. I have tried the many other phones and when my last phone- A Driod Incredible 2- broke (I washed it), I was able to upgrade to this phone. So far I absolutely love it. I have found no problems, the battery life it good, and I am very happy with my choice.