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The new HTC Droid Is Incredible
The new, the new HTC Droid Incredible is no exaggeration. It’s a keeper as it naturally cuddles in the cup of your hand insinuating itself like a heat-seeking puppy in search of a brand new master. I have fallen hopelessly in love with it under its enchanting spell. I assume I must say it was love at first sight. Frankly, I’m not a bit surprised that Droid is now outselling iPhone.
Why would I be swayed so compellingly What about after the honeymoon
Preliminary Attractive Features
It’s appearance is sleek with a shiny black case thinner than the iPhone and yet with a larger screen. It measures 4.63 x 2.3 x.47 inches and weighs 4.59 ounces.
Under the hood it has a robust GHz Qualcomm Snapdrogon processor and a 3D chip for amazing gaming experiences on a 3.7 inch AMOLED 480 x 800 screen. The 8 MPX autofocus camera with dual LED flash is another huge plus. While I was surprised that it only has 8 MB of onboard memory, it also has a micro SD slot that can handle up to a 32 MB card for a total of 40 MB storage capacity. There may be 748 MB of ROM. At the underside of the screen there’s an optical joystick.
This phone is the product of a three-way marriage with Google, HTC, and Verizon with each making a solid contribution to bring a superior product to market.
Google contributes its mobile apps in enhanced form and the Android 2.1 operating system. Certainly one of my favorite Google/Android innovations is Google voice search, which works remarkably well, and is a major convenience that obviates typing.
HTC contributes its manufacturing expertise and the Sense user interface that allows pinch/zoom with a tremendous Web browsing experience. When viewing Web pages at any zoom level, the text wraps and conforms to the screen size so that there is no such thing as a sideways browsing required–what a pleasure. If you’re a social network junkie, there’s Friend Stream that conflates Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr into a single screen as if they were one program with a spread of views possible.
There are seven home screens where you’ll be able to store widgets and apps for easy access. HTCs Sense allows you to pinch the screen to display miniature cards of all seven screens. Then just tap on the one you want.
HTC has loaded several worthwhile widgets and so has Google.
After all Verizon offers what is arguably the best mobile network with the widest, most trouble-free coverage.
Kicking the Tires
Taking a walk around this beauty reveals an economy of external features. On the top is a power/phone options button. Next to that is a standard 3.5 mm ear plug jack. The right side is unencumbered with any pesky buttons to push inadvertently that will make your machine go crazy when you do not need it to. The identical is true for the bottom except that there is a small microphone hole and a slot for removing the back cover. On the left side is a volume rocker switch and a micro USB port for charging and syncing. The back has an free form like three-tier battery cover. The camera lens within the upper left corner is flanked by the dual LED flash to the best. There is a small opening for the speaker.
Flipping off the battery cover reveals a shocking red interior with a red battery to match. It’s a must to remove the battery cover to gain access to the micro SD storage slot, which is a bit of a bother.
I have already mentioned that large screen with its magnificent, bright resolution. There is a charging light at the top of the screen. Below the screen are four useful hardware buttons. From left to right there may be a home button, a Menu button, a Back button, and a Search button. Double tapping the home button invokes the Sense seven-card screen mode. A fast tap brings up a Google text search screen. Tapping and holding activates Google voice search, which is a Godsend as far as I’m concerned.
It used to be a big deal to be able to say a phone had Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more recently GPS. Now, however, that is just about taken without any consideration, and I’m happy to report that the Incredible has all of the above.
Speaking of GPS, Incredible users will benefit from an enhanced version of Google Maps for navigation and positioning in many applications. The navigation system is a turn by turn voice driven app with satellite and photo views. The rerouting is the fastest I’ve ever seen, and it is usually spot on with up to date data and traffic notifications.
There are some excellent geocaching apps available too that take all of the old drudgery out of the method. It’s truly a pleasure to geocache with this device.
What’s in the Box
The Triumvirate cannot be accused of not sparing any expense, for the box was pretty bare bones with a quick start guide, an AC charger and USB cable that works on the wall outlet as well as in a USB computer port. When connected with a computer, you can transfer files as well as charge the unit. There was no carrying case to protect this jewel, and there wasn’t even a micro SD card. It might need been a nice gesture to incorporate at the least a 2 MB card. Many applications will only install to a storage card, which could render the unit less functional until you can obtain a card. So, no extra points there.
The Incredible comes with a variety of useful applications already installed. Here is a partial list:
Calculator, Calendar, Call History, Camcorder, Camera, Car Panel, City ID, Facebook, FM Radio, Force Close, Friend Stream (didn’t work-caused forced close), Internet, Mail, Maps, Market, Messages, Music, PDF Viewer, Peep, People, Phone, Photos, Quickoffice, Search People, Settings, Setup, Talk, Text to Speech, Voice, Voice Dialer, Voice Mail, Voice Recorder, Voice Search Weather, and YouTube. There are a variety of widgets offered by both HTC and Android. With lots more available.
The Android platform cannot compete yet with the depth and range of applications offered within the iTunes store, which I think is approaching around 200,000 now. In the short time that Android has been extant, it has already accumulated about 40,000 apps available in its store and elsewhere. Many are free, and the fee based apps are relatively inexpensive; many are within the one dollar area, which makes them highly affordable.
Unlike Apple, Google, at this point, doesn’t seem to be desirous about controlling everything. For example there is no music in the Google Market and users are on their own to acquire and install music. The music player has a nice interface that flips album covers and delivers a satisfactory listening experience.
I appreciate the installed YouTube app, which saves going to the online first. I also benefit from the installed FM radio app. Of course there are many other radio apps available in the market.
There are some TV apps as well with limited programming. What I’m waiting for is SlingMedia to make an app available for the Droid. Then I can tune into the programs recorded on my DVR at home, watch live satellite TV, and control my home TV remotely from my Droid. I tried the Orb app, but I could never get it to work.
It seems strange to me that there isn’t a in-built file explorer so that you can not find files stored on the storage card or in main memory. You could have to seek out a third party app for this, and a few are less than satisfactory.
The QuickOffice app is only for viewing files. You cannot create or edit files with this program, and there is no app that I could find available in the market. This severely limits the device’s functionality as a power productivity tool for road warriors. I happen to know that there is a third party app available for Android that enables creating and editing Office files, but apparently it’s not available yet for the Incredible. I hope it will be soon.
As a side note for those concerned with productivity, It is possible to attach a portable Bluetooth keyboard to the Incredible for efficient inputting on the road, which is a big plus. Put that doesn’t do lots of excellent without the ability to create and edit documents. At this point I suggest using Google Docs as a partial solution.
As this device is so new, there is just not much available for it yet in the best way of accessories. However it is easy to make do with cases, headphones, earplugs, and other stuff that can be repurposed for the Incredible. I did find it surprising that there were not even any earbuds within the box. I wish there were a set with a mic for use when driving or just for pleasurable listening. You may have to find your own set.
A brief comparison to the iPhone
I suppose somehow the iPhone has become the measuring stick by which phones may be compared lately, which I find amusing because the iPhone is still lacking so many desirable features. Anyway for those into comparison shopping, listed below are a few quick comparables.
• Battery Life
Capacity: iPhone 1219 mAh; Incredible timer switch 10 minute 1300 mAh
Talk time: iPHone 300 hours of standby; Incredible 149 hours
iPhone 3 mpx with autofocus but no flash or manual controls, 640 x 480 video.
Incredible 8 mps with dual LED flash, manual adjustment controls, 800 x 400 video (same resolution as screen)
iPhone AT&T-many complaints about speed and coverage; this may increasingly change with 4G
Verizon is arguably a more dependable system with greater coverage and more economical subscriber plans.
iPhone 3.5 inch screen with 480 x 320 LCD display
Incredible 3.7 inch screen with 480 x 800 resolution on OLED display, which is far brighter than the iPhone display.
Up to 32 GB built-in; no expansion slot
8 GB in-built with up to 32 GB expansion slot for total of 40 GB
iPhone 600 MHz
Incredible 1 GHz
185 applications in iTunes store
40 applications in Google Market
And the winner is clearly the Incredible because it beats iPhone in every category but software and battery life. So, unless battery life and software are key issues for you, the Incredible is the better choice.
• 1 GHz Snapdragon processor
• Google Android 2.1 with HTC Sense 2.5
• 3.7 inch WVGA OLED touchscreen display
• QWERTY Virtual keyboard
• 8GB internal memory and microSD card slot (up to 32 GB)
• 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash and adjustable controls
• Video up to 480×800
• 312 minutes talk time / 149 hours standby
• Dimensions: 4.63 x 2.3 x 0.47 inches and 4.59 ounces
• Push Gmail and Exchange
• Advanced Speech recognition
• TTY compatible
• Hearing aid compatibility=M4/T3
• Bluetooth with stereo capability
• Wi-FI 802.11b/g/n$199.99 with 2 year contract3.5mm headphone jack
• Accelerometer512MB ROM / 512MB RAM
• Dual-band EV-DO Rev. A
• HTML browser with Flash Lite 4.0
The full retail price of the Incredible is $529.99. For that price I would expect an unlocked unit, but that’s a moot point. You pretty much have to accumulate it from Verizon with a contract and connectivity plan. A two year contract is $299.99 with a $100 discount online for a total cost of $199.99. If you buy the Incredible you get to pick another free phone, which also requires a two year contract. There are a lot of plans available that seem to begin at $39.99 per 30 days. Unlimited text/data/talk is $89.99 monthly. But I assume that’s still cheaper than the iPhone.
After the Honeymoon
After the rush of love at first sight with time to get comfortable and settle in, there are some foibles I’ve discovered, and a wish list I’ve developed for the Incredible.
I noticed that the battery life shouldn’t be very satisfactory. In my experience the battery wears down very rapidly. Two hours of phone conversation, and it needs recharging. In case you leave Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth, or GPS running, the battery drains rapidly. You’d better have a charger or extra battery handy if you want to do geocaching, Bluetooth communication, or connections by Wi-Fi. When using the unit for navigation in the car, I’ve to maintain it connected to the charger or it would go dead briefly order. At the least it is possible to change batteries, unlike the iPhone.
I found it frustrating that the attractive screen so brilliantly rendered inside all but disappears and turns into a black hole outside in the sunlight–a lot for working on the beach and in my garden.
I wish that the Incredible would have cards for each open application just like the Palm Pre Plus in an effort to easily flick back and forth to reinvoke the app of your choice. A workable alternative may be a screen dedicated to open apps for easy accessibility.
I used to be surprised that there is no such thing as a built-in file explorer program so as to view and manipulate files and move them around between main memory and storage card. There may be third party software, however it only seems to deal with the storage card. Developers
After all I am upset about not having the ability to create and edit my Office documents on this device. I hope that will probably be remedied briefly order for it’s a serious short-coming that might cause me not to buy this phone.
Another problem is that there isn’t any unrooted application that can take screen shots, and that is why you aren’t treated to them in this text. Come on developers. Here is a need.
For the value, I believe it might have been nice for the sponsors to incorporate at the least a small micro SD card to get you started. It could even have been nice to include a set of earbuds with a mic. Would a case to guard your investment be too much to ask as well
While there are some growing pains because the platform and devices mature, to make certain, there’s lots to like with the HTC Droid Incredible. It’s clearly the Droid of Droids, simply the most effective available presently. It is usually superior to the iPhone in many respects with an 8 MPX camera with dual LED flash and manual controls, more storage, larger screen with twice the resolution, replaceable battery, and a bigger, more powerful processor. You can not go wrong with this truly incredible device that indeed lives as much as its name.
This puppy gets two thumbs up! It is an A dog.
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