Review: HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE

The newest Droid Incredible is a phone with one foot stuck in the past. Interior components like the processor and camera are stellar, and they’re on par with other $200 smartphones on the market right now. But the smaller, 4-inch display isn’t a true HD screen. And the design, dominated by a stubby and chunky chassis, feels like it was drawn up a few years ago when the Droid brand was first launched.

I applaud HTC and Verizon (the new Incredible, like its namesakes, is a Verizon exclusive) for having the stones to offer a new 4-inch Android smartphone. The world needs smaller smartphones, honestly. The Samsung Galaxy S III, with its 4.8-inch screen, is damn near impossible to use with one hand. The Droid Incredible 4G LTE, meanwhile, is a breeze to use single-handedly. The super LCD display looks sharp, detailed and flatly better than any other screen I’ve seen with a 960×540 “qHD” resolution. But at this point, the standard on phones at this price range is to offer an actual HD screen, not a fake HD screen. I’m talking at least 720p, not 540p. It’s not good enough. And while it looks good, 720p would look better.

On paper at least, the CPU is also lagging. It’s a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor, while HTC’s other big-name phones — the One S, One X and HTC Evo 4G LTE — all pack 1.5-GHz dual-core Qualcomm CPUs. But as the Droid proved, you can’t judge a phone by its box copy. It had plenty of horsepower to take on the daily tasks I threw at it: multitasking apps, web browsing in Chrome, games and streaming videos. HTC’s Sense 4 wrapper over the top of Ice Cream Sandwich ran smoothly, and HTC’s skin remains one of the best alternatives to stock Android. So while the new Droid Incredible may be slightly slower than HTC’s other flagships, it’s still unquestionably capable and speedy.

With its cutting-edge One X and One S handsets, HTC has shown it can make thin, powerful phones that are among the most attractive and dynamic on the market. But Verizon opted out of the One Series, preferring to stick with its Droid branding. The results are less compelling than what else is available at $200 (or $150 after a mail-in rebate).

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