The HTC Incredible on the Verizon Wireless network is one of the newest and most fully featured handsets on the market. The Incredible features a Qualcomm® QSD8650, 1 GHz Snapdragon™ CPU, Android 2.1, 8 GB of internal flash memory, a 3.7″ AMOLED screen (480 x 800), and a 8 megapixel camera w/autofocus and flash. The device measures around 4.63 x 2.30 x 0.47 inches and features three physical buttons and five touch buttons. The physical buttons consist of a wake/sleep/off button on the top of the device, a volume rocker button on the left, and a general-use physical button on the front of the device (used for taking pictures and video). The touch buttons include the common Android buttons (home, menu, back, and search) plus one additional general-use button on the front. The general-use button on the front of the device is both a physical button and a touch sensitive button that allows you to scroll with out having to touch the screen. The touch part of the general-use buttons reminds me a lot of the Blackberry Pearl button, but touch sensitive, not rolling.
In general, I am very impressed with the hardware the HTC Incredible features. The front is almost completely flat, which makes for a very comfortable feeling when I hold the device to my ear. The back of the device has specially designed ridges that prevent the device from sitting flat on a table. This allows you to still hear the speaker at a reasonable volume even when the device is sitting flat on a table. One issue I have with the design of the phone, is the camera; it sticks out the furthest of everything on the back, which leaves it at a greater risk of being scratched, but I did not experience any scratching issues in the two weeks I had the device. The only other issue I had with this device is the call quality. I found the quality to be just OK. Voices sounded somewhat scratchy and I would occasionally hear minor popping noises.
One last thing I want to point out is the physical back button found on all Android devices, including the HTC Incredible. One of my biggest gripes with the iPhone OS is that every app has to take up valuable screen resolution for a back button, and it is never in the same place. I find it so incredibly useful to have a physical back button, plus it opens up the screen to the actual guts of the applications.
Android 2.1 and HTC’s Sense UI
The HTC Incredible comes loaded with Android 2.1 and HTC’s Sense UI. While this is not my first time using Android, it is my first time using HTC’s Sense UI, and I must say I am very impressed. The Sense UI has a very clean, simple, and polished user interface. It is just as easy to navigate as the iPhone OS, plus it offers some added goodies that take it beyond the now outdated iPhone UI. The Sense UI comes with some wonderful built-in widgets that really give the phone added functionality in a fresh and very polished manner. As for Android 2.1 they have really made some decent improvements over Android 2.0. Some of the new features found in Android 2.1 include live wallpaper, voice typing in all fields, updated home navigation, and a 3D view in the photo gallery, just to name a few.
Applications have always been the low point of the Android OS. Well, I can say that this is not so much the case anymore. I was able to find Android versions of almost all of my favorite iPhone apps. The apps found in the Android Marketplace are really starting to take form and become very polished functionally. Some of the apps I tested include The Weather Channel, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Barcode Scanner, Mint.com, Google Voice, and Waze, just to name a few. The Google Voice app — in fact, all the Google apps — are amazing, offering high levels of integration that really allow you to take advantage of the Google Web Apps locally on your phone. I even found both The Weather Cannel and the Foursquare apps to triumph over their iPhone counterparts. Overall, I like how the Android Marketplace and the applications in it are starting to come of age. I believe the openness of the Android Marketplace is really going to allow it to outgrow the iTunes App Store, and soon.
The HTC Incredible, is a great phone. In fact, it is Incredible (Ha, ha. Sorry, I had to do that!). A lot of thought and advanced engineering went into the physical design of the device, and it shows. The only minor design flaw I could find, was the camera lens sticks out, leaving it open to possible scratching. Other areas I think HTC could improve on are the lack of a HD video camera and a possible front-facing camera. The Sense UI, which is found on all HTC devices, is incredibly beautiful. It adds a needed level of beauty and polish to the Android OS. The Android OS is improving greatly with every new release, and I see it as the definite winner when you compare Android to iPhone OS. Google might be a search company, but they sure do know what users want, and they deliver it. Last but not least, are the applications. Android applications have really come a long way in the last few months, and I found a decent number of the applications in the Android Marketplace to be as polished and functional as the same apps found in the iTunes App Store.
Will I be making the switch to Android from iPhone? Well, as of right now, the answer is
yes no (see why: WWDC Keynote Wrap-Up), but that might change soon. For those of you that don’t know, on Minday, June 7, 2010, Steve Jobs is set introduce the new iPhone 4/HD at WWDC. There has been a bunch of information leaked about this new iPhone, most of which I am not very impressed by. If Steve announces only what has been leaked so far with no new surprises, than yes, I will switch to Android in June when my AT&T contract expires. If Steve comes out with a big new surprise about the new iPhone, then I might have to reconsider switching, but as it stands now, I do plan to go Android very soon.
One additional thing I want to add concerns Verizon Wireless service. Tons and tons of people complain about the horrible AT&T service, but I can honestly say that I experience far more low-signal areas on the HTC Incredible (Verizon) than I did on the iPhone (AT&T). While I do plan to switch to Android, I will be sticking with AT&T, as it seems to be a much better service provider.
Below are 2 demo video’s showing the quality to the HTC Incredible video camera. I would recommend you watch them on YouTube and bump the quality to 480p to see it in its true quality.
Watch on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ljSLdmdOx8
Watch on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrMs-DLXhO8
What are your thoughts on the HTC handsets and the Android vs. iPhone showdown? Who do you side with?