Review by Dan Seifert on Saturday July 07, 2012.
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The DROID Incredible 4G LTE has full support for the Google Play Store, so there is access to hundreds of thousands of apps to download and install. Generally speaking, if there is an app that you are looking for, chances are you will find it in the Google Play Store.
Unfortunately, Verizon has loaded the Incredible up with a considerable amount of carrier apps and bloatware. Some of the apps, like the supposed Slingbox app, aren't even apps, but rather video commercials that prompt you to sign up for a monthly service. Thanks to Android 4.0, it is possible to disable these apps so you don't see them, but that can be a tedious process and it unfortunately is not possible to remove them from the phone completely.
HTC's custom browser on the Incredible is fast and performs well on various browsing benchmarks. Pages load quickly, and scrolling and zooming are fast the majority of the time, if not quite the best in class. The browser does support Adobe Flash Player, but you have to download and install the plugin from the Google Play Store for that functionality. The Incredible's smaller screen and relatively low resolution means that you have to zoom in more on web pages to make them readable than you would on other devices, and the standard browser does have some issues with intelligent zooming.
As an alternative, you can use Google's own Chrome browser for Android. I find Chrome to be a better browser overall, and its desktop syncing features are really great. The only tradeoff is that you have to give up support for Adobe Flash Player when browsing in Chrome.
The DROID Incredible 4G LTE comes with an 8 megapixel camera with a 28mm f/2.2 lens and backside illuminated sensor. Though the camera is very similar to the one found on HTC's One line, it lack the company's proprietary ImageSense processing chip, which means that certain functions like HDR processing take longer on the Incredible than they do on the other phones. The Incredible also lacks the burst shot features that the One series have. Regardless, the camera interface is virtually identical as on other Sense 4 devices, and that's a good thing. HTC's camera app is probably the best of the breed for Android camera apps, and it provides quick access to a number of settings and tweaks. It also features tap-to-focus, quick autofocus, and a quick shot-to-shot time.
Images captured by the Incredible's camera are good, if not quite the best in class. Outdoors, in good lighting, the Incredible's camera does a fine job, but in poor lighting or indoors, it tends to struggle. I also noticed that the camera does not like to focus reliably for close-up macro shots (something that I noticed in my review of the HTC One S, as well).
For video, the Incredible can shoot 1080p HD clips, and it sports continuous autofocus and tap-to-focus while recording. It is also possible to shoot full resolution still images while recording, which is a handy feature. The video captured has good detail, but it is not as smooth as that offered by devices like the Apple iPhone 4.
The VGA-resolution front-facing camera on the Incredible 4G LTE is the same unit that we saw on the One S, and it provides bright images for self-portraits and video calls. It is not as high-resolution as the front cameras found on other phones, but it works well for its intended purpose and that's good enough for me.
The DROID Incredible 4G LTE sports Beats Audio enhancements while playing music through headphones. Personally, I don't find the "enhancements" to be all that useful, and it generally sounds like a bass and volume boost more than anything else. The external speaker on the Incredible is lacking as well, as music tends to sound pretty thin and tinny when played through it. The sound is also muffled when the phone is placed with its back down on a flat surface.
For music apps, the Incredible comes with HTC's stock music player that supports playlists and album art, as well as streaming music from DLNA-compatible media servers. Users with large music libraries will want to invest in a microSD card, since the Incredible only has 8GB of onboard storage with less than 5GB available to the user for media. The Google Play Music app is also included on the phone for streaming tunes from a Google Music account.
Unlike the HTC One X and One S, the DROID Incredible 4G LTE features a removable battery that can be swapped out when it is depleted and replaced with a fresh cell. Verizon says that the 1700mAh unit is good for 9.5 hours of talk time or almost 19 days of standby. During my tests, it lasted about 13 to 15 hours before calling it quits, which, unfortunately, is about average for most smartphones today.
The HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE is a fine phone, but it feels a bit like it was designed last year for last year's smartphone market. It doesn't really have any glaring performance issues, but compared to what is available in HTC's own One series and other devices that Verizon offers, it's hard to say that the Incredible is competitive. Those that are looking for a smaller smartphone than the behemoths that are becoming increasingly popular today should be happy with the Incredible, as its smaller size and solid performance make it pretty easy to use. But, Verizon is selling the DROID Incredible 4G LTE for $149.99 with a new two-year contract, which means that for just $50 more, you will soon be able to pick up the Samsung Galaxy S III that offers a larger, better display, better camera, faster performance, and more storage space. At that point, you have to really want a smaller screen to justify the DROID Incredible 4G LTE.
You will find sample photos and video captured with the HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE on the following page.
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.