HTC Droid Incredible, in hand  (Source: Engadget)

HTC Droid Incredible, nekid  (Source: Gizmodo)
Phone isn't perfect, but is very good, according to reviewers

On April 29 the long-awaited HTC Droid Incredible lands on America's largest network, Verizon Wireless priced at $200, after new 2-year contract and $100 mail-in rebate (the name Droid is owned by LucasArts and licensed to Verizon Wireless).  The phone represents perhaps the most cohesive challenger to Apple iPhone. Such claims have become somewhat cliche, but it's hard not to be impressed with the phone's solid ensemble of a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, 8GB of internal storage, 748MB of ROM, a microSD slot (with support for up to 32GB cards), an 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash and autofocus, an 480 x 800 AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, and driving it all, Android 2.1 with HTC's Sense UI.

Some early reviewers at Engadget and Gizmodo got their grubby paws on the new handset and gave their impressions.

Starting first with the look, Engadget's Joshua Topulsky comments, "All in all, the Incredible looks and feels like a modern, sophisticated smartphone with a lot of that masculine edge that Motorola imparted to the Droid along with the curvy smoothness the Droid Eris sports."

Gizmodo's Matt Buchanan was less impressed with the model's looks.  He advocates taking off the rubber backplate, describing, "The Incredible might be the world's first mullet phone: flat, straightforward business in the front, stylized rubber party in the back. In fact, if you pop the back condom off (it's got ridges and it's rubber, it's basically a hard condom), the Incredible's hot-rod red underneath. It saves the phone from verging into boring-as-hell territory. Slightly thicker than a Nexus One or iPhone, but lighter, it feels (and looks) chintzier than both."

Random complaints by the reviewers included the screen's poor outdoors performance and colors (Engadget), lack of 720p video recording (Engadget), and the lack of the software launch button (Gizmodo).  Still, both reviewers seem very enthusiastic about the overall picture quality of the 8 MP sensor, compared to that of other phones.

Engadget says the call quality is great.  They also liked the large storage space (up to 40 GB with the microSD card), but were disappointed that apps couldn't see the internal storage and thus suffered some limitations.  Gizmodo was rather enthusiastic about the quality of the software keyboard, writing, "Droid's single redeeming feature over this, a physical keyboard, is actually less usable than the custom keyboard HTC's put on the Incredible."

Other items of note included that the phone actually managed to manage a connection underground in the subway in New York City, thanks to Verizon's terrific coverage.  The battery performance is reportedly slightly worse than the Nexus One's (also by HTC).

The reviewer for Gizmodo says that the Palm Pre Plus gives the Incredible a tight run for its money, but is undone by the uncertainty surrounding Palm.  Writes Gizmodo, "The calculus is relatively simple: If you're on Verizon and want a smartphone (and aren't stuck with BlackBerrys), the Incredible is pretty much the one you should buy. With Palm's future unclear, and its app ecosystem shaky, it's hard to recommend the Pre, even though its software is generally more usable than Android."

The Engadget folks are slightly more flattery, exalting, "Let's just put this out there: the Droid Incredible is the best Android device that you can purchase in America right now. It's better than the Droid, better than the Nexus One, and certainly beats the pants off of any previous generation handsets like the Eris, myTouch, or Cliq. It's not just a very, very good Android phone (though it is); it's also an excellent smartphone no matter how you cut it. If you're on Verizon right now, you're finally getting really great options for phones, but the Incredible is currently sitting at the top of that heap with a good bit of distance to the next in line... [T]he Incredible just might be the Droid you're looking for."

Will that performance be good enough to hold off the iPhone, which is reportedly set for a big hardware upgrade this summer?  That should be an intriguing race to watch.  For now, though, HTC can relish its early lead.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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