Jul 09 AT 9:14 PM Anthony Domanico 18 Comments

The HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE continues the tradition of awfully long Android device names, and is the latest entry in the Verizon DROID Incredible series of devices. The DROID Incredible line has been very popular for Verizon, and I on several occasions have recommended one of the Incredible devices to friends and co-workers who didn’t have the need for a high-end device with a super-sized screen, or preferred battery life to 4G LTE connectivity. The Incredible line has easily been the must-have alternative to the flagship devices, but will the DROID Incredible 4G LTE continue this tradition? Read on to find out.

1. Form Factor

When you pick up the Incredible 4G LTE, the first thing you’ll notice is its unique form factor. The Incredible continues the design made popular by its predecessors, from the protruding backside, to the red accents around the camera, speaker grill, and power button. By all accounts, the Incredible 4G LTE is going to be hit or miss with customers; some will like the overall shape and feel of the device, while others will prefer the sleek, thin profiles offered by the likes of the Galaxy S III or HTC One X. Form factor is largely a preferential choice, and I have to admit I don’t particularly enjoy the build of the Incredible 4G LTE.

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2. Android 4.0 with HTC Sense 4.0

Okay, yes, I don’t like custom skins. So why on earth did I give the Incredible the point in this category? Of all the custom skins out there, HTC has one of the cleanest interfaces and that makes the Incredible easy to pick up and use by just about anyone. Sense 4.0 really tones down the skinned UI elements, and the ability to completely customize your lock screen to quickly launch your most-used applications is a welcome feature that makes using the device a bit easier. Some of the other tweaks they’ve done, say to the camera application for example, take this level of usability even further, in some ways surpassing their stock Android counterparts. In short, you can certainly do much worse than Sense UI, and in some ways the experience in Sense 4.0 is better than Google’s Android 4.0 stock build.

3. Bloatware

Let’s Golf!!!

As per Verizon’s MO, there’s a ton of bloatware on the Incredible 4G LTE, and not much of it is useful in the least. For example, the Slingbox application comes preloaded on the Incredible 4G LTE, but I can count on one hand the number of people I know who own a Slingbox (I think I have a review unit boxed up in the garage somewhere). There are no fewer than a dozen Verizon-installed applications, though it’s fairly easy to disable/uninstall the ones you aren’t interested in. There are several useful apps like My Verizon that lets you view your mobile usage on the Verizon network, but several others (Let’s Golf 3 HD – seriously?) have no business being pre-installed on devices.

4. Hardware

The Incredible 4G LTE is powered by a 1.2 GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage (expandable by a microSD card slot). Despite not having the latest and greatest internal components, the DROID Incredible 4G LTE felt snappy and was able to handle every task we threw at it with relative ease. Performance was snappy and fluid throughout our time with the device, and we hardly noticed any lag during normal use. When it comes to the performance of the device, the hardware found in the Incredible 4G LTE gets the job done, and is certain to please all but the hardcore enthusiasts who, let’s face it, are probably going to be getting the Galaxy S III anyway.

All of the things we’d expect to see in a device released in 2012 are there as well, with both NFC and LTE support found in the Incredible 4G LTE.

5. Call Quality

Of course, the Incredible 4G LTE is a phone above all else, and we’re happy to report that the device performs well in this category. Calls were clear both on our end and on the other party’s end when we had good coverage, which was most of the time thanks to Verizon’s large nationwide network. Speakerphone performance was on par with other mobile devices, and obviously varies in quality based on signal strength.

6. Display

Naturally, you’ll spend most of your time with the Incredible 4G LTE looking at the screen. The Incredible 4G LTE features a 4.0″ SLCD display with a qHD (960 x 540) resolution. While not quite as sharp as the amazing screen on the Galaxy S III, the screen will not disappoint and is easy to look at. Colors are sharp, though again not as sharp as Samsung’s world-class displays. Videos, pictures, and other media content looked good on the Incredible 4G LTE, and those of you who decide to purchase the device won’t be let down by the screen.

7. Camera Quality

HTC has improved cellular picture quality drastically with their HTC ImageChip found in the One series of devices. Sadly, though the Incredible 4G LTE just came out a few days ago, it is not a One device and therefore lacks the HTC ImageChip. As a result, the Incredible’s rear 8 megapixel camera continues to perform well in direct sunlight, with colors popping and awesome pictures as a result. It’s quite the different story in low-light situations, where we found a bit of graininess and noise, even at times when using the flash. One saving grace is the amount of time between pictures; while the Incredible 4G LTE does not support the rapid burst photos of the One series, the time between pictures is nearly instantaneous so you’ll always be ready to capture the next shot. Also, Ice Cream Sandwich added the ability to take still pictures while shooting video, which slightly makes up for the lack of burst mode. Overall, pictures from the Incredible 4G LTE came out pretty good.

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The video camera worked fairly well, though we noticed some jerkiness even when the stabilization mode was enabled. Still, videos were easy to capture, and came out good enough for YouTube and Facebook, which is where 99+% of mobile phone videos end up anyway. Sure, it may not produce the best quality videos out there, but they’re certainly good enough for regular use.

8. Verizon 4G LTE

Of course, no phone review is complete without rating the network on which the device runs. As we’ve said on numerous occasions previously, Verizon’s 4G LTE network is speedy, even with several of Verizon’s smartphones now fighting for bandwidth on the network. Speeds routinely were between 8 and 12 mbps down, with 3-5 mbps uplink speeds as well. These speeds translate to incredible (forgive the pun) real-world performance; videos streamed flawlessly, as did internet radio and anything else that required a connection. Uploads were fast and always went off without a hitch as well, even high-definition videos shot from the device uploaded to YouTube very quickly. There’s a reason everyone applauds Verizon’s 4G LTE network, it’s the most widespread LTE network out there and it’s damn snappy.

9. Battery Life

What good is any phone if it can’t make it through an entire day? The problem with LTE devices thus far has been their notoriously bad battery life, though the latest Android devices have seemingly solved the battery life problem. The Galaxy S III and Droid RAZR MAXX easily make it through most of the day, with the latter lasting even longer than a day thanks to its 3,300 mAh battery. So how does the DROID Incredible 4G LTE stack up to the competition?

Well, those of you hoping to make it through an entire day without scrambling to find a charger will be sorely disappointed. In normal usage, the 1,700 mAh battery on the Incredible 4G LTE lasted about 7-10 hours on a single charge, on par with the HTC One X (AT&T), but well below that offered by the Galaxy S III and Droid RAZR MAXX. At best, I was able to eek out about 12.5 hours on the Incredible 4G LTE.

If you do purchase the Incredible 4G LTE and don’t have routine access to a charger, you may want to opt for an extended battery or second battery to help you get through the day.

10. Price

Here’s the kicker for me; the DROID Incredible 4G LTE is a decent device, though it screams mid-range as opposed to the more high-end phones offered by Verizon. The DROID Incredible 4G LTE will set you back $199.99 in store, though it comes with a $50 mail-in rebate debit card. That’s the same in-store price as the 16GB Galaxy S III, and anyone in their right mind would opt to spend the extra $50 for the added benefits brought by Samsung’s flagship device. We would have liked to see the Incredible 4G LTE come with a $100 (or less) price tag, and we expect it’ll drop to that point in the not-too distant future. At $149 after MIR, it’s difficult for me to recommend the Incredible 4G LTE to anyone when there are more powerful devices available for the same upfront cost.

HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE7 / 10

The HTC One Series impressed me with its build quality and high-quality internal components that rival those offered by Samsung’s latest flagship. Sadly, the DROID Incredible 4G LTE is not a One device. As a result, the Incredible 4G LTE lacks some of the key features that make the One series great, and it shows in the end product. There’s still a lot to like about the device, the display is good, the hardware results in a smooth and lag-free performance, and Android 4.0 with Sense 4.0 is one of the better UI skins we’ve used in a while. But you can’t help but feel that the Incredible 4G LTE could have been better, that a few design choices could have made the device a must-have for Verizon customers. As it stands, the Incredible 4G LTE is a decent mid-range device for those not looking for a flagship, though we’d like to see it at a much lower price point if its to really take off on the Verizon network.

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • Jorge Vieira

    I actually don’t mind the build quality on the Incredible 4glte and I the qhd was better than I expected. I for the few people that think the sg3 is to big they would probably love this phone.

  • Derek

    Not sure how you can say it doesnt have the latest internal hardware. Its got the Snapdragon S4, this is THE latest chip found in any LTE phone in the US. The GS3 has the same chip, although it is clocked up to 1.5 GHz vs the 1.2 GHz in this phone.

    • dreamdoggy22

      That’s what I was thinking when I read this. I first thought he was referring to the display, but he covered that in a separate section. Then I thought he meant the lack of Image Sense Chip, but he covered that in a seperate section as well. Is he only referring to the lower clock speed??

      • The Goat

        If you look at it vs. the $200 S3, this phone has half the internal storage, half the RAM, a 20% slower processor, a smaller screen, and a smaller battery. It should be priced at least $100 less – Verizon’s full retail prices are $500 for the HTC and $600 for the S3, which lines up with this expectation and indicates that this phone is a worse deal at $200 + $50MIR.

        Wirefly already has it for $100, so it’s really a moot point if you like the phone and are willing to shop around a bit.

  • Dirge

    Wow, this review is the exact opposite of the review at Android Police. D:

  • Dee

    I never understood the purpose of Verizon naming their phones 4G LTE. Isn’t that a bit redundant?
    Anyway, I played with the phone today and it’s all well and good but as you said I experienced the price being a deterrent. A lady was shopping for phones and opted to wait for the S3. I think this phone will be more for the middle school crowd who want a cool phone but have no need for one.

  • kazahani

    Some people don’t want a big phone, and right now those people are choosing the iphone. Verizon is serving those customers by maintaining the Incredible line, and Sprint just got the LG Viper, but AT&T and T-mobile all need to follow suit, if you ask me. No other carrier has a phone with top specs and a smaller form factor like this.

    • fletchtb

      While I prefer the larger phones like the SIII and the Galaxy Note is too big for me, it is an excellent point. I am sure there is a market for a high end phone with an iphone-like screen size.

    • Richard Yarrell

      Nope that’s wrong the Htc One S on Tmobile is better than this device hands down and it’s the same price. Plus the Htc One S on Tmobile will give you better battery life than the Lte Droid Incredible 4g on Verizon…

      • dreamdoggy22

        Somebody please correct me if I’m wrong, but your comment, Richard, is a little off the mark. You replied to kazahani who said “top specs and SMALLER FORM”. While the One S is not considered huge, it is bigger than the Dinc 4g. I am not going to get into a debate over your “One S on T-mo is better hands down” statement, although it would be entertaining. I would like to question your battery life comment. While I do not pretend to be an expert on batteries and their ability to power phones, my limited knowledge does tell me the One S has a slightly smaller battery. Again, correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t a smaller battery that has to power a larger display and a higher clocked processor provide shorter battery life? Sure, the 4g radio in the Dinc will eat some battery, but it can be turned off. I hate Verizon as much as the next guy, but I wouldn’t leave their top notch service (that’s coverage and data service, not customer LoL) for T-Mobile and VZW does not have the One S.

  • skugern

    If I were in the market for a phone, the thumbs down for bloatware would completely put me off of this phone, even if every other point was a thumbs up.

    • Richard Yarrell

      Good old Verizon with it’s GARBAGE OF BLOATWARE…It’s very shameful….

      • Dirge

        Weren’t you riding Sprin’t nuts, then switched to Verizon’s nuts when the GNex was released? Whose nuts are you riding now?

        • dreamdoggy22

          He gave T-Mo props a couple posts prior to this:-)

      • dreamdoggy22

        Poor Richard. You are getting thumbs down even when you are right on point! I’ll give you a thumbs up on this one bud.

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  • Gaditek

    I was a little pissed when I found out that I overpaid for my Hero. I was still in the first 30 days however, so I could have easily dumped Sprint and gone with the Droid, but after looking at Verizon pricing compared to what I was paying on Sprint, I just couldn’t justify it. It didn’t hurt that on Sprint I’m getting a $200 credit for porting 2 lines from T-Mo, a 10% discount/month for having an AOL account and getting Pick 3 at no cost. Had Verizon announced that the Droid was coming out a little sooner, I might have waited for it

    http://www.gaditek.com/android-development.php