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printed October 25, 2014
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Review: HTC Droid Incredible

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The HTC Droid Incredible ("Incredible") is one of the sharpest-looking handsets to hit Verizon's shelves in recent memory. It looks eerily similar to the iPhone, but makes some classy design improvements that help to set it apart.

It is large, but lightweight. It is soft, yet solid. The battery cover has a soft-touch finish, and it feels really nice in the hand. I like that its edges are all rounded in shape, rather than angular like the Droid's. It slips into a pocket much easier than the Droid, and is far more comfortable to leave there for any amount of time. I find it to be just the right weight. It's not so heavy as to be a brick in your hands, but not so insubstantial as to make you think it was cheaply made.

The Incredible is obsidian and reminds me of the famed monolith from "2001: A Space Odyssey" more than any other phone I've encountered. The grill covering the earpiece speaker at the tippy top of the phone is the only color, a thin strip of red. The display is huge, but not so awkward as the HTC HD2's dinner plate dimensions. There are four capacitive buttons along the bottom of the screen, just as with the Droid Eris and Moto Droid. Finally, at the bottom, is an optical mouse / button. The optical mouse works well as a button and a mouse. I found it to be responsive, though I used it more when editing text than for any real on-screen navigation.

The volume toggle is on the left side, fitted snugly towards the top corner. It presents just enough of a profile so that your fingers can find it. I didn't care for the action, however, which I thought was mushy. Below it is the microUSB port. The port does not resemble the microUSB ports we're used to seeing. In fact, it looks more like a FireWire port. It does accept microUSB cables, but it's not obvious which way to put the cable into the port. This had me scratching my head.

There are no buttons or controls on the bottom and right side of the device. That's fine with me, though I suppose a physical camera key on the right side would be nice. Along the top, HTC has included a 3.5mm headset jack for stereo headphones and a power/lock key. This key is about perfect. It's just large enough to find it easily, but not so large as to be annoying. Travel and feedback were spot on.

The battery cover is where the design gets more interesting. Rather than create a flat, smooth back plate, HTC has added contours to the backplate that match the hardware underneath (see the pictures). The contours, which in no way affect the usability of the Incredible, add a modern appeal to the phone that I really like.

The lens for the camera is perhaps the one oddity; it juts out from the back surface of the phone. Due to its shape, it looks like a mechanical eye. The ring around the lens is red, making it stand out starkly from the otherwise pitch black battery cover.

Under the battery cover, the entire interior surface is red. Ferrari red. Blindingly red. Nice design touch. It gives the Incredible some much-needed personality in a space that's becoming crowded with me-too design language and little ingenuity.

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