Review: HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE for Verizon Wireless
Updated 6/6/12 after further signal and battery testing.
The Incredible has a 4-inch Super LCD that packs in 540 x 960 pixels. It looks great. Colors are rich, and text, icons, and graphics are smooth. It would be nice to see a full 720p screen on this device, but the combined size and pixel count give it a high-density look that's very appealing. Indoors, it looks fantastic. I was able to navigate most screens under a sunny sky, but noticed that it was hard to take pictures outdoors from time to time.
The Incredible did a fine job of connecting to Verizon's 3G and 4G networks. It passed the ultimate test: it was able to consistently surf the web and make calls from within a concert arena packed with 20,000 other rabid smartphone owners. That's not an easy feat. During my time testing the device, I never saw it lose signal, and it always connected calls on the first attempt — even under the worst signal conditions. Data also always worked.
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One issue I noticed, 4G speeds weren't up to par with other 4G devices. For example, when under strict 3G coverage, using the Speed Test app, I was able to achieve peak downloads of about 1Mbps. This is exactly right for CDMA EVDO, which is the technology Verizon uses for its 3G network. Using the Speed Test app while in Newark, NJ, at the Prudential Arena, peak speeds over Verizon's 4G LTE network never exceeded 2Mbps. This is certainly an improvement over 3G, but isn't even close to the speeds PhoneScoop has experienced with other devices. This could be due to the high concentration of concert-goers at the arena, however, and PhoneScoop will continue to test the device to make sure there isn't another reason for the Incredible's slow LTE speeds.
UPDATE: I tested the device further over the last few days, and saw LTE wireless data speeds increase to a more typical level for Verizon's 4G network. Peak downloads reached as high as 11Mbps, and averaged about 8Mbps. The slower LTE data speeds I saw while testing the device in Newark earlier this wek were likely a result of a capacity crunch due to concert being held Monday evening.
The Incredible is an excellent voice phone. Not only did I find calls to be of the highest quality, but the earpiece speaker is extremely loud. Set all the way up and pressed to your ear, you might damage your hearing. The extreme volume meant I was able to make out at least part of a conversation during an Iron Maiden concert. That's asking a lot from any phone. In quieter venues, the Incredible impresses with its clean voice tones and crystal clear performance. The performance through the speakerphone was not so impressive, however. The speakerphone itself sounds thin and tinny, and voices took on a scratchier tone. As far as volume goes, it's OK, but not great. You can surely use it in a closed office or quiet home, but it wouldn't suffice for use in a moving car. The ringers and alert tones are plenty loud, and the vibrate alert is very strong.
Don't worry too much about battery life with the Incredible. I had no problem coaxing it through 30+ hours on a single charge. That included spending several hours under LTE coverage and the initial sync process, which can drain batteries quickly. The smaller screen surely helps the Incredible keep its power consumption in check. Even so, it has a 1700mAh battery, which is a respectable size for a phone of this class.
UPDATE: After spending a full week with the device, I am a bit disappointed by the battery life. It'll get through an entire day, but just barely — and even then only when under 3G coverage. I found the battery wasn't able to keep the phone powered when spending an entire day under LTE coverage. It quite often hit the danger zone (less than 20%) by dinner time. Bottom line, keep a charger handy if you live/work/play in a 4G LTE coverage zone.
Verizon's new pride-and-glory smartphone was on display at a private event hosted by Big Red in New Orleans. Here are Phone Scoop's initial thoughts in the phone.
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