The original Droid Incredible by HTC was the second Android phone I ever officially reviewed. The first was Google's Nexus One. A year ago I proudly proclaimed that the Incredible was clearly better than the Nexus One thanks to the added features HTC delivered through Sense. Since then we've seen Google improve Android tremendously. The OS has come so far in the past twelve months that I do wish more vendors would actually ship unaltered versions of it on their devices. HTC has kept up with Google's evolution, at least on some of their devices. The Sensation 4G, EVO 3D and Flyer all ship with a brand new version of the Sense UI (3.0) that actually adds some pretty neat features to the OS (e.g. the ability to launch apps from the lock screen).

Unfortunately the successor to the original Incredible isn't blessed with Sense 3.0, it's still running version 2.0. The Incredible 2 also doesn't ship with Gingerbread, it's currently only available with Android 2.2.1. Qualcomm does have a working Gingerbread port, something HTC is quite familiar with as all of the devices I mentioned above ship with Gingerbread. The Incredible 2 is due for an update to Gingerbread soon but if you buy it today all you get is Froyo.

The seemingly dated software comes with similarly dated hardware, at least by today's standards. The Incredible 2 ships with Qualcomm's MSM8655 SoC. That's a 45nm SoC with a single-core 1GHz Snapdragon and an Adreno 205 GPU. The chip has 768MB of memory on package. CPU performance isn't improved compared to the original Incredible although the GPU is faster and power consumption is lower thanks to the 45nm process (the original Incredible had a 65nm QSD8650 with an Adreno 200).

While this is an upgrade from the original Incredible, HTC's high end phones these days ship with MSM8660 SoCs: the dual-core, Adreno 220 packing successor to the 8655. In a world where the past six months have been dominated by talk of NVIDIA's dual-core Tegra 2, shipping a high end single-core phone seems silly.

The Incredible 2 increases screen size over the original to a comfortable 4-inches. HTC went with a Super LCD display (PVA) with an 800 x 480 resolution. With Android I firmly believe that the 4-inch screen is ideal for the platform. Anything smaller and it's too difficult to type on. Anything larger and it's not as comfortable to carry around with you.

In your hand the Incredible 2 feels good but not perfect. It's a few mm too wide in my opinion. The front is all glass save for a thin bezel around the sides. The bezel is raised so you can lay the phone flat without worrying about scratching the glass. The four Android buttons are capacitive touch and backlit. The Android buttons will also rotate orientation if you hold the Incredible 2 in landscape vs. portrait. They'll always be in the same place but they'll simply rotate 90 degrees so they're always facing up. Like we saw on the Flyer this button rotation only works if you hold the phone in portrait mode with the Verizon logo facing up or rotate it 90 degrees counter clockwise so the buttons are to the right of you.

Anything that isn't glass is made of soft touch plastic. Despite having a removable back the device feels solid and didn't exhibit any squeaks or creaks when handled. My only concern about soft touch plastic like this is it tends to age really poorly and develop shiny splotches as it accumulates oils from your skin and some of the finish wears off.

The power/lock button is up top and the volume rocker is on the left side. There's also a micro USB port on the left side for charge/sync - there is no HDMI output on the Incredible 2.

Around back is an 8MP camera sensor with dual LED flash. The speakerphone grill is to the right of the rear camera. There's a 1.3MP front facing camera as well.

The back cover pulls off with the uncomfortable release of a few clips around the edge. I'm always afraid I'm going to break something whenever I pull off these HTC covers. Underneath the cover is the Incredible 2's 5.36Whr battery, an upgrade from its predecessor.

Go down one more level and you'll find a SIM card slot behind the battery. The Incredible 2 is a world phone that supports 800/1900MHz CDMA networks, 900/2100MHz UMTS/HSPA+ and 850/900/1800/1900MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks. I traveled to both Abu Dhabi and Taiwan with the Incredible 2, unfortunately I didn't tell Verizon beforehand and thus didn't have service in either location. As a world phone you do get a number of additional plugs for the power adapter:

Keeping with recent HTC tradition, the back cover actually houses the cellular, Bluetooth and WiFi antennas. Remove the cover and you quickly lose all cellular reception on the Incredible 2. In the US, EVDO is the fastest cellular network supported - there's no WiMAX or LTE here. The Incredible 2 supports 802.11b/g/n.

The microSD card slot is accessible without removing the battery but you still need to take off the case to get to it. Verizon sells the Incredible 2 under contract (2-year agreement) for $199 with a 16GB microSD card.

Physical Comparison
  Apple iPhone 4 HTC Thunderbolt Motorola Droid X2 HTC Droid Incredible HTC Droid Incredible 2
Height 115.2 mm (4.5") 122 mm (4.8") 126.5 mm (4.98") 117.5 mm (4.63") 126.3 mm (4.97")
Width 58.6 mm (2.31") 67 mm (2.63") 65.5 mm (2.58") 58.5 mm (2.30") 65.5 mm (2.58")
Depth 9.3 mm ( 0.37") 13.2 mm (0.52") 9.9 mm (0.39") 11.9 mm (0.47") 11.6 mm (0.46")
Weight 137 g (4.8 oz) 183.3 g (6.46 oz) 155 g 130 g (4.6 oz) 148 g (5.22 oz)
CPU Apple A4 @ ~800MHz 1 GHz MSM8655 45nm Snapdragon 1 GHz Dual Core Cortex-A9 Tegra 2 1 GHz Snapdragon QSD8650 1 GHz Snapdragon MSM8655
GPU PowerVR SGX 535 Adreno 205 ULP GeForce Adreno 200 Adreno 205
RAM 512MB LPDDR1 (?) 768 MB LPDDR2 512 MB LPDDR2 512MB LPDDR1 768 MB LPDDR2
NAND 16GB or 32GB integrated 4 GB NAND with 32 GB microSD Class 4 preinstalled 8 GB NAND with 8 GB microSD preinstalled 8 GB NAND with up to 16GB microSD 4 GB NAND with 16 GB microSD preinstalled
Camera 5MP with LED Flash + Front Facing Camera 8 MP with autofocus and dual LED flash, 720p30 video recording, 1.3 MP front facing 8 MP with AF/dual LED Flash, 720p30 video recording 8 MP with AF/LED Flash, 720p30 video recording 8 MP AF/Dual LED flash, 720p30 video recording, 1.3MP front facing
Screen 3.5" 640 x 960 LED backlit LCD 4.3” 800 x 480 LCD-TFT 4.3" 960 x 540 LCD-TFT 3.7" 800 x 480 AMOLED 4.0" 800 x 480 S-LCD
Battery Integrated 5.254Whr Removable 5.18 Whr Removable 5.7 Whr Removable 4.81 Whr Removable 5.36 Whr

 

Software - Android 2.2.1 & Sense 2.0
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  • VivekGowri - Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - link

    The optical trackpad was a bit worthless to me, but I agree with everything else about the G2. Unfortunately, the hinge made it so impossible to carry after the first 6 months....man, the hinge just felt like it was going to break within the next few weeks, so I had to sell mine. I really liked it otherwise, I wouldn't have sold it. Maybe mine was one of the early build models with that problem, so I don't know.

    I dunno though, have you played with the Sensation? It's a very, very well designed and well built handset, so I wouldn't write HTC off yet.
    Reply
  • makken - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - link

    I have not had a chance to play with the sensation yet; I will have to go check it out at some point.

    I might have been one of the lucky ones with the hinge. I got my DZ around Christmas 2010, and, although the hinge is loose (i.e. it will automatically close if you hold it upside down while open), the mechanism is solid and doesn't feel like its on the verge of breaking.

    I admit, I had my concerns initially about the hinge. I almost decided on the droid 2 instead of it because of all the horror stories I've read; but I'm glad I didn't.
    Reply
  • RaistlinZ - Monday, July 4, 2011 - link

    Pretty nice smartphone.....if this were 2010. This phone brings nothing new or exciting or different unfortunately. Reply
  • deadsix - Monday, July 4, 2011 - link

    The original incredible supports Wireless N. At launch it did not but an OTA update unlocked it.

    http://www.androidcentral.com/htc-droid-incredible...

    I've personally own an HTC Incredible 1 and I can connect to N wifi.
    Reply
  • ol1bit - Monday, July 4, 2011 - link

    I think companies are trying to use old products now days. I'm, not sure how much development time leads up to a release, but at some point someone should say, "ok, let's can it".

    The Droid x2 with only 3g, and the Droid 3 with only 3g. Great on dual core, but missed the tech 100%!

    I will not buy a 3G phone, or a single core 4g LTE phone. I know there are millions like me. I want a significant upgrade for my hard earned cash.
    Reply
  • lament - Monday, July 4, 2011 - link

    "I will not buy a 3G phone, or a single core 4g LTE phone. I know there are millions like me. I want a significant upgrade for my hard earned cash."

    You must be holding out for the Droid Bionic like me and everyone else.

    As for this phone, here's the market they were aiming for:

    - people who don't need a monster display
    - people who want something fast, but not dual-core fast because they don't even know what dual core means
    - people who don't need 4G (they either don't need it or don't live in a 4G area)
    - people who want something inexpensive (this phone is 1 cent on Amazon Wireless for new or current individual accounts, or $79 for current customers on a family plan).

    In other words, my wife.. I bought one for her for Mother's day. She had an old Samsung flip phone before this. I've played around with this phone a lot (I'm still rocking an OG Droid on its last legs.. currently rocking MIUI ROM) and it gets the job done.. and quickly.

    The display is gorgeous and bright as hell. Even with a gel case, it's slim and light. It flips through apps without any hesitation. Battery life is excellent.

    It's a great value.
    Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Monday, July 4, 2011 - link

    @lament Let me know how you're wife likes the Incredible 2. My wife hardly users apps at all and her Droid Eris just kicked the big one and I've got her running a Palm Pre Plus for now.

    I too am rocking my OG Droid, on CM7 but having some bugs that really make me wish I'd stuck with CM6. The email address is my name with a . in between first and last at gmail. Thanks!

    Jason
    Reply
  • lefenzy - Monday, July 4, 2011 - link

    On the other hand, you have consumers like me who also are interested in getting a good deal for their money but find that the cutting edge is simply too raw. I will not notice the incredible 2's shortcomings in hardware. I want a phone for email, phone calls, and light internet browsing. What's great about this phone is that it does everything relatively well: it's appropriately sized, battery life is sufficient, and performance is satisfactory. The three LTE phones are all too big right now. Reply
  • lefenzy - Monday, July 4, 2011 - link

    If only there existed an HTC sensation with LTE, a four inch screen, and enough battery life to get through the day. I would jump for that. Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Monday, July 4, 2011 - link

    This is, unfortunately, a classic 'have your cake and eat it too' problem. In CPU reviews Anand likes to discuss TDP as basically the processors power envelope. You can fill that envelope using various components including # of cores, clock speed and feature silicon (AES-NI, HD decoders, GPUs, etc). But to meet a power envelope you have to limit the number of components.

    The same thing applies to cellphones. Say you want a thin light phone with 10 hours of battery life (these figures are all arbitrary, just an example). Your battery will be x volume of your phones space, and can be no larger or smaller. If you add a big screen, that will ruin your battery life. If you add LTE that will require a thicker phone and might limit your battery size. If you want dual-core you're going to ruin your battery life. So, you start remeasuring and reconfiguring till you've got a phone that isn't, hopefully, awful and meets your intended design target.

    So why can't you have you're cake and eat it too? An LTE Sensation would have to be thicker, would have to have a bigger battery and would have to use some sort of magic to squeeze all it's components into a chassis designed for a 4" screen. And we call that magic MSM8960. 28 nm, dual-core, OoO, 3G, LTE, GPS, BT, FM, Adreno 3xx GPU in one chip with significant power savings over its predecessor.
    Reply

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