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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  • Chaser - Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - link

    After owning a 3G, Droid, EVO, Galaxy, and G2X the Sensation is the sweetest spot ever for a phone and I'll tell you why:

    LTE (and Wimax for that matter) is for practical purposes more a battery killer than a monumental feature Verizon and Sprint would like you to believe. Unless you are connected charging using LTE as a hotspot you will use LTE very sparingly while the phone is in your pocket. Who really needs 15mbps on a 4inch display? The point being T-Mobile's "4G" at 4-6mbps is more than fast enough even for occasional tethering like at an airport. But the Sensation's battery life is absolutely superb compared to LTE and Wimax. I can leave 4G on all day without a consideration.

    I wont write a new review on the Sensation. But with this phone, it's specs, battery and T-Mobile's very competitive everything plan, world phone capability, and simultaneous voice/data (GSM folks) T-Mobile knocked this out of the park. Now that's Incredible.
    Reply
  • Penti - Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - link

    It's already running Gingerbread Android 2.3 here in Sweden. Too bad about Verizon's model. Not a phone that fits in with HTC though. Reply
  • peldor - Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - link

    At $199 or $149 this phone doesn't stand out at all. On the other hand, Costco has it for $80 as an upgrade or $50 for new Verizon customers. Reply
  • mikehawk51 - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - link

    Cmon, enough with this dual core nonsense. Get some apples/apples comparisons here and show me the difference. None of these benchmark scores, I mean actual user experience. Here's one;

    I own both an HTC Sensation 4G (dual core @ 1.2 ghz) and a HTC Thunderbolt (single core @ 1ghz)

    Guess which one performs better in real world use? THE THUNDERBOLT. The overhead of Gingerbread+Sense3 actually taxes the system to the point where homescreen framerates are actually worse than my thunderbolt. I can flick through pages on my thunderbolt as smoothely as an iphone, however on my Senseation there is a noticeable drop in framerate. It doesnt hinder use at all, but I notice it nonetheless, and it bugs the hell out of me. I feel like I have a substandard piece of hardware which cant keep up with the big boys, even though it is technically superior.

    Guys, we're talking CELLPHONES here. The PC industry still hasnt caught up with multi-threading yet, but at least they have the reason to try. Threading out GPU rendering and physics pipelines at the same time can yield better performance in theory. But exactly what are we going to be threading on a platform which consists of side scrolling games no greater than mario bros? Or ultra pixelated low poly 3d golfing sims, or 1st person shooters on rails? Even if you could squeeze a quad core xeon into a cellphone with 16GB of ram, the platform just doesnt offer a venue for using this kind of horsepower. People dont want to play Crysis on their cellphones, they want to play Soduku and Penguins.

    Dual core processors were developed for phones just because they could, not because there was any need or even demand for it. Dont knock a phone due to white paper specs, especially when older phones may in fact perform better.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - link

    check the comparisons on androidcentral between the Sensation and the Evo3D. Apparently there is a software update coming to help the Sensation as something causes the lag that they fixed in the Evo3D Reply
  • nitink - Monday, August 1, 2011 - link

    this phone have a great potential unleach its power get full hd games with sd card data..at:
    http://nitin-xyz.blogspot.com/2011/07/free-and-ful...
    Reply
  • jjizzle - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    I'm running android 2.3.4 with sense 3.5 on the original incredible I'm pretty sure the S can manage just fine. The phone to get right now for HTC would probably be the rezound. That is my favorite. Reply

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