Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
It was only a matter of time before HTC released a sequel to the DROID Incredible, one of the first of the super-powerful Android phones that helped the OS explode in popularity last year.Click here to see photos (and video demos) of the DROID Incredible 2 >
The DROID Incredible 2 isn’t a major leap forward from the original, but it is still an excellent smartphone. And well worth the $199.99 price tag.
It won’t completely knock your socks off when compared to other super powerful Android phones out there, but I loved my time with the Incredible 2.
The Incredible 2 doesn’t look much different from its predecessor. The fancy red trim is gone, but there’s still the raised backing and giant 8 MP camera with flash.
It feels great to hang on to. It’s thin and light, with a nice rubbery back that’s very comfortable. The Incredible 2 isn’t thinner than my iPhone 4, but the smart design makes it feel that way.
The 4-inch screen is bright, and very responsive to touch. Android phones are definitely getting a lot better with touch gestures. With every new one I test, everything gets smoother and easier to control.
I also enjoyed the camera. While it’s not a huge step up from the original Incredible, you’ll still get 8 MP shots and great 720p HD video capture. (Check the gallery linked below for a video demo.)
When HTC first released the specs for the Incredible 2, I was a bit worried. It still sports a 1 GHz processor, which seems outdated in the age of super fast dual-core processors on phones like the Motorola Atrix. But I never had a problem. Video, apps, and web browsing were quick and stable.
I only had two major problems with the hardware.
The first: Call quality wasn’t that great. Every time I spoke I could hear an echo of voice through the earpiece. The Incredible 2 is supposed to have noise cancelling, but after several call tests everything still sounded like I was speaking into a tin can.
(Perhaps I had a defective unit, since other reviewers didn’t seem to have that problem with the noise cancelling.)
The second: Battery life still isn’t that great. It was one of the biggest downsides with the first Incredible, and seems to be the case with the Incredible 2. I could barely get a day’s use out of it. As you should with all Android phones, keep an eye on how much juice your open apps are using to help manage your battery life.
HTC Knows How To Work An Android Phone
I love HTC’s Sense skin. This was my first time using it for an extended period of time, and I was surprised at how much it adds to Android. I’m normally turned off when phone manufacturers tweak Android, but HTC does it right.
HTC also gives you access to a library of some amazing widgets. Many are even better than what you can get in the Android Market. One of my favourites is FriendStream, which contains updates from your friends on Facebook and Twitter. There’s no need to open a separate app to see what your friends are up to.
And HTC continues to do an excellent job with a bunch of great skins and 70 other widgets that makes it easy to customise your Incredible 2.
Other than that, the overall experience with the Incredible 2 is pretty much standard compared to similar Android phones. Web browsing is fast, Flash videos play decently well, and apps run smoothly.
On the downside, since this is branded as one of Verizon’s “DROID” phones, it ships with a bunch of crapware like V Cast and Verizon Navigator. One of my biggest pet peeves is having carriers try and force their services on me. There are plenty of great apps in the Android Market that do the same thing.
But that’s just a minor annoyance, and it’s not like Verizon is the only carrier that does it. But it is why I still prefer using a clean version of Android over one modified by the manufacturer or carrier.
Stuck On Froyo
I know I complain about this with almost every new phone, but I’ll say it again. Why are we still getting Android 2.2 Froyo when Gingerbread has been available for six months now? It’s ridiculous to make users wait so long for the latest operating system.
All iPhone owners get the latest updates right away. I wish someone would figure out a way to make that happen on all the different Android devices too.
Should You Buy It?
I really enjoyed my time with the DROID Incredible 2. It won’t make me ditch my iPhone 4, but it’s a great option for Verizon customers. If you’re an Android lover and don’t have an extra $50 to spend on the speedy 4G HTC Thunderbolt, the Incredible 2 is worth a look.
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