Verizon’s new Droid Incredible smart phone lives up to its name

I’ve screaming about Verizon getting the iPhone, but HTC’s Droid Incredible smartphone is shutting me up.

I’ve been playing with one since late last week and love it.¬† OK, the iPhone has apps numbering the six figures and there’s only 10,000 (yeah, only…) for the Incredible, but I like the Verizon network and don’t want to switch to AT&T which has that VERY ANNOYING exclusive on the iPhone. We can blame Apple for that. I think the Incredible and more Android-based phones coming from other manufacturers represent the first serious¬† challenge to the iPhone.

The Incredible’s camera at full zoom. That’s John McEnroe signing autographs.

So far, Motorola, Google and HTC (who’s “quietly brilliant” HTC? Click here) have designed and manufacturered Android phones for the U.S. market, but can Nokia, Samsung, LG and maybe even Apple be far behind?

The Incredible’s resident applications are too numerous to comprehensively review, but the 8-megapixel camera and video cam are exceptional. The zoom leaves something to be desired as my photos show, but you can upload photos and the MP4’s videos directly to e-mail, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook other social media sites directly from the Incredible (for video, a WIFI connection is required). Any video beyond 30 seconds takes a few minutes and sometimes a couple of tries. After all, this is only 1-2 Megabit per second 3G technology – much faster 4G will fix that.

Check out my home office video below shot with the Incredible. I also shot my yard, but the Incredible’s mike picked up the crashing sound of a stiff wind. Both of these will confirm my non-standing as a professional videographer.

The camera comes 8GB of memory and you can add a 16GB SD card. The 25-30 second videos I’ve been shooting take between 6-8MB so I won’t be running out of RAM any time soon unless I shoot a full length motion picture with the Incredible.

The Incredible’s poor zoom shown here with Bjorn Borg serving.

The 3.7 inch high definition AMOLED (AMOLED is very bright LED display technology with no power-draining back-lighting required) touch screen is a killer and you can read books given the crispness of the type. One drawback is that it’s hard to make out in the bright sunlight – harder than the touch screen on my new Palm Pre Plus, which is a generation behind the Incredible in most other respects.

The pricing shows it: the discounted Droid Incredible at Verizon Wireless is $200 versus $30 for Palm Pre Plus.¬† Despite solid reviews, the Pre has not sold well during the few months Verizon has offered it so it’s being heavily discounted and coming with enticements such as free mobile broadband.

I wrote about the original Droid (Motorola) at SmartPlanet.com (my former blog) and liked it. But the HTC Incredible’s camera is far superior than any other cell phone’s save the iPhone (I wouldn’t know…) and much sleeker than its brick-ishly shaped Motorola predecessor. At that time, I wrote about the Droid’s terrific voice search and it’s just as good in the Incredible.

Follow this link to check out the specs.

The dilemma for me now is whether to send back my 10-day-old Palm Pre Plus and give up the its free mobile broadband which will cost me $30 a month using the Incredible as a modem like I did my now retired Blackberry Curve. The Pre is nowhere near as versatile and fun as the Incredible, but over my just renewed two-year indentured servitude to Verizon, I will save $720 at today’s mobile broadband prices. Double that savings with the Pre if you trade in a USB modem with requires what amounts to its own separate phone number and costs $60 a month.

What’s more, the Pre is a WIFI hotspot so you don’t have to load and deal with the Verizon Access Manager software every time you want to connect. And it’s not a bad touch screen phone. It’s certainly worth 30 bucks (actually, I’m checking to see if the free mobile broadband promotion is still good….with that, Verizon is leaving a lot of money on the table).

But the Droid Incredible is an awfully nice smart phone rivaled only by the iPhone.

Also bear in mind that both the Pre and the Incredible are far different phones than the popular Blackberry Curve with its familiar keyboard. But the Curve is comparatively crude with the Internet and after e-mail, it’s just a phone for talking. The Pre has a keyboard, but is a good compromise between the Curve and the Incredible, which is touch screen all the way and very Internet-centric.

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13 comments On Verizon’s new Droid Incredible smart phone lives up to its name

  • Andoid phones can also create a wifi hotspot for free. If you have a rooted phone, a process that takes me less than 5 minutes, then you can run the android wifi tether app for free. There is also another wifi tether app in the android marketplace named “barnacle” but it’s not as good as the official wifi tether app though but Barnacle doesn’t require rooted android phones. Go to youtube and search “root my droid” if you’re not sure what I’m talking about.

  • David,

    Thanks for the tip-off on this. I have just packaged up the Palm Pre Plus for return (within the 30 days alloted by Verizon). I will be sure to check out these options. I knew Verizon wasn’t offering a free mobile hotspot out of the goodness of its heart w the Pre Plus (which wasn’t a bad phone). I would have been stuck w it until December, 2011…meanwhile Verizon and others come out with a dozen better phones!

    I have the HTC Incredible for a while longer. Will try rooting it and see if I can make the freebie hotspot work.

  • In looking at the Android phones I have always been impressed…on first look. Then the reality comes into view. For me the phone is not a toy; I need it for serious business. One of the key elements in my software arsenal is MS Outlook. So far no Android phone synchronizes easily and completely with Outlook. This is not surprising since Google is pushing the cloud.

    So my question is: How is the HTC Incredible at syncing with Outlook? Will it sync with all parts of Outlook, i.e., Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, etc? And I don’t mean through Exchange.

    Thanks for any info on this.

    Bob Harris

  • Bob,

    I checked out the Incredible’s mail setup and there is one for Exchange ActiveSynch if that’s any help. With Gmail, you just enter your login and password and your set up. There is also a manual setup for IMAP, POP and APOP email. Google is a big Android backer so Gmail, Google search get top bigging on Android phones, but I can’t imagine there’s no Outlook option. You just have to get behind the VPN that it usually sits behind.

  • @Bob Harris

    I use HTC Sync, version: 2.0.25, from http://www.htc.com to sync my Droid Eris with Outlook 2007. It’s a very clean and complete sync of calendar and contacts. It won’t do Outlook Notes, so I use 3Banana for notes, which is better because it’s password protected and I need that.

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  • Oh my. I had no idea until I got this thing that it won’t sync the Outlook mail folders. I will look for an app for that, but it’s useless without that capability, unless you’re a teenager or a stay at home parent. I’m furious about this. If anyone can help, I could really use it.

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  • High-speed Web browsing, voice-activated search, customizable large screen, access to thousands of Android applications and hundreds of widgets and the best 3G mobile network in the country: DROID by Motorola arrives on Nov. 6.

  • I do believe Nov. 6, 2009 that was the first day the Motorola Droid version 1 was in Verizon stores….

  • John, I am a 65 year old (that tells you alot about my technical skills)with a new Droid Incredible. I have been told at Verizon that a sync with Outlook is not an option and that I need to use G-mail calendar, contacts, etc. I have used Outlook for years with a Blackberry. Is there a SIMPLE solution that I can do myself to make it sync with Outlook. Michelle

  • I need to really sync Notes and Tasks to my Droid from OutLook — anyone have any solution

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