Build Quality & Touchscreen Display: Worse and Better than the Nexus

Whereas the Nexus One feels very iPhone like in its curves and narrow seams, the Incredible just doesn’t. It feels cheap, mostly because of the back cover. The back snaps (instead of slides) into place. It’s easier to get on/off than the back panel of the Nexus One, but it’s also not as snug of a fit. I found that the cover on my sample squeaked a lot at the sides, which made it feel very cheap. The Incredible also has a pretty powerful motor for vibration, unfortunately that meant whenever the phone vibrated the back cover made even more noise.

Physical Comparison
  Apple iPhone 3GS (ARM Cortex A8) HTC Droid Incredible (Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8650) Google Nexus One (Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250)
Height 115 mm (4.5") 117.5 mm (4.63") 119 mm (4.7")
Width 62.1 mm (2.44") 58.5 mm (2.30") 59.8 mm (2.35")
Depth 12.3 mm (0.48") 11.9 mm (0.47") 11.5 mm (0.45")
Weight 133 g (4.7 oz) 130 g (4.6 oz) 130 g (4.6 oz)
CPU ARM Cortex A8 @ 600MHz Qualcomm Scorpion @ 1GHz Qualcomm Scorpion @ 1GHz
GPU PowerVR SGX 535 Adreno 200 Adreno 200
NAND 16GB or 32GB 8GB + micro SD micro SD
Camera 3MP 8MP with LED Flash 5MP with LED Flash
Screen 3.5" 320 x 480 LCD 3.7" 480 x 800 AMOLED 3.7" 480 x 800 AMOLED
Battery Integrated 4.51Whr Removable 4.81 Whr Removable 5.18 Whr

The front is a different story entirely. It’s simple but sexy, and comfortable to use as well. Since you’re mostly interacting with a solid touch screen the cheap feeling disappears. The simple black face looks a lot more modern than the grey/brown color of the Nexus One’s plastic.

Left to Right: HTC Droid Incredible, Google Nexus One, Apple iPhone 3GS

Left to Right: Google Nexus One, HTC Droid Incredible, Apple iPhone 3GS

Inside the phone you get access to a removable battery and micro SD card slot. Verizon doesn’t ship the phone with a card, but it does come with 8GB of NAND on board. The Incredible’s inner red is cool and solid enough that I wonder why HTC went with such a boring backplate by comparison.

You get three or four physical buttons on the Incredible, depending on how you count. There’s a power/lock switch up top in the same place as the iPhone, so no confusion there. Volume rocker on the left side. And HTC replaced the trackball on the Nexus One with an optical joystick at the bottom of the screen. While i pretty much never used the trackball on the Nexus One, I like the joystick on the Incredible.

You can use the joystick to scroll, but I used it to move between characters when fixing a typing error (very useful) and as the shutter button in the camera app.

The four fixed, but virtual buttons along the bottom of the phone are like those on the Nexus One although the Menu and Back button positions are reversed. Haptic (vibrate) feedback is enabled by default but you can thankfully disable it on the HTC Incredible.

You get the same 3.7” AMOLED display from the Nexus One with a 480 x 800 resolution. That means it’s something sharper than the iPhone 3GS, with very saturated colors, but beautiful to look at indoors. Outside, in direct sunlight, it’s virtually useless.

Prepare to crank the display up to full brightness if you use it a lot in direct sunlight.

The touchscreen didn't have nearly the same sort of responsiveness problems I encountered on the Nexus One. I'd say HTC managed to deliver a capacitive touchscreen that's virtually indistinguishably from the iPhone in day to day use. I will say that there were a few isolated situations where I had to tap multiple times to get the screen to recognize what I was trying to do. This mostly happened at the corners of the screen

HTC's Head in the Clouds Hallelujah, The Keyboard
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  • rpmurray - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    So, now that we have a smartphone with Flash, how well does it play those Flash games like Farmville?
  • Johnmcl7 - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    Actually we've had one for a while in the form of the N900 which has had full Flash support from the start, it can load the likes of Farmville/Mafia Wars fine although it can be a bit sluggish
  • Jaybus - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    Motorola Droid also does Flash.
  • coburn_c - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    qualcomm scorpion?
  • pookguy88 - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    Anand, one thing you left out of your review which is really important to me with regards to Nexus vs Incredible is the charging/docking pins. I love being able to just slide my Nexus into the desktop charger without plugging anything in. I know it's a minor detail but that's a big feature for me coming from Blackberry hardware. Makes using the phone as an alarm clock possible.
  • cfaalm - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    New as it may be, I still think the Legend looks better. It has many of the features mentioned here but a much more beautiful (one piece aluminum) body. OK it has a trackball, which I happen to like, though I do wonder what to do if dirt gets in.
  • homebredcorgi - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    "3G performance was better on the Incredible than on the AT&T Nexus One."

    Did you mean T-mobile instead of AT&T? I was under the impression that the N1 is set up for T-Mobile's 3G network only. If you used it with an AT&T SIM you would only have EDGE data speeds (no 3G).
  • secretanchitman - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    google sells a version of the nexus one with AT&T 3G bands now :)
  • homebredcorgi - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    Bah! Completely forgot about that...having no advertising campaign to speak of certainly hasn't helped my memory. Thanks for the correction.
  • Pirks - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    "And we all know how that worked out for the PC OEMs; they ship a ton of systems and Apple makes all the money."

    I and reader1 love you Anand! Keep it up man :) Your reviews are the best, as always.

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