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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  • rcc - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    As I read the review, the commercial that came to mind was "it's just like a xerox" from back in the 80s.

    and then, but not quite as good........

    Anyway, I'm looking for a smartphone update, but a clean sync with Outlook is still a requirement. Who does it other than WinMo so far??
  • xenon2009 - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    I believe HTC does have an app called HTC Sync which does do Outlook syncing. I am not sure if it is available for the Droid Incredible but it is worth a shot. You should be able to get from HTC's website.
  • cfaalm - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    That works. I was able to sync my Legend with Outlook. You can download the app or even pull it from the SD-card that came with the phone (it should be on there). See website for instructions. It's really easy.
  • gregounech - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    Hey anand guys!

    I'm front France and typing this message HTC desire.

    I saw It's going to be out this summer only in usa, however it is already out in Europe. It adds HTC sense to the same hardware base of the nexus one and addingvsome other things.

    Some websites loved it and I'd love to see you guys review it comparing to those two Android based smartphones. it...

    Regards, Gregounech a French addict to anandtech!
  • cgalyon - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    Not sure if this is what you meant, but you can copy/paste in e-mails using the default mail client. I didn't try from the widget (removed that widget in fact), but if you enter an e-mail, just press and hold and it will highlight. You can move around to extend the highlight and when you release you'll have three context buttons. The first of these allows you to "copy" (later to paste). Also you enter the "expose" view by pressing the home button when on the home screen: at least my optical button doesn't pull it up...
  • GlobleWarmingisbunk - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    How Does the HTC Incredible compare to the Eris as far as performance.
    I noticed that you did not review Eris, like you did with the Nexus One.

  • GregANDTCH - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    How well does this one do on App space? Friend of mine had (I believe) the Nexus One and they reached a point where they couldn't put any more Apps on it. They were told you couldn't run them from the msdcard. It was only for Music & Pictures.
  • safcman84 - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    or can we expect a a new HTC phone in Europe as well?

  • IKeelU - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    Is there anything stopping the N1 from eventually including the improvements made by HTC? As an N1 owner, I'm a little disapppointed that my device is "almost there" in several key areas, notably the touch screen, keyboard input and overall smoothness. Enough to make me consider hoccing it on ebay and picking up the incredible once it supports GSM in Canada.

    It seems a lot of what differentiates the inredible from the N1 could technically run on the N1 (besides the improved touchscreen, if there is indeed a hardware difference there).
  • Impulses - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - link

    If you don't mind rooting it and voiding the warranty, you can flash a Sense ROM unto it (visit MoDaCo) which basically gives you all of HTC's software improvements... The touch sensor on the Incredible and Droid are still better than the N1's tho (when it comes to multi-touch anyway, which I don't think has much to do w/any of Anand's issues which he usually described a issues of responsiveness or accuracy).

    I doubt there's gonna be a GSM Incredible, the Desire would be it's GSM equivalent, basically a Nexus One with Sense, an extra hole for the speakerphone, and a touchpad instead of a trackball.

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