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
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • v12v12 - Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - link

    *Sigh...* I hate to go off topic like this, but you obviously lack the ability to keep an open-mind/think for yourself... So here goes kid...

    "how did Apple find the guy, so fast"

    Because one of his roommates called the Police and told them where he was and what he had. But wait a minute, maybe the roommate is a mole planted by the CIA to keep tabs on the guy! Yeah, that's the ticket.

    How did the room mate know that it was "stolen," or that anything else was (assumed) wrong with the legality of phone, why would he assume? Just what would lead someone's (fucked up) roommate to purposefully call the police on someone who had a snazzy looking phone? There's much more detail to the story that's not being told... Why would the police get a search warrant over a “LOST” phone; remember there’s ZERO proof the phone was stolen in the 1st place. It’s 1 person’s word over another’s, and that doesn’t garner a very costly and hastily produced search warrant (they usually take many days to weeks to get, unless the crime was very serious; which it’s not, b/c there’s no proof of a crime committed, it’s still HEARSAY at that point in time, DUH?!).

    Hrmm… so the roommate thought, "man WTF I'll show him, for having that cool looking new phone, I’ll fscking call the cops, yeah they’ll come get him!” I'll completely wreck any kind of peaceful/civility I might have had with my now sworn enemy… Yeah I’m going to believe that… either way, so what if it turns out that my assertions about that particular detail of the alleged “crime,” (again there’s no proof he actually “stole:” as in he purposefully took the phone, while knowing it belonged to someone at the establishment; read the idiot engineer’s statement; it was LOST, then reported “stolen,” to cover his own ass.)
    __Okay so back to the point… ZOMG I proposed a scenario and might have been wrong… that MUST mean that the rest of my points and presented evidence is also wiped clean b/c of this newly found minute details of the case… The differences between (apparently) you and I are; I THINK, I ask more depth questions to a story that doesn’t even make legal sense, nor adds up to common sense… Then again I’m actually opened-minded and not another beak-fed nestling that’ll take whatever crap momma-mass-media will regurgitate down my throat. LOL!

    SEARCH those cases then come back talking smack; b/c in FACT they are nothing but FACTS from your own government, dunce… Apparently you’re not well versed in political history at all. Anyone that knows a shred of anything about the law, politics and or who thinks for themselves, knows the credibility and historical documentation of “the government,” that it as a ruling institution is deceitful, controlling, and authoritarian. Never mind, you’re obviously too zombified by games, TV and mass-media, to do your own simple fact checking/research. Enjoy your life serf/pleb/commoner…
  • artifex - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - link

    Anand, thanks for the great review. I'd heard some negative things about the Sense UI interface from dedicated iPhone users that made me a little concerned, but you've helped me stay excited about the interface and Android in general. I'd be excited about this phone, too, except that I know the EVO is coming out this summer. I really hope you can review it also, to see if they fix some of the problems you noted with this one.
  • LaughingTarget - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - link

    I had purchased a Droid Incredible last week. However, it has this unpleasant problem with the optical joystick. It simply activates itself and randomly flicks the screen and moves the cursor around while typing in fields. The flicking even happens when the phone is left on a flat surface and nothing is near it. It basically made the phone unusable. I had the phone replaced three times over the weekend and all of them had the same problem.

    I really wanted to like the Incredible. It was a solid phone. However, I moved over to Verizon from AT&T to get the phone and because of number portability, I can't go back to my old phone and decided to downgrade to the Motorola Droid. It's a shame, but I won't attempt the Incredible again until I've got some level of certainty that the problem with the optical joystick is fixed.
  • Someguyperson - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - link


    In order to obtain a better look at how an individual phone's hardware effects the speed of the web page loading, you should use the same browser on all devices, namely Opera Mini, to reduce one of the variables and get a better result.

  • Shawn C. - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    Hey Anand love the review. I was under the impression that the iPhone 3GS only had 256MB RAM. I believe that's what iFixit determined it to be. I just wanted some clarification since in one of your comparison tables you have it listed as having 512MB of RAM. Thanks
  • T2k - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link any other modern phone that embraces mobile-digital lifestyle - a one megabit link is simply just way too slow for that.
  • falko2904 - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    What we need are phones that will simply work on any network we choose to connect to. Having seen the variety of CDMA/GSM combo phones available, esp from Verizon, this has got to be possible. I want to buy the best phone possible, and use it with the best carrier possible, or even be able to easily switch carriers and phones however I want. The carriers have entirely too much control over the devices we spend money on and how we are allowed to use them. The carriers also seem to be way too interested in using phones and subsidies to compete, rather than competing on the quality of their network and service they provide.

    Some points on the N1/Incredible comparison:

    Animations: In the review it was mentioned that the Incredible seems more responsive because of UI tweaks, especially eliminating some of the animations. The N1 lets has a setting for animations that gives you a choice of all, some or no animations. It is one of the first things I changed on the phone, and it does make it much more responsive.

    Delete Multiple Emails: Both GMail and the regular Email app have check boxes next to the emails for batch operations. Both provide batch deletes, Gmail provides for Archive and Labels, Email provides for Mark Unread and Add Stars.

    Case Design. Overall I like both the N1 and the Incredible. The front of the Incredible looks fantastic, but the back of the Incredible looks unfinished. While the N1 may seem bland in comparison, to me it seems rather elegant both in design and construction.

    Controls: The N1 is the first phone, including the iPhone, that I have been able to use a touch screen keyboard on. The iPhone keyboard is not informative enough for me. I dislike the fact that it displays caps when in lowercase mode. Multi touch functionality on the keyboard is a non issue for me. And then there is always the Swype keyboard replacement. Trackball versus Optical Joystic - On the one hand, I like the light up trackball, and hopefully we will get multi color notifications with Froyo. On the other hand I am concerned about it's long term reliability, if it is anything like the Blackberry trackballs which tend to get flaky after some use. I like the solid state optical joystick for it's no moving parts to fail design. What I would ideally like is a optical joystick that protrudes a bit like the track ball so I can feel it, and also lights up like the track ball.

    UI Design: I love HTC Sense, and I also love the straight Google Experience phones. What I would love even more is, that when Froyo comes out and modularizes the Android OS, that we could get whatever shell or skin we want, on any Android Phone, or remove it to get the Google Experience. After all, it should be our choice. I would love for HTC to make Sense available on the Android Market, even for a cost at that point. Would it not be great to be able to get the latest Android Updates without concern for whatever shell is installed, or going forward be able to get the latest updates to Sense without having to root the phone?

    I am disappointed that the N1 will not be available on more networks. I was hoping that there would be at least one phone that I like, that would be available on all the major carriers.

    On a final note, carriers need to stop customizing their smartphones. They just have no clue how badly they are screwing them up. Admittedly you could always load a ROM of your choice, but that is not for everybody. My last phone was an AT&T Tilt2. Lets start with over 30MB of unusable, uninstallable, game demos. REALLY? On what is advertised to be a premium business class smartphone? And we used to be able to bypass the AT&T customization script, and they "fixed" that on this phone. But before anyone says something about AT&T, I have seen this sort of thing on all the carriers smartphones, and Verizon in particular is known to lock some of their phones features so you can only use them with their pay for services. Don't get me started.

  • bobny1 - Monday, July 26, 2010 - link

    I have both the HTC Incredible and the Apple IPhone 3gs. My conclution is that Apple is more sophisticated but the Incredible is more fun to work with.
  • coolfx35 - Saturday, October 2, 2010 - link

    I had a Blackberry for 2 yrs b4 converting to the Incredible & even then it took me a few weeks to decide if I really wanted to go back to a touch screen ( I had a Samsung Glyde, the 1st touch screen VZW came out w/ & it was horrible). Now I am sooo glad I did, because I love it.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now