Friday, July 6, 2012

Comparing HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE and Droid Incredible 2 and Droid Incredible 1: Operating Systems

For those of you wondering about the differences between the original Droid Incredible, the Droid Incredible 2 and the HTC Droid Incredible 4g lte, this post is for you.  There a bunch of reviews out there already telling people what the Incredible 4G does or does not have, but not many that are comparing how the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE stacks up against the prior phones in the Droid Incredible line up.

In case you missed it, see my earlier post comparing dimensions and sizes of the Dinc 1, Dinc 2 and Dinc 3 and my rant about why you should not compare this phone to the HTC One X or Galaxy S3. 

Operating System
As you all know, all three Dincs use Google's Android operating system.
The Original Incredible maxed out at Android Gingerbread 2.3.4 (don't remember sense version, I think 2)
The Incredible 2 (as of this writing) is at Android Gingerbread 2.3.4  (don't remember sense version, I think 2) as well, but has some extra features over the original Inc
The Incredible 4G shipped with Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) 4.0.3 and Sense 4

So what's the difference?
In real world application, the main changes from the Incredible 1 to the Incredible 2 where all extremely minor.  The processor and ram boost of the Incredible 2 made for a better experience, but overall the interface of the two units was extremely similar.  There were a couple of enhancements and improvements to the mail client in the Incredible 2, and it ironed out a couple of minor email and calendar bugs.  A big improvement is that it removed the annoying out of disk space bug that the Incredible 1 had.  The Incredible 2 offered more customizable screens and backgrounds, but overall, the OS and overall experience was incredibly (pun intended) similar. 
Now, how about moving from the Incredible 2 to the Incredible 4G?  Well, now we have some big differences.
  • ICS manages memory and storage much better.  What does this mean to you?  It means that you dont' have to install a task manager to kill tasks just to speed up the phone (incredible one owners).  It means that you don't get the dreaded out of disk space message on the og Incredible (though that was solved in the Inc 2).  And for Dinc2 users, it means that the new operating system, combined with more ram and a better processor, absolutely flies.  I rarely see any lag on the phone.
  • You don't have to Root the device to get rid of Verizon bloat.  Well, technically the Verizon bloat is still there taking up space, BUT you can disable it so that you do not see it in your menus and that it does not autostart.  So, slacker radio, Vcast, VZNavigator and all that other crap can be disabled from the application management screen in the Incredible 4G and you don't have to worry about it again.
  • Email is improved yet again, with email grouping.  This means that you can delete whole groups of emails (from one sender) with just a couple clicks, which is really useful.  
  • Huge improvements to the lock screen.  You can now set you lock screen to show you calendar appointments or the weather, and can also set it up with quick unlock settings so you can unlock your phone right into texts, email, camera or a web browser.
  • The HTC Incredible 4G  has more background and color choices available out of the box compared to the Incredible 2.
  • The camera on the Inc4G takes photos lightning fast compared to the Incredible 2.  I actually think the camera speed and focus was better on the original incredible than the incredible 2, but the incredible 4G is better than them both.  It is true though, the HTC One series with the discreet imaging chip, is better than the 4G Incredible.  Even so, you still take acceptable images at a fast rate, and you can take snapshots while video is recording.  The inc 4g also supports taking 1080p videos.  Not bad.
I'll add more to this list as I think of it.

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE - Not Everyone Wants a Monster Sized Phone.

It seems to me that the blogging and technology review community as a whole is doing a disservice to the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE with their constant comparisons to the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the HTC One series (which is NOT even available from Verizon).   I decided to do a series of informal posts with my experiences with the Inc 4G and provide comparisons to some of its older siblings, the Incredible 2 and the original competitor.

Just about every one of the tech blogs out there is repeating the same 3 things.
  • The camera is not as good as HTC's One series, (Though the Verge says otherwise)
  • The display on the Galaxy S3 and One X is bigger and brighter. 
  • The processor is clocked faster at 1.5Ghz vs. 1.2Ghz on the Inc4G.  
They all then conclude that you should spend the extra $50 to get the Galaxy S3 on Verizon or the HTC One X on AT&T.  But, guess what?! Not everyone wants to carry around a phone that's half the size of a tablet or iPad and most people don't want to leave Verizon's superior coverage zone.

No, seriously, I don't care how thin it is, the Galaxy S3 (and even the smaller Razr phones) are just too big for me to comfortably keep in my pocket all day long.  Oh, and if you are concerned about 1.2 vs 1.5 processing speed, don't be.  There is no noticeable difference in real world application, and all of the benchmarks are only reporting 5 to 18% improvements theoretical speed.  Enough of that rant, back to the topic at hand, comparing the Droid Incredible 1, Droid Incredible 2 and Droid Incredible 4G.

I'll update this post with a link to each comparison as I publish them.
  1.  Comparing the size of the HTC Incredible 4G LTE, Incredible 2 and Original Incredible
  2. Comparing HTC Incredible 1, 2 and 4G OS and Sense improvements

Droid Incredible 4G LTE vs. Droid Incredible 2 vs. Droid Incredible 1

Having now owned all of the Verizon versions of the HTC Droid Incredible, I felt compelled to post a review and comparison of the original Droid Incredible versus the Droid Incredible 2 versus the Droid Incredible 4G LTE (I really wish they had just named it Droid Incredible 3 to keep things easier to say).  Anyhow, based on my ambition level, you'll get one or more posts, with this one comparing photos of the three and physical properties, such as look and feel.

Anyhow, first up are the pictures, probably what 99% of you came here to see.
Picture comparing side by side Incredible 1 next to Incredible 2 next to Incredible 4G LTE

Picture comparing side by side laying down Incredible 1 next to Incredible 2 next to Incredible 4G LTE

Picture comparing side by side Incredible 1 next to Incredible 2 next to Incredible 4G LTE

Picture comparing stacked Incredible 1 on Incredible 2 on Incredible 4G LTE

Incredible 4G LTE sitting on top of Droid Incredible 2

Droid Incredible 1, 2, 4G side by side

Back View of Droid Incredible 1 vs. Droid Incredible 2 vs. Droid Incredible 4G

So, here's what you can't really tell from the pictures, and you really need to touch these Droid Incredibles hands-on to really understand.

Feel and Grip
Overall, the Droid 4G LTE got it right.  It really got it right.  Although not an attractive design from the back, the rounded edges combined with just the right amount of thickness make the Incredible 4G one of the most comfortable smartphones that I have ever held in my hand.   Its just the right width, and even though thin is cool, those super thin phones are really just not comfortable to use in your hand.

I always thought the original Droid Incredible was more comfortable in the hand than the Incredible 2.  Well, the Droid Incredible 4G LTE is the most comfortable of the bunch.  It's also marginally lighter in weight than the Incredible 2, but somehow the weight feels distributed better.

The material and ribbed back on the HTC Inc 4G LTE feel very comfortable and the phone rests naturally in the curve of your hand.

The Droid Incredible 4G LTE  is the thinnest phone out of the Incredible series so far.  But its only a hairline thinner than the Incredible 2.  It feels much thinner than both though because it has a nice steeply curved back as opposed to the sharp squared look of the other two phones.

 As you can see in the photos, the Incredible 4G is just a hair taller than the Incredible 2, both of which are taller than the original Droid Incredible.  In practical use, you don't notice any difference from the 2 to the 4G model.

Although the original Droid Incredible still wins in having the slimmest waist, the Incredible 4G LTE is not far behind.  The Incredible 4G, on paper, is only marginally less narrow than the Inc.2, however, due to the rounded back, it actually feels more narrow than it is.

Droid Incredible Sizing Review
To conclude this part of my review and comparison of the original HTC Droid Incredible, the HTC Droid Incredible 2 and the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE, I'd like to reiterate that the Droid Incredible 4G LTE is the winner as far as most usable and most comfortable phone of the bunch.  Dimensionally, I think that the Incredible 4G LTE is better in every way than its predecessors.

I may or may not write further reviews comparing the devices, depending on what others do and how the traffic fairs on this post.  Feel free to ask me any questions about any of the devices in the comments.

See more HTC Incredible 4G LTE Reviews: