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HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE (Verizon Wireless) review:

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE (Verizon Wireless)

Additional apps on the device include a hefty selection of free and paid software and services such Amazon Kindle, Let's Golf 3, Real Racing 2, Slacker Radio, and Slingbox. Verizon infused the Incredible with some of its bloatware, too, like My Verizon Mobile, NFL Mobile, V Cast Tones, Verizon Video, and VZ Navigator. The handset's microSD card slot can accommodate cards up to 32GB.

From the moment I fired up the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE's 8-megapixel camera, it was clear this is not a member of the company's lauded One series smartphones. HTC's One class handsets such as the One X, One S, and One V, all have special electronics designed to handle the demands of image processing.

The Incredible lacks such hardware, which HTC calls the HTC ImageChip. As a result, the Incredible can't pull off the One line's fancy Continuous Capture (burst mode) feature. Thanks to Ice Cream Sandwich, however, the phone lets you snap pictures while rolling the video camera.

The Incredible's camera is nimble, capturing shots in under a second and its autofocus locking on just as fast. Still, compared with the One X, the Incredible's imaging system felt more sluggish, a slight but definitely perceptible difference.

Still-life shots were clear and with rich if oversaturated colors. Under low light, some color noise became apparent and nabbing fast-moving subjects was difficult in these conditions. Things improved outside especially in bright sunlight and I was treated to eye-popping colors in flowers and trees. The Incredible's backlit sensor was also able to pick out details that would have otherwise been lost in shadow.

Outside images had plenty of color, but details could have been sharper. Brian Bennett/CNET
HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE
In still-life shots, details were clear but colors over saturated. Brian Bennett/CNET

Videos that I recorded were acceptable, but not of outstanding quality. Though the phone can capture 1080p HD resolution movies, details were soft and sometimes jerky even with the stabilization function engaged.

HTC bundles lots of features and settings with the Droid Incredible's camera. Special scene modes include HDR, Panorama, and Lowlight just to list a few. There are also a host of slick filters to give your photos a classic feel such as vintage (warm and cold), country, negative, and posterize.

Another difference between the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE and HTC's current superphones is its slower 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor. The company's One X and One S both feature faster 1.5GHz dual-core S4 chips. The Linpack benchmark highlighted the difference, with the Incredible notching 149.4 MFLOPs (multithread) on the test. The HTC One X by contrast achieved 179.6MFLOPs (multithread) running the same test.

Synthetic benchmarks aside, I felt no lag or dips in performance when navigating through the Droid Incredible 4G LTE's menus, home screens, or when launching applications.

I tested the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE on Verizon's CDMA/LTE network in New York. Similar to other handsets I've reviewed on the carrier, voice quality was very good with no discernible buzzing or audio artifacts. Callers said my voice sounded lifelike and free of static. To my ears, voices were rich and easy to understand, even if the phone's earpiece doesn't get very loud even at its highest setting.

One of the issues that plagued the first Droid Incredible was notoriously short battery life. This 4G LTE version is no endurance runner, either. In my anecdotal battery drain tests, the phone played an HD movie continuously for 6 hours and 56 minutes. That can't hold a candle to the Samsung Galaxy S3's long playback time of 9 hours and 24 minutes or the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx's marathon 15 hours and 16 minutes. Still, the Incredible beat the HTC One X's time of 6 hours and 35 minutes.

Connecting to Verizon's 4G LTE network, I enjoyed fast data throughput on the Droid Incredible. Downloads averaged a blistering 14.6Mbps, while I measured average uploads speeds at 9.1Mbps.

The $149.99 HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE, despite suffering from an unfortunately long name, is a victim of circumstance. Priced lower than Verizon's other more-compelling smartphones, namely the $299.99 Motorola Droid Razr Maxx and $199.99 Samsung Galaxy S3, it straddles the fence between low-end and cutting-edge Android devices. The problem is, though, that it doesn't play the balancing game well, offering a decent amount of features for a price that should be lower. For just $50 more you could have the Galaxy S3 that offers a superb camera, better screen, and many more features. If you must have a phone to survive all day and then some, the Droid Razr Maxx is your pricey but unbeatable option.

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