Editors' note: Portions of this review were taken from our evaluation of the HTC Incredible S, since the two phones share a number of similarities.
One of our favorite smartphones from 2010 was the HTC Droid Incredible. The smartphone's zippy performance and polished user experience helped earn it an Editors' Choice Award. Obviously, its day has come and gone, but it's not the end of the line. HTC unveiled its successor, the HTC Incredible S, at Mobile World Congress 2011 and it's finally made its way to the States and back to Verizon Wireless as the HTC Droid Incredible 2. Available now for $199.99 with a two-year contract, the Android device has some large shoes to fill and is facing a lot more competition this time around. Is it up to the task? The answer is yes and no. Read on for more.
At first glance, the HTC Droid Incredible 2 looks pretty plain, largely because the controls beneath the display aren't visible when the phone is turned off or in standby mode. It may not be very striking, but there's also a beauty in its clean and minimalistic look. Plus, that's not to say that the Droid Incredible 2 is completely boring. If you flip the phone over, you'll see that the back features a topographic design, much like on the HTC Droid Incredible. It's purely a cosmetic touch that may or may not appeal to your personal tastes, but as long as it doesn't interfere with using the phone--and it doesn't--then we're OK with it.
The Incredible 2 measures 4.75 inches tall by 2.52 inches wide by 0.48 inch thick and weighs 4.77 ounces. It's slightly bigger than the Droid Incredible but remains pretty sleek, thanks to the tapered edges. A nice soft-touch finish coats the back and sides of the handset, but gone are the red interior and accents that gave the Droid Incredible an attractive splash of color.
Gracing the front of the phone is a 4-inch, 480x800-pixel Super LCD touch screen. It's an upgrade in size and quality from the Droid Incredible, as the Super LCD technology offers better contrast and wider viewing angles than regular LCDs. We definitely noticed the difference, as text and images looked sharper and more vibrant on the brilliant screen, and it holds its own against the iPhone 4's Retina Display and Samsung's Super AMOLED touch screens. That said, the screen does wash out in bright sunlight.
The multitouch screen has a built-in accelerometer and proximity sensor and felt very responsive during our testing; launching applications, scrolling through menus or home screens, and using the pinch-to-zoom gesture posed no problems. Helping phone navigation is HTC's Sense user interface, which brings a host of helpful interface tools and customization options, as well as a faster boot time. You can read more about HTC Sense in our full review of the HTC Inspire 4G. We have to say that HTC's virtual keyboard doesn't feel quite as fast as some of its competitors, but the layout is roomy and we found it easy to use.
Below the display, you get the usual Android shortcuts: home, menu, back, and search. However, HTC has added a cool touch: when you rotate the phone to landscape mode, the icons also rotate. Is it an earth-shattering feature? No, but we appreciate the attention to such fine details.
On the left side of the phone, there's a volume rocker and a Micro-USB port. The right spine is devoid of any controls, but we would have loved a dedicated camera button. The top of the device houses the 3.5mm headphone jack and power button, and sitting on the upper-right side, just above the display, is the 1.3-megapixel front camera. On the back you'll find an 8-megapixel camera and dual-LED flash.
The HTC Droid Incredible 2 comes packaged with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a preinstalled 16GB microSD card, a SIM card, and reference material.
The HTC Droid Incredible 2 is really more of an incremental upgrade to the original model, and as such, you won't see some of the latest technology and software on the handset, which is sure to disappoint some. That said, we are happy to see the addition of world-roaming capabilities. The Droid Incredible 2 is a dual-mode handset, meaning that it supports both CDMA and GSM networks. Here in the States, it will continue to run on Verizon's CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A network as usual, but once abroad, the phone will automatically detect and switch to a GSM network.
The Droid Incredible 2 comes with a SIM card preinstalled, but Verizon has a policy where it will unlock the SIM provided that you've been a customer for more than 60 days and are in good financial standing. Unlocking the SIM gives you the freedom to swap out the SIM card for, say, a prepaid SIM you purchase from an international carrier.