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HTC's Droid Incredible 4G LTE has its own ICS flavor (hands-on)

CNET's Jessica Dolcourt goes hands-on with the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE, Verizon's latest Android Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone.

Now playing: Watch this: Meet the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE

NEW ORLEANS--Ladies and gentlemen, behold the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE, the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone rumored to step into the light at CTIA 2012. Well, here it is.

Calling it a variant of the HTC One X or One S would be a simple way to describe the Incredible 4G LTE, but not the most accurate. It really does retain a lot of the Droid Incredible character in look and feel, down to the contoured back (not quite as topographical as in previous versions) and the bright red accents that signal out the Incredible's design legacy.

HTC Incredible 4G
HTC Incredible 4G Seth Rosenblatt

The phone also felt good in the hand, thanks to the ridged, rubberized backing, though it isn't the slimmest thing on any side of the Mississippi. This doesn't bother me, personally.

On to the screen! It isn't huge, like the 4.7-inch One X, and it's even a little smaller than the One S at 4.3 inches. Instead, it hews close to the Droid Incredible 2. The Super LCD qHD display looks good on a 4-inch canvas, though it won't be the clearest, brightest, or more highly defines screen there ever is or was. Based on the brief time I spent with it, though, it looked nice.

Depending on how you feel about size, the phone's 4-inch display is downright petite compared to mammoths like the HTC Titan II, with its 4.7-inch screen.

So now that you know how it looks and feels in real life, how about the rest? It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as its OS, and has HTC Sense 4.0 on top. The experience is typical of the HTC One X and One S in this regard, and it's a really good one. One tab pops up recently programs in a card view, and a music dashboard shows off the Beats audio integration.

It also has a 8-megapixel camera, a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, and a 1,7000mAH battery, which isn't bad, but also can't compare to Motorola's Droid Razr Maxx in terms of battery life (that one has a 3300mAh battery) or event the Samsung Galaxy S III with its 2,100mAH battery. So you're looking at an average battery life of perhaps a day, less if you use data heavily.

Interestingly, the Incredible 4G LTE (which, needless to say, runs on Verizon's LTE data network,) includes a removable battery and microSD card slot capable of holding up to 32GB of external storage. This runs counter to the One X and One S, which feature unibody designs with no expandable memory.

There's no pricing or availability yet. Of course, we just won't know until we compare the Incredible 4G LTE side by side with any other phone, say the One X or One S, but it could be a tight race that I think will come down to the camera performance and the screen quality.

Catch all the latest news from CTIA 2012.