The oddly rubbery beauty of the HTC Incredible S is counterbalanced by the fact it runs a relatively old version of Android. With some stunning dual-core phones also arriving at around the same time as the Incredible S, it doesn't do much to fend off its competitors, but it's still a perfectly pleasant handset.
You can find the Incredible S exclusively at Carphone Warehouse. It's free on a £25 per month, two-year contract, or for £450 on a pay as you go deal. You can also pick it up SIM-free for £500.
The Incredible S has a large, 4-inch touchscreen and a ridged back that sets it apart visually from the similarly rectangular competition. The rubbery, matte-black case seems to rise and fall over the internal components of the phone, giving the handset an attractive, industrial appearance.
We're not quite as keen on the front of the Incredible, though, due to the large bezel above the screen, where the speaker is located. It puts us in mind of the Toshiba TG01, which isn't a worthy smart-phone role model.
The four touch-sensitive buttons below the screen -- home, menu, back and search -- are the best part of the Incredible S' case. These backlit buttons fade out when the phone is sleeping, giving it a stealthy black look. Also, the symbols on the lit-up buttons rotate when you hold the phone in landscape mode. Apart from making the buttons easier to use, this is just plain cool. But beware -- this trick only works when the phone is turned anti-clockwise so that the buttons are to the right of the screen. You can look at apps in landscape orientation with the phone turned clockwise, but the symbols on the buttons won't rotate.
Very credible software
The Incredible S is the worldwide follow-up to the Incredible, which we hear was a big hit in the US. The Incredible S isn't quite as unbelievable as its forerunner, though -- it runs a slightly dated version of Android, 2.2 Froyo. Whereas the first Incredible was cutting-edge, the latest instalment is slightly behind the times. But that's not to say you'll miss much from the latest version of Android, 2.3 Gingerbread.
Gingerbread only adds a few
features to Android 2.2 Froyo, such as SIP calling and
NFC support, and those features don't exactly set our world on fire.
But you will miss out on the unsung heroes of the update -- bug fixes
and speed improvements. We didn't find the Incredible S slow or buggy,
but some problems only rear their heads in specific, rare situations.
If you get yourself into one, you may wish you had the latest version of Android.
The good news is that the Incredible S will get an update to Gingerbread. In the meantime, you'll still get most of the best features that Android has to offer.
Among those features is one of the best mobile
Web browsers money can
buy. It serves up pages that look as accurate as they would on a
computer. Combined with the Incredible S' roomy, 4-inch screen, this is one of our favourite phones for getting online.