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May
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Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

Is the HTC DROID Incredible 2 a groundbreaking phone? Hardly. With the Incredible 2, HTC has simply taken an already great handset and refreshed the hardware. The result is a phone that's evolutionary rather than revolutionary - but as it turns out, that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it's actually quite a good thing - the DInc2 is a great device, and I wouldn't hesitate for a second to recommend it to friends or family.

At A Glance

As I've already said, the DInc2 is no record breaker on paper; it has but one core and lacks 4G LTE connectivity. Still, the hardware is enough to keep the phone in the upper-class of Android devices.

  • 1GHz Snapdragon CPU (MSM8255 @ 45nm)
  • 768MB RAM
  • 16GB onboard storage
  • 8MP camera, 1.3MP around front
  • Sense 2.1
  • 1450 mAh battery
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • DLNA
  • CDMA + GSM radios (global phone)
  • 4" 480x800 display

And you know what? The package comes together very well. Let's take a look at what the DInc2 does well and where it comes up short.

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The Good:

  • 4" SLCD display is bright and beautiful, with viewing angles that rival even Samsung's SAMOLEDs.
  • The build is typical HTC - compact, solid, and high quality.
  • The speaker is also typical HTC - it can pump out some sound. You're not going to get super high-fidelity sound out of it, but it's loud enough to actually use as a speaker.
  • Battery life is very good. You'll have no problem making it through a day of moderately heavy use, and light users could make it through two days.
  • Sense is good - I legitimately like it. It adds bona-fide value and eye candy to Android.
  • Buttery-smooth performance and transitions.
  • Global radios.

The Bad:

  • Single core CPU could become antiquated quickly.
  • Ships with Android 2.2 (note: Gingerbread scheduled for Q2 2011).
  • Unsurprisingly, comes with Verizon bloatware on board - 18 apps total, excluding Voicemail. They don't generally interfere, but stupid apps are stupid regardless.
  • Camera has issues with brightness/colors.

In A Sentence: The DROID Incredible 2 is a worthy successor to the original, with minor improvements across the board. Even more simply put, it's a very good phone, albeit fairly run-of-the-mill.

You Should Buy It If: You're not an obsessive power user and your area isn't likely to get LTE any time soon. Those who aren't overly concerned with specs will find a lot to love.

There - now we've satisfied those of you looking for a bite-sized review. Interested in the minutiae (or oodles of pictures)? Well then read on, my friend!

Hardware

Build & Feel

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At 4", the DInc2 is just about what I'd consider the perfect size. Generally speaking, anything over 4" can be too large for comfort (and/or hands), and anything smaller is too small. As a bonus, the screen here is Gorilla Glass, so it should be fairly durable. Total device size checks in at 4.7" tall, 2.5" wide, and just .46" thick. You'll notice how thin it is because, as with the original, HTC has made the Incredible 2 as thin as possible in the back, so the edges are slimmer than the center (as shown in the picture above).

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Perhaps the most immediately noticeable thing about the DInc2 is how light it is - it weighs 4.78oz, including the battery. The battery comes pre-installed; when I unboxed the phone, I thought they forgot to ship me a battery because the phone felt too light and I couldn't find the battery anywhere in the box. Which leads me to the next point: feel.

The Incredible 2 is solid. Not "it feels like a brick" solid - it's too light for that. But everything fits together very well, and you'll find absolutely zero play or give in the plastic anywhere. It also doesn't suffer from cheap plastic - something David encountered with the Droid Charge. The plastic here is rubberized, much like the "soft-touch" plastic found in upscale cars. The result is a classier, grippier feel.

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Bonus fun fact: the capacitive buttons can't be seen when the screen is off, and rotate 90° in landscape mode.

Screen

In a nutshell: it's bright, it's crisp, and it has great viewing angles. Is it the best I've ever seen? Well, I suppose not in any specific area. qHD displays are sharper, and SAMOLED may be just a touch brighter and have slightly better viewing angles. But all things considered, it's a very, very good screen.

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You'd think at some point I would have thought to put the phone down or at least tilt it differently. I am not a bright man.

Camera

Here's where we encounter one of my only gripes about the Incredible 2. The camera around back is 8MP with two LED flashes, autofocus, and support for 720p video. Certainly impressive on paper, and it does manage to take nice pictures. The downsides: color, brightness/saturation/contrast, and detail.

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I'll admit up front I'm no photographer - but I can tell you that it seems the issues with color and brightness/saturation/contrast go hand-in-hand. Full-size the three pictures above and you can see what I mean: in the first, the clouds are purple in the center of the photo (above the mansion) but white (as they should be) along the sides. In the second shot, the sky is washed out to the point that it's encroaching on the branches and leaves of the tree, and you can see a lack of detail in the finer parts, such as the bushes. The contrast between light and dark parts of the photo isn't great, either - a consistent theme in bright light.  On the third - well, this one was taken with the sun nearly pointing directly at the camera, producing an incredibly washed out picture... though, granted, it's perfectly understandable.

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Once again, similar issues: in the first, my dog seems like more of a black mass in the shade thanks to contrast woes. The hostas in the second shot admittedly look fantastic - little to gripe about there. The flowers in the third shot turned out well, but there's a lack of detail in the petals, and the plants and mulch to the left are too bright.

Nitpicky? Perhaps. As I said above: all things considered, the camera takes good shots and is plenty adequate considering it's on a damn phone. It simply stands out for being the weakest part of a strong package.

Battery Life

As with nearly every other aspect of the phone, battery life is good... very good. Unlike most high-end Android devices, you won't have to worry about running out of juice using the DInc2, even with heavy use. Case and point: even with moderate use and brightness at 100%, I easily made it through a day and a half. With automatic brightness, two days is certainly not out of the question, and with light use you could make it to three. As of this writing, the battery is at 90% despite being off the hook for over 20 hours - though I've admittedly used it very little in the past 24 hours.

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That Phone Thing

Verizon's got a damn fine network, and even in the dead spot that is my house I had no issues with reception. (Relevant: I've heard that HTC may have gone with plastic instead of aluminum with the DInc2 because it interferes with the radios less. I'm no expert though, so take that with a grain of salt.) I could hear people loud and clear and without any phone/network-related interruptions, and people on the other end of the line reported the same.

Software

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I like Sense. I liked version 1.0, which shipped with the EVO, and HTC has only improved it with Sense 2.1 (which is what ships on the DInc2). With the minor spec bump (and likely some optimizations to the code), it both runs and looks better, too. As I said earlier, it adds function and pretties up Android quite a bit.

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There are a few nice (if minor) touches worth noting. First, the taskbar lists your recent apps along the top - a nice touch, especially since most people don't know they can access recent apps by holding the capacitive home button. The app drawer is also organized; you can sort by all, frequent, downloaded, and Verizon apps. The drawer is also "paginated" in a way, though vertically rather than horizontally. Finally, Sense has a nice customization menu that's sure to please more casual owners.

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But the software isn't all faeries and unicorns; Verizon did a phenomenal job of loading the DInc2 with bloatware. Pictures speak louder than words:

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Left: 16 of the 18 pre-loaded bloatware apps. Right: Verizon bloating up the GPS.

Although there's a lot of bloatware on the device, it's actually fairly passive, rarely interfering with normal use (the GPS shot above is a notable exception, since the layperson would probably just check all the boxes). And hey, it's not preloaded with Bing, so... there's that. Still, bloatware is bloatware; it's just not cool.

Aside from that, there's not a lot more to say. The Incredible 2 runs Android 2.2.1 (Froyo) at the moment, but HTC has said a Gingerbread update will come sometime this quarter (Q2 2011). Oddly, my unit ran the old Market on first run, but quickly updated to the new one.

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Conclusion

The HTC DROID Incredible 2 is a truly great piece of hardware. That said, those looking for the bleeding-edge may want to look elsewhere - in particular, something dual-core and with 4G (or at least faux-G [pun courtesy of Dan Hesse]) support. For the other 98% of the population, it's a seriously impressive device that's well built, well equipped, and likely to be well-supported by HTC in the near- to mid-term. Verizon is selling the Incredible 2 for $200 with a two-year contract, Wirefly for $150, and Amazon for merely $80. At that price, the Incredible 2 is an absolute steal.

Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • Brian

    Has this thing been rooted and rom'ed yet? Last I read no one had been successful in even rooting it.

  • sgtguthrie

    Don't get it if you're a rooted user! This phone is locked down like a MOTOROLA!!! Sadly, that seems to be the direction htc is going. It's really quite sad... CAN WE GET THE NEXT NEXUS PHONE ON VZW PLEASE? I'm sure it will be dual core, lots of ram, and FULLY HACKABLE!

    • JayMonster

      And that is the reason I will bet against a Nexus phone on VZW for at least the immediate future. VZW seems to have backtracked or forgotten about its promise to be a more open network and has reverted to their over-controlling ways.

  • EFaden

    I got one for my wife and myself. The form factor is awesome. It is thin and weighs nothing. Bluetooth is having some issues with A2DP and releasing the phone with Froyo was fairly lame (although GB is supposed to come out soon it is already out for Inc S, and we are still waiting). The Verizon bloatware is annoying and I hope the thing gets rooted. I think the device is very nice as it is, but would be amazing running CM7 or something similar.

  • Jedakiah

    I understand why SEO is a necessary evil, but please don't go this far. You kept repeating the same thoughts with new keywords. It was distracting, annoying, and a waste of your reader's time.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/jaroslav-stekl/ Jaroslav Stekl

      ... What?

      • Aaron Gingrich

        Indeed.

        • Edd

          You used "phone" 6 times. And "Verizon" 8 times. And "and" at least 17 times.

        • Aaron Gingrich

          I used "phone" 6 times in reviewing a phone... I don't think that qualifies as going overboard. I count 6 instances of Verizon, not 8, and I wasn't attempting to be spammy. In a 1700 word review, I don't really feel that using the same word 6 times - especially when referencing something specific - is excessive. Does it come across as such?

          I can't tell if the "and" bit is said in jest or not, so...?

          It wasn't done for SEO. I can honestly say we've never written the content of a single post with SEO in mind, this review included.

    • http://zackeryfretty.com/ Zackery Fretty

      What are you on about? This article was just fine.

  • orlanka

    As a Dinc owner, I can't agree that this is an honestly good successor to the original. I'll be keeping my Dinc for about 1 more year when my contract expires. I have no doubt that at that time, it will still be a quality piece of equipment (assuming the GB update comes). That said, the Dinc2 is already coming out with dated software and additional specs that are mediocre at best. In two years, this phone will be far behind far behind the phones that have come out by then. Save your cash unless you're just looking for GSM phone.

  • Tom Barrister

    Thanks for the straightforward, informative reviews. It helped sway me from the droid 3 to this device.

  • http://accessandroid.com Jason

    I was never a fan of the Droid Incredible 2 but actually as time has gone on it has actually grown on me a bit