There’s nothing cutting-edge about HTC’s Droid Incredible 4G LTE, a smartphone that’s coming to Verizon Wireless in a few weeks. Yet the new Droid Incredible might become one of Verizon’s most desirable phones, simply because you can hold it comfortably in one hand.
The new Droid Incredible’s display measures four inches, which is actually larger than the 3.7-inch screen on the 2010 version of the phone. But since the launch of the original Incredible, Android phone makers have pushed screen sizes to nearly tablet-like proportions, with phones like HTC’s One X (4.7 inches) and Samsung’s Galaxy S III (4.8 inches).
Although these humongous phones have curb appeal–there’s something glorious about wielding a big, high-resolution display–they can be tricky to use unless you dedicate two hands to the task. Most thumbs simply can’t stretch from the bottom of the phone to the top of the screen, so one-handed use is a game of constant re-positioning.
With all that in mind, the Droid Incredible 4G LTE is a breath of fresh air. I gave the phone a spin at a Verizon press event, and found the four-inch display highly manageable, yet it doesn’t feel as claustrophobic as the iPhone’s 3.5-inch display. The Super LCD screen’s 960-by-540 resolution isn’t as crisp as larger 720p phones, but because the display is so much smaller, the difference in pixel density isn’t too severe. My only complaint with the design is that it feels rather cheap, with a ridged plastic back panel and a frame that seems a bit chunky for a 2012 smartphone.
At least the Droid Incredible 4G LTE doesn’t slouch in tech specs. It uses a dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, whose clock speed is only a tad slower than the 1.5 GHz HTC One X on AT&T. The camera has an 8-megapixel sensor and zero shutter lag, and there’s a front facing camera for video chat. Other specs include 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, a MicroSD slot and a 1,700 mAh battery. Verizon couldn’t give me an estimate on battery life, but Corporate Communications Analyst Albert Aydin noted that the Incredible’s battery is on par with most other 4G LTE phones, and that Verizon has made some software improvements so its 4G phones don’t drain as much battery as they used to.
For software, the new Incredible runs Android 4.0, with HTC’s Sense interface on top. It’s one of the smoothest Android experiences around, and not nearly as bloated as HTC’s 2011 phones, which were dragged down by unnecessary user interface adjustments.
Verizon hasn’t announced a price or release date for the Droid Incredible 4G LTE, but says the phone will be out in “the coming weeks.” I hope it’s a hit, if only to send a message to phone makers that bigger isn’t necessarily better.