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30 mai 2010 7 30 /05 /mai /2010 10:12

Performance

As benchmarked by Linpack, the raw performance is the same than what we're getting on the Nexus One, so there's no surprise on that front. Android 2.2 will bring a 5X theoretical performance jump, because apps will be compiled to native code, thanks to the Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler that turns Java code into native code (Sony Vaio VGN-FZ battery).

 

User Interface performance: on the "perceived performance" front, the user interface is fast. Android phones have made steady progress and went from relatively slow to fairly fast in less than a year. If you're a little picky (like I am), you will notice that the UI elements are still not as fluid as the iPhone 3GS or theZune HD. I still think that this is a structural software issue with Android, one that has not been addressed in Android 2.2, yet (Sony VGP-BPS8 battery).

Gaming performance: At the moment, gaming performance is pretty much in-line with what you can get on the Nexus One. It's good, but it could be (and will be) even better with Android 2.2. Let's hope that HTC will come up with the Droid Incredible 2.2 Update quickly. Look at the video to see what the Droid Incredible can do (Sony VGP-BPL9 battery).

Boot time: if you're curious, the Droid Incredible boots in 37 seconds from black screen to "being usable".

Multitasking (Excellent)

 

We all know it, Android is a good multitasker, but you will need to keep an eye on what's running in the background to avoid taxing the resources (cycles, battery) too much. I still recommend using a Task Killer application, and preferably one that lets you kill all non-essential apps in one click via a shortcut. You can also set it to automatically terminate applications every x minutes/hours, just to make sure that you don't forget. Even though Android has (in theory) been getting better at minimizing the impact of background tasks on the battery, I found the Task Killer to be useful - oh and it's free too (Sony VGP-BPL11 battery).

HTC Sense

While the Nexus One is running on a standard Android build, the Incredible benefits from HTC Sense, an improved user interface (UI) that builds upon Android. There are a ton of improvements, and my favorites are the calendar, flash support in the browser, status updates and the homepage "leap" (seeing all seven home screens at once). These simple things make your life a little easier. I don't think that I should dedicate a whole section of this review to it, but if you want to know more, head to this article form Android Central. Honestly, I would rather see Google improving the Android UI for all, instead of having HTC do it only for HTC devices (ACER Travelmate 2300 Battery).

Entertainment

 

Photos gallery (Getting better): the photo gallery app is simple and classic. You can scroll over a film roll that displays 3 photos at once, or zoom in and view photos one by one. You can even crop the photos if you want, although I never have the urge to do it. From the gallery, it is very easy to share a photo via email, social networks or Bluetooth. Overall, the gallery works so much better than phones that came out just 6 months ago. It's faster, but still lags behind the Zune HD and the 3GS. We're getting close...(Sony VGP-BPL15 battery)

 

Music (No search?): The plain-vanilla Android comes with a decent music player, and I usually don't have much to say about other than "it works". The HTC variant is equally functional, except in one way: I did not find a text search function - this is a pain in the neck if you have a lot of songs. I tried to use the unified search, but no music results came out (ACER Aspire 3020 Battery).

Audio quality (Good): Overall, the external speaker quality is good. It is plenty loud and you can definitely watch a clip, or listen to music very decently. If you crank the volume level past 80%, the sound starts to be distorted.

 

YouTube Videos (Very good): YouTube video worked really well over 3G, despite that fact that I have only 2/4 bars when sitting at my desk. No particular complaint there. Make sure that you use the high-quality video (in the menu). By default, my YouTube app was to the low quality (ACER Aspire 3000 Battery).

MP4 Videos: Videos played locally on the Droid Incredible can be extremely sharp and fast. I have created a 2.5Mbps movie (AVC, 720x480, 30fps, stereo 48Khz) and the phone was able to play it back perfectly. May be I could have cranked up the bitrate, but this was more than enough. On the other hand, PSP-friendly .mp4 files that I used with other Android phones did not work on this one. That's a bummer because some people out there might have build and converted a ton of movies to fit their phones. I also tried to play a 720p 8Mbps movie, and that one froze my phone (ASUS A3000 Battery).

 

Misc

Skype: Verizon has the best Skype integration on Android (The Nokia N900's is great too), so it's quite a perk to be able to leave Skype in the background and place/receive calls with it. Remember that SkypeOut calls will use your minutes because they don't go through 3G, but call a special number instead. This means no voice-over-IP from a hotspot, or from abroad. Too bad...(ASUS Eee PC 900 Battery)

Battery Life (Excellent)

Overall, the Droid Incredible has the best battery (ASUS Eee PC 1000HE Battery) life of all the Android devices that I have had in my hands recently, and that includes the HTC EVO 4G, if you are curious. The Nexus One and most of the others could barely survive 24hrs, even with a moderate usage, but the Droid Incredible survived way into the second day (see how I use it in the "Context" paragraph at the beginning). This is huge because this means that I can forget to charge it overnight. I'm not sure why this is, but I suspect that the idle power management (sleep mode) is simply better. What I don't understand is why the EVO 4G, which runs a similar software (if not more recent), does not pass the 24hrs barrier. (note that I use a Task Killer on all Android phones. This is often very useful to cut down power consumption)(SONY VAIO VGN-FZ4000 Battery)

Battery utility: if you want to know what app is sucking out all the power, use the battery utility. It will show you which app/process consumes power and this knowledge will help you save power. Go to Settings>>About Phone>> Battery>>Battery use (see photo above) (Dell Inspiron 6000 battery).

User-replaceable: The battery is user-replaceable if you feel like buying some more, but I found the backplate to be much harder to open than on the Nexus One for instance. No biggie, but if you change batteries often, it might be annoying. I think that most users feel better to know that they can change a dead battery themselves, not that it actually happens that much (Dell Inspiron 6400 battery).

Camera is incredibly taxing: After a week or so, I realized by accident that the camera was the most battery-taxing of all (at least that I know of). If you use the camera for 3-5mn, it will quickly jump to be the most power-hungry app in the battery utility. Good to know(HP PAVILION DV2000 Battery)!

 

Power Management Widgets: I found the power management widget to be very useful because it shows you right away if high-powered stuff like 3G, WIFI and GPS are ON or OFF, it puts you in (complete but manual) control of the power management. Of course, a better alternative might be to make things smarter so that they turn completely OFF and ON when needed, but in the meantime, it's handy. I highly recommend it  (HP PAVILION DV3000 Battery).

Things that could be better

Narrow design: just like many HTC designs, I find the Droid Incredible to be very pocketable, but at the expense of typing accuracy with the virtual keyboard. A careful examination of the virtual keyboard reveals that it is only slightly narrower than the iPhone's but that small difference makes a noticeable difference in typing linpack. Fortunately, HTC also has larger phones like the EVO 4G, which is much more comfy to type on (HP PAVILION DV8000 Battery).

No Data during calls: This has to do with the CDMA wireless technology used by Verizon (and Sprint): it simply can't do voice and data at the same time. For example, you can't be on the phone and go do a web search (the browser won't be able to connect). That sounds really annoying, but in the real world, it has never been an issue for me. I did try it and I can confirm that this is true, and I think that you should know. It seems that Sprint's Wimax (4G) doesn't suffer from this and Verizon's upcoming LTE (4G) might not either (HP PAVILION DV6000 Battery).

No UMA: Verizon's network has worked very well during this test, but wouldn't it be nice if they were supporting UMA as well? With UMA, we would be able to connect to the Verizon network over WIFI. That would be a boon for customers living on the edge of the network. It would also offer a small solution to those who travel abroad. They would be able to get some coverage indoors.

No International service: I just mentioned the international traveler, so you've been warned: outside of the US, this phone won't work (IBM ThinkPad T40 Battery).

Landscape mode doesn't work at 90 degrees CW: This is very mild, but the landscape mode doesn't work consistently. The screen will rotate only counter clock-wise (CCW) and it will do so only in specific apps.

Conclusion

The Droid Incredible is an excellent phone that demonstrates  (Toshiba PA3399U-2BAS Battery) Android at its best, and reveals HTC's mastery at releasing high-quality phones litterally faster than we can test them. I can't wait for the Android 2.2 update. Because I found the battery to be better and the screen and the tactile buttons to be more responsive, I can warmly recommend the Incredible over the Nexus One. The Verizon Network worked beautifully for me, even though I never had 4/4 bars in and around the office. No dropped calls, no sluggish web traffic. The only sacrifice, that I'm not quite yet ready to make is to abandon a SIM-card based phone because I travel a lot outside the U.S and it is just very handy to keep the same phone and pop a local SIM card in. What's you take on the Droid Incredible? Drop a comment below.

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