Motorola Droid vs. HTC Incredible

Android titans clash when we pit the Motorola Droid versus HTC Droid Incredible.

With the long-rumored HTC Incredible now unmasked and headed to Verizon in just days, many early reviewers claim it may be the finest Android handset to date. But how does this darling ‘droid stack up to the last Google-powered phone to that held that disputed title – Motorola’s Droid? Wonder no longer, we’ve stacked the two head to head to find out.

Display

Winner: HTC Incredible

Both phones use 3.7-inch screens with similar resolution (the Droid has 480 x 854 and the Incredible has 480 x 800), but the victory goes to HTC for choosing an OLED screen over LCD. As Nexus One owners can attest, LCDs quite literally pale in comparison to the brightness and vibrance of a quality OLED. Unfortunately, they’re known for problems with outdoor viewability as well, but it’s a minor tradeoff in the big scheme of things.

Processor

Winner: HTC Incredible

Not many people complained about the Droid’s powerful Arm Cortex A8 processor clocked at 550MHz, but the Incredible brings a whole new level of performance to the table with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running at 1GHz. Early reviews suggest it’s among the most responsive Android phone out there, even with HTC’s custom Sense interface worked in. Boy Genius Report even claims it outperforms the Nexus One, which has the same chip.

Keyboard

Winner: Motorola Droid

The Droid has a keyboard, the Incredible does not. It’s as simple as that. Although Gizmodo claims the Incredible has “the most usable Android touch keyboard in existence,” we still have to hand it to the Droid for offering the option of a physical keyboard. The flat keys make it far from the best we’ve used, but many people still prefer a rather lame physical keyboard to tapping intangible keys on glass.

Camera

Winner: HTC Incredible

With an 8.0-megapixel sensor hiding underneath a bulbous red eye on the back, the Droid Incredible nearly breaks out of smartphone territory and into point-and-shoot turf. By comparison, the Droid only packs 5 megapixels. But resolution alone does not a camera make. The Droid Incredible also offers a dual-LED flash, autofocus, and on-th-fly adjustments for brightness, contrast, and ISO level, which give it the leg up on the Droid’s admittedly very competent cam.

Software

Winner: HTC Incredible

Yes, both phones run Google Android, but the Incredible comes with the Android 2.1, while the Droid comes with 2.0 and needs an update to 2.1. A small quibble, true, but the Incredible gets yet another check on its side of the ledger for HTC’s built-in Sense user interface, which adds subtle touches like a reworked home screen, OS-X-style Expose, and more.

Battery Life

Winner: Motorola Droid

We haven’t pitted both phones head to head in a scientific test (yet), but manufacturer claims aren’t typically too far off with phones, making them a useful indicator here. HTC claims up to 312 minutes of usage time and 146 hours of standby for the Incredible, while Motorola claims 385 minutes of usage and 270 hours of standby for the Droid.

Portability

Winner: HTC Incredible

Sliders make a great way to cram a full QWERTY keyboard into a touch screen phone, but let’s not forget the weight penalty. At a full 6 ounces, the Droid has always been a bit of a bruiser. Weighing only 4.59 ounces, the Incredible has a significant weight advantage. Although both phones measure about half an inch thick, the Incredible also shaves two tenths of an inch off width, making it ever so slightly more pocketable.

Memory

Winner: Motorola Droid

This seemingly clear-cut category actually a little complicated. Both phones have microSD expansion slots, but the Incredible comes with 8GB of internal memory and an empty slot, and the Droid comes with a preinstalled 16GB card. That means the Droid offers better bang for your buck out of the box, but the Incredible is easier to expand (the slot handles cards up to 16GB). At the end of the day, though, the Droid if offering twice the storage for the same price, and that matters more than potential for expansion.

Overall Winner: HTC Incredible

By the numbers, the HTC Incredible has an undeniable advantage on the current king of the mountain: Motorola’s Droid. With both phones priced at $200 on Verizon with contract, that makes the Incredible an alluring option for those Droid holdouts, come April 29. Of course, it’s hard to compare apples to apples with subjective factors like style, but we’ll leave it up to you which phones looks the best or feels nicest in the hand. Regardless of which phone you favor, Android fans should rejoice. These things just keep getting better.

Posted in Technology.

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