I was flying back from Boston recently when I spotted my seatmate tapping and flipping his way around a touchscreen smartphone that at first glance looked like an iPhone - until I spotted the Verizon logo. If you’re a Verizon user, like me, you’re all too aware that Verizon doesn’t have an iPhone (or didn’t at the time of this review). Was this the answer to my prayers? I had to know more.
So I did what any gadget girl would do, I peered over the poor guy’s shoulder long enough to break his concentration and compel him to ask if there was something he could help me with.
Thankfully, he proved to be as big a geek as I am and couldn’t wait to show me around his newest toy - Verizon’s HTC Droid Incredible. We talked travel tech the rest of the flight home.
I love my BlackBerry, I do. But I was enchanted enough by the Incredible’s spacious screen and iPhone-like behavior to take it for a 30-day test drive.
I found plenty to love about the Incredible, including blazing fast performance, a 3.7-inch touchscreen, eye-pleasing graphics and a super sleek design.
In side-by-side web searches and site uploads, its Google powered Android 2.2 operating system left my BlackBerry at the curb. And surfing the Net felt as easy and fast on the Incredible as it does on the computer. But I wasn’t nearly as comfortable navigating the Droid’s virtual QWERTY keyboard as I am when using the BlackBerry’s real deal.
Surprisingly, the Android Apps weren’t nearly as plentiful as the iPhone’s or even as snazzy as some of my BlackBerry favorites. Still, it served up emails instantly, was lightning fast and its wireless coverage was impressive.
Favorite feature: Aside from its addicting speed, my favorite feature was the 8-megapixel camera, complete with autofocus, video capture and built in editing software. In fact, I found myself chosing the phone over a digital point-and-shoot due to its WiFi connectivity and social media features that allowed me to snap and share immediately without a noticeable loss in image quality.
Not-so-favorite feature: It could be because it was so easy to surf the web that I was using the Incredible more, or the fact that I often had multiple apps open and running concurrently, but I couldn’t make it through an entire day on a single battery charge like I can with the BlackBerry. That surprised me.
Bottom Line: The biggest downside to the Incredible, however, is that unlike my BlackBerry it isn’t a global phone, meaning I can’t travel and use it overseas. For me, and doubtless other globetrotters, that’s a deal breaker. But for those who will use it only in the U.S., the Incredible offers a fun, fast and powerful Verizon alternative to the iPhone.
HTC Droid Incredible:
Priced at $199 with a two-year Verizon contract and mail-in rebate: www.Verizon.com
Also available at The Travel Store at EllenBarone.com powered by Amazon.
About Ellen Barone: Consumer travel expert Ellen Barone is the founder and publisher of EllenBarone.com and YourLifeIsATrip.com. Learn more here and connect on Twitter at,Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Global travelers will be glad to learn that the HTC Incredible 2 (released April 2011) is now a “global-ready Android smartphone,” which allows customers to use voice and data service in more than 200 countries.