Random thoughts of a Brit living in the Imperial Valley of California

The Droid Incredible vs the iPhone

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As already stated, I’ve ditched the iPhone for a Droid Incredible and now that I’ve had it for a week though I’d try to summarise my thoughts. Let’s get the big question out of the way: how does it compare to the One True Phone?

My first impression was that the Incredible feels every bit as nice to hold as the iPhone, though it’s probably a bit lighter and thinner. Turn them both on though and you’ll be blown away by the sharpness and clarity of the Incredible. It’s like one is 1080p and the other is watching a black and white TV set that’s using rabbit ears to watch a channel 100 miles away.

A lot of people seem to hate the Sense UI, preferring the native Android UI (which is a lot more like the iPhone) but I find it really engaging. Things swirl onto screen, widgets come alive when something alerts them, it’s an experience rather than just scrolling through pages of rows of look-alike buttons. Maybe it will become annoying over time, maybe not.

I hadn’t realised what a big difference multitasking makes and, if it works the same way, iPhone 4.0 users are in for a treat. Friday driving home I was using Google’s turn by turn nav program while listening to Pandora over my MINI’s stereo. At one point I got a new gmail alert, clicked on it and while reading the email (with eyes firmly on the road, of course officer!) Pandora was automatically muted so that the nav app could tell me I needed to take a right turn in half a mile. I deleted the email, clicked on the satnav task button and my map was back on the screen. More about this on my MINI blog later; the google nav app is a big winner.

People are complaining about the keyboard on the Incredible. I’m finding the keyboard easier to use than on the iPhone but I’m not as fast on it, I seem to not be able to use more than one thumb. I love the haptic feedback, feels very good on the tips. And it’s easier to type cuss words than on the iPhone 🙂

Some things I definitely miss: it’s impossible to turn the Incredible on one-handed. I’m used to using the thumb on the centre button to wake up the phone, you can’t do that on the Incredible and the placement of the switch at the top left makes it impossible for me so far to do it one handed. The Android Marketplace simply does not compare to the App Store and a few of the apps I used a lot on the iPhone are cut down versions on Android or just not available. This is a disappointment but also (as a developer) an opportunity. I don’t see the Incredible becoming my Electronic Flight Bag like I had with the iPhone, but perhaps there will be an iPad in my future for that.

I am having some battery life issues which I cannot decide if it’s just the phone (lots of apps means lots of drain) or a faulty battery. A co-worker who bought his the same time as me is getting twice the life that I am getting, though I suspect his usage is much less. But right now I’m finding I have to charge it every day and this is without making any calls, just data. I’m trying different schemes to turn off syncing, wifi etc and that is helping but ultimately I think I will buy an extended life battery so it will last longer. I’m used to having to charge my iPhone every two days so this isn’t that much of an issue, especially given that the Incredible is doing a lot more, but is far from great.

The big win, however, is with the device’s core purpose: telephony. No matter where I was with the iPhone, I could barely hear any call made on it. I think this is partly the device and partly AT&T’s dismal call quality in 90% of the land (yes, Luke Wilson I am calling you a liar). Calls on the Incredible have so far been crystal clear and so loud that I have to turn the volume down rather than up.

Verizon has 3G coverage where I live, AT&T only has Edge so my smart device can be smart almost everywhere I go. It’s embarrassing to whip out the iPhone to do a search for someone and then make them wait 5 minutes to download and render the result. Verizon 3G is fast, I am surprised by just how fast it is. Although I think this is also the phone, the CPU runs at twice the speed of my iPhone 3G and web page rendering is so much faster than on the iPhone 3G.

So am I happy? You betcha. I’ve managed to free myself from Steve Jobs’ tyranny and not had to compromise my experience to do so. I did not expect that, I really thought that I’d suffer through owning a different phone but so far I’m lovin’ it. I know most people who already have an iPhone can’t look at anything else but if you’re not completely wed to the Apple device I definitely recommend taking a look at the Incredible.

Written by admin

May 11th, 2010 at 7:51 am

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