Ok, so the new luster has worn off my initial purchase. My giddiness has ended and now I'm able to really look at this handset with open eyes. No, I'm not going to go into some endless bash session here, I'm actually quite happy about the phone. What I am going to do is talk about how I'm using it. The things I like, the things I dislike, the things I think can be changed and the things I think I am just stuck with. As I watched several friends around me jump on the android band wagon over the last 6 months or so I became envious. There I was with an LG Dare phone that at time of purchase was cutting edge but never really became the phone I wanted it to be. I still carried both my iPod touch and the Dare around because the Dare was really not a capable multimedia unit. When my wife dropped her phone into a cup of coffee, no really, it happened, I saw my opportunity to upgrade. Actually, she saw it and asked me if I wanted a new phone so I jumped. I got in just at the tail end of the HTC Incredible Hype so had to wait until around the middle of June to get it. Once it came though I immediately started running it through its paces.
To me, the Incredible has a good feel to it, it's significantly larger than the Dare, but wait, this is not really a Dare Versus Incredible thread, I just wanted to say that it is a large handset. If you're wearing loose fitting pants it lives fine in a pocket, otherwise you might be carrying it in your hand. As I first played around with the phone I noticed that it was very responsive to my touch, the screen just feels really good but I was also scared of scratching it even though I read it was pretty hard to do. I invested about $20 into a Zagg Invisible Shield from Best Buy. After quite a painful installation I was happy with the results. Now the screen shows smudges a little easier than before but at least I know it is protected. I also invested in a rubber case by HTC, also about $20 and from Best Buy. It adds some depth to the phone but I was ever so worried about the camera lens just sitting on any surface and this helps to alleviate that, it also gives me a better grip on the phone and might help if I dropped it.
So, sense UI. As an iPod touch user I was right at home with the touch interface presented to me. The pinch and zoom was good, the response was quick and satisfying and I was zipping around pretty handily right out of the gate. It took me awhile to figure out pulling down the top of the screen but now that is old hat. I wish there was a way to turn off the slide to unlock feature and just have it be on when you press power but even the iTouch doesn't allow that yet. Maybe someone can turn it off with a widget, who knows. It's just a minor inconvenience though. I like having 7 screens and I like being able to pick from one of them with a simple pinch but I'm already maxed out on icons and widgets so I wish I had more. I guess I could use scenes but I haven't really figured that out yet. I like the browser and I like the fact that I can use WiFi at home instead of 3G, it seems really snappy when I am on WiFi and not horribly bad when I'm on 3g, pages load quickly. One of my complaints with the browser is that the zooming doesn't seem as intuitive as Safari on the touch, sometimes it won't zoom at all or it zooms too much.
As far as input goes I am a Swype convert. The original keyboard wasn't bad but after getting into the Swype beta I will be paying for this the moment the guy takes it away from me and asks for money. All the phone companies need to put this into their handsets, it simply rocks! I can now keep up with my 17 year old on texting, lol, that makes it all worthwhile.
Call quality seems pretty good to me, I haven't heard anyone tell me that I sound bad. I have used the speaker phone for conference calls and it is pretty good too. I do have issues with getting the screen to come up during calls sometimes as it has that darkening when you hold it up to your ear feature and then sometimes I just can't get it to appear. Also, you have to press the key to show the keyboard and I wish it appeared by default so if you're using a VRU it can be a little painful. Otherwise calling is good which is really where it's at anyway, a phone is a phone, right?
So where does that leave us, well, two things come to mind, the battery life that everyone talks about and apps. For battery life, I've just accepted the fact that I never leave home without a way to charge. I have a usb charge cable for work, a cigarette lighter adapter charger for the car and use the power supply charger at home. I'm currently running a test on it and haven't hooked it up to the charger since yesterday, I've done quite a bit of texting, made a few calls and done lots of surfing and app running. My battery looks to be at about 20% or a little lower but it's been up for 26 hours and 11 minutes, awake time has been 7 hours and 34 minutes. I'm ok with that. I am going to let it completely deplete and then do a full charge from dead. I am considering either getting a second standard battery or a seidos extended battery but would like to get a cradle that supports the second battery to be charged as the same time as the phone. I don't think that cradle exists yet. Dell had a cradle for the axim that had a second slot for an extra battery, that cradle was the best I ever owned.
So, last but not least. Apps, what have I installed, what do I actually use and what is just stupid stuff. Let me first state that the Apple iTunes app store is light years ahead of the google app store. For a number of different reasons. One, the layout is just better and I like being able to use it on the PC. The users seem more engaged which makes the rating system a little more robust along with quality of reviews. There is also a LOT OF JUNK on the android market. I know people complain that Apple take a Czar approach to approving apps but I think in this case it might be a good thing. I'm tired of having to slog through hundreds of stupid apps to find one good one. My kingdom for a good review site that can help me easily decide what to put on my Incredible. I also don't like the fact that I can't seem to order by rating on the handset. Also, the search engine can be painfully slow at times but this just might be my connection on 3g. The Android marketplace has a long way to go and it's still early so I have faith that a lot of this will be fixed later on but right now it's not very useful. I rely on friends and the few good review sites I can find to pick what apps I use. So, that being said, what apps do I have and REALLY use on my phone now? Here is a list of my favorites, check them out...
Advanced Task Killer - Seems to work as described and helps battery life
Tip Calc - Always need a good one of these
Facebook - What can I say, I'm a facebook Junkie
eWallet reader - Want a WRITER but this will do for now
Goggles - Fun toy in an art gallery, try it.
Pandora - Streaming Radio , nice
Last.FM - Same as above
1337pwn.com Xbox Friends List - See where your Xbox Live friends are
Layar - Jury still out on this one but cool so far
TV.com - Use this in the gym, pretty nice
WordMicester HD - Best Word game I've found so far
YouTube Widget - HD Needs to be on by Default!
FartDroid - Ok, I'm a guy, but also a child
Gem Miner - Fun Game
NewsRob - RSS Reader that works well
Bank of America App - Banking
Wells Fargo App - Banking
ShopSavvy - Scan Bar Codes and find better prices
Abduction - Like Doodle Jump, need say no more
Ok, so, let me finish this up by saying the Android is no where near the gaming platform that the iPhone/Ipod Touch is yet. I hope the developers start making quality games for this platform. Until then I will still keep carrying around my iPod touch for gaming. Some of the other promising games I've seen include Air Control, JewelLust Light, Raging Thunder Lite and Super KO Boxing. I have spent probably close to $100 on games on the iPod touch but have only purchased one (WordMicester) on Anrdoid. As you can see, I am a gamer at heart.
All told I'm very happy with the Incredible and have no plans on getting rid of it anytime soon. I think that the apps and games will start getting better soon and that with Froyo and updates beyond things will get better as well. I hope you've enjoyed this little view into my journey with the Incredible and I look forward to your comments, if any. Have a great day!