Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Using the Droid Incredible

I've had my Droid Incredible for a few days - long enough to put it through its paces so I can put down my general impressions.

First, size. The screen is nice. It is almost exactly the same size as my Zune HD although the whole package is larger (after all, the incredible does everything the Zune does plus it is a phone and camera and it has speakers).

The phone is very responsive. Programs just come up. The only time there are waits is when an application is refreshing its data. The phone is fairly intuitive. I figured nearly everything out by myself although I still recommend reading the manual.

It works well as a phone. Calls are clear.

I've only taken a few pictures but they look good. There is an option to upload photos to a variety of common sites. It did have some trouble uploading the photos to Picasa. It would make it part-way through and fail then repeat a minute later. This runs in the background and I might not have noticed it if I wasn't paying attention to the process. The camera was set to its highest resolution (8MP). I reduced it to 5MP to see if it helps the upload time but I have not tried it yet.

I don't have any hand-on experience with the IPhone but my understanding is that you have to do some functions through your PC. Droid is not like that. You can connect it to a PC and it will function as a USB disk but everything else is stand-alone.

I've tried playing a little music and a few videos on it. They work fine - as good as on my Zune. It comes with a 2 gig MicroSD card and I want to replace this with a larger one before loading it up. I probably will not use it to replace my Zune since the Zune has much better battery life (that may be inaccurate - I keep my Zune turned off when I'm not using it and the phone is on all the time, so the Zune may only appear to have better battery life because it is used less and usually does not have WiFi on).

I got spoiled with my previous phone. I had a long-life battery on it and it could go for days without charging. The Incredible needs daily charging. I used it a fair amount of time yesterday. I checked emails, did a little web-browsing and a lot of poking around the Marketplace. That used up around half the battery.

I've check out the Android Marketplace. Supposedly the IPhone has several times more apps than Android. I suspect that a lot of these are duplicates of each other. There are a lot of duplicate Android apps. Many of them are add-supported but the ads are subtle.

I downloaded a couple of ebook reader apps and some free ebooks. I already had the Borders one for my PC and it downloaded the books to my Droid that I already had on my PC. My only complaint with this one is that it will only display in portrait.

The virtual keyboard isn't too hard to use in landscape mode but I have a lot of trouble with it in portrait. Good thing that most applications support either orientation.

I was able to compare web browsing between my Droid and my Zune. Both reformat according to orientation and both support pnching to resize the display. The Droid does a lot better job with this. On the Zune, zooming does not reformat the text, it just pushes it off to the side so you have to move the display back and forth. The Droid reformats the text which prevents this.

I can check my home email but in text only. It is not formatted for HTML.

Android is a full multi-tasking operating system. You can leave a program, return to it, and it is still open with all of its data. This is a strength but there is no explicit way of closing many programs. There is an app that will list running programs and allow you to close them. My battery would probably have lasted longer if I had installed that earlier. This is about my only complaint with the android implementation.

Android 2.2 (Froyo) has been released for the Incredible but was not installed yet on mine. Even without it, I was able to play some video but I didn't do enough to really test it out. I will update this when Froyo arrives.

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