Motorola DROID 2 vs. HTC Droid Incredible

Introduction and Design

Looking at the current selection of Android smartphones in the US market, there is no arguing that Verizon Wireless is in possession of some of the best ones out there right now – with each new release seemingly outdoing the previous. It was only a few months ago when the HTC Droid Incredible was hailed as the next flagship Android device for Big Red, but as we've seen many times already since then, the tide quickly changed as the carrier was indomitably graced with additional devices with the DROID moniker. The Motorola DROID 2 quickly supplanted its own close relative, the Motorola DROID X, as the latest Android phone to hit the block, which naturally has that close kinship to the handset to start it all for Verizon – the original Motorola DROID. Still considered as a relatively new player in the Android pool, the HTC Droid Incredible isn't looking to quickly fade into the sunset anytime soon with its high-end specs and fantastic experience. However, will it still be considered as a relevant player in the shadow of the DROID 2's recent launch?


Getting right into it, the handsets boast two completely different designs to cater to the specific needs of consumers out there. With the HTC Droid Incredible, we're greeted to a candy-bar handset that has a minimalistic design which some consider as not being necessarily the most enticing looking one out of HTC's factory, but nonetheless simplistic in character. On the other hand, the Motorola DROID 2 casually retains the classic look of its predecessor with the exception that it employs more curves around its shell  and a different color scheme. Between them, we find the DROID 2 to be more appealing from a quick glance since it has that refined modern looking industrial design to it. And without a doubt, the DROID 2's use of sturdier materials, like its metallic-like shell, easily exudes a premium handset that feels better than the glossy plastic exterior of the Incredible. Still, they stick to using that soft touch coating material for their rears which undoubtedly does well in repelling the usual set of nasty baddies like dirt, smudges, and the dreaded finger prints. Some may gravitate toward the Incredible due to the sheer fact that its slimmer (0.47” thick) to carry around and more light weight (4.6 oz), however, the Motorola DROID 2 will still continue to impress with its streamlined looks (0.54” thick) which surprisingly packs a QWERTY keyboard; although it's noticeably heavier (5.96 oz).

Positioned as being normal sized handsets, both comfortably utilize 3.7” displays – which is the only thing they actually have in common with one another. Between them, there is no denying the rich color tones produced by the Incredible's AMOLED touchscreen – which naturally looks extremely saturated, yet tantalizing. However, it's worth noting that the Incredible has support for 65k colors as opposed to the DROID 2's 16.7 million – but honestly, it was difficult to gauge the difference since the AMOLED panel on the Incredible is extremely more vibrant. Although it may not produce the same pretty looking rainbow colors, the DROID 2 has the advantage in terms of clarity and quality with its slightly higher resolution display. Measuring up with a 480 x 854 pixels resolution, the DROID 2 offers higher pixel density than the Incredible's WVGA (480 x 800) display – but just like the colors, it isn't terribly substantial. Regardless, we still find the LCD display of the DROID 2 to perform better than the AMOLED panel with the Incredible while in the presence of the glaring sun. You'll be able to see what's on-screen with the DROID 2 in the direct view of the sun, but it easily washes away with the Incredible which will require you to shade it with your hands. Ultimately, they both offer fantastic displays which we can't deny look beautiful from any angle, but it will undoubtedly come down to personal preference – something with better colors or a higher resolution.

The all too predictable set of touch sensitive buttons are found on both phones which of course, can sometimes prove to be frustrating with the occasional accidental press when you use the portrait style on-screen keyboards. The only difference between them is the layout, but the HTC Droid Incredible adds a circular sized optical track-pad which doesn't necessarily replace relying on the touchscreen for navigating on the handset. In particular, we adore using the DROID 2's directional keys on its keyboard which will naturally come in handy when you're trying to place the cursor in a specific spot. They both sport a microUSB port, 3.5mm headset jack, dedicated power button, and volume rocker – however, we prefer the hardware buttons of the Incredible since they are larger and easier to feel out. Although, it's clearly missing a dedicated shutter key for the camera which the DROID 2 offers. On the rear, the Incredible sports a healthy-sized 8-megapixel auto-focus camera, while the DROID 2 provides a reasonable 5-megapixel shooter – with both coming along with a dual-LED flash. Finally, one could easily make a prejudgment that the Motorola DROID 2 has a stronger speaker since the grill for it encompasses the entire length of the device. Compare that to the small cutout found on the Incredible, it might prove to be a calculated assumption – but we'll find out for sure soon enough. Finally, removing the rear covers, which is more traditional with the DROID 2, you'll be presented access to their batteries and microSD card slots. As much as we hate it, the placement of the microSD card on the DROID 2 is frustrating due to the requirement of removing the battery to gain access to it, however, it's a lot easier with the Droid Incredible's slot loading mechanism found on its side.

The one sole reason to stick with the Motorola DROID 2 is that it tacks on a physical QWERTY keyboard – a sizable one at that too! The landscape slider will easily attract those who prefer the physical presence of buttons rather than the slick feel of a touchscreen – but of course, the DROID 2 will provide for both methods. As we've stated in our review of the DROID 2, the keyboard is improved over its predecessor thanks to its distinguishable set of buttons, slightly larger size, and responsive feel.

Motorola DROID 2 360 Degrees View:

HTC Droid Incredible 360 Degrees View:


Needless to say that Android 2.2 Froyo on the DROID 2 can substantially compel most people to side with it since it's the latest build of the platform, but the Incredible isn't too far from seeing the creamy filled dessert. the HTC Droid Incredible's Android 2.1 experience is of course beautified with HTC's Sense user interface which has to be one of the better constructed and thought out customizations available on Android. When comparing it to the DROID 2's MOTOBLUR like elements, we still find Sense to be extremely appealing since it is tastefully able to display a myriad of information, like social networking statuses or news, directly on the homescreen without navigating away from it. Under the hood, the Incredible receives its processing prowess from its 1GHz Snapdragon processor while the DROID 2 is powered by an equally capable 1GHz TI OMAP CPU. In actual usage, we found the Incredible to perform better in terms of relative responsiveness as it's able to move between its homescreen more fluidly, but both are able to launch applications in the same amount of time.

There's no kidding the kind of serious integration both devices have to offer when it comes down to social networking, but there's just something about HTC's Friend Stream that makes it more compelling. One reason is that the Friend Stream widget is able to display all of your social networking accounts within the widget without the need to open up a window on top of it or loading a separate app. Conversely, the DROID 2 still retains some of the elements found on MOTORBLUR – as the widget will display the status or tweet from friends, but clicking it will open up a window which will then allow you to read all of them.

Even though the DROID 2 offers the convenience of a full QWERTY keyboard, the on-screen keyboard of the HTC Droid Incredible is still responsive and accurate enough to type on. Although it doesn't replace the cozy feeling physical buttons on the DROID 2 physical keyboard, we still find HTC keyboard to employ a better layout than the on-screen options available on the DROID 2. They're both naturally responsive thanks to their peppy processors, but there are less instances when you need to navigate from the main keyboard to input a specific character; say like a punctuation. With the HTC keyboard, you can quickly input a number or punctuation by simply performing a long press on the associated button. While on the DROID 2, you'll have to press another button to access all of the alternative characters. However, the Swype keyboard on the DROID 2 employs a similar scheme to the Incredible, but it doesn't feel quite as normal since numbers are laid out on a numeric keypad fashion as opposed to finding them across the top row of buttons.

Since they're Android powered devices, both feed off the Android Market to considerably supplement their experience thanks to the host of apps available to the platform. In addition, there are some personalization offerings that can profoundly improve the look and feel of the platform – such as widgets, live wallpapers, and customized themes. Additionally, both are perfect when it comes down to loading a casual game since their high-powered processors allow for a smooth and satisfying experience.

Internet and Connectivity:

Let's say it again, but the support of Flash 10.1 on the Motorola DROID 2 offers that true-to-life desktop experience that the Incredible is lacking, for right now. But it's not to say that the Incredible can't do a good job in the web browsing department – especially when it has support right now for Flash Lite, so there is some Flash content that will load. Both handsets obviously provide for a stellar experience since pages load in a timely manner, offer support for multi-touch, and exude some great visuals thanks to their high-resolution displays. In the end, there's no arguing that the DROID 2 has the edge right now thanks to Flash 10.1 content being able to load, but we know that the Incredible isn't too far off from providing the same surreal experience.

These two Android smartphones share a common bond with their dual-band (800/1900 MHz) radios with 3G speeds courtesy of EV-DO revision  A connectivity. Of course, you can also rely on using their built-in 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi to gain a data connection – plus there is also Bluetooth 2.1 on board that will allow for an alternative wireless solution. In the mean time though, the DROID 2 has the ability to act as Mi-Fi unit thanks to its Mobile HotSpot service – so your 3G speed can be shared by other devices via Wi-Fi. Of course it'll allow for one less thing to be added in your pockets, but we'd imagine this to arrive on the Incredible as well when it officially receives its Android 2.2 Froyo update.

Camera and Multimedia:

This time around, we're a bit more satisfied with the DROID 2's camera performance since it produces warmer looking color with a fair amount of detail thanks to its 5-megapixel auto-focus camera. Despite boasting a bigger 8-megapixel sensor, the Incredible's captured images lack the color reproduction that the DROID 2 produced – instead, outdoor images generally have a darker tone to them. However, we'd have to say that both devices are able to meticulously capture a sizable amount of detail. In low lighting conditions, we still find the DROID 2 to edge out the Incredible with its neutral looking colors – although detail remained the same. When using their respective dual-LED flashes, images with the Incredible looked over-exposed, while the DROID 2 still reproduces colors more accurately.

It's a close race in the video capturing department since the quality and performance exhibited by both smartphones are almost identical with very few, and sometimes insignificant differences. We actually prefer the DROID 2's capture ability since it's smoother looking, compared to the Droid Incredible's, even though the latter device records in 800x480, while the DROID 2 captures its videos in 720x480.

Motorola DROID 2 sample video at 720x480 pixels resolution
HTC Droid Incredible sample video at 800x480 pixels resolution

Both smartphones still have some work in truly offering a spot-on music player interface, but both function as they should – so naturally the experience isn't going to deviate that much. You've got the HTC music player running on the Incredible while the DROID 2 relies on the stock Android one. The usual allotment of items are displayed with the two players, but the Incredible has a somewhat coverflow-esque look that will allow you to move between songs by simply swiping left/right on the album cover. Even though the DROID 2 lacks that functionality, it can display a visualization when you tap the album cover and offers a set of specific equalizer settings. Don't let the small cut out for the Incredible's speaker fool you because it's able to produce the same level of volume that the DROID 2 is able to pump out. Tunes are more than audible between the two, so there isn't much of a variance between their qualities.

Not pausing for a moment, both the DROID 2 and Incredible are fantastic at playing videos – even high resolution ones at 1280 x 720 resolution. We were able to play a movie trailer encoded in MPEG-4 and neither one came up short as playback is undeniably swift with no evidence of any jittery movements. Combine the decent sized and high resolution displays employed on both handsets, you won't find too many faults between them in watching videos. However, some people might prefer the AMOLED display on the Incredible over the DROID 2 since it produces such lush and vibrant looking colors – but the DROID2 still can hold its own ground overall.

The Motorola DROID 2 includes an 8GB microSD card with its packaging, while the HTC Droid Incredible has 8GB of storage which actually equates to 6.4GB of real life access after it's all said and done.


Again we find that the Incredible produces stronger tones out of its earpiece – making it more deafening than the DROID 2. As far as calling quality is concerned, there is still some faint static noise that can be heard when listening to our callers while using the DROID 2 – which is something that doesn't plague the Incredible. Voices did sound a bit better on the Incredible as they are more neutral in tone which makes it still very easy to comprehend our conversations. When switching to the speakerphone, voices are more than audible to the ear with the DROID 2 since it produces sharper tones – while on the Incredible, they sound a little more muted. However, there is a slight echoing effect with the DROID 2 while it's pretty much non-existent with the Incredible.

During our time testing both handsets in the greater Philadelphia region, we didn't experience any dropped calls or major fluctuations in signal strength.

If you're looking for longevity with battery life, you'll probably want to stick with the DROID 2 since it was able to produce 9.5 hours of talk time after a full charge with its 1400 mAh battery. Comparing it to the Incredible's 1300 mAh battery, it was only able to obtain a talk time of 5.5 hours of talk before requiring a recharge. However, you'll get close to a full day of normal usage out of both devices – but it seems that the DROID 2 still puts out longer levels. Regardless, you'll want to consistently have a charger on hand if you're a typical heavy user.


Placed on the same level at the upper end of the echelon on Verizon's lineup, both Android powered smartphones are priced at $199.99 on-contract – so it'll obviously come down to what features are placed highly on your list. The obvious first decision you'll have to make is whether the touch-only option of the Incredible is something you can endure. If you can't fathom to see yourself adjust to the touchscreen, then it's quite blatant that the Motorola DROID 2 is looking to be the correct solution for you.

As we've compared the two, we've come to appreciate the subtle variances that each has to bring to the table, but we'd probably recommend for those shopping around for a new handset to stick with the DROID 2. It's a bit easier to absorb when you'll have the option of a physical keyboard, Android 2.2 Froyo from the start, support for Flash 10.1, and a fantastic experience exploring the platform. In addition, the $200 pricing can be clearly justified from just a cursory feel of the two phones in your hands. For starters, the Motorola DROID 2 has that industrial design that radiates a sense of fine craftsmanship thanks to its tough metal like exterior – easily garnering the attention of most people. However, the HTC Droid Incredible is still one equipped device with its peppy innards which can go toe-to-toe with the competition. In addition, it'll also become graced with an upgrade to Android 2.2 Froyo soon – which will supplement its overall experience.

All in all, you can't deny the lure that the Motorola DROID 2 has to offer over the Incredible with its solid performance, pristine build quality, and its in-the-moment inclusion of the latest build of Android.

Motorola DROID 2 vs. HTC Droid Incredible Video Comparison:

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless