I've always had a suspicion about mobile devices. Are they first step in a Borg-like assimilation as we become permanently wired into our social networks and status symbols? If so, it's not so much a violent invasion as a gentle seduction of convenience and utility. The mobile device marketplace has become increasingly obsessed with instant email and Facebook access.
It's with this mindset that I first approached Verizon's HTC Droid Incredible 2 for review. How does the Incredible 2 stand up against the competition for the internet-user-on-the-go? More importantly, does it offer more to the phone user than just a handy way to update their Facebook status location?
My first thought as I opened the box and held the Incredible 2 was of the monolith from Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. The thin streamlined design achieves an almost featureless surface. There's no track pad or awkwardly protruding buttons. The power button and camera lenses are almost invisible. Other features — such as the micro USB power / data port, volume control, and headphone jacks — are equally unobtrusive. It felt good in the hand: firm without feeling brittle, light-weight without feeling like a toy. No, I decided, not a monolith, but a slimmer, sexier model where functionality and form are subtly combined. It's a definite improvement over the original Incredible design.
But what about performance?
Let's cut to the chase. There's no 4G connectivity or ability to run the latest version of Android. If you're looking for a 4G device, the review pretty much stops here. The lack of a dual-core processor may also be a concern, but the Snapdragon processor still delivers a quick kick, even when running multiple applications.
However, if your needs are more suited for camera, design, display, and reliability, you may wish to read further.
Beyond the excellent UI and multimedia features, the Incredible 2 delivers the rest of its features with solid performance and reliability. The display is worth mentioning again, as it's one of the best I've seen. It has the look and feel of a true video display. The inner geek in me was also delighted by the four adjacent navigation buttons that magically appear when the device is turned on. They are actually created by tiny LEDs and rotate based on the device's orientation. I was also very pleased with the Incredible 2's battery life. The device managed to deliver two full days of casual usage before needing a recharge.
To buy or not to buy
The Incredible 2 lives up to its marketing promises and comes with loads of nifty features and apps. If you're looking for a mobile multimedia device that looks good and performs well, the Incredible 2 is a solid candidate. I would recommend the Incredible 2 without hesitation for anyone whose primary needs include reliable access to their email, social media, and networking.
The only real drawback of this device is in the inherent limitations of a 3G network. It's not a fatal flaw or even something average users find relevant to their daily needs, but it is enough to keep me from proclaiming the HTCDI2 as truly incredible.Additional resources:
Todd Fluhr is a freelance writer and multimedia designer. A self-described "Shockwave Rider" of technology, culture, and creativity, he has been involved in the interactive entertainment industry since the early 90's. He hopes to find time to sleep some day.