iPhone 4 vs. HTC Incredible: Smartphone Showdown

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iPhone 4 vs. HTC Incredible: Smartphone ShowdownIs this the showdown of the year? In the smartphone world, we would argue that it is. If you're looking for arguably the world's best 3G smartphones right now, you're likely considering two specific choices: Apple's iPhone 4 on AT&T, or HTC's DROID Incredible on Verizon Wireless. Both phones provide an excellent user experience, and both are as cutting edge as they come. Both they also offer very different and distinct experiences, with one coming by way of iOS 4 and the other Android 2.1 with HTC's Sense overlay.

In other words, both of these devices are competing for the same crown, but each one is its own beast, with its own list of pros and cons. If you're in the market to upgrade your own handset and can't seem to choose between these two super-phones, we've got a guide to help you break down the pluses and minuses of each one in order to help you make the best decision for your needs...

iPhone 4 vs. HTC Incredible: Smartphone Showdown

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sackyhack replied on Fri, Jul 16 2010 10:29 AM

This is exactly the kind of comparison I was looking for, thank!  It's gonna be a hard decision.  On the one hand, I don't think I'm the type who would want to tinker with their smartphone, but on the other I don't want to lose the option in case I change my mind in the future.  I  hope there's another comparison by review sites once the 2.2 OS  for the Android rolls out.  I'm leaning towards the Android right now, but I've been messing around with my sister's iPhone4 and I can see why Apple has such die-hard fans.  heh, I guess it's a good thing when my only complaint is that both choices are too good.

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duron replied on Fri, Jul 16 2010 11:12 AM

This is not a very good review... First I'd say just get your facts straight. The Incredible has 8 GB Internal memory...not 512 MB. So a user has 8 GB of space for Apps. The ability to install Apps on the microSD card is coming in Android 2.2. Also, please explain to me how a con of the HTC Incredible is that the only carrier you can choose is AT&T. Hmm.. Okay. Finally, you seem to have mentioned the new features of Android 2.2 (Hotspot and installing apps on the SD Card), but you forgot the other features that are coming. Say 720p video recording, same as the iPhone. Lets see, another feature you forgot is Wireless N coming with the release of Android 2.2, again same as the iPhone. Please write a fair review if you're gonna write one at all. Thanks...

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Dave_HH replied on Fri, Jul 16 2010 11:56 AM

Guys, we're fact checking a few things here, primarily for any possible typos but we of course have both phones on hand and stated in the video and elsewhere that of course the Incredible is on Verizon.

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Dave_HH replied on Fri, Jul 16 2010 11:59 AM

Also, FTA: "Unlike the iPhone 4, the HTC Incredible is available on Verizon Wireless. There are obviously pro and cons to this as well. The good news is that Verizon's 3G footprint is far, far larger than AT&T's 3G footprint, and in large part Verizon covers more of America than AT&T. " ....

so I have no idea where the confusion is on that...

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Dave_HH replied on Fri, Jul 16 2010 12:19 PM

OK, an update from the author was made. There was one instance that our copy editor missed where there was a typo with AT&T that should have read Verizon. Sorry about that. Also, on the memory, MicroSD was noted but that was also transposed and should have said NAND (internal) storage. The functional issue with this is that you cannot install apps on that internal NAND storage currently with Android 2.1 but it was noted that Froyo is coming to this device.

Hope this helps a little guys. Sorry you thought we missed the mark on these points.

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duron replied on Fri, Jul 16 2010 12:32 PM

Thank you for the replies, but this is still not correct...

The whole point is that you can only install apps on the internal storage with Android 2.1. The ability to install apps on the microSD card is coming with Android 2.2.

With what the author is saying, I wouldn't be able to have any apps if I didn't have a microSD card. Just to check this, I removed my SD card and all my apps were still there. 

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Marco C replied on Fri, Jul 16 2010 2:06 PM

Hi Duron. I think there's just some confusion since the update. The article states (and had stated) "If you're new to Android, there's a big, fat limitation you should know about up front. The Incredible only ships with room for 512MB of apps internally, and native App On SD support isn't coming until v2.2"

It also says, "This is a very important differentiator. Users can really only load 512MB of apps onto the Incredible before they'll need to use either a third-party solution or a feature coming in Android 2.2 to load them onto a MicroSD card (the integrated 8GB is only useful for media and select apps that have been updated to support this new configuration of storage in Android 2.1)."

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ray.w replied on Fri, Jul 16 2010 2:12 PM

Yeah, and now, a select amount of apps are being updated to support storage/access of the internal NAND. Many, many apps do not. The ROM + NAND + MicroSD is a very new storage configuration for Android, so there are some growing pains in what apps can use what at this very moment in the system's development.


I added further clarification throughout.

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acarzt replied on Sat, Jul 17 2010 5:35 PM

Out of curiosity.... under specification for the Incredible... you guys only list B and G support, but in the video, you guys state it is on N. So is N supported?

Eitherway, it performed pretty solidly over wireless. Just curious which standards it supports.

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Dunks replied on Sun, Jul 18 2010 4:15 PM

Are you basing your conclusion that the HTC has a better camera than the iPhone 4 simply on the number of megapixels being more (8) for the HTC than for the iPhone 4 (which has 5)?? From what I've read, the number of megapixels is only one factor. I've read other reviews, and ALL of them conclude the iPhone 4's camera is the best of any smartphone on the market. 

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acarzt replied on Sun, Jul 18 2010 4:43 PM

Megapixels is one of many factors. I would like to see for myself the difference between the pictures these 2 phones take.

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WaltFrench replied on Mon, Jul 19 2010 12:06 PM

More than a few ways this review is overly credulous of HTC's claims.

First, have I not seen the announcement a few days ago that the Incredible's screen is to be replaced? HTC blamed shortages of the Samsung AMOLED device. If you are reviewing a device you actually acquired, you should (a) mention that the tested model is now N/A and subsequent models will be different, quality TBA; and (2) the AMOLED screen does NOT have the full resolution claimed in that each pixel only has 2 of the three primary colors. Reading, say, blue text on a black background, as some websites like to favor, drops to more like 400X480. To handle some of the false colors that this technique can cause, the Incredible smushes the resolution further, making it "fuzzy" in some people's eyes.

Second, you give the Incredible the nod based on CPU speed but do not identify how that speed will actually work for the user in practice. Until Froyo is on this device, all third-party apps have a large speed penalty because they have to be "interpreted." Google's core apps are apparently written in a flavor of C that runs without the huge interpretation disadvantage and they should (all else equal) run a bit faster than the iPhone's similar functions.

But all else is NOT equal on these phones and that's what reviews are for. You might have indicated how this mix of maybe faster / demonstrated much slower really plays out in practice. When the Froyo JIT is adapted to the successor Incredible/2 or whatever, its very capable JIT technology may bring 3rd-party apps up to similar speed. Again, you don't know as you haven't actually tested the unreleased product.

So I'm confused: this is an article mostly about a current device but focused on what it may become at some future date. It's labeled as a review but key elements are based on un-reviewable futures, the bane of talking honestly about Android. I agree that it's *likely* to work nicely under Froyo, but that's a projection or editorial opinion that I wouldn't expect under the guise of a "review." They undercut your "tested" and "burned in" tag line as "oh, we just regurgitate whatever happytalk the vendor provides us."

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phallus99 replied on Sat, Aug 14 2010 4:13 AM

Hey there, normally I do not argue with stupid people on the internet, but tonight I decided to have some fun.

Right off the bat, let me just say I am not arguing for or against either product, only that you have no idea what you are talking about.

Well, specifically, this part, which I will quote very loosely:

"All Android programs until recent are slow because they are interpreted. Apple's programs are compiled in C (omg! C! It's like, totally fast!) and are therefor faster!"

Now, this is a common misconception made by people who think they know what they're talking about. C is not actually definitely faster than Java, all it's just lower lever, which means that it's closer to the hardware. Also, in general, it is compiled, like I assume it is for apple's hardware. But does that mean it's not interpreted? NO! In away, it's interpreted by the CPU into electronic signals! However, the java programs, on the other hand, are compiled as well! Into Java bytecode! Which is also interpreted! But, the interpreter handles a bunch of stuff like garbage collection, and at remarkably fast speeds. The C code is also garbage collected, by Boehm's GC. In short, sloppy C code is not faster than well-written Java code. I'm really tired so I'm all over the place here, but you get my point.


I HAVE BEEN PROGRAMMING SINCE I WAS IN fucking 7th GRADE. STOP BEING RETARDED YOU.

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It's always dangerous trying to be logical replying to a post where every other sentence is filled with allcaps, exclamation points, accusations that everybody else is retarded, and even a screen name that suggests nothing more than “big ***.”

That out of the way, you could go to developer.android.com and read, “The Android NDK is a companion tool to the Android SDK that lets Android application developers build performance-critical portions of their apps in native code.”

What is the Native Development Kit? The way one writes “performance-critical” (I would've said, “performance-sensitive”) routines.

Besides providing a somewhat cumbersome way to squeeze C code into java-based programs, Google also put a lot of effort into the Froyo virtual machine. See their IO presentations that show how much faster their JIT compiler works than their previous interpreter. Compared to pre-Froyo performance, java programs are now much faster — depending on the scenario, perhaps by a factor of three. Since the JIT compiler takes time to understand the programmer's intentions, it is necessarily a bit slower in getting started than a C program would be. But in many cases, it will be almost as good.

Simplified: prior to Froyo, interpreting java is relatively slow, so the option of writing i C was provided. Froyo's JIT compiler for java is much better.

So the need for writing in C will be much less for machines that either (a) have Froyo, or (b) have CPUs much faster than 1GHz. The Incredible meets neither test. While the Android-supplied programs will generally use the C-based Native Development Kit, most third-party apps will be written in the standard SDK, and could seem sluggish or even be ugly on compute-intensive functions, compared to NDK ("C") programs.

So, I agree, “C is not actually definitely faster in Java.” But on the Incredible, C is certainly, absolutely and significantly faster, (per Google) and even if/when the Incredible is available with Froyo, most java apps will have SOME performance penalty vs apps written in C.

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phallus99 replied on Sat, Aug 14 2010 3:21 PM

First, my name does not imply that. My name implies that I have a **** and am 99 years old, only one of which is true.

See, that statement is much more correct than the first one, which, as far as I could tell, read "java is slower because it is interpreted." I have heard this so many times and it is so incorrect that by now whenever I hear that it sends me into a frenzy of shorts. Sorry for the blatantly angry post, that was probably the beer.

But I still don't think it's correct 100%

Programs that are written the same in for both the iPhone and android are not guaranteed to work better on either system, just because one uses Java and is higher level, and everything you said. A lot of stuff goes into it, including garbage collection, concurrency speed, a how good the compiler is for both. I think you said that the JIT was lacking until the 6th version, but that doesn't mean it produced slower code than the (I think it was) GCC, even with the layer of abstraction that is the interpreter.

But that's just me. I just got out of bed, so my thoughts are kind of all over the place.

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“Until Froyo is on this device, all third-party apps have a large speed penalty because they have to be “interpreted.” Google's core apps are apparently written in a flavor of C that runs without the huge interpretation disadvantage and they should (all else equal) run a bit faster than the iPhone's similar functions.”

Well, isn't that pretty clear? Interpreted apps run slower than compiled apps. On some systems you can compile java and on others your C is interpreted. But on the Incredible as currently shipping (which was what was supposedly being tested and that I wrote about), java is interpreted and slow, while C is compiled and much faster. 

PS: the Dalvik JIT compiler is genius technology for running java as fast as possible. But the iPhone compiler produces better, faster code and nobody who's developed phone apps or knows much about the technology would be confused about that. The garbage collection should be a minor performance issue (since you don't create/kill objects all the time when performance matters) and concurrency is almost non-existent on today's OS's… although the iPhone development kit is undergoing incredible change which will be able to exploit concurrency when it's ready for use.

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phallus99 replied on Sat, Aug 14 2010 4:06 PM

And again I say, not necessarily. There are many many factors that play into it, so stop quoting articles without a source. Besides, the NDK is out now.

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lelele replied on Wed, Aug 18 2010 5:59 AM

iPhone is good, intelligent mobile quality of the good.

Look beautiful

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amliamilr replied on Thu, Aug 19 2010 3:02 AM

The review of a gadget of this intense would differ from person to person and his liking for a particular thing. So, it is not just the review that proves the point, but the quality of the work put in proves the point. I think that iPhone and HTC are of the same types but edges over the other in the functionality that one finds comfortable in using.

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CFx replied on Sat, Oct 2 2010 7:09 PM

I had a Blackberry for 2 yrs b4 converting to the Incredible & even then it took me a few weeks to decide if I really wanted to go back to a touch screen ( I had a Samsung Glyde, the 1st touch screen VZW came out w/ & it was horrible). Now I am sooo glad I did, because I love it. I suggest you http://www.htc-incredible.com which you might find useful when considering the htc incredible.

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