iPhone 4 vs. HTC Incredible: Smartphone Showdown


So, it's come to this: iPhone 4, or HTC Incredible? What'll it be? Truthfully, a lot of the decision will come down to carrier. Before you can really decide on a smartphone to own, you need to decide which carrier fits your life the best. For some, AT&T simply doesn't offer good enough service to commit to it for two solid years. If that's the case, the decision is almost made for you. Of course, you could always get an iPhone 4 for data purposes alone, but with the iPod touch on the market, and so many other advanced smartphones out there (like the Incredible!), there's really no reason to go that route. If AT&T has solid coverage in your area, and Verizon does as well, the decision definitely becomes more difficult. It's a good problem to have (great coverage from both carriers), but if you find yourself in that boat, you'll need to look harder at your software and hardware desires.

We would say that the iPhone's styling is on top, while the overall hardware of the Incredible gives Apple's device a real run for its money. The CPU in the Incredible is the quicker of the two, and the 8MP camera is definitely superior to the 5MP one in the iPhone 4. It's also a really close battle in terms of hardware extras: the two are almost identical in many ways, with just the camera and the storage arrangement differentiating the two. The iPhone 4 has 16GB or 32GB of internal Flash storage, while the Incredible has 512MB of Flash paired with an 8GB NAND module + a microSD (which is user-replaceable/upgradeable). As for Web browsing? It's hard to accurately test both of these browsers beside each other given the core differences, but we found the Android browser to be faster in our speed tests and our page load tests (with all cache and cookies cleared for both). Of course, Android was only faster by a couple of seconds, but still, an edge is an edge.

We suspect that one phone or the other will grab you based on the exterior and hardware specifications alone, but if not, now we're down to software. This is where the two roads we've been following really begin to fork. iOS 4 is significantly different than Android 2.1, and both systems have their respective pros and cons. Ease of use and an expansive app store? Apple is the easy choice. Have a need to tweak and enjoy limitless multi-tasking? Android's your friend. Will you be taking advantage of FaceTime and Folders? iOS 4 should be looking good. Will you take advantage of native Internet Tethering/Mobile HotSpot? The Incredible should be seeing the Android 2.2 update within a couple of months, which will deliver those amenities.

In the end, it comes down to which OS will suit you best (if both carriers work equally well, that is). The Notification system on Android is far superior, but the app selection on Apple's device is still better. If you're still stuck, we'd encourage you to page back and really think about how you will be using your smartphone. Chances are you'll find a few "must-have" software features on one phone or the other, and one killer addition in particular will win you over. In sum, we'd suggest the iPhone 4 for the casual smartphone user or for someone who is already entrenched in the App Store by owning prior iPhones, but the HTC Incredible would be the one to get if you are new to the smartphone world and/or enjoy tweaking your phone to get the most out of it. Feel free to debate amongst yourselves in the comments section below!

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