Verizon HTC Droid Incredible 2 Review

The HTC Droid Incredible 2 is a well-built Android phone that fits in the hand well and it is fairly light.  It is based on an older Android operating system, but it has a great camera.
The HTC Droid Incredible 2 is a well-built Android phone that fits in the hand well and it is fairly light. It is based on an older Android operating system, but it has a great camera. | Source

This Android phone was introduced in April of 2011 and it has many powerful features for those who have a modest smartphone budget. It has a great camera and video-making capabilities and it has an easy-to-operate HTC Sense interface based on the Android 2.3.1 Gingerbread operating system (although the phone came out originally with 2.2 Froyo). For those who can't afford the latest and greatest smartphone offerings, like HTC's Incredible 4G LTE, the iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy III, it is a phone worth considering.

This article is not a unboxing review of a the Verizon HTC Droid Incredible 2, although I have include a YouTube video to that effect below. The text of this article includes a review of my personal experience with an new, unlocked version of this phone on a GSM network (Verizon has a CDMA network). This review also includes specific use recommendations and other user experiences with this phone. I have also included some photos taken with the camera at the end of the article.

Summary of Pros and Cons of the HTC Droid Incredible 2

Pros:

  • 8 MP camera
  • 720 HD video resolution, good enough for Internet posting
  • Ability to install up to 32 GB SD card for memory
  • 4" AMOLED screen and display (480 x 800 pixels)
  • Easy to hold
  • Good phone call sound quality
  • World phone (lots of radios for use world-wide

Cons:

  • Poor battery life
  • Operating system instability
  • Low internal memory, 1 GB RAM
  • 3G only
  • Verizon bloatware (a reason to root the phone)
  • Older Android operating system, with no hope that HTC will update soon
  • Weak cell phone signal reception as compared to other brands, but it is fixable
  • Radio is useless for picking up stations

Rate This Phone If You Have Owned One

4 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of HTC Droid Incredible 2
The back of the HTC Droid Incredible 2, showing the camera lens and its 2 LEDs for the flash.  The two LEDs make for a good flashlight with the included flashlight application.
The back of the HTC Droid Incredible 2, showing the camera lens and its 2 LEDs for the flash. The two LEDs make for a good flashlight with the included flashlight application. | Source

What is Great About the HTC Droid Incredible 2

Camera. For a device in this price range, the camera is great. If you want to have a camera with you at all times that has really good resolution, then this is a good one to carry around. The application opens quickly and you can get quick snapshots. You can focus closely to get macros and it has great resolution when taking photos of text.

Video. The video camera is not 1080 p, but the 720 p resolution is more than adequate for YouTube videos and viewing on a computer screen. There is a separate application to use the video camera, so you can quickly access this if you have it on your home screen when a video opportunity arises. External controls would have been nice, but they aren't present.

Memory. External memory can be installed up to 32 MB for storage of videos, documents, music and apps. It takes a micro SD card. Applications can be moved from internal memory to the SD card to help out with physical memory limitations.

Screen. The AMOLED screen has great resolution and it is very responsive. You can see the screen well in full sunlight (which may have something to do with its battery life issues, that is, not having a back light control - although there are apps in Play Store for that customization).

Fixing the Poor Battery Life Problem

With moderate use, the phone struggles to last the entire day. This occurs is when the wireless or data functions are on constantly. As a multitasking device, it thus fails in a big way. You can kill the wireless radios on the device to get longer battery life, or kill applications that you aren't using to help this; but, the solution that worked best for me was to install an extended battery. The stock 1450 milliamp-hour battery can be replaced with larger batteries that come with a new back cover. I replaced mine with a 3500 mAh version, which added bulk, but it made the phone work throughout the day and then some. If you wish, you can buy smaller extended-life batteries, depending on your use pattern.

Android Applications for Managing the HTC Droid Incredible 2

Memory intensive applications management. Due to the small amount of user-available RAM, this phone will choke easily when you have too many applications running simultaneously. To look at what is eating up your memory in your phone, use an application called Android Assistant. It will tell you how much RAM is available and you can switch to the Processes tab to kill applications that you aren't using to release memory.

Another application that call help keep more RAM available is the free Startup Manager. This will prevent some of the bloatware from loading. Check for the bloatware programs that are running in Android Assistant and then block them from starting up with Startup Manager.

Back light control. Get the Brightness Widget for quick setting of the brightness. Indoors you don't need the back light and you can save a lot of battery by changing the screen brightness setting.

Camera. To enhance the capabilities of the native phone application, get FX Camera or ProCapture. If you are serious about your photography, and you don't want to lug around a 35 mm SLR camera, you will need these options to get the most out of this phone's camera.

File Management. Astro File Manager is a great app to use to delete, move or copy files in your system. You can also kill applications with this useful program.

Web Browsing. Download either Dolphin or Opera for your web browsing. Dolphin has features that help with optimizing memory and battery using, by using its add-on called Dolphin companion. If you want to also save on data usage, Opera is best for that because it compresses data to limit your download quantity and time. It's a great program that is optimized for smartphones.

Mail. The native Android app for mail is inadequate if you have multiple mail accounts. I recommend a free app called K-9, where you can aggregate all your accounts in one program. You can view all emails at once or the emails for each address.

Fixing Operating System Instability

It is advisable to put the device to sleep manually if you are not using it actively. I have seen the device randomly open applications when I didn't go through this step. So, when I pulled it out of my pocket, I had to waste time to back out of these applications

Another more serious problem, experienced by many users of this phone is that it will, at some point, go through a random rebooting process, sometimes in an endless loop. The solution to this problem is to do a system restore, putting all of the software back to its original factory settings. Afterwards, you will have to reload your applications.

I think the problem is related to having too many programs open and too much memory occupied. For this, I use the Dolphin browser's Companion plug-in to help clear memory when I note a problem.

Updating of the Android System on the HTC Droid Incredible 2

One of the most-complained about issues is that HTC has not lived up to its promise to update the operating system on this phone to the Ice Cream Sandwich Android version. The promised date of release (mid-2012) has passed and it looks as if this is a device which has unfortunately been sent out to pasture by HTC management. Their focus seems to be on 4G devices at the moment, despite the fact that a good number of their existing and potential clients are in areas with just 3G data services.

There is the possibility of flashing on stock Android ICS to replace the HTC Sense/Gingerbread operating system. However, this type of maneuver is in the realm of developers and serious tinkerers, although there are simple enough instructions that are published on forums like XDA developers. If you don't know what you are doing I would advise against it. You can "brick" your cell phone and make it useless if you make a mistake. Another disadvantage, at least with the current build, is that you probably will not have all cell phone functions operating - the camera not operating in ICS is one of these current issues with the current ICS update.

In the upper right corner of the phone you see two shiny spots. This is where I have placed some aluminum foil balls to help the antenna contacts connect to the antenna.  Add this to what is seen in the video below to increase reception.
In the upper right corner of the phone you see two shiny spots. This is where I have placed some aluminum foil balls to help the antenna contacts connect to the antenna. Add this to what is seen in the video below to increase reception. | Source

Weak Cell Phone Signal Reception and a Fix

I have only used this phone with GSM and 3G providers. I have unfortunately found that the signal reception is inferior to that of cheaper Nokia phones. Where there is one to two bars of signal for Nokia phones, I have no reception.

I did find a fix on YouTube, so I am including the video below. It seems like a cheesy fix, but it really does work to create reception on the phone. I also found that adding some foil wads in the contact points on the phone helps. It seems that the contacts on the antenna in the cover don't reach the contacts in the main body of the phone. See the photos.

Comparison of cell phone signal on Google Nexus 4 (full bars) versus the Droid Incredible 2 (no bars - no reception).
Comparison of cell phone signal on Google Nexus 4 (full bars) versus the Droid Incredible 2 (no bars - no reception). | Source

Weak HTC Droid Incredible 2 Fix

Unedited Photos Taken by the HTC Droid Incredible 2

Family photo in the water.
Family photo in the water. | Source
An exotic tree flower found at Rio Perdido.
An exotic tree flower found at Rio Perdido. | Source
Poolside at the Jardin de Eden resort in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.
Poolside at the Jardin de Eden resort in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. | Source
Umbrellas at poolside at Rio Perdido resort near Bagaces, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
Umbrellas at poolside at Rio Perdido resort near Bagaces, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. | Source

A YouTube Review of the HTC Droid Incredible 2

Recovery and Activating the Phone

Two videos below indicate how to do a system recovery if the software gets corrupted. There are many different things that may motivate you to do a system recovery, like you wish to restore to the original software or you wish to have the original software written over corrupted programs. I did this restore because my wireless signal disappeared. After the restoration, the signal came back strong as it did in the original. So, I recommend this as a solution for what may seem to be hardware problems on the phone.

How To Do A Factory Reset on the Droid Incredible

Getting Past the Activation Screen

Conclusions About This Phone

This phone seems to be geared towards those who are in urban areas, since the cell phone signal reception is not that great. But there is a fix that makes the reception acceptable. But, I still don't see as good reception as I have seen with an iPhone 4S or my Sony Xperia Miro.

There are fixes for the poor battery life, and with applications, you can improve its smoothness of operation by limiting RAM use. If HTC would come out with an ICS update for the phone, this might also improve its operating system stability.

Overall, I would recommend this phone. It only requires a little tinkering to get the cell signal reception in the acceptable range. The strongest point of the phone is its camera. It takes quality photos and video as well. If you want to carry it around for photos, it will be a good companion.

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