Droid Incredible vs HTC EVO 4G: What's the Difference?

By Ryan Whitwam

Two new Android smartphones are vying for your hard earned cash. Which one should you buy?

In the battle for Android superphone supremacy, there are two strong challengers to consider. The first is, of course, the recently released HTC Droid Incredible on Verizon Wireless. The other phone is the upcoming HTC EVO 4G on Sprint, which is out on June 4th. Sprint just announced pricing and release details for the EVO today, so we can make a fair comparison between HTC's two latest and greatest handsets. Unlike the Nexus One and HTC Incredible, each of these phones have very unique strengths as well as weaknesses that extend beyond their different affiliated networks. So what's a discerning buyer (who's free of network obligations) to choose?
  


Specs and Features

Much of the hardware in the Incredible and EVO 4G is the same. Both pack 1GHz Snapdragon CPUs, 1GB ROM (lots of space for apps), and 512MB RAM. The Incredible also ups the ante with 8GB of embedded flash storage, with an additional microSD card slot. The EVO 4G relies on an included 8GB microSD card for all its data storage needs. 



Both phones have an 8 megapixel camera on the back, but the EVO also has a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera. The EVO will ship with Qik, a video streaming service, so some tie in to utilize the camera for video calls is expected. The EVO camera is capable of 720p video recording, but for some reason the Incredible is stuck at 800x480 video. Both cams have LED flashes as well. The Incredible has an optical trackpad for navigation, but the EVO has no additional navigation interface aside from the touchscreen. 

Sprint is also including a connection sharing Wi-Fi app on the EVO 4G that will allow you to turn it into a internet hot spot for up to eight connected devices, though they have yet to confirm whether this disables internet on the phone itself. 

Pricing



The EVO 4G is, as the name implies, a 4G phone. In fact, it's the first 4G phone to be released. The earlier hints of extra charges for access to Sprint's WiMAX network have proven true. Users will be required to pay for a $10 per month "Premium Data add-on" in addition to regular data charges. It sounds to us like you will be required to pay this fee even if you don't have access to 4G in your area. This brings the EVO monthly pricing closer to that of the Incredible. In addition, the use of that nifty Wi-Fi connection sharing app will require a $29.99 per month add-on. This is a real bummer.

The Networks

There's really no denying that Verizon network is of very high quality. It consistently comes out on top in reliability surveys. This is how they tend to get away with charging more for their plans. Though, coverage varies from place to place, so don't just rely on the surveys. Sprint is regarded as having a fairly good network as well. Both of these networks are CDMA-based EvDo types. But Sprint is pushing the EVO's 4G pedigree hard.

Sprint's 4G WiMAX network is already up and running in 27 markets in the US. And just a few months ago (probably in preparation for the EVO) they announced they were expanding 4G into seven more markets this year in addition to the previously announced 8 new markets. Sprint is claiming average speeds of 3-6Mbps download, with so-called "peak" speeds in excess of 10Mbps. It's unclear if a phone will be capable of these speeds. Some recent testing in Philadelphia with an Overdrive modem showed mostly slower performance, but still better than 3G in many instances. It looked like 2.5-3Mbps download speeds were the top end, but we'd certainly take that. Sprint was demoing the EVO just today and Engadget was able to get over 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up. Though, this was done with a 4G tower in the building, so consider this an absolute best case scenario. 

One more thing to consider is that the Verizon network, while very reliable, has the usual CDMA flaw of not allowing simultaneous voice and data. This can be a problem on an Android phone because a lot of syncing and downloading happens in the background. This could mean missed calls while your phone is otherwise occupied. The regular Sprint network has this same problem, but if you're on 4G that won't be an issue. HTC and Sprint managed to work out the kinks in the 4G network, so you can get CDMA voice and 4G data on the phone at the same time.