HTC DROID DNA Review
Announced as the HTC J Butterfly over in Japan, HTC was the first to kick off the 5 inch 1080p screen game as far as Android phones are concerned. Is it necessary to have that high of a resolution on a smartphone? Seems the jury is still out on that one but seeing has HTC has DROID moniker this time around, they have brought that same power over to Verizon as the DROID DNA. Does this phone have the power and allure to be your next phone? Find out in the full review.
HTC knows that thin is in and the DNA packs a lot of power in a thin package. Black and red accents surround the phone styling that this is indeed a Verizon phone. In Verizon fashion, their logo sits up above the screen but below the set in speaker grill, which is red. To the left of the logo is the 2.1 MP FFC and then you have the beautiful 5 inch 1080p screen. HTC still hasn’t embraced on screen buttons and you have capacitive Back, Home and then HTC’s multitasking implementation. On the left and right sides you have this red accented metal trim that looks pretty premium. It even has micro-holes drilled in it. There isn’t anything else on the right side but on the right side you have volume rocker. On top you have a microphone, 3.5mm headphone jack, red power button and then area for the SIM card. On the bottom you have your micro USB port which isn’t exposed this time and is instead hidden by a rubber door. On the back side of the DNA, you have an 8MP camera with a LED flash. The entire back is set in soft touch rubber which means it feels good to the touch but I fear it might damage over time. Below the camera is HTC engraving with “4GLTE” and Beats Audio logos below that. The speaker has micro-drilled holes. Once again there is a certain premium design with the DNA and the thinness really makes that shine.
HTC is known for having some of the best display technology rivaling Samsung with their use of Super LCD. The DROID DNA is the first phone to use a Super LCD 3 display at 5 inch and is a 1080p display. The pixel density is 440 ppi placing it well over “Retina” quality. Images look beautiful on this display and with 5 inches to work with, you have plenty of real-estate to enjoy it. Viewing angles are superb and refresh rates are nice as well. Note about the battery. Will you might think that a 5 inch 1080p screen would absolutely drain battery, during my testing I managed to bring the battery down to 68% after a little over 11 hours of middle to heavy usage.
2013 is the year of Quad core processors, well that trend started in last 2012 but it continues this year. The DNA brings some pretty nice specs to the table, kicking it off with a 1.5 GHz quad core Snapdragon S4 processor and 2 GB’s of RAM. Unlike the J Butterfly, the DNA has only 16GB of internal memory with no memory card expansion. There is also a non-removable 2020 mAh battery inside but it does support wireless charging which is a nice future proofing feature. Other hardware include Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC.
The HTC DROID DNA comes equipped with an 8 MP camera and LED flash. Combined with HTC’s Image Sense hardware and custom camera options, it’s hard to find anyone other than HTC that makes a better camera. Daytime shots came out pretty well and you can see a quick gallery below with some sample shots. The few night time shots I took came out pretty decently as well. Those will join the daytime shot below.
The DNA can also capture 1080p video at 30 fps. See a daytime video test below. Honestly I was pretty impressed at the quality.
The DROID DNA runs Android 4.1 (Jellybean) out of the box with Sense 4+ over it. Launching with Jellybean is a huge improvement and while some may say that Sense negates the gains of Project Butter, I think some of Sense actually improves the experience. This is apparent mainly in the camera and gallery applications. The one things that still gets me is that HTC’s “Black menu bar” issue still exists on the DNA and while 2 GB’s of RAM and quad core processor should be lag free, Sense still manages to make software refresh. Things like opening the messaging app or opening up the app drawer. This isn’t apparent on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will identical internals. HTC needs to slim down Sense even more.
Here in Las Vegas, Verizon is only second to AT&T in data speeds and I was very impressed with the data speeds here. I managed to pull down between 14-25 MB’s down and 5-10 MB’s up. Not bad data speeds at all. Phone quality was just fine with clear calls all around and no ghosting or dropped calls.
Is the DROID DNA worth your money? Well it bring a lot of interesting things to the table. A quad-core powerhouse with 5 inch 1080p display. All of that in a slim body and Android 4.1 Jellybean running the show. I honestly don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t get this phone if you are on Verizon unless you think a 5 inch screen is too big. The thin profile makes this phone a breeze to carry around and the battery life was more surprising than I thought it was going to be. You can get the DROID DNA from Verizon now for $199 on a two-year agreement. With HTC raising the bar for the DROID brand, it’s time to see what Motorola will contribute in 2013.