Droid DNA Review
HTC was kind enough to send me a DNA to test over this past weekend. I was coming most recently from the HTC Rezound and a Samsung Galaxy S3. Below are some of my thoughts/experiences with the device so far. It's only been a few days, but I'm in love with this device, and I won't be looking back at my S3.
Android™ 4.1 Jelly Bean with HTC Sense™ (also known as Sense 4+)
Qualcomm® APQ8064 Quad-core 1.5 GHz, MDM9615M
16 GB, 2 GB RAM
CDMA: 800/1900MHz; UMTS/HSPA: 850/900/1900/2100MHz; GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz; LTE 700 MHz (Band 13)
Camera with HTC ImageSense™:
8 MP main camera with auto focus, LED flash, BSI sensor, f/2.0 aperture, 28mm lens, 1080p HD video recording, 2.1 MP front-facing camera, Dedicated HTC ImageChip™
5-inch super LCD3, HD 1080p, Gorilla® Glass 2
Beats Audio™ built in
2020 mAh LI-ION (embedded)
141 x 70.5 x 9.73 mm
The display is absolutely stunning. At five inches, 1080p and 440 pixels per inch, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that even begins to come close to this. This massive resolution begs for more rows in the stock Sense launcher--icon spacing is a bit more than I’d like, and is reminiscent of iOS on the iPad. They could easily have fit another row of icons here, but this isn't a big deal, and I'm already used to it.
The Auto Brightness setting works absolutely flawlessly, adjusting to the level of ambient lighting before the display is even turned on. This is a stark contrast from my Galaxy S3, which is often too dim, and frequently changes it’s brightness long after I’ve turned the screen on and began using the device.
At 2020 mAh, the battery seems a bit lacking for a 5” 1080p monster like the DROID DNA. Initially I was worried about its performance, but I've found it to be pretty respectable. Currently I'm at 42% battery left with 1d1h13m on the clock, Screen On for 1h33m, and Voice Calls for 30m. I'm guessing this is going to clock in right around 3 hours or so of Screen On time (with automatic brightness).
The device feels exceptional. The material covering the back is slightly grippy, which adds a feeling of security when you hold the device in your hand. The Galaxy S3’s smooth finish is almost too slippery, and makes the device feel delicate and prone to dropping, though I am quite a fan of its curved shape. There isn’t a creak or groan to be found anywhere around the device, which is something I’ve become accustomed to with HTC devices in general.
The DROID DNA retains the three primary softkeys (that have become the standard since ICS) instead of on-screen buttons, though unlike the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Menu button is not included. That is somewhat annoying, as apps’ inclusion of the on-screen Menu button is inconsistent, and navigating to the phone’s setting menu requires a swipe of the top pulldown. But this is pretty nit-picky.
Upon opening the Navigation app, the GPS locks on instantaneously. This is a huge advantage over my Galaxy S3, which often takes literally minutes to acquire GPS signal and begin directing me on the road. Again, I'm used to good radios/GPS from HTC, my Rezound and Incredible were both flawless in this department as well.
In tough service areas (like basements or large buildings), the DNA outperformed my S3 every time. I held 3G signal in my gym (in a university basement) where the S3 dropped to 1x consistently.
The camera on this device is fantastic--if you're used to the HTC One X you'll know a lot of the features, but coming from the Rezound it feels like a massive improvement. It's still 8MP, but HTC's new sensors are amazing. The low-light photos are a huge improvement over my Rezound, and the S3 as well. You can take snapshots midway through recording video, and the continuous shooting mode works exceptionally well, offering a "best shot" option to automatically delete all the other pictures in the series if you only like one of them.
I've attached a few shots I've taken with the camera in low light settings. I'll come back and add more thoughts later, but this is just where I'm at initially with the device.