Great phone November 21, 2012
Reviewer: ChicagoCPA (Chicago) -
Summary: Other than the newly announced Samsung Galaxy S4 and LG Optimus G Pro, it is the best phone out there. It would be better with a bigger/replaceable battery and SD Card option and MHL 2.0, but for 50 bucks. What a deal.
Size: In short, it is NOT too big to put up to your face or to keep on your belt 100% of the time or to use one handed. It really does feel like a phone and not a phablet. Compared to my old Thunderbolt, the DNA is thinner, about the same width and about 1/2 inch longer. It weighs exactly the same as my Thunderbolt after you remove the battery and back cover.
Appearance: It is a very nice looking phone. No one who has held it has thought it was too big or too heavy or cheap or boring or whatever. It feels good in your hand.
Speed: There is remarkably little hesitation in responding to my requests. Apps downloaded and installed much faster than my HTC Thunderbolt. Emails with graphics load astonishingly fast. Four core is the way to go. I quickly get frustrated with the speed of my old phone now. The phone is not any slower, my expectations are now that much higher.
Phone quality: It has the best speaker and microphone for making phone calls of any phone I have owned yet. Better than using my $100 bluetooth headset (which was not true of my previous phone)
MHL: They do not mention MHL and I suspect part of the reason is that they use the old MHL 1.0 not the newer MHL 2.0, and as a result, a 1080 screen has issues.
Also, since it is the 5pin not 11pin configuration that Samsung is now using, you cannot use MHL and OTG at the same time.
This MHL adaptor works: [[ASIN:B000NWJJFC BoxWave HTC Rezound HDMI Adapter - MHL Adapter for the HTC Rezound, Stream Content From Your HTC Rezound Straight to Any HDMI Source Such as an HDTV!]] I put my review of it there. It works just fine without power, but with my 2amp charger, it WILL charge the DNA while streaming FHD HDMI out, tho if you leave it in overnight, it always locked up my phone. I was unable to get it to work with any HDMI->DVI adaptor I had, tho one of the HDMI->VGA adapter I tried sorta worked (it topped out at 720)
The MHL to VGA adaptor from Monoprice also works so that I can view the output on every monitor I have, however I cannot get a full 1080p display (even tho the adaptor says it supports 1920x1080 and HDCP). It too will charge the phone.
The 1080 display on the DNA begs to be used for streaming HD video to the big screen (hotel room, visiting family, bedroom, etc), but so far, I have only been able to get 1080p out of it on one TV set. On monitors I have only been able to get 720p which for me is more than frustrating... it takes away the single biggest reason I wanted a 1920x1080 screen on my phone.
Screen: Watching FHD video on this screen is captivating. It is stunningly clear. With a FHD display, it begs to be used as a computer. You can browse the web EXACTLY like you would at your desktop and still find the resulting tiny, tiny text quite readable. <Update: I am now at my mom's and I normally would try to get to her computer to use the internet and for the first time, I am quite happy just using my DNA. In fact I am now typing this on my bluetooth keyboard looking at my DNA screen. I am using this phone for a much higher percentage of my web browsing than I ever was before. When I used the built in screen to RemoteDesktop, I was very glad I did not go with a 720 display.>
WebBrowser: I have always preferred the HTC web browser due to its text reflow when pinch-zooming. However, they have added a new feature that I am liking a lot. Add To - Reading List, which saves that web page for later viewing (even if you do not have any connection) and the links still work (if you do have a connection). They have also added this Labs - Quick Controls which I am liking a lot. It remains full screen, and to reach your options, you slide your finger in from the edge of the screen.
Camera: I like the camera very much. It takes low light photos very quickly and with good quality. Much faster than the Thunderbolt... my wife will LOVE that when out and about with the kids. I am loving it for taking quick snapshots of something I am reading and want to be able to refer to later while on the train (with the Thunderbolt, this was very difficult to do). I am also liking the ability to rotate and crop my photos within the camera.
>4GB files: I had no problem uploading via the USB cable a 7GB WTV file to the internal memory and playing it with MX Player.
USB Host Mode OTG (OnTheGo): Using this adaptor [[ASIN:B005GGBYJ4 T & S Electronics Micro USB OTG Cable - Google Nexus 7, Xoom, Samsung Galaxy, Iconia A510, Toshiba Excite 305, & more. LIFETIME WARRANTY!]] you can do all sorts of stuff with that USB port. The one big downside is that there is no way to charge the phone when the USB port is in Host mode. This is a BIG disadvantage to going this route... but I did already have all the equipment to test this out, so I will leave it in the review. It does NOT provide enough power to properly run my 3.5" external USB drive, tho my USB Flash Memory Key works fine.
USB Keyboard: I was able to use a standard USB keyboard and even my small usb wireless keyboard with built in trackpad: [[ASIN:B005DKZTMG Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 with Built-In Multi-Touch Touchpad (920-003070)]]. I like this combination.
USB Speakers: Using the OTG adaptor, I was able to power my speakers via the speaker's USB power supply cord and (using a 1/8 plug M-M cord) get fabulous and loud sound: [[ASIN:B003VAK1I2 Logitech USB Laptop Speaker Z305]]. I do not need to lug a notebook computer around (or sacrifice it) to play movies for the kids (via NetFlix/Hulu/Amazon/WTV files from my HTPC/video files) or background music when away from home (via Pandora/mp3 files/etc).
USB Key / Flash Drive: I reformatted my Flash Drive to FAT32 (Neither NTFS nor exFAT natively work on this phone -- I tried) and had no problem playing any of the Win7 FHD WTV TV shows I had copied to it. HOWEVER, FAT32 is limited to files of less than 4GB. Fortunately I discovered Nexus Media Importer by HomeySoft. With it I was able to restore NTFS to my USB stick and with MX Player associated with Video files in Setup-AppAssociations, I had no problem playing my 9GB WTV files from within Nexus Media Importer.
USB Hub: I was also able to plug it into my USB 3.0 powered HUB and view both the keyboard and flash drive and power the speakers and power my 3.5" external USB hard drive all at the same time. It would not charge the Droid at the same time. Since the devices are drawing their power from the Hub and not the phone, it should help lessen the drain on the DNA's battery.
Wireless Charging: Any QI charging pad should work, but they seem a bit hard to come by just yet. Since it is smaller than the phone, I had my eye on this one [[ASIN:B00A3NCC5K Nokia DT-900 Wireless Charging Plate - Retail Packaging - Black]]), but I got impatient and picked up a Verizon branded one and it works great. It looks identical to and carries the same WCP-700 designation as this Amazon listing [[ASIN:B005DMBSVA LG WCP-700 Portable Power Mat Home and Office Charging Pad]]. It is larger than the DNA, but with my corporate discount it was only $42 and it was available today.
Beeping: THe WCP700 beeps when you place it on the pad in the correct orientation and it beeps repeatedly at some point after it is fully charged. Three times now I have been awakened by this beeping. See the comments for instructions on how I removed the speaker. The one big advantage of the beep when placed on the charger is that I now wake up every so often to find that I did not quite place it on the charger just right and a beep would have let me know this. If only it did not beep when fully charged.
Fastboot: Under the battery section, there is a checkbox for fastboot just like my Thunderbolt. It makes the PowerOff work like hybernation, so if I turn it off at night and back on the next morning and it boots up in about 7 seconds (12 if you count the 5 seconds you need to hold down the button)... if I need to clean out cobwebs, I need to choose re-start. However, I have found that it uses so little battery power when all the radios are off and the screen is off, that maybe this is no longer really needed.
Notification light: Easy to miss, there is a barely noticable round led light to the left of the camera lens. My case covered it up so I drilled a hole for it. I have never yet just left my phone lying on the table upside down in front of me, but it makes sense that to minimize distractions during a meeting that a phone on silent upside down with a small blinking led notification light would be helpful.
DLNA / wireless HDMI out: I finally received and tested the [[ASIN:B007SX190C HTC Media Link HD H200 (99H10801-00) for One X, One S, One V, Droid Incredible 4G LTE, EVO 4G LTE in Retail Packaging]]. My review of that is there, however in short, it worked well for video and apps. For FHD Remote Desktop use and games, you definately notice the 1 second delay. I returned it because MHL is working so much better (however, the H200 WILL work via HTML->DVI).
Sound Quality: I have watched a couple of movies now and listened to Pandora a bit and I have no complaints about the sound quality via headphones or external speakers and I am rather picky about that sort of thing, so that is a strong plus. From my point of view, no phone, no notebook computer, no tv set has adequate speakers, so I will not comment on this phone's speaker other than it is adequate for speakerphone use.
The new Recent Apps button: The OpenApp button in the lower right corner is nearly identical in usage as how the HP Touchpad works. Swipe sideways to see the running apps and swipe up to close them. Nice.
ScreenShot: Power+Home. Very nice.
<The 2/19/2013 update fixed whatever problem that kept Angry Birds Star Wars from playing.>
MicroSD slot: This is big negative for me. I thought that I'd be okay with USB Hub option, but since I have no way of keeping the phone's battery from draining using that method, a 64GB SD Card would be a GREAT option. That said, if you do not plan on putting hours and hours of music or FHD video on this device, 16GB should be plenty. I have researched/tested many wireless storage options and rejected them all but one: [[ASIN:B00AQRUW4Q Seagate Wireless Plus 1 TB Mobile Device Storage with Built-In Wi-Fi Streaming (STCK1000100)]]
12GB of available memory: Since it has no MicroSD slot and you cannot charge it while in USB Host mode, the 12GB memory limitation winds up being a problem if you want to upload any large video files (upload 1 file, view it, delete it, repeat). After all my apps have taken up their space, there is not enough room left over to upload any large video file.
No Drive Letter: I am about to refresh my backup of my phone and none of my normal tools for comparing the contents of two folders works because no traditional means of referring to folders understands what Computer\HTC6435LVW\Internal storage means. With previous phones with SD cards, I was able to do. This makes my normal routine of backup via Windows Explorer much more difficult.
Wireless Charging: The Qi charger does not work if you have a USB Host Mode OTG (or the MHL) cable plugged into it, which is a shame because that is the primary reason I purchased it.
Micro USB Cover: It may help in keeping out water and dirt, however it is one extra step every time I want to plug something in. 4 months later, I have gotten used to it and it is still there. It helped that I caved in and bought a wireless Qi charger. I have also recently seen a tear down of this phone and there is a rubber gasket going all the way around the outer edge. Between the gasket and the usb cover, it should be more water resistant than most phones.
Micro HDMI port: I am disappointed that there is no micro HDMI port to allow me to use the OTG cable at the same time as an HDMI cable. MHL has issues that a dedicated port may have not had.
FM Radio App: It did not come with the FM Radio app which has been preinstalled on every HTC phone I have every owned before now (this being my 4th or 5th). I use this app every morning as my wife's favorite radio station blocks all avenues I have tried to stream to my phone via the internet, except of course for it's own Android App, of which I am not fond. My old HTC Thunderbolt has become my full-time bed-side radio alarm clock.
Removable Battery: I am worried about the non-user-replaceable battery. I always had a spare for the Thunderbolt with me at all times and have used it many times. So far, after 4 months usage and lots of testing... I have never been below 20% battery life left. Soldering it in there enables them to use a smaller battery and case and therefore make the phone noticably smaller and thinner and lighter. I have a lot more MicroUSB chargers these days, so there should be a charger most every where i go, but I still expect that at some point, I am going to be left with a dead phone. But is that really the end of the world... no, not really.
Menu button: I know it is the new standard according to Google, however its absence means that the 3 dot menu bar pops up on every application that is not programming to deal with it (most annoying so: LogMeInIgnitionForAndroid).
Keyboard: There is an option to "swipe" your words. As a long fan of Swype I was intrigued, but after 1 day trial, I gave it the boot and install the Swype "beta".
NFC: Samsung really sells this with it touch-to-S-Beam videos, however you can do this with the any phone with Android 4.1+ which has NFC built it like the DNA. It all depends on how the app uses it, which is where Samsung has really run with it... HTC not as much, but there are 3rd party apps. I have not tried it yet.
Holster: I dropped by the Verizon store on day 1 and they had in stock a very slick belt holster (Verizon branded) for it that looks good, allows the wireless charging to still work, has a nifty option to display the phone at an angle to watch a movie or use a keyboard and view it like a monitor. [[ASIN:B00AA5CCHE OEM HTC DROID DNA Shell Combo w/Holster & Kickstand HTC6435]]. 6 months later I have yet to find a case/holster that provides good protection and ease of use.
Screen Protector: So far I am liking this one: [[ASIN:B00ADUG4ES IQ Shield LIQuidSkin - HTC Droid DNA Screen Protector Ultra Smooth Film + Lifetime Replacement Warranty]]
Bloatware: Verizon has forced upon us a suprising limited number of auto-start-up garbage apps (compared to the Thunderbolt 2 years ago).
HTC. My last 4 phones have been HTC. As annoying as some of my phones have been at times, they had their good qualities and no phone is perfect.
Unlimited Data Plan: I was worried about loosing my unlimited LTE plan, but in reality, I never used more than 4GB per month and the 4GB/mo plan with tethering ($50) is cheaper than my old unlimited plan with tethering ($30+$30). Yes, I paid for tethering.
Battery Life: So far, I have used it daily for over 5 months and I have yet to have a dead phone.
-With all the radios on and no effort to conserve battery power, using a bluetooth headset:
--Phone 1: 12 hours no travel 48% - 14 hours and 300 miles of driving 37% - 14 hours and 300 miles of driving 27% -
--Phone 2: 14 hours 66% - 19 hours 50%. - 16 hours 47%
-With MobileData Off unless needed and Bluetooth and Wifi on 100% of the time: 14 hours 73%, 21 hours 49%
-With Bluetooth and MobileData off and WiFi on: 16 hours 83%. 11 hours 78%.
-With Bluetooth and MobileData and WiFi all OFF and turning them on only as needed with less than 1 hour of screen time per day: 12 hours 94%, 36 hours 76%
-With Bluetooth ON 100% of the time and MobileData OFF and WiFi OFF - turning them on only as needed with less than 1 hour of screen time per day: 42 hours 75%, 52 hours 60% (worth noteing... I keep my bluetooth headset OFF until my phone rings as it connects quickly enough I do not need to waste battery power)
-With a lot of screen time and a terrible LTE signal in my office (when I accidentally leave it on all day), I find that after 12 hours, I am generally down to about 20% battery life left.
-In short, I keep my MobileData and WiFi off until needed in order to buy me more screen time. There is no need to burn battery time to hunt for a signal when I do not need a connection.
-I have started using the Tasker to automatically turn on the WiFi when I am within 1km of home and turn off the WiFi radio when I leave and to turn on the LTE radio when I turn on the Display and off again when I turn off the Display, so it is much like leaving both on 24/7 and yet I seldom have less than 70% battery life left at the end of the day with normal usage (1 or 2 brief phone calls, 15 min of web browsing, 30 min of Kindle reading on the train, a few texts, checking the time).
-I have seen it warn me to plug it in a few times, but I was always able to plug it in and use it plugged in.
-It is 6 months later now, still using Tasker to turn of LTE when the screen is off and on when I turn on the screen. I tend to find it at 40% when I put it on the charger 16 to 18 hours after I picked it up and the "most used" app in terms of battery power tends to be Kindle while on the train (i.e. screen time), so that is not so bad. I seldom get 70% anymore tho... I may need to do a factory reset to get back to that number. I say this because I often find it at 50% after 12 hours and the only usage is "Android System" at 75% of battery power. This makes no sense to me and the last time I found that to happen, a factory reset seemed to work (for a couple of months anyway).
Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse: I was able to pair it up and us each just fine, but the mouse was way too erratic, so it is tucked away in a drawer forever (the Logitech Tablet Mouse for Android 3.1+).
Speed: I am amazed how much faster Google maps locates my current location (super fast GPS lock) and how quickly it shows traffic conditions. My Thunderbolt took about 1 full second (vs instantly now) for the location and it frequently took FOREVER to display current traffic (vs instantly now). This alone will save me a LOT of frustration if this continues.
Reset: If the DNA becomes completely unresponsive and you cannot perform a restart, then simply hold down the power button for at least 10 seconds.
Wired Ethernet: I had hoped this might work, but it did not: [BobjGear USB to RJ45 Compact Fast Ethernet Adapter made for Android]
Thin-Client Remote Desktop: I have moved this into the comments. I doubt many people are trying to achieve what I am trying to achieve with a phone.
HTC Media Link HD H300?: I tried three times to order the H200 on HTC's website, but it was cancelled on me each time and they finally told me the reason... the computers say it is discontinued. Perhaps there is a H300 coming out soon? No one knew anything.
Google Play: I had no problem signing into my HTC Thunderbolt's existing Google Play account (putting 2 phones on the same account)
Exchange: I encountered no issues with connecting to my company's Exchange Server during the initial walk thru. I had previously been using Touchdown for Exchange, but I thought I'd give Google's email handler a try and so far, after 4 months now, I am still liking it, tho I did have to consolidate my calendars into one.
Crashing: My first phone would crash or reboot whenever I used a FHD app for more than 8 minutes. My 1st replacement phone did not have this problem, however I do occasionally have apps mysterious shutting down that seems to be related to lack of resources for certain FHD requests (FHD Angry Birds Star Wars?). I am guessing that this might go away if they increased the RAM. I thought my 2nd phone was rebooting on its own, but it turns out that the default sound for new google mail was the same sound as the reboot sound and since I so seldom get gmail, it took a long time for me to make that connection, but once I did, I just changed the sound for "Default notification".
Rooting: I researched rooting mostly to enable NTFS, however I came across a post by someone who notice that the phone keeps track that you rooted it, so even when he unrooted it, the notification was readily available to any Verizon rep who would decide to deny the warranty because it had been rooted. True or not, I decided against it, just in case.
It came with a 1 amp charger that looks just like the one that came with my Thunderbolt. I frequently charge it with the 2 amp charger that came with my HP Touchpad.
It is running Android 4.1.1 and HTC Sense 4. It has 2B of internal memory with not quite 12GB of alternate-pseudo-SDCard memory available for me to use.
Bluetooth displays as 4.0
I like Android 4.1.1 very much. I forsee me installing far fewer utility applications (folders, task killer, etc).
Contract Expiration Date: I have discovered that I am eligible for a new discounted phone on 07/21/14... 20 not 24 months. -- correction... after 6 months of showing a 7/21 date, I just noticed that they are now showing a 11/21/2014 date.
Both phones I received (1 directly from VerizonWireless 11/21/2012 and later in the store 11/26/2012) came pre-charged.
Update: Verizon did release an updated operating system last night, however it is still 4.1.1 and HTC Sense 4+. "This update includes improvements for WiFi connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity, and other things such as improved audio quality over wired headsets and earpieces." Also repaired: Angry Birds Star Wars now plays just fine.
If you have any specific questions, just leave me a comment.
<Note: I am planning on getting a Samsung S4, mostly so that I can use it in the SmartDock and be able to use MHL 2.0 and OTG and charging all at once at FHD on a 15.6" FHD monitor>
No better smartphone out there right now November 20, 2012
Reviewer: Trooper Thorn (Maine, USA) -
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's 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. The panorama feature works exceptionally well, and I wowed an iPhone carrying friend with its ease and quality.
Simply put, the DROID DNA's 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. Watching videos or looking at photos on your favorite photography site/app is an absolute treat.
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.
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.
EASE OF USE
The DROID DNA runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with HTC's Sense 4+ UI. What this means is it's EXCEPTIONALLY EASY to use. Everything is where it should be, and everything works the way you expect it to, which makes for an enjoyable experience.
The 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. This is pretty nit-picky, but it's my only gripe about the ease of using the device.
I struggled when trying to decide whether to select "Good" or "Excellent" under Battery Life in the Product Rating above. 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. I'm getting pretty close to what I had with my Galaxy S3, and for a quad core 5" 1080p monster like this, I think that's pretty excellent.
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 DROID DNA's signal is excellent, and it's call quality is as well. Callers sounded crisp and clear on my end of the phone, and they reported good quality sound on their end as well.
Overall, this device is simply magnificent. I was shocked when I first held it, and even more shocked when I slid it easily into my pocket. It felt fantastic, far better than my Rezound, and about the same as my Galaxy S3. If you buy any device in the next six months, it ought to be the HTC DROID DNA.
Response to Pro Reviews November 22, 2012
Reviewer: Jason Wendling (San Francisco Bay Area, CA) -
Rather than covering things that professionals can cover better, I'm going to treat this review as a user supplemental to the likes of Slashgear, Engadget, Gizmodo, etc.
Battery - let's get this one out of the way. The battery is fine. My previous device was a Galaxy Nexus on Verizon 4G LTE with the 2100mah battery. The DNA easily matches - if not beats - it. I don't foresee any problems getting through my average day with the built-in battery. The sleekness and solidity more than make up for the fear of not being able to swap the battery. I use the wireless charging and may buy a second for the office - just in case.
Physical - The flap over the micro-USB is a must for me. With wireless charging it makes no sense to leave a port exposed. Good job, HTC. The power button at the top is probably the worst part of the phone. It is a real stretch to get to it. I have regular hands and find one-handing it to be easy. However, the center of gravity is a little higher up in the phone than I would have guessed. Be careful to learn the grips before juggling it out of your pocket in a rush to answer a call.
Sense - Going from a Google-Nexus to a carrier edition is actually okay. Sense looks nice and performs great. HTC has a track-record of being speedy with updates. Also, Google have done a brilliant thing by updating individual apps via the Play store. I'm happy with the trade-off. Not a big deal. The bloatware is tolerable. Again, Google have made a great decision in ICS+, allowing users to disable annoying apps.
Storage - 16Gb isn't a compromise in the cloud era. With WiFi everywhere and 4G everywhere else, more content is easy to get. True, I cannot hold the entire LOTR movie trilogy in HD on my phone at once - but, I think that's okay for 99.9% of users.
Screen - Simply amazing. The reviewers who say that it is not a big upgrade are selling the phone short. Both the resolution and the technology are great. However, for those who are very picky - like I am - there are a few notes. As with all LCD, there are a few spots where the backlight is visible at extreme angles. And, I had the dreaded dead pixel. Verizon was happy enough to swap it out - twice. 2/3 phone with a dead pixel isn't great...
Audio - I'm an adult man who does not play hip-hop or pop Katie Perry or whatever. I play what may would call oldies. And, with Beats, it sounds really great. Both the speakerphone and the earbuds (using urBeats), are loud and clear. I highly approve. I mostly listen to Audible books and they sound really good on this setup.
Overall - I am really happy with my purchase and think it is a huge upgrade over the Galaxy Nexus. Were I able to get the Nexus 4 on Verizon, I'd have to think twice, though. And, those wondering about the Note II. Just Don't II. I tried it and it is just too big and the pen is just too much of a gimmick.
A Masterpiece January 16, 2013
Reviewer: Patrick Smith
Got this phone for Christmas and boy am I impressed! My father is a career Verizon Wireless employee and works at the national head quarters in Basking Ridge, NJ. I have always been introduced to the latest and greatest in phone technology and I test them all thoroughly. I am unbiased in that I review all phones and choose simply the best. I own apple products and android products. Both have exceptional software (especially for smart phones) and user interfaces.
Here are some things I was looking for when shopping for a new phone:
1. It needed to be FUTURE PROOF! I can not stress this enough. Meaning, most people are stuck with their new phones for two years. This means that it is imperative to get the best technology so that in two years, your phone is still churning and keeping up with the best. The Droid DNA has set the benchmark with this. It is the first phone to produce true 1080p screen quality. For those of you that are considering the iPhone 5 because of its "Retina Display", it only churns out about 720p (a little less, in fact). "Retina" is just a made up tech-term by apple (one of the things that is starting to turn me off about apple, but we'll get to more of that later). This is a big deal for me because I take a lot of photos and videos with my phone. It is nice to be able to look at my photos with this gorgeous display. It blows all competition out of the water in this respect. I won't bore you with more technical specs, because you can easily look those up on the internet. I have the DNA and my brother has the iPhone 5, side-by-side, the DNA's screen is a sight to behold. Also, this is by far the fastest phone on the market. Download speeds are incredible and it wont slow you down for a minute.
2. It needed to look good. Yes, this matters. Nowadays, people look at each others phones and pass prejudgements based on their phone. If someone sees me using this baby, they immediately think, "Damn, where can I get me one of those." I am not just saying this to be funny. Just yesterday, I got a haircut and my barber saw my phone and asked me all about it. Wanted to know what it was, how i liked it, was it too big for my pocket, where to get one. Needless to say, he was enamored with the physical appearance of this phone. The slim design and red accents on the side make the DNA a very attractive device, one of the coolest looking phones I've ever seen. This phone is not just for tech-savvy nerds. Women will easily appreciate the sleek look of this phone, it's truly beautiful; not to mention the intuitive interface and easily customizable home screens- Which brings me to my next point.
3. Usability. Phones these days are getting very complicated and tough to get going out of the box. This phone fixed that problem by making it easy to use out of the box and customizable to your liking. For example, on my home screen I have my google calendar with all my appointments (synchs up with my computer so I dont have to set the same appointment twice for all my devices), my Google Now bar which tells me things like how long it will take to get to work with the given traffic, (it even tells me what the subways are like because I live and work in NYC) what the score of the Yankees game was, etc. I also have the weather, which automatically updates, no opening of apps required, its just there. I think you get the picture now. I just open my home screen once in the morning before pouring my coffee, and I already have started my workday. Its a productivity monster.
4. It needs to last me at least the entire day without any mid-day charges. Some people knock on the battery of this phone. For lack of a better term, they are idiots. The battery on this phone easily gets me through the day with moderate-to-heavy usage no problem. Just to give you an idea: I am always connected to Wifi if available. This is 90% of the time. My home and office. I start the day with about a 95% battery charge around 6:00am, turn off Wifi to commute to the office, and turn it back on for the day until about 6:00pm. At this time I will either go home to recharge (myself, not the phone) or meet friends/co-workers for drinks. When I go out after work, I will get home anywhere between 9:00pm to midnight during the work week. At this point, I have about a 40-45% charge. Needless to say, do not worry about the battery. Its more than enough to not have to worry about. I use the phone to check sports scores, my emails from two different accounts, twitter, texting, the occasional video clips from youtube or wall street journal, briefly look over presentations for work, you get the idea. However, I am not a huge phone-gamer, so I can not speak for that. I am sure it would hold up very well, though.
5. I love the big screens. Personally, I like a lot of real estate with a phone. It allows me to view webpages more easily without the crammed three-words-per-line type of reading experience. This is a major plus with the DNA because it has the 5inch screen (and no, it is not a phablet, it is a PHONE), but it is also very slender and light. It fits into every pocket I have with great ease. It doesn't need a case because of its solid construction, however, if you want a screen protector, more power to you, just not for me. This whole one-handed usage is such nonsense to me. I use this phone with both one or two hands, depends on the situation. The point is that its all easy and comfortable to use. For example, I was on the treadmill the other day and had to send a long and detailed work email out. I composed, proofread and sent the whole thing out while on the treadmill. I used one hand the entire time and I'm still alive. Figure that, Jeff Daniels.
There are obviously a lot of pros, but I will give you my few cons to round out this review:
1. Yes, the unlock button on the top is annoying, however, its only annoying for the first week or so. After that, like anything in life, your muscle memory comes into play and you don't even notice, it's just unlocked. The volume rocker is a different beast though. It blends so nicely into the red grill on the side so its harder to identify. Also, sometimes when i want to raise the volume, i am instead decreasing it. It's annoying at times, but oh well, it's the stupid volume button.
2. Some point out that the charging port, which has a little door, is a con. I think it is neither. You deal with it twice a day, once to open it and once to close it. it is just simply there. I think it actually adds to the aesthetic, in addition to, protecting the port from dust and other things.
3. Only 16gb of internal memory. While it is not very much, just use the cloud. Backup Assistant Plus can store all your photos for no extra charge, thus saving all that space for whatever the hell else you want on your phone.
Anyways, that's about it. Can not think of anything else at the moment. Bottom line: Get this sucker, you will not regret it. You'll find yourself just using it to use it, its fun to have cool technology.
Love this phone November 25, 2012
Reviewer: Sierra "Sierra" (New York, NY, USA) -
The droid that made me want to get back from the "dark side" (owned 3 iPhones before). Was hoping that iPhone 5 would inspire me, but alas, the screen was too small, the phone felt the same as the ones I had before, in general, I was bored with iPhone and iOS. HTC Droid DNA worked best for me. Obviously it has amazing screen, great camera, and sound system. Love customizing the phone - changing launchers, themes etc. Storage was not an issue for me, as the cloud takes care of it more and more, and 16Gb is more than enough for my music/videos because I like to rotate it often.
My main concerns were phone size (too big), battery (non removable), and learning a phone system other than iOS that I used before. After half a week of using this phone I'm happy to report none of them are relevant. The phone is very comfortable to hold, most of the time I can use it with one hand - and I do have much smaller hands than, say, my husband. The battery life is comparable to my iPhone, and as for Android OS, there was no learning curve, it's very intuitive and surprisingly user friendly. No glitches, random restarts - things that supposedly plague Android OS, - extremely stable, fast system.
Apps variety - after downloading all kinds of apps on my iPhones throughout the years, I came to realize that I'm actually using a handful of them on a daily basis, and all of them (and more) were available for my HTC Droid DNA.
The switch was much easier than I thought, I am very happy with this phone, can't name anything that I dislike about it. Apple still makes a great phone, but if you are bored with it, definitely consider HTC Droid DNA.
*** Update from husband and an Android user ***
HTC DNA is the best overall Android phone out right now in my opinion, certainly on Verizon. Samsung Galaxy S3 comes the closest in terms of competition, but has issues with reception (based on users' consensus) on VZW which results in sub-par battery life. The screen on S3 is also not as good as the screen on the DNA. HTC DNA, however, has very strong reception (able to keep 4G and connection in general even in weak signal areas) and remarkable battery life despite industry-leading specs. And it puts those specs to good use too: the phone is a pleasure to use. It's dependable, smooth, fast and very stable. The camera is excellent as well.
Quick note: it is important, in my opinion, to promptly disable all the bloat, especially apps produced by Verizon. Those Verizon apps tend to run automatically, are typically poorly written, almost always useless, and tend to cause problems, such as unnecessary battery drain.
Although overall HTC DNA is, in my opinion, the best phone out now, it does not best the competition in each and every area. Here are a few areas that, if important to you, may lead you to pick a different device (in the order of importance):
1. Storage space. The DNA only comes with 16gb of storage (11gb usable). This is low by Android standards. My old HTC Thunderbolt, for example, had over 40gb. This meant I could not move all my music to the DNA when I upgraded. This issue is not easy to remedy. You may have to either stream your media or get external storage. Streaming uses your data plan, battery, and is not always available. External storage (connected through WiFi) is somewhat cumbersome to use right now and requires carrying an additional device. Many competing phones offer more storage, notably Galaxy S3.
2. Battery life. The battery life is very good. It is the same or better than the major competitors, such as the iPhone and Galaxy S3. However, there are phones out there (Razr Maxx and Samsung Note 2) with huge batteries that can last much longer on one charge. If you require a huge battery on a daily basis, the DNA may not be for you. You can, however, get an external battery with the DNA if you need large battery capacity only occasionally. Unlike external storage, external batteries are actually cheap, convenient, and easy to use.
3. Screen. The screen on the DNA is extremely sharp and currently offers the highest resolution of all mobile phones (at least as far as I know.) This high resolution, however, breaks some games, including the popular Angry Birds Star Wars. Most games work fine, however. Developers may update their games to work with this high resolution, but some will never get updated, and others will take time. If playing certain games is important to you, you may have to pick a different phone.
Amazing December 11, 2012
Have had the Droid DNA since launch day, and this phone is the absolute best.
The battery exceeds my expectations, getting through a full day is no problem for me using web, email, text, google talk, streaming music via BT, checking weather, reading Kindle, you name it. Average 12 hours or so battery for me with 20% or so remaining at the time I plug it in at night.
This phone takes full advantage of the Verizon network unlike the Verizon Samsung GNEX and S3 I just got rid of. Samsung has very poor RF performance compared to this HTC. I now have rock solid LTE where the Sammy's would constantly be searching for a signal, and often requiring a reboot to reconnect.
The Verizon bloatware - Disable it. go to settings, apps, click the app and press DISABLE. Bam, gone!
Google now - a huge battery drain, disable it. If you need traffic or calendar reminders open the appropriate app. Google now is constantly reading calendar, gps, using data, who knows what else. Disable it and enjoy a 25% or so battery boost.
The screen! The screen is gorgeous and very fluid. The only app I have found a problem using the screen is the built in web browser. There is some minor vertical tearing, where one half of the screen will update faster than the other when scrolling. No biggie as video and flash works great. Fun fact - this screen is about the size of an iPhone 4, the whole phone!
I love this phone, get it. Rip off the stupid rubber charging port cover, and get the Diztronic case as it fits perfect and matches the phone color and texture perfectly.
Great Phone With Stunning Display December 7, 2012
Reviewer: Steven Wood
HTC is one of the leaders when it comes to fit and finish and the DROID DNA is no exception. The One X was already one of the most superior phones in terms of quality, but somehow they were able to step it up. It has a similar polycarbonate back, but it sports more of a soft rubbery touch. The one downside is that it's a fingerprint and smudge magnet. It's almost impossible to keep it smudge free, but hey, who plans on staring at the back of their phone all day? The rubberized feel is non slippery and gives you a fantastic grip.
It's not the thinnest phone in the world because at the highest point it's 9.73mm, but it still feels pretty thin because of the rounded back. The edges are only 4mm thick, but it expands to the center where it hits 9.73mm. It kind of feels like a Hershey's candy bar. That's not a bad thing because when you hold the phone, you place your fingers at the sides which is the thinnest part, while the thickest part rests in your palm and fits perfectly. I know it's a cliche, but it really does feel great in the hand considering it has a whopping 5-inch display. The Samsung Galaxy Note II sports a 5.5-inch display, but is so much bigger when comparing the two. When comparing it to the One X, it's about the same width, but it"s a little taller. My hands are on the smaller side and I had no issues with the size whatsoever. I'm starting to wonder if 5-inches is the new sweet spot.
What really makes the DROID DNA a thing of beauty is the Lamborghini-inspired aluminum red grill that you will find along the right and left sides. Most manufacturers would have gone with the color silver, but HTC has used red a lot in the past, and it makes the perfect accent on a black phone. You will also find a similar red accent around the 8MP rear camera lens. Overall, the DROID DNA has an EVO type of look, but more polished.
As with most HTC phones, you will find the power button at the top, but this time it sits in the middle. To the left of it is the microphone jack and the SIM slot is to it's right. Along the right side towards the top you will find the volume rocker that sports the same red color as the aluminum red grill. The microUSB port is usually found on the left side on HTC phones, but they finally decided to move it to the bottom, which is the better place. Unfortunately they put a cover on it, which is a little annoying. It's kind of a pain to put back in place, but I guess if you're going to include it, you might as well make it a tight fit. They decided to include the cover because the phone is splash resistant.
Another nice addition is the notification light on the back to the left of the camera lens. It serves two purposes. It lights up for your notifications, but is also lights up when taking a picture.
You won't find a microSD slot for expanding storage, which is a downer for some folks. You get 16GB of storage, which is more than enough for the average user. The other negative is that it's a unibody design, so you won't be able to remove the battery. This could be a deal breaker for some, but more on that later.
In terms of fit and finish, you won't find a better phone than the DROID DNA. The only other phones that are in the same ballpark is the DROID RAZR HD / RAZR MAXX HD and the iPhone 5.
If you're going to make a high quality phone, you need to back it up with hardware, and HTC did just that. It packs a 5-inch (1920 x 1080) Super LCD 3 display at 440ppi, a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, 2GB of RAM, an 8MP rear camera with ImageSense, 2.1MP front facing camera with an 88 degree wide angle lens, 16GB of internal storage, 2020mAh battery, NFC, 4G LTE with worldwide GSM capability, and Beats Audio.
I already had a chance to try out the Snapdragon S4 Pro on the LG Optimus G so I already had a good idea what to expect. I am happy to report that Sense 4+ doesn't in any way degrade the performance of the quad-core. Coupled with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, it's blazing fast. It seriously shreds anything you want to throw at it. I know many of you are benchmark fans so I did the obligatory AnTuTu which came in at 14,544. That's considerably higher than the Optimus G's 11.213. Seriously, I'm not sure who can tell the difference, but if you crave power, the DROID DNA will satisfy everything you desire.
HTC already had the finest display ever with the One X so what could they possibly do for an encore? The One X sported a Super LCD 2 display at 720p, and the DROID DNA is now a Super LCD 3 at 1080p. It sports 440ppi which is higher than your TV. Some may say it's overkill for a phone, but that's nonsense. It truly is breathtaking as the colors are vibrant, blacks are deep, and everything just pops out at you. As you would expect, the viewing angles are amazing and it performs very well in sunlight. Now if you're familiar with the One X, you will probably find this display to be only marginally better, but it's still an improvement. So to recap: HTC now has the two best displays ever on a smartphone. Not bad at all.
As with all the latest HTC phones, the audio is enhanced with Beats. On top of that, HTC included two amplifiers in the phone. The microphone jack gets its own dedicated 2.55 volt amplifier and the other pushes the rear speaker. This helps minimize distortion at higher volumes. I think HTC is a little underrated when it comes to sound quality. The Beats partnership has always been considered a "marketing" gimmick, but I would rather have it on my phone than not.
No matter how amazing a phone is, there always seems to be something holding it from being perfect, and the battery just might be the DNA's Achilles heel. I knew going into this review that it was the key, so I spent a considerable amount of time analyzing it. A 1080p screen is going to take its toll on any battery, and a 2020mAh battery is average based on today's standards. HTC reps seemed confident that the Snapdragon S4 Pro is efficient enough to make it work. Unfortunately it's not the case, but it's not complete doom and gloom. It's not like it's as bad as the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, but there are a number of phones that are better. My main test is to run continuous video while connected to 4G LTE, while the display is set at 2/3 brightness, GPS on, WiFi on (not connected), and Bluetooth on (not connected). It yielded 6 hours and 11 minutes. In comparing it to some of the latest phones that I did the same test on, it didn't fare too well:
Motorola ATRIX HD - 4 hours 45 min (this was really bad)
Sony Xperia Ion - 6 hours
DROID DNA - 6 hours 11 minutes
AT&T HTC One X - 7 hours
Sprint LG Optimus G - 7 hours 30 min
DROID Incredible 4G LTE - 7 hours 45 min
DROID RAZR M - 8 hours
AT&T LG Optimus G - 8 hours
Samsung Galaxy Note II - 9 hours 30 min
DROID RAZR HD - About 10 hours
DROID RAZR MAXX HD - 13 hours 30 min
So what does this mean in terms of daily use? With moderate use, you should get about double the times you get in the rundown tests and sometimes more than that with the better performing phones. I was able to get 13 hours while connected to 4G LTE full time, which isn't great, but after living with the Verizon Galaxy Nexus for the past year, it's an improvement. I also tried it while connected to WiFi 90% of the time, and I was able to get a little over 14 hours with about 15% to spare. I then let it sit idle without turning on the display for about 6 hours and it had 4% left. So yes, it made it to 20 hours, which isn't bad, but 6 hours of it was idle time.
Now obviously the display is the biggest culprit here, and all of my tests are done at 2/3 brightness. Some may consider that high, but I like to run tests that are at a level that people would like to see their phone set at with the option of scaling it back. I'm going to see how things go with the display at around 40% brightness and update my results.
Update 1: I'm now getting about 17 hours of life while connected to 4G LTE full time with the display at about 50%. This is with moderate usage and is an improvement over what I got during the review process. It's always been assumed that batteries get better after a few charges, and I have never found this to be the case with most phones. With this particular phone, it really has made a difference. It might have something to do with the Snapdragon S4 Pro, but either way, it's nice to see an improvement.
The bottom line is that the battery is certainly not the main selling point of the DROID DNA, but depending on your situation, it's not too bad if you are able to charge it regularly. For example, I always have a charger in my car and the plus side is this phone is compatible with Qi wireless chargers. There will be an accessory available, but it's also compatible with other 3rd party pads. While in the office, you can conveniently give it a little extra juice. Unfortunately, if you're a hardcore traveler, this phone might not be for you since you won't be able to swap batteries. If there is one thing I am disappointed in with the DNA, it's the battery, but based on my lifestyle, it's not a deal breaker for me.
The DROID DNA features the latest version of Sense, which is 4+ on top of Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean. It's not the latest version of Android, but it should satisfy most people. Sense 4+ hasn't changed all that much from what we saw on the One X and One S, but there are some differences. Navigating between home screens now has the circular carousel that was found in Sense 3, but thankfully it doesn't have the 100 mph spinning animation. The biggest improvement is the keyboard. I hated the Sense keyboard, and now it's more like the keyboards you see on other Android phones. The big change is the numbers/symbol key is to the bottom left instead of the bottom right, which makes a big difference. Other changes are more subtle like more refined fonts and icons, along with some changes to the camera app. Of course you will also get the newer stock Android features like Google Now, expanded notifications, and easier widget placement on home screens. Sense isn't something I desire on a phone, but it's livable when you consider what this phone offers.
As far as running certain apps, such as games, you could run into a problem with the display and compatibility. Brad Molen from Engadget found issues with Need For Speed: Most Wanted and Angry Birds. This is probably due to the display ratio and some games not supporting it. It's probably a temporary issue since more and more phones will be released with similar displays in the near future. As with many of the newer phones, it's expected that a few apps might need to be updated.
As far as bloatware goes, you will find your usual suspects, but they also included a new Amazon app suite. It's similar to the Nexus 7 media widget that shows your recent purchases of books, magazines, and videos. If you are hooked into Amazon, you might appreciate it, otherwise it's just one more annoying carrier add on.
In my opinion, the One X has the best camera in a smartphone, so I was expecting the same with the DNA. It has the same F/2.0 aperture lens along with ImageSense. I found the pictures to be as good, but no better than the One X. There is at least one improvement with the DNA that I don't believe the One X has, and that's the flash. There are now five levels of brightness for the flash depending on the surroundings. You will also find some differences in the app itself. Some of the menus look a little different, but nothing too drastic. You can change settings for ISO, white balance, shutter, etc., but you can't save them.
I consider myself lucky that I get to review a lot of different phones, but on the flip side, it can be a little boring since there are so many. Only a few phones really excite me, and I have to say that HTC really excelled this year. Looking back at 2012, I would say I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing the One X and the DROID DNA over any other phone. With that said, is the DROID DNA the ultimate DROID? HTC delivers in just about every category: build quality, display, power, and the camera. Notice how I said "just about"? For me, the battery is the only issue. If it could have had either the DROID RAZR HD or DROID RAZR HD MAXX battery, it would truly be complete, but nowadays it seems as though there is always going to be something missing. For some of you, the lack of a microSD slot is enough to not call this the ultimate DROID, but 16GB is plenty for the average person. Since I am just about 100% in the cloud, it's plenty for me. As I mentioned earlier, the battery isn't a deal breaker for me based on my lifestyle, but because of it, I can't call it the ultimate DROID or even the ultimate smartphone for that matter. What I can say about the DROID DNA is the same as what I said about the One X when I reviewed it: "This is the best Android phone hands down." So it's not the ultimate, but it's oh so close, and I will highly recommend it to anyone that tells me they have $200 to spend on their next smartphone.
Great Phone, Major Drawbacks January 26, 2013
To begin with, the HTC Droid DNA is a great phone. It has some of the top specs out of any smartphone available right now. Quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 1080p screen with 440ppi(pixels per inch), 8MP camera, you name it. It is also one good looking phone with it's rubberized texture, red stripes, and that 5-inch screen which isn't too big but isn't too small.
So you may be asking what's wrong with the phone? There are a couple of major drawbacks. First is the non expandable storage: yes it's been stated many times before in previous reviews but this one really got to me. With only 16GB of internal storage, leaving barely under 12GB of usage with all the bloatware installed by Verizon. I thought it wouldn't be a problem, but after importing some of my music library onto the phone, along with pictures and videos that I would take day to day, it would leave me with no memory at all. Yes, I understand that technology is "advancing" to cloud storage, where you can store pictures and videos, but people like me like to have the option of an expandable MicroSD storage slot. It's one of the many things that set Android apart from its competitors!
Second is the battery life/non-removable battery. Having a Droid should mean having the option of a removable battery. If the battery isn't that huge and rates 2,020 mAh, the smart thing to do is to have the option of a removable battery. For some people, the battery would last them all day, but mine hardly lasted for half a day. I use my phone heavily: always playing games, streaming videos, using GPS, using third party apps such as Facebook and Instagram, browsing the internet, etc. and this would leave me with almost no battery by the time 5pm rolls around. Sometimes I would just leave my phone in my pocket and take it out a couple of hours later to find that the battery has drained about 20%. I don't wear tight jeans so there had to be a problem there somewhere, that or the standby battery life is horrible. I always say, what's the point of having a glamorous phone with top specs if you can't use it because it died? Over the two year life of the phone (assuming one would keep the phone for the 2 year contract), the battery will gradually lose life.
Third and lastly, although this complaint isn't as major as the other two, is the button designs. Why would HTC put the power button on top of a 5 inch screen phone? And to add to that, why would they make it so flush into the phone where you can barely feel it unless you have a case on? If someone were to go case-less through the duration of the two years of having the phone, I would imagine the button becoming harder and harder to press or even stuck into the phone.
Although this was a highly anticipated phone for Verizon, I am overall disappointed with the design flaws.
Do NOT Worry November 22, 2012
This phone is great. The screen is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. The size is perfect. It is a phone....not a phablet. The processor is out of this world. Incredibly snapping all around. The battery life is better than anyone could ask for. The combination of batter and processor do enough to get you through more than the day with normal use. The only negative is the storage. After the preloaded crap you have about 11 gb. This is plenty for standard apps and daily use. You can still fit photos/music on it but without being able to extend it you will need to monitor your use. Outside of that you will not find a more powerful and beautiful device.
I will happily tote this around until my next upgrade.(Was a bit sad losing unlimited data....but didn't really need it anyway.)
Simply Amazing December 19, 2012
Reviewer: Anwhar Allakhi
There is no getting around it. This phone is nothing short of incredible. It manages to pack one of the highest resolution screens on the market into a small, lightweight form factor, and the processing and graphics are unparalleled, even among quad core phones. Also, it boots instantaneously, sounds incredibly, and has surprisingly little bloatware.
-Screen - Bright, gorgeous, 1080p, 440ppi, great contrast ratios. Absolutely the best on the market right now. I cannot distinguish individual pixels, even with my eye half an inch from the screen. On an amazing smartphone, this is still the most amazing part.
-Processor - The Snapdragon S4 pro is the fastest processor on the market right now, and HTC somehow manages to beat out the performance of several other phones that have it. The benchmarks are only beaten by the actual experience.
-Graphics - Absolutely fantastic. This Adreno is a powerful little GPU.
-Sound - Make no mistake: This phone can get louder than my laptop. It is on par with a pair of $20 speakers, and the Beats Audio is great. Everything sounds wonderful.
-Size - I expected this to seem large, but HTC's edge-to-edge screen means that it is actually about the same size as the Galaxy S3, which has a 4.8 inch screen. It is also very thin. I was pleasantly surprised.
-Weight - I also, expected it to be heavy. It was lighter than I expected, once again on par with the Galaxy S3.
-Battery Life - I expected about ten hours, which made it all the more amazing when my first charge got me almost three days. I am by no means a heavy user, but even with GPS running, and other apps running throughout the day, I was only decreasing by 25% across an entire day.
-Bloatware - Honestly, surprisingly little. A few apps from Verizon, and most of the others were useful stuff like Google Maps. It took me two or three minutes to disable everything that I didn't like, even though this is my first real smartphone (other than an LG a few years back).
-Camera - The sensor is even better than HTC's recent stretch of very good sensors. Also, the front camera is full 1080p, so video chats can be even more fantastic.
-Feel - I have small-to medium sized hands, and this phone fits fine in them. I am right handed, and using one hand, I generally can reach almost all the way to the upper left corner, which is what I usually get from a 4.5 to 4.7 inch phone. I was also impressed with the feel of the phone. The rubber adds decent traction, but the phone remains unblemished, and in fact, it almost adds flare to the sides. I found the phone so comfortable, that even after spending money on a case, I never use it. Also, due to the screen size, typing is very nice and easy.
-Network - Verizon: The best Network for the best phone. Very fast.
-Operating System - Android 4.1 is great. I'm not sure when they will upgrade to 4.2, but it is a small jump anyway, so I don't know that I care.
-I have not found one yet, so let's make up a few:
-No teleportation (found this out the hard way).
-Can't beam you into your own video games, so those of you trying to recreate Tron might be disappointed.
-If machines ever gain sentience, your phone will likely be smarter and better looking than the rest. The machines, in an attempt to recover it quickly, might target you first for extermination.
All in all, this smartphone is an amazing device, and assuming you meet the following criteria:
-Medium sized hands or larger
you would be making a horrible mistake to purchase any other phone.
HTC Droid DNA November 28, 2012
I got this phone on the 24 because i was eligable for my upgrade. This phone is amazing. Good features, easy to use and just overall good.
Although i would like to have a removeable battery and an extra slot for memory cause it only gives you like 11gb. other than that it's awesome.
This is a warning. Only use the HTC charger it came with. Do not use a different charger. I was charging the DNA with my friends charger because i was at his house and he has the razr MAXX and
I didn't force it in it went in smoothly and in about 10min my phone became super hot and shut off. It wouldnt turn back on so iwent to my house and tried charging it on my htc charger that came with it. Nothing. I took it to the nearest verizon store and he told me i fried it. I had no idea that using a different charger could do that to a phone. Verizon is going to replace it so that's good but they were all out in all of the stores around me haha so there gonna send it in the mail.
Awesome phone, just dont charge with a differen't charger.
(Debatably) The Best Phone on the Market December 13, 2012
I have no preference when it comes to electronics. Sure I have a Mac computer, an iPhone, and iPad, but I am not biased. At least not when it comes to this phone. The iPhone is a good phone, don't get me wrong, but this thing is just a beast. It's the fastest phone that I have ever owned in my entire life. The display is an amazing full 1080 by 1920 resolution with a five inch screen. That means that it has the best display on the market. The iPhone has an impressive display with 336 ppi (pixels per inch), but this phone has 440 ppi! That's amazing! I am a real sucker for high-resolution displays (that's why I have a MacBook Pro with retina display), and this thing delivers. There are some things that I would like to see on it however, like an external memory slot, as well as a removable back so I can switch out the batteries when I need to. I might add, however, that the camera is one of the best that I have ever seen and used. There are some things that could be improved, but overall, this phone is well worth the money. In fact, I would buy this phone for everyone if I could! It's a joy to own, and if you want a good quality phone, this is the one for you!
No SIM error--hundreds affected February 16, 2013
Reviewer: John S. Ruzicka "John R" (San Francisco, CA) -
Before you buy this phone, do a google search on "Droid DNA No Sim" and you will find hundreds of forum posts from people like me who bought this phone only to have to reboot it three times a day or more because it gets a "No Sim Card Found" error. Reseating the SIM doesn't fix it, only rebooting.
No matter how good the phone is, if I'm going to have to get dozens of voicemails a day because people can't reach me due to a "No SIM found" error, the phone is useless.
Best phone on the market. November 26, 2012
Reviewer: Rusty Shakelford "Auld Books" (Michigan) -
I tested this phone against the iPhone 5, and Samsung GS3. I walked in to the Verizon store to upgrade my phone, with my mind made up about the iPhone 5. Before setting foot in the store, I'd never heard of the DNA. After an hour of testing a few phones, this was hands down the best phone I tested.
The screen is awesome, it covers the phone from corner to corner, taking full advantage of the size. Browsing the web using 4G is lightning fast, really responsive with very little lag. I've had the phone a week now, and really enjoy using it.
Best Smart Phone I've Seen April 11, 2013
Reviewer: Top Notch "HRose" (Surprise,Az) -
I waited 2 weeks to write this as I didn't want the first few days to determine what I wrote. Like a loving relationship, everything is good for the first few days.. it is after you get to know each other you can crash and burn. I can say with all my heart the DNA and I are a pair that will last (2 years that is).
My droid is a powerful, fast, and a delightful phone to behold. I put it up next to my husbands HTC One X and she is far crisper, larger (shes a bit on the tall side), and faster. He is on ATT in the Phoenix Az area and I am on Verizon. That may be the difference in speed as I know the One X is a very fast phone. I am a very computer savvy person and this phone was a BREEZE to figure out. That being said.. coming from iphone you will have to adjust how things work as iphone is made for those who.. well.. don't want to take the time to understand what their phones can REALLY do! iphone is an app machine and while droid gives you the same options there is so much more you can do with it and explore.
I don't have any complaints. I haven't seen the dreaded SIM ERROR message yet (crosses fingers) nor do I have a problem with either turning it on and then swiping it into active. I've seen men complain about this as you have to shimmy your hand down a tick to reach it.. I have small girly hands and I do just fine turning on my phone. Also the charging port at the bottom others seem to hate it is fine, its a snap in place and as long as you get use to it, it is the LEAST of things to worry about.
The Android market is huge now, my friends iphones sucks next to my phone, and I couldn't be happier. Get this phone, you will not regret it.. if you do then get the One X..
Beware February 13, 2013
Phone became inoperable after only 3 days. After hours of setting it up just how I wanted, verizons first course of action was to do a factory reset. Problem re-occured again in 3 days. Verizon replaced the phone with a new unit, same problem again in 3 days. Called Verizion, they could only suggest a factory reset. Called HTC and they said it was a known issue that required a software patch. They walked me through the process and that problem was fixed. However a few days later I got a sim card error and no service. Rebooting the phone fixed the issue, however the error (and often a PUK code error).re-occures every 3 days. Verizon put a new sim card in the phone, but 3 days later the error re-apperas. Now the 14 day trial is up, HTC says I have to send the (brand new) phone in for repair (10+ days turn around), and Verizion has know clue what to do, except order me a warranty refurbished phone, that will probably have both of the orignial issues. Brand new phone with continued "known" problems from day 3 and the only solution is to be without a phone for more than 10 days, or take another phone with "most likely" the same issues.
I Love This Thing! December 30, 2012
I recently upgraded from a Droid 2 Global which was of no good use to me anymore because it was slow, glitchy, stuck on Android 2.3 forever, and needed an extended battery. After some agonizing over whether I should get this or a Samsung Galaxy S III, I chose this phone because I liked the screen better and I've never had an HTC phone until now. (I had a Samsung feature phone once and really disliked it.)
This phone is big. Really big. I was afraid it wouldn't fit in my sweater pocket. The screen is a whopping 5 inches vs. the Droid 2's 3.7 inches. That's a big difference, obviously. But surprisingly, it fits comfortably in my small hands, as well as my sweater pocket.
As for the screen itself, it is really, really pretty. It is 1080p, from what I've heard, and in my experience it is so gorgeous it looks almost fake. It is the "retina display" of the Android world, only far more impressive because of the huge screen size. It's pretty usable outdoors, thanks to its aggressive auto-brightness function. Battery life so far seems to be average. Not fantastic, not terrible.
Camera seems to take OK-to-mediocre indoor photos, although outdoor ones should be better for obvious reasons. Not a huge deal, as I've never been crazy about phone cameras to begin with. For serious picture taking and video recording I have my Canon ELPH 310.
Finally, speed. This phone is at least ten times faster than the Droid 2, in both network speeds and general performance. It can handle a lot more due to its super powerful internals and 2 gigs of RAM, which is a lot for a smartphone. To put this in perspective, my iMac has 4 gigs of RAM. Wow!
Saying that Android 4.1 is a step above 2.3 would be a serious understatement. It is almost like using a totally different OS. Sure, 2.3 wasn't bad by any means, but it is stale now. My Droid 2 could not take screenshots without root, nor could it access Google Play (once known as the Android Market) without background data running, forcing me to use a good amount of my limited data every time I wanted to download or update apps. Not the case anymore; I think this is because the Droid 2 was released before any Wi-Fi-only Android devices existed.
On top of Android itself is "HTC Sense," a series of tweaks made to the UI in order to differentiate the device from, say, a Samsung phone or a Motorola. It's actually quite nice. My favorite feature is the ability to create and edit "scenes," which are pre-customized homescreens. My least favorite part is probably the keyboard. I've tried it, and it was not very responsive for some reason. So I downloaded the pure Android 4.1 keyboard from Google Play and find it much easier to use, though it doesn't have enough punctuation on the main layout. I also downloaded a series of other keyboards, including SwiftKey, A.I. Type, and Thumb Keyboard. I'm not sure which one is my favorite, they are all a thousand times better than the stock HTC keyboard.
As a phone:
Call quality is quite good -- it isn't too far off from what I got from my Droid 2. 4G LTE seems to be very fast, although I keep it turned off most of the time to save battery and data usage.
Just to let others know, this phone has only 16 GB of storage with no option to expand it. This is not an issue for me because I keep most of my music, movies, etc. on my iPod touch (32 GB), but for a lot of people it will be. Only about 11 GB is actually available due to all the Verizon apps that come with it. But you can always hide and/or disable the ones you don't want. Verizon makes it impossible to actually uninstall them.
This is a fantastic phone so far. I absolutely can't stop playing with it. I'm glad I got it over an iPhone 5, and this is coming from a long-time Apple fan. The iPhone 5 is nice, but it had too many issues for me to consider it. Also I love Android too much at this point. My iOS devices will always be iPod touches.
A huge leap forward from iPhone4 December 3, 2012
Reviewer: rb in columbia, sc
I can only confirm the excellent reviews this device is receiving. The screen is gorgeous and perfect for my 40-something eyes, so I don't need to fumble for my reading glasses. It is FAST. It is slim and light, with a quality feel and a grippy exterior (I'm adding a slim case that won't make it bulky). Love the Gorilla Glass 2. So far the battery life is more than sufficient for hours of "try everything" testing and my busy work day. The most common question from my iPhone-loyal friends is "what about the apps?"...everything I use and want is available for android phones. My 4000+ song and playlist music library transferred fine to Google Play. Voice search and navigation are outstanding. The 8mp camera is superior. It synchronizes nicely with Outlook Exchange for work. In my opinion, Apple should have seized the opportunity to do a major overhaul of their OS and the device design for i5...the bigger screen is the main reason I switched, and it feels like Apple has some catching up to do on several levels. The only improvements I might suggest are to move the power button to the side from the top and add a memory card slot for those who need it. The cover flap for the charger slot is flimsy, but I don't have a better idea to suggest for keeping debris out of it. This is my first HTC device, and I'm impressed overall.
MY REVIEW AFTER NEARLY TWO MONTHS OF USE.. January 30, 2013
Reviewer: Jersey Bricks "BrIcKs" (NEW JERSEY) -
I purchased the DNA a week after it's release date. After purchasing it, i didn't want to write a review until i had more hands on time with it. Being an Android user for the last couple of years, i know to wait a couple weeks to truly see if the phone is a powerhouse. Coming to a conclusion that a phone is great after one day use is premature in the smartphone age. After downloading apps, music, taking pictures, and saving tons of junk on your phone, performance usually starts to slow down. This has been the problem with every Android phone i have owned. Now for my review..
I've owned a Motorola Droid X, Motorola Bionic, and Motorola Razr Maxx. I loved Motorola for the phone reception and call quality. Truly loved the Maxx for the battery life. But one thing always irked me about Android phones. The phones would bog down after several months when trying to do simple tasks like making a phone call. I hated using an app, then receiving a phone call, then unable to answer the call because the touchscreen would freeze up or would not recognize my finger presses. This type of nuisance occurred on every one of the android phones i owned. Slow down would occur too after several months. I deleted apps, used, froze apps, closed out open apps etc., but nothing would seem to work.
Along comes the DNA.....i just want to say this phone is ALMOST perfect. Some people won't like the size...if you have small hands, stick to iPhone. I have no problems using this phone or pressing the power button. The screen is NICE. I watch a lot of Netflix and also watch NFL games using Slingbox...the DNA is perfect for watching video. Speed....my, my, this thing is FAST. I thought that it would slow down sooner or later, but no. I switch through home screens, browse the net, watch videos, all with ease. No slow down at all...NONE. The phone has never froze up on me, reset on its own, slow down when a phone call comes in etc. All the quirks i hated Android for are gone. Phone quality is clear, and 4GLTE is great and plentiful in my area. Camera is the best one i have used on a phone. Motorola always had bad cameras. I love the HTC interface too. Blur was OK, but Sense is better. The phone is equipped with BEATS, but you can only hear the BEATS sound quality through headphones or speakers. I have a Monster portable speaker that i connect to through bluetooth and the sound is great. Now to the flaws.
Memory is not expandable on this phone. This was almost a deal breaker for me, until i checked my old phones and noticed i never used over 16gb worth of memory ever. I'm a music junkie but never stored a lot of music on my phone. All my music is saved to Google cloud. This was the only process i found to be a pain...it took over THREE days for all my music to upload to Google music. I have high speed internet, still took forever. Battery life is actually ok. Remember i came from using the battery king Maxx. It's not great on the DNA, but it's not bad either. I use the internet a lot and the phone can get through the day without being on the charger. Minor nuisance was the charging port flap, but i removed mine. Problem solved. Not a perfect phone, but near perfect.
Good job HTC.
The Best Phone I have ever had. Here is why December 7, 2012
The size to me is perfect. I came from a Galaxy 1 that I thought was an awesome phone. Would have stayed with it longer, but I had to get away from T-mobile. I was all set to get the Galaxy 3, but while doing my research I came across the DNA. Although I think I would have been happy with either phone, in the end I went with the DNA
Battery- I've had it ten days and never even got close to using up the battery power. I use my phone off and on all day, make calls, apps, web, games and it has not been an issue. On the weekends, when I am using it more, it went down to around 25% charge by the time I put it on the charger for the night.
Buttons- Power and volume buttons are not as bad as some people point out. I think the issue with that is they don't understand it takes a few days to get use to them. Now, I am as fast at using them as I was with my old phone.
Memory: I think people are stuck in the past and are just not adapting to the future when it comes to memory. Memory cards have been around so long that people are use to them, and don't really understand. Wifi is everywhere and at least for me in my house.
Size: I think this phone is the perfect size. I don't think I would want anything bigger. It fits well into jeans and dress pants. I don't notice the phone when I sit down. I can still do everything with one hand just like I could with my last phone.
Overall, I am really glad I bought this phone: lighting fast, with an incredible picture quality, great camera.