Is the HTC Droid DNA The Only “One” You Need? [Review]

HTC Droid DNA (1)

At this point you have probably heard of the upcoming release of the “HTC One” which is HTC’s latest flagship smartphone for 2013. It looks to be the first time HTC is making one model instead of various versions among the major carriers as its done with the One X, One S, and EVO 4G LTE. This looked to be an excellent feat unless you’re a Verizon Wireless customer. At this time there has been no announcement for the device on the Big Red network but there may not actually be a rush for it.

Back at the HTC One unveiling I got some hands on with the device but also had my Droid DNA with me doing comparisons. Now realistically I haven’t used my DNA as much as I been stuck in the land of Samsung with the Galaxy Note II, which is an impressive piece of work. After playing with the One, it renewed my interest in the HTC Droid DNA and I must say there are some quality features I love about it thus far.

Hardware

If you haven’t noticed the gorgeous display on the DNA, please compare it to others. The 5-inch display of Super LCD 3 and is 1080p. Everything from the sharpness of the icons, web browsing, video, everything just pops out at you. When I originally took it out the box I couldn’t believe the detail and how it put other phones around me to shame with ease. On top of that is Corning Glass 2 to prevent easy scratches.
HTC Droid DNA - Back View - Camera
If you thought the display was a gem, the hardware inside is even more delightful. It has a Quad Core Snapdragon S4 to make the phone move at break neck speeds, As far as cameras go you have 8MP on the back and 2.1MP front facing camera with HTC’s ImageChip which has helped create excellent shots. I have always seen their pictures coming out better than some of its other Android counterparts. Video recording experience is shot in 1080p whether you shoot from the back or front lens. Also Beats Audio which is standard with HTC is included,NFC, and also wireless charging built-in. The DNA has a 2,020mah while good could be a little better with all the processing power and beautiful display.

Software

Running Jelly Bean 4.1.1 straight out the box was insuring as the recent One X+ came with it, but the One S hasn’t received it yet(been out since May 2012), and the One X just received it last week. Now whether its HTC or the carriers these delays on updates are killer. Besides that there is HTC Sense 4+ UI skin which isn’t bad but prefer Vanilla Android. What makes Sense 4 worst on the DNA is the plethora of VZW branded apps which thankfully can be blocked.

Style

Decked in Verizon’s signature red and black colors as usual, it looks similar to their older Droid line of phones such as the Incredible with some resemblance of the One series. As with the other One smartphones, the build quality on this is excellent but that’s HTC’s style. They work hard on their designs unfortunately they get lost in the field of devices. The back is of a soft-touch polycarbonate while the sides are aluminum. The volume controls and power button are so flush within the casing you wouldn’t even recognize they are there which gives it a sexy overall look. Unlike the HTC One S I had, this one is a fingerprint magnet on the back. Another gripe about the DNA is the compartment for the microUSB slot, while good that it blocks the USB, other times I just want to rip it off.

Experience

The DNA is capable of using carriers such as T-Mobile and AT&T based on the global quad-band (850/900/1900/2100) HSPA+ 14.4 Mbps and quad-band (850/900/1800/1900) GSM / EDGE. Great to see it coming unlocked from Verizon and makes good for those that travel out the country. Now I have been testing it with T-Mobile and while not getting break neck speeds I have gotten decent speeds near 10mbps at times.
The battery life has provided almost a day of usage while putting it through the gauntlet of my daily grind whether it music playing, social media and other activities. After going strictly to a Note II, going from 5.5 to 5 inches makes it the perfect size smartphone as it’s not too big but provides such a good amount of screen real estate. When I go back to the One S I can’t even fathom anymore how I used that screen size. HTC Droid DNA - HTC One S - HTC One X - Nokia 820 - Samsung Galaxy Note II

I wish the DNA had a higher capacity of 16 GBs or a microSD slot to add to it. The HTC Butterfly J(its international variant) had it, I cant see why they shunned it here. With the high quality pictures and videos you’d record they will eat up a lot of space. And don’t even talk about the movies and music being added. The fact that 16 GB isn’t even the actual amount(OS taking up 25% of the space) it’s the most disappointing feature on the phone.

Is it the One?

With the powerhouse features of the Droid DNA from its 1080p HD display to its Quad Core processing power it at the time of release was the best Android phone on the market. Since that time there have been newer releases such as the Xperia Z, the HTC One coming and the Samsung Galaxy S4 pending release but if you’re a Verizon customer it is still a great quality Android device. I think it holds a candle to the One and some of the subtle differences wouldn’t make me jump from this phone to that with ease.

The Droid DNA by HTC is available now for $199.99 at Verizon Wireless and other retailers.