HTC Droid DNA Review (Part 2)

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And here it is: the DNA’s jewelry. The feature that makes it stand out from the rest of the quad-core crowd: the 5-inch screen, 1080p (1920x1080). More particularly, this IPS screen – also known as Super LCD3 – is the SLCD2’s evolution, which you can find on the One X. If you remember, we announced that the device's screen is the best we've seen, however, now the DNA easily wins that title. Admittedly, it is an increase in the repetition of resolution: the Super LCD2 screen on the One X has packed more pixels than the human eyes can see, thus pushing up to more than 100ppi density only makes the DNA’s screen sharper and sharper. How is it possible? Images seem to float across the screen. The font proved to be more vivid than anything we've ever seen, and 1080p video looks just impressive. Colors seem more natural (not overly saturated), the blacks are darker whereas the whites are not so bright as on the One X. The viewing angle is excellent, and you would like to use this phone in direct sunlight because even at 50% brightness, you can see everything and that does not hurt the eyes – something we can only talk about a few devices. We would give the Super LCD3 screen every compliment there is in the world, because it is the undisputed champion in the mobile industry. It is undeniable that the 1080p display is the best screen we've seen so far, but do not leave the 720p screen of your current phone only for this reason. Certainly it is an improvement to repeat, and it's so cute at first sight, but it is more important than any increase in any previous resolution. In short: it's hard to come back to the qHD screen after using 720p for a long time, but we do not have that same caution when returning to the One X+’s screen after using the DNA’s.

The viewing angle is excellent.

The viewing angle is excellent.


As expected, the Droid DNA welcomed a new set of user interface of HTC Sense 4 +, which runs on Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean. With the exception of the changes caused by the network, basically the UI here is the same UI we evaluated on the One X + a few weeks ago, so please read the assessment of us for a full analysis. We referred to special terms from the network, which is not a surprise to anyone who has used a smartphone in the U.S. market. Verizon has stuck with the precedent and totally destroyed the DNA with a lot of pre-loaded applications. Fortunately, almost all of them can be disabled and each application can be hidden from sight, thanks to a certain function in the Sense application menu. We can live with this option, especially since there seems to have little effect on performance, but there is one change to the firmware that should not have happened: recent apps button / multitasking cannot be changed or turned on/off to enable the menu key. This is one feature you can find on the One X and X +, so it makes us believe this is what Verizon chose to remove from the final product. Basically doing this lets the menu button take an unusual amount of space on the screen of other third-party applications.

The keyboard is a little different – and a little better. The bigger screen allows slightly larger keys and symbols / numbers switch to the left instead of right, but we are disappointed with the slow response we had with the "trace" function like Swype on the keyboard on the HTC keyboard. Any time any one of us finished typing a word, we found ourselves waiting 1 or 2 seconds for the phone’s prediction to appear on the phone's screen.

The keyboard is a little different – and a little better.

The keyboard is a little different – and a little better.


Let's start the discussion about the DNA’s camera by informing that we set expectations at the same level as the One X and X +, because it has a very similar camera module. Inside the red ring on the back is 8MP camera with wide angle lens with the aperture of f/2.0, focal length of 3.63mm (28mm equivalent), BSI sensor, AF and HTC’s special ImageChip. Turning the phone back, you will face the front 2.1MP camera with BSI sensor and ultra-wide-angle lens at 88 degrees.

ISO can be set manually to a maximum of 800, but we found that number jumped to 1400 when shooting in low-light or automatic modes. You can also adjust the white balance manually, but unfortunately you will want to do it more often on the DNA as the auto white balance is a bit too warm. You can also choose to use HDR, macro mode or low-light mode and you can also adjust the exposure/contrast settings. Because the DNA does not offer the ability to lock exposure, the adjustment will be needed more often. When you're using the front camera, you can tap the viewfinder to start the 3-second timing to have the perfect Facebook profile picture.

Regarding performance, the camera is very fast, even faster than the One X and X +. Photos are also sharper and have more detailed, although as we mentioned previously, we are disappointed because the auto white balance is quite too warm. (This is the fear of the software addressed in future updates). But when the white balance is adjusted properly, we have natural colors and generally good image quality. Photos in low light are pretty good, but not so good as what we want to see from HTC, at least, bright enough LED flash.

In other words, you will not buy this phone for the ability to take pictures, but it also will not break the agreement. It's not faster than the X or X +, but of course it is in the same class.

On the other hand, the front camera is improved over the One series. The wide-angle lens creates a big difference, especially in video chat, which is where it has value – easy to put on the views of many more, very convenient for the group of friends and family. The pictures, which have received an increase in resolution to 2.1MP (1920x1088) and have more details than anything we have seen in the first HTC Android devices at this time.


We do not see any major improvement in the performance of the DNA on video recording.

We do not see any major improvement in the performance of the DNA on video recording.

We do not see any major improvement in the performance of the DNA on video recording with the rear camera, because it shows almost the same as the One X and X+ can do. It is recorded in MPEG-4 format with the bit rate of 10Mbps and frame rate of 30fps. It is also capable of slow-motion, which can be quite useful when filming something with more actions, but you may also experience adverse resolution. The front camera is great for video, so that we can record 1080p videos. We are quite surprised about how smooth the results are; we do not have much lagging when shooting moving objects.


·         Price: $200 on contract

·         Dimensions: 5.55x2.78x0.38 inches (141x70.5x9.73mm)

·         Weight: 4.86 ounces (138g)

·         Screen size: 5 inches

·         Screen resolution 1920x1080 pixels (440ppi)

·         Screen type: Super LCD3

·         Battery: 2020mAh

·         Storage: 16GB

·         External microSD slot: no

·         Rear camera: 8MP, 28mm wide-angle lens, f/2.0, AF, BSI, ImageChip

·         Front camera: 2.1MP, f/2.0 wide-angle lens, BSI

·         Video recording: front camera, 1080p / rear camera, 1080p

·         NFC: yes

·         Radio:  LTE, CDMA, 4-band GSM / EDGE, 4-band UMTS / HSPA +

·         Bluetooth: version 4.0 with aptX

·         SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064

·         CPU: Quad core 1.5GHz

·         GPU: Adreno 320

·         RAM: 2GB

·         MHL: Yes, the HTC Media Link HD support also included

·         WiFi: 802.11a/b/g/n dual-band

·         OS: Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean; Sense UI 4 +


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