Verizon's HTC Droid DNA boasts a rapid quad-core processor, smooth Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system, and staggeringly high resolution 5-inch display into the best smartphone powerhouse available on Verizon's network. At 5.6 inches tall and 2.8 inches wide, the Droid DNA offers a brilliant, large screen without crossing the line into "phablet" proportions, as seen in the Samsung Galaxy Note II (*Est. $300 and up with contract) . While both the Note II and the Samsung Galaxy S III (*Est. $200 and up with contract) boast ample storage and good battery life, the DNA has the sharper display and faster processor. Its "stylish design, devilish good looks, blazing performance, and a lovely screen," make it Verizon's and the Droid family's best smartphone yet, says Brian Bennett of CNET.
Large screen, slim device. The Droid DNA's large body makes it easy for one-handed use, according to reviewers, particularly when compared to wider giants like the Note II. The intuitive HTC Sense 4+ interface offers quick navigation and plenty of customization options. The DNA feels "remarkably usable for a device of its stature," says Chris Velazco of TechCrunch.com. "Not once did I ever feel that the DNA was too big to handle."
High-performing processor and reliable data speeds. Experts rate battery life from average to good; for example, CNET reports 8 hours and 43 minutes in its battery-drain test. The smartphone is Qi-compatible, meaning it can be wirelessly charged without requiring a special case (for example, a charging mat). Voice quality is good, and experts report strong reception over Verizon's network. The Droid DNA has more than enough juice to power its 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, with scores topping benchmark charts across the board. Data speeds hold steady on Verizon's fast 4G network, with CNET reporting an average of 9 Mbps downloading and 5.3 Mbps in upload speeds.
Where the DNA falters is its storage capacity. Equipped with only 16 GB of internal memory (only about 11 GB of which is available for users) and lacking a microSD card slot, the DNA may prove limited for music and movie lovers planning to keep their collection of media on their smartphone.
Durable design prevents dings. Aluminum sides and a polycarbonate backing protect the Droid DNA from drops. A pane of Corning Gorilla Glass 2 on front protects the sizeable screen from scratches.
High-resolution screen dazzles with crisp images. Though definitely a "tall phone," the narrow design keeps the Droid DNA "firmly planted in the traditional smartphone category," says Phil Nickinson of AndroidCentral.com. With 1080p resolution and 440 pixels per inch, the Droid DNA one-ups the iPhone 5's (*Est. $200 and up with contract) retina display, which has only 326 pixels per inch. Text appears "printed on paper" while images and icons are "exceptionally crisp even when magnified to a ridiculous degree," says TechCrunch's Chris Velazco.
While the stunning screen is excellent for reading or watching high-definition videos, the extra pixels don't make that much of a difference on a day-to-day basis, says Nickinson. "There's just not the same leap from 720p to 1080p as there is from 480p to 720p."
Excellent camera for on-the-go shots. Like other HTC smartphones, the DNA boasts an excellent camera and video software. An ImageSense processor pairs an 8-megapixel camera with a wide-angle 28 mm lens and back-illuminated sensor for crisp, colorful images. Shutter speeds are near instantaneous, according to reviewers, and the DNA allows for picture taking while recording video. The 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera is clear enough for self-portraits and video conferencing.
Review Credibility: Excellent Awarding the HTC Droid DNA 4 out of 5 stars, Brian Bennett calls it Verizon's best Android deal thanks to its powerful processor, 4G data speeds, "lovely" 5-inch screen, and a "stunning" design.
Review: HTC Droid DNA review: HTC creates the most awesome Droid ever, Brian Bennett, Nov. 14, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent Scoring the Droid DNA at 4.5 out of 5, Alex Colon says the sharp display and high-end processor make up for the lack of expandable memory and the smartphone's average battery life.
Review: HTC Droid DNA (Verizon Wireless), Alex Colon, Nov. 16, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Chris Velazco praises the Droid DNA for its handsome design, powerful hardware and stunning screen, but says its average battery life and lack of expandable memory could be a turnoff for some customers.
Review: HTC Droid DNA Review: Verizon's Best Droid Yet Isn't For Everyone, Chris Velazco, Nov. 21, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Calling the DNA's display the "absolute best" on the market, Brad Molen says customers will have a hard time finding a better Verizon smartphone. He also praises the smartphone's camera, operating system and processor.
Review: HTC Droid DNA review, Brad Molen, Nov. 16, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Brent Rose concludes that the Droid DNA's powerful hardware and software plus the best screen available on Verizon make it an excellent choice.
Review: HTC Droid DNA Review: Verizon's Big, Beautiful Beast, Brent Rose, Nov. 16, 2012
Review Credibility: Good Using hardware testing and display comparisons, Phil Nickinson concludes that the Droid DNA and the Samsung Galaxy S3 are the best Android phones currently available on Verizon. However, he cautions that the DNA's display, though impressive, isn't that noticeable of an improvement.
Review: Verizon Droid DNA review, Phil Nickinson, Nov. 21, 2012