HTC DROID DNA review: Champion genes

Champion genes

GSMArena team, 21 November 2012.


The HTC DROID DNA just couldn't have come to the market at a better time. The Taiwanese company's first smartphone in the United States with a 5" 1080p display is given the tall task of turning its maker's fate around, and bring back the good times at HTC.

HTC DROID DNA official images

The holiday shopping spree has already begun in the United States, so every Android smartphone manufacturer has thrown its best effort on the market. However, the DROID DNA clearly stands out in the crowd with its super powerful quad-core chipset and sweet full HD display. Tuck the aforementioned ingredients into a good looking body and you get a smartphone that every geek should have on their Christmas shortlist.

Key features

  • EV-DO/CDMA network support
  • Quad-band GSM/3G support
  • LTE network connectivity
  • 5" 16M-color Super LCD3 capacitive touchscreen with full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution, 441ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, planned upgrade to 4.2, HTC Sense 4+ UI
  • Beats Audio enhancement with a dedicated amplifier
  • Quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait CPU, 2 GB RAM, Adreno 320 GPU, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset
  • 8MP autofocus camera with LED flash, image stabilization, f/2.0 aperture, dedicated image chip
  • 1080p video recording @ 30fps with continuous autofocus and stereo sound
  • 2.1 MP front-facing camera, 1080p video recording
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA
  • 16GB of built-in storage (11GB user available); 2GB of RAM
  • MHL-enabled microUSB port
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • NFC connectivity
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Voice dialing
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
  • Wireless charging capability
  • Great ergonomics given the screen size

Main disadvantages

  • No microSD card slot; only 11GB of user-available memory
  • Non user-replaceable battery
  • No dedicated camera key
  • Only available on Verizon
  • Large amount of unnecessary Verizon bloatware takes up precious internal memory

All eyes might be focused on the HTC DROID DNA 5" Super LCD3 screen but the smartphone also packs the most powerful chipset in the smartphone game. The tricked out Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is here to bring the user experience another step forward, while the newly designed Beats audio amplifier should help please audiophiles.

On the other hand, the non-expandable user memory of the latest DROID did cause a few raised eyebrows, while the non-removable 2020mAh battery causes some concern as well - it has four CPU cores and over two million pixels to power. We are now to check out if those actually matter in real life usage or if the DROID DNA is fine as it is.

HTC DROID DNA live photos

We will be kicking the review off with an unboxing, followed by a design and build quality inspection, and a close look at the device's battery performance.

Editorial: You might notice that this review is shorter than usual and doesn't include some of our proprietary tests. The reason is it has been prepared and written far away from our office and test lab. The HTC DROID DNA is a US-only phone and it will not be making rounds on the Old Continent. Still, we think we've captured the essence of the phone in the same precise, informative and detailed way that's become our trademark. Enjoy the good read!

Reader comments

  • AnonD-129912
  • 28 Mar 2013
  • 4tJ

I do use it every day 4 hours of pure radio streaming over 4G LTE and using bluetooth, works fine whole day, if I don't use streaming radio, I have half of the battery at night... Same things with Galaxy NOTE 2 which has much stronger battery, and ye...

  • AnonD-129912
  • 28 Mar 2013
  • 4tJ

I like how do you say "ONLY 11 GB" couple of times so people can remember forever, ha ha, only 11 GB for your precious life and after that you're dead, show stops, world ends, unless you buy Apple 64 GB life is shit... Poor HTC DNA you woul...

  • Jake
  • 03 Feb 2013
  • D96

man love HTC so much, but this nom expandable memory thing has got to stop