13
Nov
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Greetings from New York! I’m here at HTC’s event checking out the DROID DNA.

The DNA’s claim to fame (besides the ridiculous name) is that it has, literally, the best display ever made for a phone. This thing is packing a 1920x1080 resolution on a five inch screen. That's pixel density of 440ppi! The display is a SuperLCD 3 panel, which makes it a generation better than the previous Best Screen Ever, the HTC One X display.

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So how does it look in person? Simply amazing. You don't see pixels anymore, just a smooth, perfect image. Color reproduction is accurate and beautiful, and it has an 80 degree viewing angle. It's really something you have to see in person to appreciate.

You're going to need some power to push all these pixels, and the DNA doesn't disappoint. You get a quad core, 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro and 2GB of RAM.

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The build quality is great. HTC is continuing the unibody polycarbinate process from the One X, so the whole thing feels nice and sturdy. The back has a small amount of flex to it, but nothing serious.

The design is kind of questionable. HTC claims the design inspiration was a supercar, so the sides have a crazy red speaker grill look. But they're small enough that you don't really notice them. There are red Verizon accents everywhere, though.

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The bottom charging port has a little cover on it, and hopefully, you'll be able to leave it covered, because HTC has equipped this thing with wireless charging! They had a few sitting on QI-compatible chargers at the event. Hopefully, between this and the Nexus 4, a trend is starting.

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The software is being called "Sense 4+." It's a skinned version of Android 4.1. It looks a lot like Sense 4 on the One X or Evo 4G LTE. I couldn't spot anything new. Recent apps is still a mess, here I caught it displaying a horizontal thumbnail, and it still only displays 1 full thumbnail and 2 halves of a thumbnail.

The rear camera is your now-standard 8MP, but the front one is particularly interesting. It's a 2.1 MP shooter with an ultra wide angle lens that HTC says triples the coverage area, which should be better for self shots. There is also a new "Sightseeing mode," which is basically a "be a camera now" mode. It will immediately launch the camera app when you hit the power button. That's neat.

The audio is fantastic. HTC included separate amps for the headphones and speaker, so there is always lots of power to drive whatever you're using.

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And oh yeah, did you want one? You can pre-order right now for $199, with official availability coming one week from today.

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • http://twitter.com/blclement Brian Clement

    Got this phone early from HTC for testing. It's incredible. Nothing on the market right now even comes close.

    • StormFreak

      How's battery life been with that 2020 mAh capacity?

    • NemaCystX

      Can you compare its size to other devices to give us an idea of its actual physical size?

  • Magneira

    Yeah just like last year with the rezound, the first 720p phone... and what else?? this is going to fade again..

    • http://twitter.com/TurboNegro7791 Tyler Hills

      What else? Try industry leading specs (Quad S4, 2GB RAM, great camera, superb build quality) and a $199 price tag. Knock it for Sense. Knock it for that tiny battery. But this is far more than the Rezound was

      • Magneira

        Nope it is the same thing, we will comeback to this a few more months when htc releases their next phone in their main series, the one....

      • HellG

        Industry leading specs? the nexus 4 has the same specs..
        and if your eyes cant see more than 320 PPI why have a 440 PPI and yeah one horrible battery to drive all these pixels and will just slow down the whole device! these kind of useless specs are only suited for the crApple products, that's a shame and this is the truth that all HTC are afraid to hear, come on dislike this and hate me for saying it but this is the plain out truth...

        • Mike Litoris

          Not everyone's eye's are the same ass clown. Some people can definitely distinguish over 320PPI. And this phone will be relevant for a long time. It will be the biggest and best till the Samsung Galaxy SIV arrives. Now go fugoof and play with your little crApple device.

          • Magneira

            As i said, this is not going to be the bigest nor the best, soon htc will refresh their one series and this will fall under the radar just like the rezound, there is no need to wait for the gsIV ;)

          • HellG

            ass clown? how old are you 3? you have apple logo as your picture and asking me to go and use an iPhone i thought my avatar and me calling apple crApple will give you an idea how much i hate that company but why am i even talking to you? lets move on...

        • http://twitter.com/TurboNegro7791 Tyler Hills

          The Nexus 4 has industry leading specs as well. All I was knocking @Magneira:disqus for was saying this phone is going to fade like the Rezound. Not happening. It may not fit what you're looking for (or myself. I need a bigger battery for that much power) but to say this is a terrible device is just ignorant. The phone is solid on it's own merit. And the brand recognition that comes from Verizon customers with the "Droid" branding will ensure it sells.

        • http://halljake.com Jake Hall

          The 320 PPI limit only applies for the "typical viewing distance". As soon as you move the screen an inch closer to your face than that "typical distance" that limit goes out the window.

          Higher pixel density will, for the foreseeable future, always be desirable (as long as the system is powerful enough to drive the display) because the at some level more PPI will mean a smoother picture.

          • HellG

            Are you planning into sticking your face to the screen? when you get that close it will be fuzzy anyway, and your point is simply spot on! higher density is great when the system is powerful enough to drive it! i always argue that android since 4.1 never lags but i have to say yes it does, same for any other OS when choosing a system you will have to make sure that everything work in harmony, 1080P screens are now standard in High End PC's why? because the hardware/Software can EASILY support it, but that's not the case if you remember the Rezound it lagged like hell! why? the Internals/OS wasn't ready for that kind of screen but now the hardware and software can smoothly run a 720P screen but no way in hell a 1080P one, why sacrfice performance and battery life for pixel density i'm not going to notice (if anyone ever did) by sticking the phone to my eyes! when most people can't see more than 300PPI! that's something HTC doesn't need now which is brag rights, they need solid devices and not show off devices, i understand the people who are mad at me thinking i hate HTC actually i used to really like them a lot, superb UI and superb build quality but when a company make a mistake after mistake i cant stay LOYAL to a brand its just a brand that wants my money all i need is the best for my money and right now HTC is not the way to go

    • Eh..

      Yeah, a 720p screen isn't really a "fad". As screens become larger, pixels become more visible leading to pixelated images and videos. In order to combat that, you need to include higher resolution screens. Would you like to have a 4.5 inch display with a mediocre resolution and have everything look like Minecraft? I wouldn't. Yeah a 1080p screen on a 5 inch display is a bit over the top but the same thing was said last year when the first 720p displays where unveiled. What kind of phone do you use now? There's a good chance that it has a 720p display or your next phone will or even have a higher resolution than that! You can always thank Apple with their "Retina Display" plastered everywhere leading to high resolution screens but I personally love them. My games and videos look great and my device, a Galaxy Nexus if you must ask, doesn't suffer from it. Same thing goes for tablets.

      I'm sorry you were cursed with such autism and ignorance.

      • Eh…

        Edit: My Galaxy Nexus' battery life doesn't suffer from having a high resolution screen.

  • discstu37

    Is anyone aware of potential boot loader unlock on this? That would tip me this way over the Note 2.

    • Tommy Thompson

      Verizon doesn't like unlocked bootloaders on any of their phones.

      • discstu37

        Right but that doesn't mean one doesn't leak :) i just think a leak for the note 2 is highly unlikely.

      • NemaCystX

        HTC has the unlocked boot loader program, but if enough devs get this one, you'll see S-off and root in no time

        • nhizzat

          Highly doubt it.

  • Dan

    And it comes with a 1600 mah battery.

    • triangle8

      So you can use it for 4-5 hours before turning to your other phone...

    • Dylan Bernardo

      I thought it was a 2020 Mah batterry

    • http://twitter.com/nastybutler77 Jameson Ahern

      Wrong. Try a 2020mAh battery.

  • Adam Smith

    you would think after disapointing sales, low profits and a generally quiet year, HTC would sit down and think "what do we need to change?". The screen isn't something they needed to change.

    • le_lutin

      You've hit the nail on the head.

  • http://twitter.com/TurboNegro7791 Tyler Hills

    I'm not sure why this keeps getting compared to the Note 2. The actual phone size is the same as the One X and in pictures its the size of a GSIII. Not to mention no stylus. It's not a phablet people

    • yarrellray

      Trust this much the Htc DNA is nothing close to the Galaxy Note 2. The ultimate all purpose entertainment/media device is the Galaxy Note 2. Nothing will touch or top the Galaxy Note 2 for the next 180 days period.

      • squiddy20

        Yeahhhh... You also said the Galaxy Nexus would be Verizon's flagship device and that the "legendary" Evo 3D would be "Sprints flagship device well into 2012", when it was EOL'd not even 2 months into the year. You clearly have no clue what you're talking about.

  • http://twitter.com/DrLovePiston Roy Psy.D., M.D.

    This review appears to be biased and not complete. Way to ruin a review by rushing it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/vanhouse David VanHouse

      it was just a quick hands on review not a full review dude

    • le_lutin

      Your comment appears rushed. Where does it say that this is a complete review? Did you actually read the post?

    • Scott

      I'm guessing the M.D. is for Mentally Deficient?

  • http://www.facebook.com/MOD64 Timothy Adams

    looks like a skinnier and bigger version of the Rezound.. Verizon bloatware, sense (senseless) software, small battery and only 16 gb of space = another HTC dud

    • Skandal

      The International Version Will Have More Than That? Why Cause We Rock Soooorrrrry ;)

  • Matt

    another great phone locked to a carrier, shame. people on tmobile and other carriers would have loved to spend their money on a valid note 2 competitor. this is one of the reasons you guys are in a financial hole, smarten up

  • NemaCystX

    What's the slot or button beside the power button? Does it have microSD?

    • BrianLipp

      i would guess thats probably the LTE SIM slot. Hard to tell if its big enough to also have a micro SD card slot in there.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      It's a SIM slot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MOD64 Timothy Adams

    no micro sd

  • http://twitter.com/nastybutler77 Jameson Ahern

    Having only 16GBs of storage and no microSD slot (since they don't mention one, I'm assuming there isn't one) make this phone as useless to me as the Nexus 4. What a joke for a phone touted as a media device. Oh, you can record video in 1080p? That's great. Too bad you can only record 10 minutes before you max out your availiable memory. Oh, you can watch movies in HD? Super. Too bad you can only keep one or two on your device at a time. And don't tell me to watch from the cloud with Verizon's data caps.

    • tbonefsg

      well said. this no sd card thinking is why they are losing market share. that and making flagship phones Verizon exclusives.

    • http://twitter.com/TurboNegro7791 Tyler Hills

      Valid arguments and I totally agree with you regarding the DNA. But for $299 off contract, storage is an easy tradeoff when it comes to the Nexus 4

  • SetiroN

    A 2000mAh battery.
    With a 5" screen.
    With 1920×1080 pixels to refresh every second.
    With an APQ 8064 + separate external radio.
    And of course non-accessible.

    Jesus fucking christ how dumb can those overpaid executives be?

    • TylerChappell

      It's not how dumb the execs are, it is how dumb the execs are counting on the consumers to be. =[

    • mesmorino

      You'd think the fucking engineers would realise something was a little lopsided. It's like none of them have to use their own designs

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1129440224 Christopher Ching

    If it were available unlocked, on GSM, with stock Android, I'd be willing to pay the premium for this phone over the Nexus 4. Of course, if all that were true, it'd BE a Nexus (Nexus 5?). Battery size is iffy, but the basic specs don't always tell the whole story, so I'd wait to see benchmarks first.

    • Andy_in_Indy

      Stock Android may be a wait, but the device is sold unlocked, GSM capable and has an unlockable boot loader. However, it has all the other shortcomings as the Nexus 4 without the low price.

  • hyperbolic

    I hardly get excited about phones anymore, but the DNA is an amazing device.

    Looking forward for more reviews!

  • Cenarl

    Nice phone, I even like the looks, but they still leave some parts lacking which means the SGIV will once again have an easy path to obliterating the competition. How the hell can anything not have an SD card in this "HD" society is beyond me when they only include 16GB of storage and the 2 biggest carriers have data caps. It turns a pretty nice phone into D.O.A. for me.

    Hopefully Samsung Delivers yet again. Samsung did mention they are making 5" 1080p screens too btw, hopefully they are done in time for SG4

  • lowlevelninja

    Ugh, Sense.

  • GraveUypo

    i'd still rather have the black levels and contrast of an amoled screen over this overkill amount of pixels. so much better for bed usage.

  • J

    Typical HTC, they upgrade one spec and downgrade a few others, there is never a successive upgrade system to HTC devices, they never truly have a device that is completely better, spec for spec than the one that went before it!

  • http://twitter.com/GitMuny Ciroc Obama

    I realize it isn't original to bitch about 16gb of storage on this device but I think I have a different angle with my complaint. Not only do I not have the option for an sd card, but I don't have the option to buy more storage at all. Hell take the apple route and charge me $100 for another 16gb I don't care I just want the storage somehow.