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For all those Verizon customers disappointed that the carrier would be missing out on a variant of the HTC One X, their patience has been rewarded in the form of a spectacular smartphone bleeding cutting-edge hardware. Strange to say, especially considering the banner year filled with exceptional smartphones, Big Red’s sole HTC offering came in the form of the forgettable HTC DROID Incredible LTE – a device that didn’t do justice over the previously available HTC Rezound. Well people, HTC is going back to its roots with its upcoming offering.

Rather than concocting something that seemingly would fit into the upper echelon of Big Red’s lineup, the Taiwanese company is breaking new ground that no other manufacturer has been able to establish. Galvanizing to say the least, the HTC DROID DNA is a meticulous work of technology, as its 5-inch 1920x1080-pixel Super LCD 3 display is a monumental feat in itself that’s unmatched at the moment. Throw in the fact that it’s complemented with other beefy hardware specs, such as a quad-core Snapdragon processor, 4G LTE connectivity, 2GB of RAM, and an 8-megapixel camera with an f2.0 lens, it’s undoubtedly busting at the seams with enough drool worthy elements to raise it over other highly esteemed smartphones. At $200 on-contract, it’s lovable in oh so many ways, but of course, let’s hope all of that spiffy hardware can deliver the goods with its performance.

The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Start Here Guide
  • Product Safety & Warranty Information
  • Important Consumer Information
  • Global Support information & Calling Card Guide


One would think that this would borrow some of the design cues of its siblings, but the HTC DROID DNA is flaunting a totally different design scheme to give it a distinct appearance of its own. Right away, we’re impressed most with its deceptively skinny figure, which is achieved by its tapered sides similar to what’s found on the HTC 8X – thus, giving us the illusion of it being skinnier than what it really is, though technically, it’s at 0.38-inches thin. At the same time, however, we’re taken by surprise by its lightweight feel (4.87 oz) in the hand, which interestingly enough, is lighter than its main rivals in the 5-inch and over category.

Beyond the skinny frame and light feel, HTC does a fantastic job at looking over every design detail with the handset, and overall, we admit that it’s one solid thing – both in construction and build quality. With its soft touch casing, it exudes a clean finish at all times, but even better, we appreciate the red accents littered all around its body to give it some spicy character. Even with the minimal amount of bezel around its display, the handset is still an unwieldy thing to attempt using it with a single hand. It might not have the stylish appeal of the HTC 8X, or the tank-like build quality of the Motorola DROID RAZR HD, but nevertheless, the HTC DROID DNA is still one head turning smartphone.

The HTC DROID DNA is one solid thing – both in construction and build quality - HTC DROID DNA Review
The HTC DROID DNA is one solid thing – both in construction and build quality - HTC DROID DNA Review
The HTC DROID DNA is one solid thing – both in construction and build quality - HTC DROID DNA Review

The HTC DROID DNA is one solid thing – both in construction and build quality


You can compare the HTC DROID DNA with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Sure it’s Jelly Bean device out of the box, but that doesn’t stop the veteran smartphone maker from opting to employ a trio of Android capacitive buttons beneath its display. Although they’re spaced away from one another, they’re too close to the bottom edge – resulting in some accidental presses. Above the display, the narrow earpiece stands out prominent due to its red accent. Nearby, we find its 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera, which is similar to the one used by the HTC 8X, since it features a wide- angle 88-degree f2.0 lens with 1080p video recording.

Android capacitive buttons - HTC DROID DNA Review
Front camera - HTC DROID DNA Review

Android capacitive buttons

Front camera

On one hand, we like how the power button and volume control have a red metallic shimmer, but unfortunately, we can’t stand their indistinct feel and response. Simply, they’re flush to the surface and lack any reasonable feedback when pressed. Around the top trim, we also find its microSIM card tray, 3.5mm headset jack, and noise-cancellation microphone. Conversely, the bottom edge is home to none other than the standard mic and microUSB port for charging/data/video-out (MHL adapter required) connectivity.

Left edge - The sides of the HTC DROID DNA - HTC DROID DNA Review
Bottom - The sides of the HTC DROID DNA - HTC DROID DNA Review
Right - The sides of the HTC DROID DNA - HTC DROID DNA Review

Left edge



Power key and 3.5mm jack (top) - The sides of the HTC DROID DNA - HTC DROID DNA Review
microUSB port - The sides of the HTC DROID DNA - HTC DROID DNA Review
Volume rocker - The sides of the HTC DROID DNA - HTC DROID DNA Review

Power key and 3.5mm jack (top)

microUSB port

Volume rocker

The sides of the HTC DROID DNA

In the rear, the HTC DROID DNA is packing a respectable 8-megapixel auto-focus camera, which is what we’d find with most high-end smartphones nowadays. Supplementing things, it features an f2.0 lens, LED flash, and 1080p video recording. Very hard to make out, there’s actually a second LED notification light to the left of the camera – whereas the front one is incorporated into the earpiece. And lastly, micro dots form in unison towards the bottom center of the rear casing to comprise its speaker grill. Worth mentioning, there’s no access to its internal 2,020 mAh battery with its closed design, plus, there’s no microSD card slot with this one either.

Back - HTC DROID DNA Review
Rear camera - HTC DROID DNA Review
Speaker grill - HTC DROID DNA Review


Rear camera

Speaker grill


Shiver me timbers Batman! HTC isn’t messing around in gaining attention with this handset, oh no, seeing that it sets the benchmark with its mind-blowing detail. At 5-inches in size, it doesn’t have a thunderous appeal over the Samsung Galaxy Note II’s larger 5.5” display, but nevertheless, it’s still one of the biggest found on a smartphone. However, what’s certain is that it shatters the mold with its 1080p (1080 x 1920 pixels) resolution Super LCD 3 display. Needless to say, we would’ve been content with a 720p one, but regardless of that, it leaps over the competition with its ridiculously detailed pixel density of 440 ppi (720p HD dispalys have average of 330 ppi). Although it requires a microscopic eye to really show the difference in detail between this and a display with 720p resolution, we can’t argue the fact that it’s superbly detailed and sharp, so fine text is very life-like and pleasant to read. Heck, it’s so detailed that it rivals the micro printing seen on paper money.

Viewing angles - Color production - HTC DROID DNA Review
Viewing angles - Color production - HTC DROID DNA Review
Viewing angles - Color production - HTC DROID DNA Review
Viewing angles - Color production - HTC DROID DNA Review

Viewing angles

Color production - HTC DROID DNA Review
Color production - HTC DROID DNA Review
Color production - HTC DROID DNA Review
Color production - HTC DROID DNA Review

Color production

Details aside, its Super LCD 3 delivers the goods in making it a viable contender with its rich color production, wide viewing angles, and strong brightness output. Essentially, all of those ingredients help to keep its display extremely visible in outdoor conditions with the sun present. Of course, we also take notice of Gorilla Glass 2 layered over it, which so happens to curve around the edges to have a seamless look with the handset’s body. Indeed, there’s a lot of chatter about its resilience to scratching, but after dropping it by accident to a tile floor, its impervious nature is debunked as a visible tiny crack is seen at the location of impact. Regardless of that, it’s unbelievable to know that our eyes are actually feasting on a 5-inch 1080p display. Crazy, people! Crazy!

HTC DROID DNA 360-degrees View:

  • Options

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 08:47 6

1. jubbing (Posts: 150; Member since: 20 Aug 2008)

Good score, but didn't expect anything less for a phone that looked this good and has good specs. Interesting to note it's got the same score as the Lumia 920.. so I don't know whether to wait for this or just go ahead with the 920.

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 08:57 17

7. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4847; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

Wow this is what I wanted to hear. The HTC Dorid DNA has DECENT battery life so when I root & get rid of the power hungry HTC Sense it will get GREAT battery life with a TRUE AOSP ROM & custom Kernel.

Also by going custom ROM with root the HTC Droid DNA should get 1 to 2 more GBs of memory so this indeed makes the 16GB internal memory more bearable.

I can't WAIT to get this phone. I am preordering this BEAST right now. YES!!!!!

+1 Get this phone! lol

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 09:10 9

9. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)

im totally interested in this phone. PA rarely gives 9s to HTC.

No offense to LG, i think they did great but if the Nexus had this hardware... sweet jesus...

htc hasn't been good with software updates either... i really hope they made a Nexus 5.

and also, it's a US phone,i can't get one from where I come from.

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 09:13 9

11. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3910; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

You know, as i went from page 1 to 2 to 3...i was so curious about the battery performance that i couldn't concentrate on what i was reading.
2,020 mAh battery for a display with 1080p that has an average result is not that bad i should say!! ...and the benchmarks...not for kids!! :D
HTC has a job well done with this monster!! Impressed!!

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 09:32 6

19. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4847; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

I have to agree with you guys. I am VERY impressed with the HTC Droid DNA. On the section where “Joooooohn V. from phonearena.com” had the live wall paper on he said he noticed some slight lag, that is because of the POWER HUNGRY HTC Sense. Once you remove the HTC Sense UI and add a true AOSP Android 4.2 ROM the phone will be flawless even with a live wall paper. Please root your phone if you get this BEAST!

**bobfreking55** the HTC Droid DNA is a world phone. It should work on GSM so check out what frequencies you have & just buy the phone out right.

**Nathan_ingx** I am like you totally impressed. If you root the HTC Droid DNA you will certainly get WAY better battery life as opposed to a STOCK HTC Droid DNA with HTC Sense, plus it will free up 1 to 2 more GBs of memory that the hoggish HTC Sense takes up.

I already preordered it & I am SO happy. Good job HTC, finally something worth being excited about.

+1 to both of you.

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 09:53 3

23. androiddownsouth (Posts: 598; Member since: 02 May 2012)

I haven't rooted a phone yet, but I think this will be the first one I do Evo. This thing is a monster, and I'll just have to manage with the cloud storage for my music etc. Either AOSP or Cyanogen should provide great choices for roms for the DNA, but likely AOSP first what with the problems Cyanogen has been facing lately.

I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on this phone on the 21st!

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 10:12 2

26. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4847; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

androiddownsouth, xda-developers.com ALREADY has the HTC Droid DNA rooted. That is incredible. They already have CWM recovery for the phone. Whatever you do, when you get the phone if it ask you to do an update DON'T just keep it stock out of the box. Don't let the Verizon rep setup your phone for you. Tell them you want to run any updates at home.

It should help with the root process.

Damn I am stoked! lol

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 10:20 2

28. androiddownsouth (Posts: 598; Member since: 02 May 2012)

I am a Verizon agent bro lol. I actually manage a large agent location. Don't worry, I'm setting up this bad boy myself!

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 06:19 3

108. thelegend6657 (unregistered)

But sense is so beautiful

posted on 26 Nov 2012, 03:06

128. Vaanres (Posts: 5; Member since: 02 Feb 2011)

but sense is beautiful and a lot of fetures

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 10:15 8

27. theoak (Posts: 324; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)

16GB is what really turns me away from this.

I have a new iPad 32GB. I recently went on vacation and rented 4 HD movies via iTunes. Each movie was around 4GB. Now, take away apps and games, that left me about 10GB for pictures and movies. A 4 minute 1080P movie on my iPad takes around .75GB.

I think you can do the math. Even at 32GB, things fill up REAL FAST.

(Folks this is not an Apple versus Android thing.)

At 16GB, with the ability to take 8MP pictures, 1080P video, and then throw on your apps and games ... there is not a lot of room there.

WIth today's tech being able to punch out 8MP pictures and 1080P video, and apps getting bigger and bigger ... I would not consider anything less than 32GB ... or the option of expandable storage.

With this phone locked at 16GB ... you will be transferring stuff around ... A LOT.

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 10:28 4

29. androiddownsouth (Posts: 598; Member since: 02 May 2012)

I've come to peace with that oak. I'll make it work. I do understand what you are saying though. Between internal storage and my 32GB microSD card in my Rezound, I've got 48GB of storage and manage to use most of it. I'll just pick up a 32GB Nexus 7 tablet to pair with my DNA.=)

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 11:15 4

31. tomn1ce (Posts: 215; Member since: 12 Mar 2012)

16GB! you mean 11GB of storage, that is all you have access to. Even if the device is rooted and you get rid of sense that's still not enough space for a high device. That and the puny battery that this phone has....well for me its a no go....HTC loves to shoot themself on the foot with the battery capacity issue every time they put out a new device....

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 11:58 1

36. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4847; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

I have 3GB of apps on my rooted Samsung Galaxy Nexus. So if you root the HTC Droid DNA & get rid of all the Verizon & HTC bloat you could easily turn 11GBs of memory into 12, even 13.5GB or more.

Sure the days of game playing on my HTC Droid DNA are going to be over, so I will just have to turn to my tablet for gaming. Problem solved.

On my GNex right now I have 796MB of pictures & videos. SO subtracting 3.8GBs from 12 or 13.5GBs still leaves at best case scenario 9 to 10GB (depending on what I install) for music or movies even though Google music/movies streams all that from the cloud. Also there is enough to install 2, 1.5GB games. So if you can micromanage you should be fine.

As you can see it's not that bad when you consider all things. YES I would love if it had 32GB but so far it's not that big of a deal to me atleast.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 19:16 2

116. Kratos93 (Posts: 4; Member since: 17 Sep 2012)

Seriously, wtf is so hard about making a snapdragon proset phone with:

1. Micro SD
2. removable battery
3. at least 2500 mAh

posted on 21 Nov 2012, 03:35

118. Dr.Android (Posts: 20; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)

making a removable back cover and a 2500 mah battery would have increased the thickness of the phone.

posted on 23 Nov 2012, 16:45

122. Birds (Posts: 1161; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)

Sure then...you'll have a $299 that a lot of people don't want to buy....People don't look at the extra $100 as a half a full cup...they look at it as half empty...in other words....they see 100$ as 10,000 pennies of you get get my jives...

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 13:40 1

49. OHaZZaR (Posts: 131; Member since: 19 Aug 2011)

I agree. This is an incredible phone, but I do have a problem with 16GB of storage. My music alone would take half the space, and my photos would take a lot more than that. In the end, no room for apps. I could keep my photos on my PC, but I'm used to having them with me all the time.

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 14:38 1

53. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4847; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

I am the same way. I love having all my pictures with me 24/7 but it will be a small inconvenience to just put the pictures in my 1TB external drive, along with all my other pictures.

YES I have thousands & thousands of pictures & videos. I would go bankrupt if I were to develop all those pictures. BUT that is the ultimate plan, we are doing it little by little.

The people at my local Walgreens think we are crazy! lol

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 15:07 1

59. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)

its called "the cloud"

or if you are really smart just change the partition sizes with another hboot

posted on 16 Nov 2012, 13:55 2

89. davin8r (Posts: 45; Member since: 28 Apr 2011)

for extra storage, all you need is the little adaptor that allows you to plug in a thumb drive to the mini-USB port then you essentially have unlimited storage. Not as good as a microSD card slot, but it works great for me!

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 14:28 1

52. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)

I love the price if not anything else

posted on 26 Nov 2012, 01:34

126. RubeDog64 (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Nov 2012)

Well here's something to think about. The DNA is supposed to be for Verizon but i'm sure, since it's a global phone, there is a way to connect to a different carrier, but the 920 is only for ATT. I had the HTC 8X, which is also a Windows phone that came out about 1 week ago and I love the OS and the 342 PPI that it had. as soon as i saw the specs for the DNA i knew i had to change phones. 441PPI is insane and i know the 920 also has an amazing screen but it's not only close to what the DNA has to offer. IN short, you can't loose either way, but i would lean towards the DNA for sure.

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 08:47 3

2. schinnak (Posts: 97; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Give us Droid DNA Vs Note 2 comparison fast please! :-))

Good review btw!

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 11:50 6

35. John.V (Posts: 99; Member since: 27 May 2011)

Thanks man. It's on tap, so keep an eye out for it.

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 12:45

43. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)

nice review John. it would be interesting to see it against Note II.

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 17:15 1

66. i_hate_my_life (banned) (Posts: 24; Member since: 17 Dec 2010)

Give us Lumia 920 vs iPhone 5 comparison..... SERIOUS

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 08:51

3. miladkhahil (Posts: 26; Member since: 08 Dec 2008)

Very nice for only LTE Verizon customers

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 08:51 4

4. testman22 (Posts: 338; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)

Throw in the 3,300 mAh battery and id get this hands down. But ive had awful battery life for 3 years and enough is enough, i gotta get the maxx HD. All the pixels and speed in the world wont make up for the fact that the phone dies in 6-8 hours with heavy use.

posted on 15 Nov 2012, 09:18 1

12. Raymond_htc (Posts: 430; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)

A great screen means more battery consumption. a powerful processor eats battery more.

I would get a phone with dual core 1.2 Ghz S4 processor and a 4 inch screen with 800x480 res.

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OS: Android 4.4 4.2.2 4.1.1
view full specs
Display5.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (441 ppi) S-LCD 3
Camera8 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, Quad-core, 1500 MHz, Krait processor
Size5.55 x 2.78 x 0.38 inches
(141 x 70.5 x 9.73 mm)
4.87 oz  (138 g)
Battery2020 mAh, 12.8 hours talk time

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