Google Nexus 4 vs HTC DROID DNA

Crazy to imagine it, but it has been a long time since we’ve seen HTC’s name attached to the Nexus moniker. Since the birth of the original Google Nexus One, Google has gone on to commission other reputable companies to manufacture its various Nexus devices – with LG most recently nabbing that prestigious opportunity. Even though the Google Nexus 4 from LG is positioned as the pure Android device straight from el Goog, HTC is being fairly proactive on its end with its equally grand offering in the HTC DROID DNA, which fittingly allows them to stand tall throughout this crucial holiday season. Despite their affinity to Android, there’s no arguing that these two are in contention against one another at the moment.


With so many likable elements seen between them, it’s hard to say with enough certainty which design we actually prefer the most. For the Nexus 4, we like the premium feel that its glass surfaces and rear pattern design brings to the handset, but at the same time, it makes the handset feel super slippery and prone to unwanted distractions such as smudging and fingerprints. Conversely, the DROID DNA is a handful to hold since its overall footprint is larger, however, its matte soft touch body and precise red accents add a dab of styling that matches its DROID DOES attitude.

Scanning their facades, we spot their earpieces, light & proximity sensors, and LED notification lights. With the latter, it’s a single blue pulsating one below the screen on the Nexus 4, while the DROID DNA has a tiny one incorporated into its earpiece and another one discretely on the back of the phone.

Due to their flush appearance, the DROID DNA’s power button and volume rocker are indistinct to the touch, and at the same time, they exhibit poor responses when pressed. Needless to say, it’s not an issue for the Nexus 4, as its set are prominent in feel and offer springy responses. As for some of the common items seen throughout their trims, they include the 3.5mm headset jack, noise-cancellation microphone, standard mic, and microUSB port for charging/data/video-out connectivity. Unfortunately, you’ll still need to snag additional adapters in order to get video-out functionality – a MHL adapter for the DROID DNA and a SlimPort one for the Nexus 4.


Certainly, a cursory glance would make it difficult for anyone to concretely determine which is packing the better-looking display – especially when they produce sharp details from a normal viewing distance. However, as we meticulously comb every inch of their screen, it becomes clear that the DROID DNA is a clear favorite. For starters, it’s impressive for its 5-inch 1080 x 1920 Super LCD 3 display, which so happens to pull off an impressive pixel density of 441 ppi. In contrast, the Nexus 4 still has something very attractive with its 4.7-inch 768 x 1280 WXGA True HD IPS Plus display, but there’s simply a huge disparity when we take note of its 318 ppi pixel density. Seeing that they’re both relying on good old LCD technology, they share many common qualities – like their warmer color reproduction and superb outdoor visibility. However, the DROID DNA’s display is better able to maintain its clarity at all viewing angles – whereas with the Nexus 4, we notice some color distortion at extreme angles.

Google Nexus 4 360-degrees View:

HTC DROID DNA 360-degrees View:




Posts: 100; Member since: Nov 30, 2011

I own a Droid DNA and if you are planning on rooting it after buying it the DNA is a clear winner. I just rooted my friends nexus 4 and as long as the dna is de-sensed its just as fast but has a better screen faster better looking pic gallery and the camera quality is much better. The screens are alot different dna shows true white nexus is yellowish. dna is alot brighter also.

49. flyguyee

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 09, 2013

I own a Nexus 4 and I love it. In terms of hardware they Droid DNA clearly wins, but in terms of software and price the Nexus 4 wins. I love the vanilla experience of Android 4.2.1. The build for Droid looks cluttered and old fashioned. The Droid DNA is locked to Verizon, while the Nexus 4 can be used on any cheap GSM carrier. I don't mean to start a war, but I prefer the Nexus 4 overall.

41. jo_Ny

Posts: 27; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

Tried both. Price aside (besides Nexus4 is unavailable...) DNA is CLEAR WINNER, PERIOD. Both have premium feel but the DNA is way more robust. DNA display is amazing which make it better for multimedia. Dedicated amplifiers make the sound quality DNA way better. LTE DNA wins again. Camera is average on both.

38. Andrew44

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 02, 2012

Battery life is just right considering the new LCD3 1080p True HD display takes up less battery then the LCD2 720p display. Only thing i hate is no micro sd slot. I wish we got the HTC J butterfly same phone micro sd 3 colors white black and red

50. flyguyee

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 09, 2013

I would love for there to be a Micro SD card slot on my Nexus 4. I read an article that they choose to do this because adding a Micro SD card slot requires using an old file system. The newer type is faster and better, but it can't have a Micro SD card slot. It's probably also because the companies want to make alot of money. It was $50 more for me to get the 16 GB version of the Nexus 4, but it cost LG less than $10 for the upgrade. >:(

37. Andrew44

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 02, 2012

Htc said they are releasing the droid dna and one x+ with 4.2 jellybean also htc wants to have the color white but verizon is holding them back with the "droid theme"

39. g2a5b0e unregistered

Please back that up with proof. I'm pretty sure both said Jellybean 4.1. There aren't currently no phones released or unreleased that I know of other than Nexus devices that have been anounced to receive 4.2.

35. VictoriaFont

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 26, 2012

Compared to the HTC, the Nexus looks like an LG Intuition! The DNA is wild. I need it on AT&T's 4GLTE here in Austin. I LOVE the high-res screen; it's amazing. It makes the photos of the styles I create in my hair salon really glow for my clients after I finish; I e-mail them the shot so they can do the same styling at home.

34. samystic

Posts: 242; Member since: Mar 25, 2012

is PA not interested in a full fledged review and comparison of Nokia Lumia 920? i waited patiently to comment / complain on this. samystic

29. ghanemsam

Posts: 64; Member since: Nov 21, 2012

Droid DNA is the best around

28. Aeires unregistered

Great comparison, thanks John. Today is my second day with the N4 and the point about it being slippery is right on solid, it's something to really get used to that I haven't reached yet. Even pulling it out of my belt case I'm forced to be more thoughtful of how I grab it. I was also concerned about the screen after coming from three different Samsung phones that have SAMOLED screens but the clarity and sharpness on the N4 is impressive. I'm really loving this phone so far and I bought it partly due to some of the articles posted here. Thanks.

23. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

DNA 1080p screen makes all other phone screens look weak. This screen is ridiculously bright, sharp and colorful(you'd swear it was Super Amoled). While it does have a little bit of light leakage in total darkness, it's inconsequential as when it's on it really does a number on your eyes. I still can't stand Sense as it lacks things you would expect, like a blasted file manager, what the hell HTC? I don't like having to plug up to a PC to search out files on my phone, I hate that sort of dependency it's a stand alone phone the PC is only for emergencies. The volume rocker is kind of indistinct but the power button is in the perfect place, place where you're least likely to touch. unlike the GS3 easily invoked power button. Google are being a bit short sighted with no Flash on built in, when even Google's own Google Play music upload page tells you it needs flash to display fully...stupid. Flash on the DNA looks amazing videos are crystal clear and vibrant and no lag anywhere. I still hate sense with a passion, it's worse than anything but TouchWiz. Samsung have a bad habit of changing the name of things and acting like they created it, S Beam is bloody Android Beam, works exactly the same way, NFC enabled hold phones together and tap the screen to send. At least HTC doesn't try to pretend they created something that was already there. Now Google needs to get to get on the Google Initiative so OEM can stop forcing us to have our phones bogged down with their extra OS tweaks that don't always help Android look and work better. DNA is one of the best phones tech wise that is; this year that 1080p SLCD3 running on S4 Pro with 2GB of RAM, only down sides are low standard memory and battery capacity.

30. OHaZZaR

Posts: 131; Member since: Aug 19, 2011

Sounds like it has the best of Super AMOLED displays without the blue tint. I just want a 1080p Super AMOLED display, I'm a huge fan of super high contrast ratios.

33. ngo2dd

Posts: 896; Member since: Jul 08, 2011

Dude just download EZ file manger for it. The Nexus does come with one either. It is not hard.

22. gboo2565

Posts: 10; Member since: Feb 29, 2012

I cant understand the advantage of on screen buttons, as all it does is makes the screen so much smaller and wastes the space under it...

17. amiroo

Posts: 269; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

DNA best in the market this year.

7. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

This will come down to the price point. If you can get the DNA under $400 off contract, I'd easily recommend it over the Nexus 4, but over that price it's Note II territory, and if you're willing to pay for a high-end device, that's by far the best you can get. Luckily for us I expect the DNA to drop to that mark in months or 3, and it will still be very much futureproof.

10. OHaZZaR

Posts: 131; Member since: Aug 19, 2011

I completely agree. The Droid is a pretty awesome device with it's 1080p display but that's all it has that the competition doesn't, save for the beast of a quad-core processor that many phones are getting these days. The GALAXY Note has the S-pen and the apps that come with it, an even larger screen, it's selling like hot-cakes and if the original Note's any indication, it'll get updated quite frequently, not on time of course but it'll get them. The Droid DNA will probably get supported for a shorter amount of time. Everything else is just personal preference and Nature UX really grew on me.

6. mydi.maus unregistered

both are great phones there is just up and down for either,but im gonna go with dna on this one,...

14. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I agree totally. The DNA's 1080p TRUE HD Screen makes the LG Nexus 4's 720p HD screen obsolete. As a matter of fact it makes EVERY other display out in the market obsolete. This time NEXT year every HIGH-END smartphone will have a 1080p HD screen. The future is now & 1080p is the NEW standard. +1

21. android78 unregistered

I thought you was a apple fanboy???? I love android and will never switch sides to the dark side, I got the dna, and the sg3. The dna is the best smartphone i ever owned, I like the nexus 4, but I have always been a fan of htc phones, the htc sense, beats audio, now the 1080p screen. How the hell can ppl even want a i phone 5. Go get that Htc Droid Dna!!!!!!!

5. wendygarett unregistered

Nexus 4 I choose you!!!

8. wendygarett unregistered

Omg 1080p does visible o.o!!! Thank you pa for showing us the display comparison...

3. louiemapa

Posts: 28; Member since: Nov 01, 2012

why no lumia 920 comparison PA? c'mon..

4. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010 There are a few lumia comparisons on the link I posted....

9. louiemapa

Posts: 28; Member since: Nov 01, 2012

i mean compare it with other phones, like 920 vs iphone or S3 or nexus 4

11. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

yes, there are some comparisons there...

12. louiemapa

Posts: 28; Member since: Nov 01, 2012

but its not lumia 920 against other flagship.

2. bubbadoes

Posts: 1225; Member since: May 03, 2012

PA the DNA runs JB also . Both are nice devices and credit should be given to both devices for running JB in conclusion vice just the N4

18. g2a5b0e unregistered

The DNA runs JB 4.1. The Nexus runs JB 4.2.

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