Seen as a rarity even now, we’re humbled to find the HTC DROID DNA running Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean out of the box. Knowing that, it’s wonderful that we’re given access to all the neat features in tow with the Jelly Bean experience. Meaning, we’re presented with useful things such as Google Now, enhanced notification system, and project butter. Layered over it all, however, is the HTC Sense 4.0+ experience, which may lack some of the additional features found with other custom UIs – like Smart Stay and Multi Windows from Samsung's TouchWiz, for example, but overall, it's a well-made interface with good-looking and polished UI.

Indeed, there’s still a lot to like about the Sense 4.0+ experience, like its variety of useful widgets, deep personalization, and quick apps access via the lock screen, but beyond that, there is nothing particularly new with this latest version.


As we’ve clearly made well known, the Sense 4.0+ experience on the DROID DNA doesn’t differ from past versions. Therefore, all of the core organizer apps have remained intact. So whether it’s the calendar or clock apps you’re looking at, their presentations and features are carried over from the previous version of Sense.

Additionally, the email experience on the handset is your typical one, as they consist of the Gmail and standard Email apps. With the former, we’re given all of the extensive set of features found with the usual Gmail desktop experience, and with the latter, it’s used to organize our other email accounts. Obviously, the setup process is an uncomplicated one, seeing that it only requires our email address and password for automatic setup completion.

Dishing up a new Sense keyboard layout, we’re initially typing at a slow pace due to the minimal spacing between buttons, which causes accidental presses along the way – and that’s despite having a sizable 5-inch display! However, after some practice and the aid of its auto-correct feature, we’re soon finding ourselves moving at a steadier pace.

Processor and Memory:

Most people forget, higher resolution screens require beefy hardware in order to maintain a tolerable performance. Well, the HTC DROID DNA isn’t a slouch in the processing department – that’s because it’s outfitted with the latest and greatest from Qualcomm. Specifically, it’s being powered by a quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Looking at its overall performance, we really can’t complain about it, since it exhibits a fair amount of finesse with basic operations – like opening apps or surfing the web. Although it’s very responsive with all tasks, even more processor intensive ones like playing 3D games, it doesn’t quite have the same level of snappiness we’ve seen on the LG Optimus G. Nonetheless, quickly glancing over its benchmark scores undeniably shows why it’s a beast on its own.

Quadrant Standard AnTuTu NenaMark 2
HTC DROID DNA 7888 13917 59,1
Motorola DROID RAZR HD 4972 6787 59,6
Samsung Galaxy Note II
5715 13579 58
LG Intuition 3482 6854 36,5

Bummer to say the least, the HTC DROID DNA doesn’t offer any storage expandability whatsoever. Instead, it’s stuffed with 16GB of internal storage, which translates over to a laughable 11GB out of the box.

Internet and Connectivity:

Surfing the web couldn’t be any sweeter on the DROID DNA, especially knowing that it has one flawless performance and lightning fast 4G LTE connectivity with it. Not surprisingly, complex web pages like ours load in a jiffy thanks to the goodness of 4G LTE speeds, but even better with this HTC-made device, it’s not plagued by those annoying blinking actions found with the HTC One X and its variants. Rather, we’re greeted with proper rendering, super details courtesy of its 1080p display, buttery smooth navigational controls, and perfect reflowing of text with each zoom level. All in all, things couldn’t be any sweeter in the web browsing department!

Even though it’s enabled to work on Verizon’s network domestically, the DROID DNA actually has a GSM radio inside of it for international travel – though stateside, 4G LTE connectivity is achieved through Verizon only. Testing out its speeds, we’re able to achieve maximum results of 21Mbps down and 2Mbps up. Positioned as a high-end smartphone, it’s armed to the tooth with all of the contemporary connectivity features we’d expect to find – such as aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, mobile hotspot functionality, and NFC.



1. jubbing

Posts: 150; Member since: Aug 20, 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.

7. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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

9. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 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.

11. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 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!!

19. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I have to agree with you guys. I am VERY impressed with the HTC Droid DNA. On the section where “Joooooohn V. from” 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.

23. androiddownsouth

Posts: 598; Member since: May 02, 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!

26. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

androiddownsouth, 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

28. androiddownsouth

Posts: 598; Member since: May 02, 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!

108. thelegend6657 unregistered

But sense is so beautiful

128. Vaanres

Posts: 5; Member since: Feb 02, 2011

but sense is beautiful and a lot of fetures

27. theoak

Posts: 324; Member since: Nov 16, 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.

29. androiddownsouth

Posts: 598; Member since: May 02, 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.=)

31. tomn1ce

Posts: 248; Member since: Mar 12, 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....

36. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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.

116. Kratos93

Posts: 4; Member since: Sep 17, 2012

Seriously, wtf is so hard about making a snapdragon proset phone with: 1. Micro SD 2. removable battery 3. at least 2500 mAh

118. Dr.Android

Posts: 23; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

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

122. Birds

Posts: 1172; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

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

49. OHaZZaR

Posts: 131; Member since: Aug 19, 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.

53. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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

59. OptimusOne

Posts: 694; Member since: May 22, 2012

its called "the cloud" or if you are really smart just change the partition sizes with another hboot

89. davin8r unregistered

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!

52. OptimusOne

Posts: 694; Member since: May 22, 2012

I love the price if not anything else

126. RubeDog64

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 26, 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.

2. schinnak

Posts: 116; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

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

35. John.V

Posts: 99; Member since: May 27, 2011

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

43. ZEUS.the.thunder.god unregistered

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

66. i_hate_my_life

Posts: 24; Member since: Dec 17, 2010

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

3. miladkhahil

Posts: 26; Member since: Dec 08, 2008

Very nice for only LTE Verizon customers

4. testman22

Posts: 339; Member since: Nov 03, 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.

12. Raymond_htc

Posts: 430; Member since: Apr 06, 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.
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 2.1 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, Quad-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB
  • Battery 2020 mAh(12.8h talk time)

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