It’s good to be the tester! (HTC DROID DNA Review)

Sometimes, it can be good to be the tester.  And by good I mean really good.  By virtue of my love for testing, and HTC smartphones, I got the opportunity to get my hands on a pre-release version of the DROID DNA, the new flagship ultra-awesome 5-inch Android smartphone from HTC.  Woo!

Now, I recognize that this is a testing blog, which means I should probably jump right into all the bugs I am finding on the phone (which due to the fact that this is one of the first 1080p devices on the market, there are plenty issues with individual apps regarding screen resolution), but I want to focus first on some of the cool new features the phone has.  I have heard several people in the testing community suggest reporting positive and negative feedback to developers, so we’ll run with that idea for a bit.

5″ Screen

The first thing about this phone that any discussion will likely start on is about the display.  the 5″ screen packs in 1920 x 1080 pixels (that is 440 ppi!).  Contrast that to the Samsung Galaxy Note II which has a 5.5″ screen and is only 1280 x 720 (which coincedentally is the same resolution as my HTC Rezound on a 4.2″ screen).  Or even contrast that to the wimpy screen on the iPhone 5 which brags about a screen that is 1136 x 640 with only 326 ppi.  HTC has produced the most pixel-dense screen on the market and it is absolutely incredible to see.

Another note here on the size of the screen.  Some of the other phones on the market with massive screens that I have seen are very unwieldy.  It seems the HTC engineers worked overtime on this phone to keep the bezel incredibly small on this phone, which means a huge screen does not equate to a huge phone.  I can easily handle the phone with one hand.  This phone seems to stay much closer to the phone side of the phablet spectrum.


HTC phones (I have found) have always had great cameras.  I have been using HTC phones for just over 2 years now and in those 2 years have used my actual digital camera only a handful of times.  The DROID DNA is no exception.  HTC has put some really interesting features into the cameras on this phone that are worth talking about.

– HTC VideoPic

As if recording 1080p HD video wasn’t enough, the DROID DNA offers the ability to snap still shots WHILE recording video.  I have tested this feature out a bit and I have to admit this will be nice for sharing videos of my daughter with family, while still getting stills to throw in scrapbooks or to send for prints.

– Front camera

The DROID DNA got the same front lens as the HTC 8x.  This thing has an amazingly wide angle and has some great features for making your self portraits much better.  With a default timer of 2 seconds, you can hold your arm out, snap the shot, and do so easily without the camera shaking and blurring the image.  For more info on this check out the HTC Full Frontal campaign they are running on the 8x.

– Burst mode

Snap up to 99 pictures in a row, up to 4/sec.  With this and GIFBoom I see my co-workers having way too much fun.

– 8MP camera

Did I mention the camera itself captures stunning shots, reacts incredibly well in low and high-light situations.

Android Jelly Bean

Out of the box you get the most recent version of the Android OS along with HTC Sense 4+.  I personally have always been a fan of HTC Sense and definitely am not let down here.

I could keep going, but I’m sure others will cover more of the features in much better detail than I can.  All in all, this is a great device and looks like it will be for a while to come.  i want to offer a big thanks to HTC for the chance to try out the device.  If anyone has specific questions feel free to ask in the comments.

Here are some of the specs for this new phone:

  • Platform: Android™ 4.1 Jelly Bean with HTC Sense™ (also known as Sense 4+)
  • Processor: Qualcomm® APQ8064 Quad-core 1.5 GHz, MDM9615M
  • Memory1: 16 GB, 2 GB RAM
  • Networks2: CDMA: 800/1900MHz; UMTS/HSPA: 850/900/1900/2100MHz; GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz; LTE 700 MHz (Band 13)
  • Camera with HTC ImageSense™: 8 MP main camera with auto focus, LED flash, BSI sensor, f/2.0 aperture, 28mm lens, 1080p HD video recording, 2.1 MP front-facing camera, Dedicated HTC ImageChip™
  • Display: 5-inch super LCD3, HD 1080p, Gorilla® Glass 2
  • Audio: Beats Audio™ built in
  • Battery3: 2020 mAh LI-ION (embedded)
  • Dimensions (LxWxT): 141 x 70.5 x 9.73 mm
  • Weight: 140 g

The full spec sheet

Cameras: 8MP, f/2.0, 28mm wide angle lens, smart LED flash, BSI sensor, autofocus, HTC ImageChip, and 1080p HD video recorder, 2.1MP, f/2.0, 88 degree ultra-wide angle front-facing camera, HTC ImageChip and 1080p HD video recorder
Display: 5-inch 1080p Full HD super LCD 3 display with Gorilla Glass 2; 1920 x 1080 resolution with 440 pixels per inch (PPI)
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 Pro quad-core 1.5 GHz processor (APQ 8064 and MDM 9615M)
OS: HTC Sense™ 4+ with Android™ 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean)
Memory: 16 GB eMMC*, 2 GB RAM
Battery: 2020 mAh Lithium-Ion Polymer – embedded
Network Technology/Compatibility: CDMA: 800/1900MHz; GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz; UMTS/HSPA: 850/900/1900/2100MHz; LTE 700 MHz (Band 13) Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz)
Dimensions: 141 x 70.5 x 9.73 mm
Weight: 142 grams / 5.01 ounces
• NFC enabled
• Embedded-Wireless Charging
• HDMI via MHL
• DLNA compatible
• HTC Media Link HD compatible
• HTML 5
• Micro USB
• Micro SIM
• Pre-loaded HD game, Reign of Amira from Qualcomm Studios
• 3.5mm Stereo Audio Jack
• 2.55v Built-In Headset Amp
• Amplified Speaker
• Dual Microphone with Noise Cancellation
• Bluetooth 4.0 and apt-X
• Accelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor, Gyro Sensor

One Response to this post.

  1. Posted by chris hamby on 13.11.12 at 8:42 am

    I currently use the HTC One X….love the screen and the phone. Can’t wiat for the Jelly Bean update. The only downside is the terrible battery so I ordered a powerskin to help it out a little bit.