HTC Droid DNA review

Verizon and 'quietly brilliant' HTC get big and flashy

Droid DNA
Droid DNA joins the HTC gene pool

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The Droid DNA is a very good smartphone, thanks to beefy hardware and Android 4.1: Jelly Bean.

It's also a very big smartphone. Coming in at over 5-inches, it barely fits in a pocket. At that size, it might be something of a niche device, but its one we recommend with few reservations.

We liked

The overall performance of the Droid DNA is very impressive. A quad-core smartphone is nothing new, but 2GB of RAM is. These specs show from the minute you boot up the DNA and start flying across its panels. Standard apps open in the blink of an eye, and the load times on games are a breeze.

Verizon's 4G LTE service is just as quick. The DNA is exclusive to the big red carrier, and benefits from its stellar data service and reliable call quality. There's still the gripe about the lack of unlimited data plans, but we're learning to live with that.

The DNA's screen is one of the best on the market. It's full 1080p, and with 440 ppi, it edges out the iPhone 5's retina display for sheer pixel density. Some users may prefer the way the Galaxy S3 and Droid Razr HD amp up and over-saturate colors, but we prefer the true to life approach.

It also has a great camera. Even in low light, it manages to fill the frame with color. It's one of many in a long line of HTC phones with high quality image capturing.

It's a handsome phone with just the right amount of flash. The unibody design gives it a clean, simple look. The price is right, too. At $199 with new contract, the DNA is one of the best deals you'll find on Verizon.

We disliked

The amount of storage on the DNA is disappointing. 16GB is not a lot after you factor in the OS, especially on a phone that seems built for media consumption.

It's the lack of removable storage that really gets us. We know the phone benefits by its sealed body design, achieving a relatively slight frame, but the DNA needed either a big hard drive or microSD support. Sadly, it got neither, and it makes us wonder if HTC will introduce a 32 or 64GB model, like they did with the One X+.

Then we come to HTC's Sense 4+ UI. It's not bad, we just prefer the way good old fashion Android lays most things out. HTC's flagship time and weather widget is charming, though.

The battery was merely ok, which is not surprising on a 4G LTE phone with a humongous screen, but better than other HTC devices like the One X+ Still, if you go easy on the media streaming, the DNA will get you through the day just fine. If you plan to game a lot, say on the train to work, consider a second charger for the office.

Lastly, the buttons the DNA are just a little too flush. We appreciate that it has a slim, no snag profile, but it's rather hard to press the unlock button. It doesn't help that it's on the top, either. The phone is so big that it's hard to get a solid grip and reach the top – note that this complaint is coming from someone with big hands.


The Droid DNA is a very good phone. Its hardware performance is the definition of consistency, giving snappy load times and overall excellent performance.

Its sheer size makes it a bit of niche device, since its not easy to stuff in a pocket or manipulate with one hand. The lower-end storage size will likely have media mongerers shuffling files more often than they'd like, but it's worth it for that glorious 5-inch, 1080p screen.

A few flaws aside, the Droid DNA by HTC is one of the best phones HTC has ever produced. Now if only it had the One X+'s larger hard drive size, then it might be the best phone on Verizon. As it stands, it's more like one of the best deals. You can't get more performance for $199 than with the DNA - for now, at least.