I have to give up a lot of single-hand usage on an S3-sized phone (compared to the iPhone or the similarly-sized HTC Incredible 4G, shown in the second panel). But I was prepared to live with that. If I had to, for example, use two hands every time I type, I’d do it for the beauty of that screen. The problem is I can’t do anything on the Droid DNA with one hand.
It’s quirky just unlocking the phone with one hand, and there is no law of physics or grip exercise that will get my thumb from the navigation buttons on the bottom to the menu/refresh areas which are now mostly at the top of the screen. This is a common motion with the Android operating system, and it just can’t be done without shifting my grip dramatically — which is the thing you do right before you drop the phone. Then the swearing.
Like the Samsung Galaxy Note, I’d call the Droid DNA a really tiny tablet.
The next dichotomy with the DNA is storage, as in you get 16GB built in, but no option for external. I realize the cloud is out there (noting that hitting my Box or Amazon account all the time is going to cost me even more battery life), but if I’m taking 8MP photos and shooting 1080p videos and listening to my (eclectic) music collection with Beats and gaming on that brilliant screen — all the things a powerhouse like the DNA wants you to do — then I’m running out of 16GB real quick. Not to mention that, according to my Astro File Manager, it’s really 11GB after the OS and bloatware.
Speaking of photos, you can see the image above where the DNA took a picture of the Incredible 4G and vice versa. The Incredible picture just looks better, and the Incredible camera is good, not awesome. I took a lot of washed out, red-eye pictures with the DNA. When the picture was good, it was amazing, but I wound up taking 5 or 6 shots (which the DNA does in super-rapid succession), to get one good one.
Jellybean, again, is fantastic. I covered Jellybean pretty thoroughly in this review, so I won’t get too deeply into it here, but the OS finally brings Android up to date as a competitor with iOS and in many ways surpasses it. Unless you’re a die-hard Apple fanboy, this is the OS you want.
And finally, the keyboard, which for me is a huge factor that isn’t talked about enough. The HTC keyboard has always been my favorite in terms of versatility, and that translates really well to the DNA, including a muted haptic response that you just barely notice.
As I usually do, I typed about 2/3 of this article on the Droid DNA itself, and it was a pleasure. Love the keyboard. Have to use two hands at all times.
Overall, the DNA is a stellar phone with an amazing screen that is just not for me.
I need to be able to get through a medium-usage, 16-hour day without charging.
I need to do some tasks (photos, dialing, note taking, app launching) with one hand.
I need to know I’m not going to have to offload music, photos, and video routinely.
As it is, the Droid DNA is almost perfectly designed, very powerful at the expense of the battery, bold but questionably stylish, somewhat trendy, and kinda inexpensive.
What’s disappointing is that if the phone were maybe 0.5 inches smaller (maybe requiring a 4.8-inch screen like the S3), had a better battery or at least an option for a larger battery and cover at the expense of a fatter phone, and had either a 64GB option or was expandable, I’d probably be in love with HTC all over again.