- Reception and call quality Call quality is average, but not spectacular.
- Display The best display on a phone, period.
- Battery life Battery life is surprisingly good. I am a fairly heavy user and I am able to make it from 7am-6pm on a charge with about 10-20% to spare.
- Camera One of the best non-iPhone cameras I've used.
- Ease of use Android has come a long way in terms of usability, but still has some general issues. Menu button placement is sporadic with apps, which can cause confusion.
- Design and form factor Very sleek device. Only minor gripes: MicroUSB cover, power button placement.
- Portability (size / weight) Amazingly easy to hold and use despite the size. Completely surprised me when I used it for myself.
- Media support 1080p display is incredible for movies and video that supports it. There is a lack of 1080p content in both apps and video that can cause issues.
- Durability No visible damage after 2 weeks of use. Slight creaking noise in one spot on the back, though you have to go out of your way to make it happen.
- Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) Android has come a long way in the last few years. I was amazed to find that several apps I have come to love on iOS are actually better on Android.
The DNA easily sports the best hardware you can find on Verizon Wireless. The 5" 1080p screen is easily the greatest display I've seen on a phone to date. The camera is easily one of the best you can get without an Apple logo on the back, though it doesn't have some of the neat features that are starting to come out on other devices, particularly from Nokia.
I would have preferred to have a unibody polycarbonate design, like the One X, but the build of the DNA is solid enough to not make it a huge issue. The soft-touch material on the back feels nice in the hand, and definitely helps to ensure that the phone stays in your hand, and not on the floor. There is one spot on my device, under the camera on the opposite side from the volume rocker, that creaks a bit when you press on it. This is impossible during normal use, as you have to basically pinch the phone in that spot and press on the spot. I am concerned that the phone may start to "loosen up" over the course of the next couple of years, but that is one of the normal issues with plastic devices.
The red color accents, especially the red grills on the sides of the device are definitely not for everyone. I have always enjoyed the red accents on HTC's Droid-series phones, and this one is no different.
As I said earlier, the 5" form factor is actually easy to hold and use, even one-handed. There are sometimes where I needed to shift my grip a bit to do some actions, but now I do it without any thought.
The DNA comes with Android 4.1 Jellybean, with Sense 4+ on top of it. I may be in the minority but I really enjoy Sense, and I think that HTC is on the right track with simplifying their interface for Android. The built-in Sense apps, such as Notes, are pretty good in their own right. Also, the HTC has some of the most cohesive and well-designed widgets on Android today.
My one issue with the software is actually not HTC's fault as far as I can tell. The main issue is that Android is shifting away from hardware buttons, and on this device one of the hardware buttons that is missing is the "Menu" button. This means that each application either has to code their own menu key into the application (usually in the top right corner), or the OS seems to just place a large black menu button across the bottom of the application, taking up a lot of screen real estate.
As far as applications go, I feel that Android has definitely come a long way in the last two years. Back then I had a Droid Eris, and the application experience was often inferior to iOS. Today, though, many of the applications that I enjoyed on iOS over the last 18 months are actually better on Android, in both speed and UI. This isn't true for every application, however, as I have yet to find a twitter client as nice as Tweetbot, nor have I found a Reddit app that is as smooth as Alien Blue. These are very specific cases, however, and not a universal experience across the ecosystem.
The HTC Droid DNA is easily the best smartphone you can buy on Verizon today. It's also arguably the best Android device, period. The only other device that I feel is competitive is the Nexus 4, which lacks LTE and is stuck on inferior carriers.
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