updated 02:14 pm EST, Wed November 14, 2012
Display raises the bar
HTC unveiled its latest Android flagship, the Droid DNA, at a media event on Tuesday in New York City, where Electronista had a chance to try out the new device ahead of its formal launch. The company appears to be refining its One series under Verizon's Droid brand, adding a five-inch LCD 3 display with 1920x1080 resolution, though the device is marketed as a thoroughbred smartphone rather than a "phablet."
The display is the DNA's focal point, representing one of the first smartphone-size panels with full HD resolution. We were impressed by the resolution, which is noticeable when zoomed out on websites with small text, though the step up from 1280x720 is less apparent when playing video or viewing images and graphics. The five-inch spread offers 400-pixel-per-inch density, a significant jump from the iPhone's 326-ppi display.
The spectacular display is paired with Qualcomm's latest quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor and 2GB of RAM. Pending benchmark verification, we found the DNA to be an extremely fast handset that provides an experience comparable to the fastest smartphones on the market.
We also liked the camera improvements, including 1080p video recording from either sensor. The f2.0 rear-facing lens is paired with an eight-megapixel sensor, while the 2.1-megapixel front-facing shooter features an ultra-wide angle lens to capture a wider shot when taking self-portraits with background scenes or several subjects.
The DNA's red anodization and black accents make the device one of the more distinctive Android offerings, though we would have preferred a liquid-resistant design. It is surprisingly phone-sized despite the five-inch display, in contrast to the Galaxy Note's 5.3-inch spread. HTC appears to have neared the maximum display size that can be fit into a device and still call it a phone.
Verizon is currently taking pre-orders for the DNA, with shipping slated for November 21. The phone costs $199 with a new or upgrade-eligible contract.