We pretty much knew what to expect going into the Droid DNA event this week. The 5-inch “don’t call it a phablet” phone had been leaked in various forms, although its specs and specifically its 5-inch, 1080p 441PPI display seemed a little “too good” to be true.
It wasn’t. Pretty much from the second we picked up this monster of a phone, reality set in in a big way. While the phone is large —mostly just a wrapper for the 5-inch display— it is also much lighter than you’d expect, especially if you are coming from last year’s hand-grenade of a Verizon HTC flagship phone, the Rezound. The rubbery-plastic back that is becoming popular with Android phones, and red-plastic ‘race car’ accents shave a lot of weight from the device, but it still feels plenty solid. The back picks up oils from hands and seems to scratch fairly easily, although with that screen on the other side, you probably won’t spend much time looking at the back.
It is important to say here…HTC and Verizon are positioning the DNA as a phone and not a ‘phablet’, and they can make that claim for two reasons: the DNA is much narrower than the Note/2, and it is much, much lighter. In fact it is 42 grams lighter.
NOTE 2: 5.94″ x 3.17″ x 0.37″ (151 x 81 x 9 mm)6.34 oz (180 g)
DNA: 5.55″ x 2.78″ x 0.38″ (141 x 70.5 x 9.73 mm) 4.87 oz (138 g)
The narrow body lets you do one-handed typing, and the weight is actually a lot less than the 4.5-inch phones released over the last two years.
The speaker, also located on the back, didn’t impress me as much as a ‘Beats’ device with a dedicated amplifier probably should have. Still, I’d rate it as very good for a smartphone. However, when it is laid on its back, the sound is muffled. There is some room for improvement here. Also, on the back near the camera, an indicator light flashes when you have a notification. HTC could probably have been a bit more creative here and used the camera’s flash.
Speaking of the camera, this is one of the best I’ve ever used on a smartphone. HTC continues to lead on a hardware front with its F2.0 8-megapixel-backside camera and perhaps the best front-side camera I’ve used: an F2.0 2.2MP 1080p front-facing camera. Both are top-notch for both stills and 1080p video.
Then there is the screen.