Look out Samsung Galaxy Note II, there's a new kid on the block, at least if you're a Verizon Wireless customer, and that's the HTC Droid DNA. Variously rumored as the HTC DLX and Butterfly J for the US, the HTC Droid DNA is one of our top smartphones for 2012. It has a slim and elegant design and it's relatively narrow, which makes holding this 5" Android phone easier than you might think. It trounces the Note II and every other smartphone on the market with its 1920 x 1080 Super LCD 3 display. That's 440ppi pixel density; significantly higher than the iPhone 5's Retina display and the lovely Nokia Lumia 920 332ppi display. Colors are more balanced and natural compared to Samsung's Super AMOLED HD display and letters and images look painted on the screen, much like the HTC One X and iPhone 5. The curved glass display is make of Gorilla Glass.
But it doesn't stop there; this 5 ounce phone runs on a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S 4 Pro CPU. The "Pro" is the important big: it's the quad core variant of the S4 previously found on the speedy LG Optimus G and Nexus 4. The HTC DNA, running Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean absolutely flies. It feels noticeably faster than other high end Android phones, despite pushing all those extra pixels. It has 2 gigs of RAM and 16 gigs of storage. That's a sore point for us: we'd really like to see more than 16 gigs of storage since there's no microSD card slot.
The Droid DNA has a sealed unibody design with a soft touch charcoal black back. It's a stunner and feels great in hand, though it doesn't look quite as interesting as the polycarbonate unibody design of the One X. It's surprisingly slim at 0.38" and we love the metallic red stripes on the side along with the red rear camera lens ring and top power button. The DNA makes the shiny plastic Note II and Galaxy S III look a little cheap: HTC has always been good at premium materials. Where does the Note II pull ahead? For those of you who enjoy the Wacom digital pen, you won't find that hear. You also won't see the neato side-by-side app view that you get on the Note II.
The phone has a 2020 mAh battery, dual band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a GPS and NFC. As you'd expect from HTC, it has Beats audio that kicks in when you plug in headphones and there's a 2.55v headset and speaker amp inside. The DNA has 3G EV-DO Rev. A and 4G LTE on Verizon and it's a world phone than can handle GSM/HSPA roaming abroad. The Droid DNA has a wide angle front 2.1MP camera and an excellent rear 8MP camera with BSI, fast f/2.0 lens and 28mm wide angle lens.
The HTC Droid DNA will be available November 21 on Verizon Wireless for $199 with contract. Here's our HTC Droid DNA video review. Our full written review will follow.