The Android smartphone market is about to heat up immensely in the next couple of weeks as Verizon, the undisputed king of 4G LTE, launches two new large-screened devices in the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and presumably a competitor, the HTC Droid DNA. The devices will do battle against each other on Verizon’s network and with their large screens, and powerful hardware, they both be appealing to consumers. But how do they stack up against each other? Let’s take a look.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is very much official, announced for Verizon weeks ago. It and its 5.5-inch display will be gracing Verizon’s 4G LTE network at some point later on this month. The device is the first Galaxy Note for Verizon’s network and one that Android enthusiasts and average consumers have been pining for since the arrival of the original Galaxy Note. It’s an exciting device to be sure.
As for the Droid DNA, it’s a heavily rumored 5-inch phablet that while not official, has leaked out numerous times over the past few weeks, exposing several of its inner most secrets. It’s also a device that we think is heavily going to draw from the HTC Butterfly J, a device that will be headed to Japan in December. The HTC Butterfly J is an impressive looking device and so, we expect the same from the Droid DNA.
So how does the Droid DNA look compared to the Galaxy Note 2 so far? Well, here we take a deep dive into everything we know about the Droid DNA and match it up against everything we know about Verizon’s Galaxy Note 2.
Here is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 versus the rumored version of the HTC Droid DNA.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has already arrived on three U.S. carriers and will be heading to two more before it’s all said and done. Sprint, U.S. Cellular and T-Mobile have all already launched the Galaxy Note 2. And while the AT&T Galaxy Note 2 will arrive tomorrow, November 9th, the Verizon model’s release date is a little more murky.
The carrier still hasn’t confirmed a release date for the new phablet only saying that will be arriving in the coming weeks. The pre-order suggests that it will start shipping out on November 27th which makes its rumored November 29th release date appear credible.
The Droid DNA release date is even more mysterious as Verizon still has yet to announce it. Right now, late November or early December are the prime candidates (we are leaning toward December) for launch with November 20th standing out as the only specific possibility for a release.
Rumors aside, it’s clear that these devices will be launching in close proximity to each other which will not only give consumers options but should also make the chose more difficult.
The new Galaxy Note 2 is bigger and thinner than the previous Galaxy Note model. Specifically, it measures 51.1 x 80.5 x 9.4mm thin with a weight of 180 grams. That’s fairly thin for a smartphone but quite heavy. The large size of the device is why many call it a phablet.
The previous version of the Galaxy Note was quite rectangular. However, with the Galaxy Note 2, the design has shifted to look more like the Galaxy S3 with its curved edges. Think of it like a large Galaxy S3.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is made of plastic but the polycarbonate material is both durable and easy to hold.
Verizon’s Droid DNA will also take some hints from previous designs. In its case, HTC has seemingly drawn from the designs of the Droid Incredible. From a leaked photo, the Droid DNA appears to use the Droid Incredible 2′s backing which is made of polycarbonate. It also looks like it’s extremely thin though we still aren’t sure of the exact specifications.
Something else to keep in mind is that HTC is a big proponent of thin designs, as seen with the HTC One series, and we should see that carry over to the Droid DNA.
Both devices will feature unique displays. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2’s display is a monstrous 5.5-inch Super AMOLED HD display, much larger than any mainstream smartphone on the market. The display itself features 1280 x 720 resolution with 267 pixels per inch.
It also features a 16:9 aspect ratio which will allow users to view widescreen content without wide black bars. The display is so large that two people can easily enjoy a movie together The display also features support for the device’s S-Pen stylus which means users can both write and draw on the screen.
While the Droid DNA display will be large at 5-inches, it’s the resolution that will likely set it apart from other phones. The HTC Butterfly J, the device it’s based on, features a LCD-3 display with full HD 1080p resolution with a whopping 440ppi.
If the Droid DNA follows in its footsteps, it would be the first device with this type of resolution in the United States and it would mean that content would look absolutely gorgeous, perfect for a device of this size.
These two devices might have their differences but there are certainly many similarities, particularly in the spec department. Here, we breakdown the rest of the specifications found on the Galaxy Note 2 and Droid DNA.
These are the specs of the Galaxy Note 2.
- 5.5-inch Super AMOLED HD display with 1280×720 resolution
- 1.6GHz Quad-core Exynos Processor
- 16GB Storage
- 8MP Camera/1.9MP Front-Facing
- 3100mAh Battery
- 2GB of RAM
And here, the rumored specs of the Droid DNA.
- 5-inch LCD-3 Full HD 1080p Display
- 1.5GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor
- 16GB Storage
- 8MP Camera/2MP Camera
- 2,020 mAh Battery
- 2GB of RAM
The Droid DNA is rumored to have a smaller battery than the Galaxy Note 2, that may be non-removable. However, it’s rumored to match the Galaxy Note 2 in terms of processor power and RAM which should translate to smoother software and better gaming.
With the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Samsung kept virtually the same cameras found on the previous version of the Galaxy Note. That means it’s equipped with an 8MP rear camera and a 1.9MP front-facing camera. Both are solid, but they are not the best money can buy on a smartphone.
A sample from the Galaxy Note 2 camera can be seen below.
The Droid DNA’s cameras were revealed to likely be 8MP in the rear and 2MP in the front for high quality video chat. Megapixels aren’t everything but in the case of the Droid DNA, there is promise.
That’s because HTC, with the HTC One series, upped its camera game. The camera found on the HTC One X was just about as good as the camera on the iPhone 4S and thus, we expect something good from the Droid DNA cameras. HTC clearly understands how important it is to include a great camera on a smartphone and the Droid DNA should sport some solid hardware.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will be running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box. Android 4.1 is not the most current version of Android 4.1 but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s one of the first devices to feature the software right from the get-go. It also means that it should get the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update, the latest version of Jelly Bean, sooner than most devices.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was, before Android 4.2, Google’s best version of Android to date with features like Google Now, expanded notifications and more. Our favorite features can be seen in the video below.
The Galaxy Note 2 also features some unique qualities. Samsung has loaded it up with applications that take full advantage of its S-Pen stylus including apps for easy note taking and one that allows users to simply use the pen to hover over calendar events and emails to get a preview before opening them.
It also features powerful multitasking including a feature called Multi-Window which allows users to split the massive display up into two parts, each hosting a different application. For instance, users can surf the web on one side while checking Facebook on the other.
Verizon’s Droid DNA still doesn’t have confirmed software though it would be shocking to see it launch with a version other than Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Android 4.2 still hasn’t arrived for Nexus smartphones and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is aging. So that means that it should be running Android 4.1 at the start.
There should also be some kind of HTC Sense on board, possibly HTC Sense 4+. Like the Galaxy Note 2, it may also contain unique applications that take advantage of its screen size or resolution though that’s just speculative at this point.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 is or will be available on the five largest service providers in the United States. That list includes AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless. All five will be offering the device on their 4G LTE high-speed networks though T-Mobile’s device will need to wait for support to arrive.
That’s because T-Mobile doesn’t yet have a 4G LTE network up and running. In the meantime, the device will run on HSPA+ 42, which while fast, doesn’t offer the same speeds as 4G LTE.
Verizon’s 4G LTE network is the largest in the land as it features over 400 4G LTE markets in the U.S., dwarfing AT&T, Sprint and U.S. Cellular. The carrier will complete its 4G LTE roll out way ahead of schedule as well as it announced today that it will complete its coverage in mid-2013.
As for the Droid DNA, prospective buyers will only have one choice. Fortunately, it’s the best one at the moment. The Droid DNA will be heading to Verizon’s network as all Droid devices do.
Because the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is available on five different carriers, there is different pricing that consumers are going to need to look at. While AT&T, Sprint, U.S. Cellular and Verizon all charge $299.99 on-contract for the 16GB Galaxy Note 2, T-Mobile charges $370 on-contract, a much steeper price. Still, for many, $299.99 is extremely expensive possibly to the point of pricing them out.
The Droid DNA may pose no such issues as right now, the rumored price is $199.99 on-contract at Verizon. That’s the price that was revealed by a leaked Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) for Verizon’s devices.
If true, that could be a huge advantage over the Galaxy Note 2.