Finally, after weeks and weeks of rumors and speculation, HTC and Verizon announced the new Droid DNA smartphone that will be coming out in just a few days to compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. We took a look at how the rumored version of the Droid DNA matched up against the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 but now it’s time to see how the official Droid DNA matches up against Verizon’s other big name large-screen smartphone.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is Samsung’s update to its Galaxy Note line and while it was released a short time ago in the United States, it will only be coming to Verizon at some point this month. That timing means that it will be matched up with the Droid DNA, the 5-inch smartphone that HTC launched today alongside Verizon at an event in New York City.
HTC’s Droid DNA is Verizon’s version of the HTC Butterfly J and it will be arriving in November as well to compete with the Galaxy Note 2 and LG Intuition this holiday shopping season. And while they are both large screen smartphones, each offers something different to consumers.
Here, we take a final look at the match up between the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 phablet and the HTC Droid DNA, a device that HTC and Verizon don’t refer to as a phablet, but as a smartphone.
While the HTC Droid DNA might have an official release date, Verizon has yet to issue one for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Right now, the site lists the device as shipping out on November 27th to pre-orderers which could mean that it will be arriving two days later on November 29th.
November 29th is currently the rumored release date for the Galaxy Note 2 though Verizon still has not confirmed that date to pre-orderers or to those interested in picking one up.
Verizon will likely make official details known in the coming days.
As for the Droid DNA, it will be launching in November, specifically, November 21st. Originally we had thought that it would be out in December but that information proved to be old.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2, plain and simple, is a bit of a monster. The new Galaxy Note 2 is both bigger and thinner than the previous Galaxy Note. 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 for a flagship.
And while the previous version of the Galaxy Note was rectangular in shape, the Galaxy Note 2 eschews that in favor of more rounded corners, falling in line with the Galaxy S3 design which Samsung says was inspired by nature. It still employs the same polycarbonate plastic as the Galaxy S3 as well.
As for the Droid DNA, it is thicker than the Galaxy Note 2 but it’s lighter. It checks in with a design that measures 9.65mm thin which is just a bit thicker than the monstrous Galaxy Note 2.
However, it weighs 140 grams which is lighter than the Galaxy Note 2. As for the specifics of the design, the Droid DNA draws from the Droid Incredible series of smartphones as well as the EVO 4G LTE. It’s plastic and it features a Droid Incredible style back with the large camera in the center with a EVO-like front with a similar shape and soft navigation keys.
The displays of both of these devices are unique in their own right. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2’s display is a massive 5.5-inches in size, much larger than any mainstream smartphone on the market today. Even the Droid DNA’s. Its monster Super AMOLED HD display features 1280 x 720 resolution with 267 pixels per inch (ppi) which should mean good quality photos and text.
As for content consumption, the 16:9 aspect ratio will allow users to view widescreen content without wide black bars. The display big enough 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.
The Droid DNA’s display might be its most desirable feature. It comes with a 5-inch full HD 1080p display that features a whopping 440ppi. Text is incredibly sharp, and photos look incredible. We imagine that movies will look fantastic as well.
The screen also features a 178 degree viewing angle which will make it easy to share photos and videos with large groups of people.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the Droid DNA are powerful smartphones, each featuring some high-end hardware specifications. But how, exactly, do the rest of their specs match up? Here we breakdown the specifications of the Galaxy Note 2 and the Droid DNA and take a look at some of their key differences.
First, 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
- 3,100mAh Battery (Removable)
- 2GB of RAM
And now, the Droid DNA.
- 5-inch LCD-3 Full HD 1080p Display
- 1.5GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro Processor
- 16GB Storage
- 8MP Camera/2.1MP Camera
- 2,020 mAh Battery (Non-Removable)
- 2GB of RAM
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will come equipped with an S-Pen stylus while the Droid DNA will not come with a stylus at all. Probably why the companies are not referring to it as a phablet.
The Droid DNA also employs a non-removable battery while the Galaxy Note 2 has a removable one.
The other major difference between the two from a spec standpoint is the battery size. The Galaxy Note 2 has a massive battery while the Droid DNA employs a much smaller one. That might make a difference, but, given that the Galaxy Note 2 screen is much larger and screens often eat up a ton of battery, it could be that the Droid DNA will be just fine.
Both devices feature powerful quad-core processors and NFC and they both only possess 16GB of on-board storage space.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 employs virtually the same cameras found in the original Galaxy Note. That means an 8MP rear camera that takes good photos and 1080p video and a 1.9MP front-facing camera that is solid for video chatting.
A sample taken with the Galaxy Note 2 can be seen below.
The Droid DNA features similar specifications but as of yet, we don’t have any photo samples to speak off. It will employ an 8MP rear camera and an ultra-wide angle front-facing camera.
The camera will feature HTC’s ImageChip which means users can easily switch between video and photo mode and let users take photos while shooting video.
Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the HTC Droid DNA will be running Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system which is not the company’s latest, but is the most current for carrier-operated devices.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is a huge improvement over the previous version, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and it brings a whole lot of new to the table including a feature called Google Now which can predict things based on usage, better notifications and widgets, a smoother, faster UI and a whole lot more.
Our favorite Android 4.1 Jelly Bean features can be seen below.
We imagine that both devices will be upgraded with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and will be among the first to receive the update.
Both devices offer some unique software beyond Android though. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has TouchWiz over the top of Android 4.1 and it features some powerful multitasking that will intrigue customers. The feature, called Multi-Window, 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.
Samsung has also loaded it up with applications that take full advantage of the Galaxy Note 2’s new ergonomic S-Pen stylus. The apps include an S-Not app for easy note taking and another that allows users to simply use the pen to hover over calendar events and emails to get a preview before opening them.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 benefits from the fact that it’s available on the five major U.S. mobile providers. That list includes AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon. For every carrier but T-Mobile, the Galaxy Note 2 works on 4G LTE which means it’s able to pull down data speeds up to 10 times faster than typical 3G speeds.
T-Mobile won’t have its 4G LTE network in place until 2013 and until then, its Galaxy Note 2 will be running on an HSPA+ 42 network which, while fast, is slower than 4G LTE data.
A head to head video between the two can be seen below.
As for the Droid DNA, it will only be available on Verizon’s 4G LTE network which while limiting, is a blessing in disguise. That’s because Verizon boasts the largest 4G LTE network in the land with over 400 markets in the U.S. Even better, it will complete its roll out in mid-2013, long before its competitors.
Fortunately, unlike the release date for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, we know it’s official price on Verizon. Verizon, like AT&T, Sprint and U.S. Cellular will be selling the Galaxy Note 2 for $299.99 on-contract. That is far cheaper than the $370 price tag that T-Mobile is asking for the device on-contract.
Unfortunately, that’s a fairly expensive price tag and one that might deter consumers who aren’t looking to shell out over $300 for a new smartphone on-contract.
The HTC Droid DNA benefits from its price tag as Verizon will be selling the device for $199.99 on-contract as expected. That price tag is much cheaper than the Galaxy Note 2’s asking price and given the specifications on the Droid DNA, it makes it extremely competitive.