Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs. Droid DNA

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.

The Droid DNA.

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.

Release Date

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.

The Galaxy Note 2.

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 features a 1080p display.

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
  • S-Pen
  • NFC

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
  • NFC

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.

Galaxy Note 2 camera sample.

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.


  1. You forgot to mention that the dnas battery is tiny and even if smaller with hd resolution it will use up a lot of battery just like the galaxy note 2. You should know that with high resolution screens battery is used up quick as we see with tye ipad 3 having a bigger battery than the ipad 2 because of high resolution on the ipad 3, tgerefore with a hd resolution battery will be short. Let me add that the battery life on the note 2 that I tried was quite good even though from your description it seems as if it isnt great

  2. The DROID dna is going to be using Sharp IGZO which very efficient so that is why HTC didn’t need to put in a bigger battery but time will tell!

    • As far as I know o heard nothing about sharp producing the screen and second of all at 440ppi it will always drain the battery no matter what.

  3. The Droid DNA has great specs but it will eventually be like my current Thunderbolt. A bastard among others. The Note 2 (which I pre-ordered back when it was unveiled for Verizon) is the same physical phone as all of the other versions. So for every case or accessory that becomes available for the DNA, there will be 100 to choose from for the Note 2. I’m done with having Verizon exclusives (Samsung Omnia 2, Droid Incredible, Thunderbolt…). I’m still waiting for the ICS update on my T-bolt! I guess I will be jumping from Gingerbread to Jellybean whenever Verizon decides to ship me my SCH-i605. I don’t like (iPhone/Droid Razr/Droid DNA) non-replaceable batteries. That is a step backwards for sure. As for the price, well I paid full retail for the Note 2 to retain my unlimited data but I think it will help sway more people toward the slightly smaller (easier to handle), less expensive, Droid DNA. My thoughts anyway…

    • I am also on a VZW unlimited data plan and pre-ordered the Note II just like you did. But a VZW rep on the phone told me the unlimited data plan will be stopped in 6-9 months. And, since I am no longer on contract, I don’t have any leverage in keeping that gorgeous unlimited plan. So, I RELUCTANTLY decided to trade my unlimited for a 2GB plan, while keeping my 450 minutes and 250 texts, so my $75 monthly rate stays the same if I stay under the 2GB cap. But for me that works most of the time and if I see I am going over 2GB, I can buy another 2GBs for $10. Or… go to Sprint or T-Mobile and sacrifice VZW’s huge coverage area and great download speeds. So goes the good old days of unlimited data. ;> (

      • Hi I was reading you post want to let you know that vzw is not going to get ready off unlimited data I have it and I work for verizon FiOS and as long you have or buy you cells plan will not change if verizon take you off that data plans in 6 to 9 month you can leave a break contract and nothing they can do so don’t believe those rep they get fat check when they put people on that sht plan good luck

  4. The Droid DNA is a decent phone but in all honesty it can’t compete with the Galaxy Note 2 except in screen resolution. Other than that it comes in 2nd in all other categories.
    Brief Hardware Comparison —

    Note 2 battery = 3100 mAh (removable) (720p resolution)
    Droid DNA = 2020 mAh (non-removable) (1080p resolution = massive battery drain on smaller battery that can’t be switched out. Yikes!)

    Note 2 screen size = 5.55 inches (awesome viewing real estate)
    Droid DNA = 5.00 inches (great viewing real estate while it lasts on under-powered battery)

    Note 2 built-in digitizer = Embedded Wacom 720p resolution digitized screen with 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity with S-pen digital stylus
    Droid DNA = Capacitive screen only, digitized screen and digital stylus not supported

    Note 2 internal/external memory = internal mem – 16,32,64 GB / external mem – up to 64 GB
    Droid DNA internal/external memory = internal mem – 16 GB / no external mem

    Brief Software comparison —

    Note 2 Multi-window option – have up to 2 windows open in re-sizable split-screen configuration as well as up to two additional floating windows at the same time.
    Droid DNA – Multi-window or floating window option not available despite good screen real estate

    Note 2 S-pen functionality – enjoy the option to sign contracts, draw, write notes, view email content without opening, select webpage menus, edit photos etc. with the s-pen digital stylus.
    Droid DNA – no comparable functionality available

    The Droid DNA is not alone in its lack of these features, in fact the only other devices that support the digitized screen and stylus functionality in the Android universe is the original Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet.
    The screen resolution of the Galaxy Note 2 is less than the Droid DNA – 720p vs 1080p, but the Note 2 screen is absolutely gorgeous and I really can’t see the overall benefit of the 1080p screen vs a properly done 720p screen on anything smaller than 13 inches. At an average viewing distance of between 10 to 15 inches the difference is negligible for the majority of consumers over 25. The concept of a 1080p screen resolution is great but after around 300 ppi (at very close range) the average human eye is going to be hard pressed to make out differences unless the source signal is also 1080p which only blue-ray dvds are at present.
    In conclusion, the Droid DNA is an excellent smartphone with superb specs and fantastic screen but it should be placed second to the Galaxy Note 2 in terms of overall features and remember second is not a bad place to be in relation to the Galaxy Note 2 as the Note 2 has simply every conceivable hardware and software feature one would need. The Droid DNA would in my opinion be the champ but for the Note 2.

    • You make a great point about the screen and how most of the time it doesnt make much of a difference. BTW You seem to be one od the few that even thinks about this

    • You hit all the major differences between the DNA and the Note II. But perhaps the better comparison would be between the DNA and the S III — a more competitive analysis that compares similar devices. The Note II is so much more than a smartphone with its 5.55″ screen and S-Pen being the main driving forces to earn the “phablet” moniker. Just my opinion.

  5. HTC makes some pretty phones and i like that they have the fm radio tuner! Ive had the droid 1 droid x droid incredible, and htc sensation all great phones. Now I have my first Samsung device..the galaxy s 2 epic touch love it also! I was close to purchasing the s3 until news broke about the note 1 and 2 and boy I cannot wait to get my hands on the marble white gnote 2. The features are overwhelming but i look forward to the challenge! The Droid Dna looks sweet as usual for htc, but im sticking with Sammy gnote2 which will only get better!

  6. There has been a lot of talk of battery life w/ such a high resolution…well the dna will be using Sharp IGZO…which uses two to three xs less power than traditional screens…only uses power when in static(pressed)….Also have much much better accuracy…The screen also has way better deeper black tones so this is why HTC didn’t need to put bigger battery in…The sharp IGZO screen will soon be the screen that will be I can all phone tablets AND apple products…so actually the dna is offering several new things on up n coming phones…only downfall imo is 16g memory on board…And I think after reading the stats for both it just depends on the individuals needs…BOTH sound great but I really like the tech savvy intros of the dna…of just MY opinion!

  7. No the question is:, Why have a small battery on a huge device? This isn’t a 3.8″ phone or even a 4″ phone, it is still a 5″ screen with very high ppi. You aren’t simply powering the screen but also the processor processing the image, more data means more crunching means more power used. Samsung is using a battery @ almost 1.5 times the storage, and after using htc sense for years, I can tell you a small battery is a terrible call changeable or not, big screen or not, high ppi or not.

    It’s almost superlative to point out that even if the note 2 guzzles battery (which according to all of the reviews I’ve encountered this isn’t the case) $30 makes certain you will always have a back up rather then a dead brick or being tethered to the wall like a dead dna.

    I’m really not sure why anyone would be interested in the dna over the note 2. If the note 2 isn’t fitting your idea of what you want a 5″+ phone to be, then what is? Do you really want to be fixed at 16 gb? Even the 16 gb note can get you up to 80gb. Sure apps can’t all be ported to the sd card etc, but hey, better then having to dump info to load something else on. Given that many consumers are capped with their data through verizon, I’d really like to be able to save a couple of movies and music to my sd card then be forced to stream it via netflix or pandora.

    Let’s be honest you are buying a behemoth of a phone to consume media on a service that charges by the amount of consumption. Do you really think with the 11gb of space you are going to have minus apps (I have 7 gb of apps on my phone now), contacts (you’d be amazed how much this actually takes up), a general stock of music (maybe 20 albums @ around 110mb per album for around 230 songs = 2gigs? I personally have over 100 albums on my current phone sitting at just under 9.8 gb) you might have enough space for maybe two hours of video. Do you think it is a good idea to force yourself into a position where you have to worry about data because you have removed an alternative to streaming via verizon? Ask yourself again when that data cap looms after just 4 netflix streams of breaking bad with 2gb, 8 with 4gb etc. If you have unlimited data, then by all means ignore this advisory but if not, pay heed.

    Just with email and some youtube and surfing you are going to be pushing into the danger zone with no alternative but to check the time and text someone your frustration. If your phone even has the battery life to make it matter.,news-12087.html

    So whether or not you agree with my reasoning about not getting the dna based on battery life or fixed storage of both battery and memory, or a considerably low cap to the un expandable media volume for the true 1080p screen what could possibly be the attraction to the phone that the note 2 doesn’t provide? Htc’s voice recog is the pits, sense has as many weaknesses with no added advantages over touchwhiz and lacks timely updates. Whether or not you intend to use a stylus, no option. No multiview. No better specs then screen resolution which is truly negligible at such a small size, no truly significant difference in pocket footprint. It does run possibly a better gpu but with a slightly slower main processor than the note 2 but again negligible.

    People who aren’t into the huge phone will still give you a good razzing, and in my opinion, you won’t be able to sell them on it giving its shortcomings. Just consider it ladies and gentlemen.

    • when you look at the big picture I have to agree with you on everything you said and i would like to say that you did a great job comparing these two devices

    • I posted earlier on this article. At the time I wasn’t aware of the lack of an SD expansion slot. The more I think about it, the more I believe in what you are saying. Verizon wants you to rely more on streaming media since that is obviously more profitable for them. Leaving out extra memory options within a year of the end of unlimited data sounds like a good strategic plan. It’s Verizon giving us a little “Pay no attention to that lack of an expansion slot behind that gorgeous screen!” I mean, my Thunderbolt shipped with 8 gigs internal and a pre-installed 32 gig micro SD card over a year and a half ago. Not by choice I am still running Gingerbread with 40 gigs of memory! But then, unlimited data and free WiFi hotspot existed too at the time. Ahh, the good old days. Anyway, just waiting for my SCH-i605 to ship by 11-27-12… No more HTC for me!

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