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Old November 13th, 2012, 11:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My Droid DNA Review

I also posted this over at XDA but I wanted to share it here with you all as well.

HTC was kind enough to send me a DNA to test over this past weekend. I was coming most recently from the HTC Rezound and a Samsung Galaxy S3. Below are some of my thoughts/experiences with the device so far. It's only been a few days, but I'm in love with this device, and I won't be looking back at my S3.

Specs

Platform: Android™ 4.1 Jelly Bean with HTC Sense™ (also known as Sense 4+)
Processor: Qualcomm® APQ8064 Quad-core 1.5 GHz, MDM9615M
Memory: 16 GB, 2 GB RAM
Networks: CDMA: 800/1900MHz; UMTS/HSPA: 850/900/1900/2100MHz; GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz; LTE 700 MHz (Band 13)
Camera with HTC ImageSense™: 8 MP main camera with auto focus, LED flash, BSI sensor, f/2.0 aperture, 28mm lens, 1080p HD video recording, 2.1 MP front-facing camera, Dedicated HTC ImageChip™
Display: 5-inch super LCD3, HD 1080p, Gorilla® Glass 2
Audio: Beats Audio™ built in
Battery: 2020 mAh LI-ION (embedded)
Dimensions (LxWxT): 141 x 70.5 x 9.73 mm
Weight: 140 g


Display

The display is absolutely stunning. At five inches, 1080p and 440 pixels per inch, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that even begins to come close to this. This massive resolution begs for more rows in the stock Sense launcher--icon spacing is a bit more than I’d like, and is reminiscent of iOS on the iPad. They could easily have fit another row of icons here, but this isn't a big deal, and I'm already used to it.

The Auto Brightness setting works absolutely flawlessly, adjusting to the level of ambient lighting before the display is even turned on. This is a stark contrast from my Galaxy S3, which is often too dim, and frequently changes it’s brightness long after I’ve turned the screen on and began using the device.

Battery

At 2020 mAh, the battery seems a bit lacking for a 5” 1080p monster like the DROID DNA. Initially I was worried about its performance, but I've found it to be pretty respectable. Currently I'm at 42% battery left with 1d1h13m on the clock, Screen On for 1h33m, and Voice Calls for 30m. I'm guessing this is going to clock in right around 3 hours or so of Screen On time (with automatic brightness).

Build Quality/Design

The device feels exceptional. The material covering the back is slightly grippy, which adds a feeling of security when you hold the device in your hand. The Galaxy S3’s smooth finish is almost too slippery, and makes the device feel delicate and prone to dropping, though I am quite a fan of its curved shape. There isn’t a creak or groan to be found anywhere around the device, which is something I’ve become accustomed to with HTC devices in general.

The DROID DNA retains the three primary softkeys (that have become the standard since ICS) instead of on-screen buttons, though unlike the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Menu button is not included. That is somewhat annoying, as apps’ inclusion of the on-screen Menu button is inconsistent, and navigating to the phone’s setting menu requires a swipe of the top pulldown. But this is pretty nit-picky.

Radios

Upon opening the Navigation app, the GPS locks on instantaneously. This is a huge advantage over my Galaxy S3, which often takes literally minutes to acquire GPS signal and begin directing me on the road. Again, I'm used to good radios/GPS from HTC, my Rezound and Incredible were both flawless in this department as well.

In tough service areas (like basements or large buildings), the DNA outperformed my S3 every time. I held 3G signal in my gym (in a university basement) where the S3 dropped to 1x consistently.

Camera

The camera on this device is fantastic--if you're used to the HTC One X you'll know a lot of the features, but coming from the Rezound it feels like a massive improvement. It's still 8MP, but HTC's new sensors are amazing. The low-light photos are a huge improvement over my Rezound, and the S3 as well. You can take snapshots midway through recording video, and the continuous shooting mode works exceptionally well, offering a "best shot" option to automatically delete all the other pictures in the series if you only like one of them.

I've added a shot I took with the camera in low-light below, once I re-size some of the others I'll put them up.

I'll come back and add more thoughts later, but this is just where I'm at initially with the device.

EDIT**
I unplugged my phone from the wall on Tuesday at 9:30 AM, and Wednesday night at 8:45 PM I was down to 2%, and finally had to plug it in. Can't really give any more detailed stats than that at this point, unfortunately, because booted into HBOOT to determine if I was S-OFF and that wiped out my BetterBatteryStats (guess you can't turn the phone off without losing them).
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Old November 13th, 2012, 11:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for the review!
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Old November 13th, 2012, 11:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks! How does text look on a site like Phonedog for instance? Is there a lot of zooming required? Is it really clear and bright?
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Old November 13th, 2012, 12:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks! How does text look on a site like Phonedog for instance? Is there a lot of zooming required? Is it really clear and bright?
After selecting "Request Desktop Site" in Chrome, nothing changed, so I assume they are using responsive design here. Because of this, there is no zooming at all.

And yes, everything is exceptionally clean and bright.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 12:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks! How does text look on a site like Phonedog for instance? Is there a lot of zooming required? Is it really clear and bright?
Viewed slashgear and it looks great!!




And whats up trooper! Same username on Elevate huh? lol
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Old November 13th, 2012, 12:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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And whats up trooper! Same username on Elevate huh? lol
Hah, yes, I like to keep things consistent. I've seen you over here a lot, but didn't recognize you over in Elevate without your avatar!
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Old November 13th, 2012, 12:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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How close to edge-to-edge is the screen?
Can someone get some shots next to some other phones like S3 and Razr HD?
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Old November 13th, 2012, 12:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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How close to edge-to-edge is the screen?
Can someone get some shots next to some other phones like S3 and Razr HD?
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Old November 13th, 2012, 01:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by EliC View Post
How close to edge-to-edge is the screen?
Can someone get some shots next to some other phones like S3 and Razr HD?
Here's a pic with my S3 next to it. It's pretty close to the edge of the screen...don't have a ruler so I can't measure it exactly. But you'll see in the pic.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 01:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Here's a pic with my S3 next to it. It's pretty close to the edge of the screen...don't have a ruler so I can't measure it exactly. But you'll see in the pic.
Wow, does the screen look awesome in that pic next to the S3! Thanks for this.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 01:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Here's a pic with my S3 next to it. It's pretty close to the edge of the screen...don't have a ruler so I can't measure it exactly. But you'll see in the pic.
Whoa! I didnt know you could make little folders like that on the dock icons. Guess I have been away from Sense too long. Last HTC phone I had was the Evo 3D
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Old November 13th, 2012, 01:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Whoa! I didnt know you could make little folders like that on the dock icons. Guess I have been away from Sense too long. Last HTC phone I had was the Evo 3D
Yeah I love that feature. Sense is getting slicker and slicker.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 01:23 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Haha, digging the S3 screen protector on the DNA!
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Old November 13th, 2012, 01:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Haha, digging the S3 screen protector on the DNA!
Hah! Nice eye. I had to protect it somehow! Need to get official accessories hopefully on launch next week!
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Old November 13th, 2012, 01:25 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Hah, yes, I like to keep things consistent. I've seen you over here a lot, but didn't recognize you over in Elevate without your avatar!
I actually used this one over there till the profile photo contest started, lol


Awesome review here!

Wish I wasn't so busy at work
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Old November 13th, 2012, 01:26 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Would have to hold it in my hand, but looks fantastic. Screens are getting ridiculous, but the phone size (thanks to reduced bezel) is staying pretty consistent. I wouldn't mind it being a small amount thicker, especially if they could add a larger batter (3000-4000 mAh), and maybe cut down on the length (my bionic is very comfortable at ~130mm as opposed to 141 for the DNA).

Hopefully, we see something like this for a Motorola Nexus Maxx.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 01:28 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Hah! Nice eye. I had to protect it somehow! Need to get official accessories hopefully on launch next week!
That would scare me most. Getting a bleeding edge new phone (mine are usually 6months to a year "old") and not having a good case/screen protector on it.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 01:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by EliC View Post
Would have to hold it in my hand, but looks fantastic. Screens are getting ridiculous, but the phone size (thanks to reduced bezel) is staying pretty consistent. I wouldn't mind it being a small amount thicker, especially if they could add a larger batter (3000-4000 mAh), and maybe cut down on the length (my bionic is very comfortable at ~130mm as opposed to 141 for the DNA).

Hopefully, we see something like this for a Motorola Nexus Maxx.
Maxx HD is already thinner than this phone, so if they ever made a nexus one, you would definitely see this sort of thickness or thinner with a 3300mah or larger battery. HTC just isn't so good at putting big batteries in thin packages, though they have come a long way from the rezound which was 13mm thick and had a 1600mah battery or something along those lines. I guarantee if HTC had given this phone even a 3000mah battery, it would easily be 13mm thick again, which would be a problem for many people given that the phone is already at the average consumer limit for width. When you have to wrap your hand around it, thickness adds just as much difficulty as width can.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 01:42 PM   #19 (permalink)
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That would scare me most. Getting a bleeding edge new phone (mine are usually 6months to a year "old") and not having a good case/screen protector on it.
Slightly off-topic: Does a screen with gorilla glass 2 really _need_ a screen protector?
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Old November 13th, 2012, 01:44 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Slightly off-topic: Does a screen with gorilla glass 2 really _need_ a screen protector?
It doesn't hurt but I stopped using them with my Rezound. Screen is just to pretty to cover up in any way imo
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Old November 13th, 2012, 02:19 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I am confused as to how people are correlating battery consumption on a phone that nobody other than two people really own that are posting (at least that I see)?

While its easy to jump the ship, the first blush reading indicate that while it is a smaller battery than we are normally used to seeing, it seems to be sized accordingly.

I say we wait for a couple weeks to see if it holds or flops?

Memory was a bit of a slip up; Ill concede that but given how I use a phone its not critical for me.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 02:39 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I am confused as to how people are correlating battery consumption on a phone that nobody other than two people really own that are posting (at least that I see)?

While its easy to jump the ship, the first blush reading indicate that while it is a smaller battery than we are normally used to seeing, it seems to be sized accordingly.

I say we wait for a couple weeks to see if it holds or flops?

Memory was a bit of a slip up; Ill concede that but given how I use a phone its not critical for me.
In this mini review he's stating he expects to get around 3 hours screen on time on a single charge. This is less than my gs3, and without the option of swapping out batteries. I'll wait for the reviews to come in, but it's not promising and will scare more than a few people away given HTC's reputation of having crap battery life.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 02:47 PM   #23 (permalink)
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In this mini review he's stating he expects to get around 3 hours screen on time on a single charge. This is less than my gs3, and without the option of swapping out batteries. I'll wait for the reviews to come in, but it's not promising and will scare more than a few people away given HTC's reputation of having crap battery life.
Yeah, I have read a lot to see a good reason to be gun shy with HTC batteries. I am lucky with a Dinc and never had such issues. I have read the sagas about the TBolt.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 03:25 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bearcats View Post
I am confused as to how people are correlating battery consumption on a phone that nobody other than two people really own that are posting (at least that I see)?

While its easy to jump the ship, the first blush reading indicate that while it is a smaller battery than we are normally used to seeing, it seems to be sized accordingly.

I say we wait for a couple weeks to see if it holds or flops?

Memory was a bit of a slip up; Ill concede that but given how I use a phone its not critical for me.
I am waiting to see a few battery life reviews, and hoping the SLCD3 screen made a large power consumption difference.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 03:33 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rivera02 View Post
In this mini review he's stating he expects to get around 3 hours screen on time on a single charge. This is less than my gs3, and without the option of swapping out batteries. I'll wait for the reviews to come in, but it's not promising and will scare more than a few people away given HTC's reputation of having crap battery life.






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Yeah, I have read a lot to see a good reason to be gun shy with HTC batteries. I am lucky with a Dinc and never had such issues. I have read the sagas about the TBolt.
I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised with the battery on this thing.

I'll be darned but I can't seem to find where it states screen on time??

Am I missing it trooper?
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Old November 13th, 2012, 03:36 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I am waiting to see a few battery life reviews, and hoping the SLCD3 screen made a large power consumption difference.
I'm hearing that S-LCD3 is more power efficient than its predecessors, but at least part of that gain will be offset by 1080p screen. It's 125% more pixels to move than 720p screen.

So all in all I think DNA battery life will be similar to GS3. That's not bad at all but it's not in the same class as Note 2 with 3100mAh removable battery, let alone Maxx HD with 3300mAh.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 03:37 PM   #27 (permalink)
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I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised with the battery on this thing.

I'll be darned but I can't seem to find where it states screen on time??

Am I missing it trooper?
No you're not missing it...it isn't there. I had to download BetterBatteryStats to obtain my Screen On time. It's my preferred method of comparing devices.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 03:46 PM   #28 (permalink)
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I'm hearing that S-LCD3 is more power efficient than its predecessors, but at least part of that gain will be offset by 1080p screen. It's 125% more pixels to move than 720p screen.

So all in all I think DNA battery life will be similar to GS3. That's not bad at all but it's not in the same class as Note 2 with 3100mAh removable battery, let alone Maxx HD with 3300mAh.
Maybe not in the same class as those devices battery-wise, but it outclasses the Maxx in every other way possible. And it goes toe to toe with the Note 2 in every area but battery, and bests its screen in the process.

I will say though, comparing the Note 2 to the DNA, the DNA doesn't feel a lot bigger than my Galaxy S3, while the Note 2 feels huge. It's still a sweet device, but it just feels gigantic.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 04:05 PM   #29 (permalink)
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OP:

Were you able to use it in a 3G area? DO you know if you can talk and surf in 3G? VZW is advertising it, but who knows ...
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Old November 13th, 2012, 04:10 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Maybe not in the same class as those devices battery-wise, but it outclasses the Maxx in every other way possible. And it goes toe to toe with the Note 2 in every area but battery, and bests its screen in the process.
Really? You forgot 32Gb internal memory + microSD slot in Maxx?
Agreed on screen, camera and processing power of DNA though.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 05:53 PM   #31 (permalink)
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TrooperThorn, thank you so much for the review

Those wanting more information check out the video below, that coupled with TrooperThorn's review made the DNA my next phone
DROID DNA hands-on - YouTube
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Old November 13th, 2012, 06:07 PM   #32 (permalink)
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I'm pretty sure you can't. I think it's talk and surf on 4G only.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 06:07 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Really? You forgot 32Gb internal memory + microSD slot in Maxx?
Agreed on screen, camera and processing power of DNA though.
You're totally right, forgot about the storage. But yeah, that's not such a big deal for me. I know it will be for some users though.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 06:25 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Sweet I thought this was coming out next year so I was going to get a Note 2 perhaps.

The thing I want to know is..... does this device allow youtube playback when we go and check a text, facebook message, etc?
I love my Rezound but I hate how the youtube playback stops when I go to another browser tap or another app.

The Note2 is supposed to be able to fix that problem.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 07:08 PM   #35 (permalink)
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I'm pretty sure you can't. I think it's talk and surf on 4G only.
OK, if you find out for sure , please let us know. HTC on verizon has done this before, The Rezound can, T'bolt can .... They don't normally advertise it on the phone's site, but they did here for the DNA so I was just checking ...
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Old November 13th, 2012, 08:24 PM   #36 (permalink)
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OK, if you find out for sure , please let us know. HTC on verizon has done this before, The Rezound can, T'bolt can .... They don't normally advertise it on the phone's site, but they did here for the DNA so I was just checking ...
I've confirmed SVLTE is supported, SVDO is not.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 09:07 PM   #37 (permalink)
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How about separate notification/ringer volume? Can't stand them being together on my Evo lte..
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Old November 13th, 2012, 09:12 PM   #38 (permalink)
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How about separate notification/ringer volume? Can't stand them being together on my Evo lte..
Still together
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Old November 13th, 2012, 09:18 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Son of a b... That may be the one reason I don't keep it. As dumb as that sounds, I like to set all of my notifications to silent except for the ringer when I sleep. Not so easy to do when they are tired together.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 09:39 PM   #40 (permalink)
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I've confirmed SVLTE is supported, SVDO is not.
Thanks for the update, oh well ...
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Old November 13th, 2012, 09:54 PM   #41 (permalink)
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HTC nailed it with design, everything, save for non-removable battery/storage (and the effing name--seriously, DNA???). everything else is perfect, progressive, titanic! one of the greatest things about DNA is it's screen to hardware ratio. it's clear in trooper's pic in that it's slightly taller than S3, but the screen footprint is considerably bigger. this has also been a major drawback to the iClone for me. the ratio is better with the 5, but older clones were atrocious. i can't wait for the day that the screen on my phone is truly edge-to-edge.

all other specs are unreal. i've been holding off from GNII (cash, to keep my unltd) to see this phone, and i'm effing torn still. note II's specs are killer, lack of pentile is awesome. processor, camera, and SOFTWARE rock. i wish more android OEM's would upgrade their software like Sammy did. coming from DInc, now Vigor (ReZound (lame)), the HTC Droid line is a soft spot for me.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 10:00 PM   #42 (permalink)
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HTC nailed it with design, everything, save for non-removable battery/storage (and the effing name--seriously, DNA???). everything else is perfect, progressive, titanic! one of the greatest things about DNA is it's screen to hardware ratio. it's clear in trooper's pic in that it's slightly taller than S3, but the screen footprint is considerably bigger. this has also been a major drawback to the iClone for me. the ratio is better with the 5, but older clones were atrocious. i can't wait for the day that the screen on my phone is truly edge-to-edge.

all other specs are unreal. i've been holding off from GNII (cash, to keep my unltd) to see this phone, and i'm effing torn still. note II's specs are killer, lack of pentile is awesome. processor, camera, and SOFTWARE rock. i wish more android OEM's would upgrade their software like Sammy did. coming from DInc, now Vigor (ReZound (lame)), the HTC Droid line is a soft spot for me.
Likely poor battery life, a non-removable battery and inexcusably low storage is not nailing it!
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Old November 13th, 2012, 10:02 PM   #43 (permalink)
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It doesn't hurt but I stopped using them with my Rezound. Screen is just to pretty to cover up in any way imo
ha! totally. had an anti-glare (matte) one, then looked at my wife's one day, after having my protector on for months and i thought, "wow, what the eff was i thinking??" took it off right away and am glad i did. couple of nicks, but still looks amazing.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 10:06 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Battery life depends on a large number of variables. I'll hold out on assumptions and speculations until we actually have masses with the device in hand.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 10:10 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Likely poor battery life, a non-removable battery and inexcusably low storage is not nailing it!
you're right...sowwy. not sorry. jeez dude. "...not nailing it!" waaahh!
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Old November 13th, 2012, 10:24 PM   #46 (permalink)
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Likely poor battery life, a non-removable battery and inexcusably low storage is not nailing it!
to each his own. I have never used more than 8gb on my phone. I don't use it to watch videos, I use to keep up with things, browse the web and have songs on there. Even with shared data and watching few hours of youtube videos. I have 5 lines we dont even use 6gb all together, and that is with me streaming google music all the time from work to home and school.

So far battery life seems to be pretty decent.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 10:36 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Likely poor battery life, a non-removable battery and inexcusably low storage is not nailing it!
Battery life is awesome so far fwiw
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Old November 13th, 2012, 10:40 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Likely poor battery life, a non-removable battery and inexcusably low storage is not nailing it!

64GB options available. The battery life on the One X and EVO 4G are plenty to get through a day of work and not too much off from a SGS3. I'd be interested to see how the screen changes things.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 10:44 PM   #49 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandroidfan View Post
Really? You forgot 32Gb internal memory + microSD slot in Maxx?
Agreed on screen, camera and processing power of DNA though.
Do you people understand there is a 64 GB version for the DNA?

Effectively the Micro SD is a boost of 32 extra GBs on the Maxx if you use a 64GB Micro ad, but plenty of people will be stumped when they realize this doesn't work 'out of the box'. For fans of this site it will be a breeze, but plenty will shy away from Formatting their 64gb Micro SD on their phone because they don't know how!
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Old November 13th, 2012, 10:47 PM   #50 (permalink)
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to each his own. I have never used more than 8gb on my phone. I don't use it to watch videos, I use to keep up with things, browse the web and have songs on there. Even with shared data and watching few hours of youtube videos. I have 5 lines we dont even use 6gb all together, and that is with me streaming google music all the time from work to home and school.

So far battery life seems to be pretty decent.
I'm the same way.. with 16 GB I have plenty of extra room. If I do put a movie on my Micro SD card it's usually removed after I watch it. No need to have movies on their ill never watch. Also, With cloud services now growing I can guarantee we will see the growth of Phones HDDs slow. I agree Micro SD cards are nice but the industry will move away from this eventually.
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HTC DROID DNA
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HTC has broken the boundaries again with the DROID DNA. This 5-inch behemoth comes to compete directly with the Galaxy Note 2, but what gives it the edge over the popular Samsung device? Well, this guy has a full HD 1080p display. Mix that with a p... Read More



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