Notebookcheck

Review HTC Droid DNA (Butterfly) Smartphone

Daniel Schmidt (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 08/06/2013

New Droid. HTC offers a new mainstream smartphone with a bright Full HD display and a Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC. The technology of the Super LCD 3 display was already convincing in the review of the larger sibling HTC One, but we also have a closer look at the other components...

For the original German review, see here.

The HTC Droid DNA has a 5.0-inch display with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. A Qualcomm quad-core processor should provide sufficient performance for the Android smartphone and 2 GB memory and 16 GB internal storage are pretty much standard in this device class. The back of the case is made of plastic and the Droid DNA fills HTC's gap between inexpensive mainstream smartphones and high-end devices.  

Similar devices are also offered by the competition; Sony Xperia ZL and LG Optimus G E975 aim for the same customers. In regard to the display, the new Droid DNA also competes with current high-end devices: HTC OneSamsung Galaxy S4, and Sony Xperia Z are also equipped with Full HD screens. However, we should not forget the comparison with inexpensive import products from China; high-resolution displays are also available in the lower price segment like in the iOcean X7, for example.

Case

The display is protected by Gorilla Glass.
The display is protected by Gorilla Glass.
The back is made of plastic.
The back is made of plastic.

The dimensions of the smartphone are 143.0 x 70.5 x 9.08 millimeters (~5.6 x 2.8 x 0.4 inches) and it weighs 137 grams (~4.8 ounces). The front looks as if it was made of one piece but a closer look reveals the thin black plastic frame that surrounds the 5.0-inch display; Corning Gorilla Glass 2 is used to protect the display against scratches and impacts. The back is made of anthracite plastic, which is very catchy despite the smooth surface. All edges are rounded, which does not only look good but improves the handling as well.  

The case is very torsion resistant and there are no creaking noises at all. Concentrated pressure on the back of the device is not visible on the screen and the Droid DNA is also IPX5 certified. That means it resists water jets (for example from a hose or a water faucet) from any angle. This should however not be confused with the IP57 certification of the Sony Xperia Z, which is even protected against a complete submersion. 

A bit awkward is the cover for the USB port; you have to be patient to plug it in seamlessly. All in all the HTC Droid DNA leaves a good impression in regard to the build quality.

Connectivity

HTC equips the Droid DNA with 16 GB flash storage; 9.52 GB are available for the user after the initial set-up. That is not very generous considering that the smartphone can display Full HD movies in the native resolution. This is also the reason that we really miss a memory card slot, although it was initially advertised with one. We cannot really understand why the inexpensive expandability option was waived from the features list.

The remaining equipment is meager. You get a micro USB port (2.0 standard) that can be used for data exchange and recharging. A Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) is also integrated into the USB port; you can stream video and audio signals (1080p, 7.1 surround sound) to an external display (e.g. TV or projector) with an HDMI port via optional MHL adaptor. Finally, there is the mandatory 3.5 mm stereo jack

Left side: No ports.
Left side: No ports.
Right side: Volume rocker.
Right side: Volume rocker.
Top: SIM tray, Power, stereo jack.
Top: SIM tray, Power, stereo jack.
Bottom: Micro USB port with MHL support.
Bottom: Micro USB port with MHL support.

Software

The operating system is Android 4.1.1 and HTC integrates the customized user interface Sense 4+. We would have expected the latest version of Google's operating system and Sense 5 for a new smartphone. The update to Android 4.2.2 and Sense 5 is already available in Taiwan but it is still uncertain when the update package will be available for the rest of the world. 

The internal storage also accommodates the PC-Synchronization software in five different versions (Windows XP, Vista (32- and 64-bit) as well as Windows 7 (32- and 64-bit)) besides the PDF user guide. This comfortable accessibility of the software only needs 15 MB of storage; we only missed a version for Mac OS

We made a short Look and Feel video to give you a better impression of the user interface and the performance. 

GPS Test: Indoors.
GPS Test: Indoors.
GPS Test: Outdoors.
GPS Test: Outdoors.

Communication & GPS

The mandatory WLAN module can also be found inside the HTC Droid DNA. It supports the WLAN standards IEEE-802.11 a/b/g/n in 2.4 and 5.0 GHz networks. The reception is good, even outdoors and at a distance of around 20 meters (~66 feet) from the router, we had no problems while browsing the web. Bluetooth 4.0 is also integrated and supports the aptX standard, which enables the transmitting of stereo audio signals to a compatible output device. NFC is also available. 

Our European review unit is not well equipped in terms of mobile data connections. You can only use HSPA with support for the 850 and 2,100 MHz frequencies. An LTE module is not integrated, but this varies depending on the region. 

A-GPS and a Glonass receiver can be used to locate your position. The accuracy is good even indoors. It takes about 1 minute before the Droid DNA connects with the satellites but it is faster outdoors. As a result there is no criticism with the GPS reception. 

Telephone Functions and Voice Quality

It does not really matter if you previously used a Windows Phone or an iPhone; the telephone functions are very easy to use. HTC did not modify the basic structure of the Phone App with its Sense user interface, only the Favorites-button has been removed and the controls have been resorted. 

The voice quality is on a good level. The caller is usually easy to understand and there were no problems on the other side of the line, either. Fortunately, the hands-free feature worked very well. We were easy to understand; only the caller sounded a bit tinny and the voice was a little distorted sometimes.

The provided headset works well for calls but is not well suited for music playback. The sound experience with Beats Audio is much better with higher quality headphones. 

Cameras & Multimedia

Contrary to the HTC One, the Droid DNA does not have an UltraPixel camera. It has an 8 megapixels sensor (3264x1840 pixels) with an auto focus, an LED flash and an image stabilizer. The latter should provide acceptable results especially under bad lighting conditions. The front camera has 2.1 megapixels, which is quite a lot, and enables Full HD (1920x1080 pixels) video calls. It also has an 88° ultra wide-angle lens

Our tests reveal that the main camera of the HTC Droid DNA cannot keep up with the competition. Close ups and scenes shot in daylight are overexposed and the colors are too bright. The situation is better with panoramas, the colors are more consistent and harmonious and the Droid DNA can even surpass the Nexus 4 in this scenario. In terms of sharpness, it is far behind competitors like the iPhone 5 or Lumia 920, but our review unit is sufficient for snapshots with good lighting conditions.

HTC Droid DNA: ISO 100, f/2.0
HTC Droid DNA: ISO 100, f/2.0
HTC Droid DNA: ISO 101, f/2.0
HTC Droid DNA: ISO 101, f/2.0
HTC Droid DNA: ISO 100, f/2.0
HTC Droid DNA: ISO 100, f/2.0
Sony Alpha 57 (Reference): ISO 100, f/6.3
Sony Alpha 57 (Reference): ISO 100, f/6.3
Sony Alpha 57 (Reference): ISO 100, f/8.0
Sony Alpha 57 (Reference): ISO 100, f/8.0
Sony Alpha 57 (Reference): ISO 100, f/13
Sony Alpha 57 (Reference): ISO 100, f/13
Nokia Lumia 920: ISO 100, f/2.0
Nokia Lumia 920: ISO 100, f/2.0
Nokia Lumia 920: ISO 100, f/2.0
Nokia Lumia 920: ISO 100, f/2.0
Nokia Lumia 920: ISO 100, f/2.0
Nokia Lumia 920: ISO 100, f/2.0
Apple iPhone 5: ISO 50, f/2.4
Apple iPhone 5: ISO 50, f/2.4
Apple iPhone 5: ISO 50, f/2.4
Apple iPhone 5: ISO 50, f/2.4
Apple iPhone 5: ISO 50, f/2.4
Apple iPhone 5: ISO 50, f/2.4
Google Nexus 4: ISO 100, f/2.4
Google Nexus 4: ISO 100, f/2.4
Google Nexus 4: ISO 100, f/2.4
Google Nexus 4: ISO 100, f/2.4
Google Nexus 4: ISO 100, f/2.4
Google Nexus 4: ISO 100, f/2.4

Bad lighting conditions result in picture noise. Even in the twilight you will need the flash to get a decent picture, otherwise the sample pictures are coated with a gray film. The picture is sharp when you use the flash but the colors are very unnatural. The Lumia 925, which has the same aperture (f/2.0), shows better results. The pictures are sharp and the colors are natural even without the flash.

The webcam produces decent results. You should have no problems during video calls and good lighting conditions. Once again, dark environments result in strong picture noise. 

 

HTC Droid DNA (without flash): ISO 1.178, 1/17 sec.
HTC Droid DNA (without flash): ISO 1.178, 1/17 sec.
HTC Droid DNA (with flash): ISO 315, 1/120 sec.
HTC Droid DNA (with flash): ISO 315, 1/120 sec.
Nokia Lumia 925 (without flash): ISO 640, 1/8 sec.
Nokia Lumia 925 (without flash): ISO 640, 1/8 sec.
Nokia Lumia 925 (without flash): ISO 100, 1/26 sec.
Nokia Lumia 925 (without flash): ISO 100, 1/26 sec.

Accessories

Besides the modular power supply unit with a maximum power output of 5 Watts, HTC provides a small tool to open the SIM tray as well as an In-Ear headset. The Taiwanese manufacturer also offers several accessories, which can be used universally for all smartphones. Among others, you can buy Bluetooth headsets, external batteries and a DLNA receiver for HTC Media Link HD.  

Warranty

HTC grants a 24-month warranty for its smartphone. It is a simple Bring-In service that covers possible manufacturing defects. The warranty cannot be extended

Input Devices & Handling

The three usual sensor buttons beneath the display are the only physical control elements for the Android operating system and work very well. The capacitive 5.0-inch touch screen reacts quickly and precisely to inputs; scrolling is very smooth and rotating the device does not result in delays. The display can handle ten inputs simultaneously but the manufacturer preselected that only three inputs are recognized simultaneously for applications in the display settings. In this case, the display can only recognize two touch inputs at the same time. 

The virtual keyboard works well and its size in the portrait mode is sufficient thanks to the large display. The additional space is used for arrow keys in the landscape mode. It is a bit annoying that the QWERTY-layout is displayed although we selected the German keyboard. This setting can be changed via HTC Sense Input settings.

Convenient key size in portrait mode.
Convenient key size in portrait mode.
The keyboard occupies a lot of space in landscape mode.
The keyboard occupies a lot of space in landscape mode.

Display

We expect a lot from the display since it was already one of the highlights of the HTC One. Both smartphones use the same Super LCD 3 panel but the Droid DNA is another 0.3 inches larger than the 4.7-inch touchscreen of the One. 

The display of the Droid DNA has a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, which matches an aspect ratio of 16:9. The pixel density is very good with 441 ppi, identical with the Samsung Galaxy S4 (441 ppi) and it can clearly surpass the iPhone 5 (326 ppi). The colors of the SLCD are vibrant and very sharp; there is absolutely no criticism in this regard. The average display brightness of the Droid DNA is also very good with 380 cd/m². HTC's flagship is on another level with 488 cd/m² and the iPhone 5 is clearly brighter (487 cd/m²). Sony's displays in the Xperia ZL (577 cd/m²) and Xperia Z (427 cd/m²) are also very bright. The brightness distribution of our review unit is decent with 89% and the differences are not visible to the human eye. The Droid DNA has no problems with screen bleeding.

379
cd/m²
371
cd/m²
403
cd/m²
378
cd/m²
371
cd/m²
395
cd/m²
378
cd/m²
359
cd/m²
387
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 403 cd/m²
Average: 380.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 371 cd/m²
Black: 0.32 cd/m²
Contrast: 1159:1

Similar to the brightness it is also evident with the contrast ratio (1,159:1) and black value (0.32 cd/m²) that the HTC One is equipped with a higher quality display (2,117:1, 0.23 cd/m²). Both devices cannot keep up with the Galaxy S4 (2,487:1, 0.12 cd/m²) in this regard. The Super AMOLED has a theoretical black value of 0 cd/m². Nevertheless, the results of the Droid DNA are very good. 

Ex-works we measured the color accuracy and the color presentation of the display with the CalMAN 5. There are no visible deviations in the color accuracy; no color surpasses a DeltaE value of three. The result for the saturation is not as good; blue has the biggest deviation but is still in the tolerable area (DeltaE below 10). Grayscale presentation (DeltaE 2.3) and Color Checker (DeltaE 4.3) are also very good. Subjectively the picture is brilliant and there are no color distortions like with the IPS display of the iOcean X7.

Color Management
Color Management
Saturation
Saturation
Color Checker
Color Checker
Grayscale
Grayscale

Due to the combination of high contrast ratio and good display brightness, the HTC Droid DNA is well suited for outdoor use. The content is hard to see under direct sunlight but that is mainly caused by the glossy display surface, a problem of almost all smartphones. Without direct sunlight, there are absolutely no problems with the readability. 

Well suited for outdoor use.
Well suited for outdoor use.
The glossy surface can be a problem.
The glossy surface can be a problem.
Viewing angles HTC Droid DNA
Viewing angles HTC Droid DNA

The viewing angle stability of the Super Liquid Crystal Display is excellent and can easily compete with good IPS panel and OLED screens. We could not determine any color distortions or brightness reductions even with extreme viewing angles. 

Performance

3DMark Ice Storm Score with active cooling.
3DMark Ice Storm Score with active cooling.

HTC uses the fast Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor with a maximum clock of 1.5 GHz. Graphics are handled by the Adreno 320 GPU, the configuration is supported by 2 GB RAM and 16 GB flash storage

This combination should result in sufficient performance. However, the multi-platform benchmark 3D Mark Ice Storm result of the HTC Droid DNA is surprisingly low compared to the rivals from Sony or LG with similar hardware. Our review unit only gets 7,388 points, both the Xperia ZL (8,971 points) and the E957 (10,223 points) are clearly ahead. However, this phenomenon only affects very GPU demanding benchmarks. A possible reason could be high GPU temperatures; another benchmark run with the active cooling of the HTC Droid DNA confirms our assumption. Now the 3D Mark Ice Storm result was 9,372 points. Since the device gets warm but not truly hot, the GPU core clock is reduced (throttling). Neither CPU demanding applications nor the system performance are affected by this; subjectively everything is smooth and very quick.   

3DMark (2013)
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
HTC Butterfly
7388 Points ∼1%
Sony Xperia ZL
8971 Points ∼1% +21%
LG Optimus G E975
10233 Points ∼1% +39%
Apple iPhone 5
5721 Points ∼1% -23%
HTC One
10752 Points ∼1% +46%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
11344 Points ∼1% +54%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics (sort by value)
HTC Butterfly
8859 Points ∼1%
Sony Xperia ZL
10382 Points ∼1% +17%
LG Optimus G E975
10616 Points ∼1% +20%
HTC One
11192 Points ∼1% +26%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
11395 Points ∼2% +29%
GLBenchmark 2.5 - 1920x1080 Egypt HD Offscreen Fixed Time (sort by value)
HTC Butterfly
32 fps ∼6%
iOcean X7
10 fps ∼2% -69%
Sony Xperia ZL
32 fps ∼6% 0%
LG Optimus G E975
20 fps ∼4% -37%
Apple iPhone 5
22 fps ∼4% -31%
HTC One
30 fps ∼5% -6%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
35 fps ∼6% +9%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7 - 1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
HTC Butterfly
13 fps ∼2%
iOcean X7
2.6 fps ∼0% -80%
Sony Xperia ZL
13 fps ∼2% 0%
LG Optimus G E975
9.3 fps ∼1% -28%
Apple iPhone 5
6.7 fps ∼1% -48%
Sony Xperia Z
13 fps ∼2% 0%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
15 fps ∼2% +15%
Smartbench 2012 - Gaming Index (sort by value)
HTC Butterfly
2499 points ∼55%
iOcean X7
1225 points ∼27% -51%
Sony Xperia ZL
2399 points ∼53% -4%
LG Optimus G E975
3293 points ∼72% +32%
Sony Xperia Z
2400 points ∼53% -4%
HTC One
2837 points ∼62% +14%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
2709 points ∼60% +8%

Legend

 
HTC Butterfly Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064A, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
iOcean X7 Mediatek MT6589, PowerVR SGX544, 4 GB Flash
 
Sony Xperia ZL Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064A, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB SSD
 
LG Optimus G E975 Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064A, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 32 GB SSD
 
Apple iPhone 5 Apple A6, PowerVR SGX543MP3, 32 GB SSD
 
Sony Xperia Z Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064A, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB SSD
 
HTC One Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 32 GB SSD
 
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505 Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash

Google Chrome is the standard web browser and we used it (version 28) for our benchmarks. Subjectively web pages load very quickly with almost no delays. The benchmarks confirm the positive impression; the Droid DNA can even beat the leading Android device Samsung Galaxy S4 in Sunspider 0.9.1. However, this comparison is dominated by Windows Phones. 

Browsermark 2.0 is dominated by the S4 and the iPhone 5 with a very big lead. Compared to similarly equipped smartphones, the Droid DNA gets a noticeably better result. The reason for this might be the newer browser version. 

Sunspider - --- (sort by value)
HTC Butterfly
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB iNAND Flash
1004.6 ms * ∼10%
Sony Xperia ZL
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1854.7 ms * ∼18% -85%
LG Optimus G E975
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 32 GB SSD
1373 ms * ∼13% -37%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
1095.4 ms * ∼10% -9%
iOcean X7
SGX544, MT6589, 4 GB Flash
946.6 ms * ∼9% +6%
Apple iPhone 5
SGX543MP3, A6, 32 GB SSD
935.4 ms * ∼9% +7%
Nokia Lumia 920
Adreno 225, S4 Plus MSM8960, 32 GB SSD
915.3 ms * ∼9% +9%
HTC Windows Phone 8X
Adreno 225, S4 Plus MSM8260A, 16 GB SSD
896 ms * ∼8% +11%
Browsermark - --- (sort by value)
HTC Butterfly
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB iNAND Flash
1791 points ∼25%
Sony Xperia ZL
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1814 points ∼25% +1%
LG Optimus G E975
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 32 GB SSD
1316 points ∼18% -27%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
2502 points ∼35% +40%
iOcean X7
SGX544, MT6589, 4 GB Flash
1545 points ∼22% -14%
Apple iPhone 5
SGX543MP3, A6, 32 GB SSD
2383 points ∼33% +33%
Nokia Lumia 920
Adreno 225, S4 Plus MSM8960, 32 GB SSD
1194 points ∼17% -33%

* ... smaller is better

16 GB of flash storage is integrated into the HTC Droid DNA. This is not uncommon, but considering the data intensive ways of using a smartphone it is not sufficient. The Xperia ZL has a micro SD slot besides the 16 GB internal storage and the LG E975 even comes with 32 GB storage ex-works. 

Unfortunately, neither the capacity nor the performance of the storage can keep up with the competition. The rivals are 22% faster in the read performance (4k). All in all, it is certainly not a bad solution but compared to other devices in this price range it is just too slow. 

AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
HTC Butterfly
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB iNAND Flash
46.3 MB/s ∼28%
Sony Xperia ZL
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
48.71 MB/s ∼29% +5%
LG Optimus G E975
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 32 GB SSD
60.08 MB/s ∼36% +30%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
58.75 MB/s ∼35% +27%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
49.7 MB/s ∼30% +7%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
HTC Butterfly
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB iNAND Flash
12.03 MB/s ∼21%
Sony Xperia ZL
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
13.55 MB/s ∼23% +13%
LG Optimus G E975
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 32 GB SSD
13.88 MB/s ∼24% +15%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
16.37 MB/s ∼28% +36%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
13.97 MB/s ∼24% +16%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
HTC Butterfly
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB iNAND Flash
9.57 MB/s ∼46%
Sony Xperia ZL
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
11.65 MB/s ∼56% +22%
LG Optimus G E975
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 32 GB SSD
11.64 MB/s ∼55% +22%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
11.83 MB/s ∼56% +24%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
12.14 MB/s ∼58% +27%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
HTC Butterfly
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB iNAND Flash
0.56 MB/s ∼19%
Sony Xperia ZL
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1.12 MB/s ∼38% +100%
LG Optimus G E975
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 32 GB SSD
1.06 MB/s ∼36% +89%
HTC One
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 32 GB SSD
1.19 MB/s ∼41% +113%
Google Nexus 4
Adreno 320, S4 Pro APQ8064A, 16 GB SSD
1.07 MB/s ∼37% +91%

Gaming

The Adreno 320 GPU provides sufficient performance for mobile gaming, despite the throttling issue under load. Even the latest 3D games like Real Racing 3 or Iron Man 3 run very smooth. Less demanding titles like Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja are therefore no challenge for the smartphone.  

The excellent display improves the gaming experience, just like the good response of the position and gyro sensor

Emissions

Temperature

The HTC Droid DNA is very cool during idle and only gets lukewarm at the bottom display frame but it never surpasses the 35 °C/95 °F barrier. The Sony Xperia ZL (up to 39.3 °C/102.74 °F) is much hotter in this scenario. Only the LG E975 is a noticeably cool smartphone with a maximum temperature of just 31.3 °C/88.34 °F.

We use the application Stability Test (GPU and CPU load) for at least one hour to simulate the maximum load and measure the temperatures. The Droid DNA is just slightly warmer compared to the idle operation (42.6 °C/108.68 °F). This is not critical but it can become unpleasant in your hands during gaming. The results for the competition are similar (Sony maximum temperature of 44.4 °C/111.92 °F, LG maximum temperature of 41.9 °C/107.42 °F).

 30.5 °C31.8 °C33.9 °C 
 30.4 °C31.7 °C34.5 °C 
 30.0 °C31.4 °C34.1 °C 
Maximum: 34.5 °C
Average: 32 °C
30.9 °C31.0 °C29.2 °C
31.5 °C31.6 °C30.0 °C
30.8 °C32.0 °C29.7 °C
Maximum: 32.0 °C
Average: 30.7 °C
Power Supply (max.)  32.1 °C | Room Temperature 23.0 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Speakers

The integrated speaker is located at the back and can especially convince us with the high tones. The sound does not get distorted with high volume settings. However, the speaker is not comfortable with bass as it is basically nonexistent. All in all the sound experience is still good.  

External output devices like headphones, AV receivers or TV's can use the equalizer settings of Beats Audio in the system settings. External devices can be attached via the 3.5 mm stereo jack, Bluetooth or the MHL capable micro USB port.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

We measure an idle consumption of 0.54 up to 1.5 Watts for the Droid DNA. This is not as frugal as the Apple iPhone 5 (0.4 – 1.4 Watts), but still a very good result. Our review unit consumes less energy than the Xperia ZL, which has a 260% higher consumption with 1.9 up to 3.9 Watts. 

Under load, the consumption increases to 5.6 Watts, only the Nexus 4 (6.1 Watts) needs even more power. Sony's Xperia ZL is a bit more frugal with 5.1 Watts. The LG Optimus G is exemplary with just 3.7 Watts and even the Chinese smartphone iOcean X7 (4.9 Watts) consumes less energy. 

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.0 / 0.2 Watt
Idle 0.54 / 1.2 / 1.5 Watt
Load 3.7 / 5.5 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

The non-removable lithium-polymer battery of the HTC Droid DNA is comparatively small with a capacity of 2,020 mAh. The batteries of the Sony Xperia ZL (2,370 mAh) and LG Optimus G E975 (2,100 mAh) are slightly bigger. Due to the high load consumption that we simulated with the application Stability Test (GPU + CPU load) and the smallest battery in the comparison, the HTC Droid DNA only manages a minimum runtime of two hours and 40 minutes, the worst result within the competition. As expected, the devices from Sony (03:15 hours) and LG (03:32 hours) last longer.

The maximum runtime of the Droid DNA is also comparatively low with almost 11 hours. The rivals can clearly surpass the HTC in this scenario; the Xperia ZL manages a little more than 14 hours and the frugal LG E975 even manages more than 18 hours. 

Our WLAN Test is the most realistic scenario. With an adjusted display brightness (150 cd/m²), the review unit loads a new website every 40 seconds via a script. The Droid DNA manages a runtime of seven hours and 13 minutes; an average result at best, which is not even close to the 11 hours of the Optimus G. 

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
10h 55min
WiFi Surfing
7h 13min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 40min

Verdict

In Review: HTC Droid DNA
In Review: HTC Droid DNA

The HTC Droid DNA inspires with a vibrant display and high build quality of the stylish case. It is evident that the Taiwanese manufacturer did not integrate the same high-quality components from the HTC One and only uses a Snapdragon S4 Pro for the Droid DNA, which still offers enough performance for all applications. Even the throttling of the GPU Adreno 320 under continuous load is tolerable because the performance is still sufficient.   

Drawbacks of our review unit are the limited storage, which is not expandable, the short battery runtimes and the comparatively high price. You can get the bigger sibling HTC One for just 70 Euros (~$93) more; it not only has a brighter display and a more powerful CPU but also twice as much storage capacity. Finally, all versions of the HTC One have LTE modules. 

If the retail price drops over the next weeks, the Droid DNA will certainly become a more attractive alternative. The price pressure for mainstream devices is very high; Sony (starting at 449 Euros/~$599) and especially LG (starting at 306 Euros/~$408) are considerably less expensive. However, if you want to use your smartphone for daily tasks and some occasional gaming you will be satisfied with the HTC Droid DNA.  

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Specifications

HTC Butterfly

:: Processor
:: Memory
2048 MB, DDR
:: Graphics adapter
Qualcomm Adreno 320, Single Core
:: Display
5.0 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, ten points multi touch, capacitive, Super LCD 3, SLCD, Corning Gorilla Glas 2, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
16 GB iNAND Flash, 16 GB , 9 GB free
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm stereo jack, Sensors: Gyrosensor, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor, Digital compass, A-GPS, Glonass
:: Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a b g n ), 4.0 mit aptX Bluetooth, HSPA (850 and 2,100 MHz), GSM/GRPS/Edge (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.08 x 70.5 x 143
:: Weight
0.137 kg Power Supply: 0.058 kg
:: Battery
8.6 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 2,020 mAh, 4.3 Volts
:: Price
499 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
:: Additional features
Webcam: 2,1 MP (1.720 x 1.280 Pixel), Speakers: one speaker at the back, Keyboard: virtual, 5 Watts PSU, Beats-Audio, Headset, HTC Sense 4+, HTC Sync, 24 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The box is made of recycled materials.
The box is made of recycled materials.
A Snapdragon S4 Pro and an Adreno 320 provide sufficient performance.
A Snapdragon S4 Pro and an Adreno 320 provide sufficient performance.
The display with a resolution of 1920x1980 pixels.
The display with a resolution of 1920x1980 pixels.
The back is completely made of plastic.
The back is completely made of plastic.
Beats Audio is supposed to improve the sound quality.
Beats Audio is supposed to improve the sound quality.
The camera with 8 MP, auto focus and image stabilization.
The camera with 8 MP, auto focus and image stabilization.
The Droid DNA has the usual Android touch buttons.
The Droid DNA has the usual Android touch buttons.
HTC integrates a wide angle webcam.
HTC integrates a wide angle webcam.
The PSU provides 5 Watts (5 V, 1 A).
The PSU provides 5 Watts (5 V, 1 A).
The webcam is not suited for snapshots.
The webcam is not suited for snapshots.
AndEBench
AndEBench
Basemark X
Basemark X
Browsermark 2.0
Browsermark 2.0
Epic Citadel: High Performance.
Epic Citadel: High Performance.
Epic Citadel: High Quality.
Epic Citadel: High Quality.
Epic Citadel: Ultra High Quality.
Epic Citadel: Ultra High Quality.
Quadrant
Quadrant
Smartbench 2011 did not work.
Smartbench 2011 did not work.
Smartbench 2012
Smartbench 2012
GFX Bench
GFX Bench
GFX Bench
GFX Bench
9.52 GB storage can be used.
9.52 GB storage can be used.
Sunspider 0.9.1
Sunspider 0.9.1
Sunspider 1.0
Sunspider 1.0
The keyboard layout can be adjusted via Sense Input settings.
The keyboard layout can be adjusted via Sense Input settings.
You have to manually select your preferred layout after the initial set-up.
You have to manually select your preferred layout after the initial set-up.

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» Review HTC One Max Smartphone
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Links

Price Comparison

Pro

+Great display
+High color accuracy
+Full HD
+Good build quality
+Application performance
 

Cons

-Mediocre camera
-Limited storage without expandability
-Average battery runtimes
-Non-removable battery
-High price

Shortcut

What we like

The vibrant display and the good build quality look as if they were made out of one piece. The Droid DNA is comfortably in the hands despite its large 5.0-inch display.

What we miss

The internal storage is not very generous with 16 GB. A micro SD slot for expandability would have been nice.

What surprises us

The display is able to recognize up to ten inputs simultaneously but this is limited to two inputs ex-works and has to be adjusted in the settings. 

The competition

Among others: Sony Xperia ZL, LG Optimus G E975, Google Nexus 4 and iOcean X7.

Rating

HTC Butterfly
08/05/2013 v3
Daniel Schmidt

Chassis
86%
Keyboard
55%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
41%
Weight
100%
Battery
92%
Display
88%
Games Performance
38%
Application Performance
63%
Temperature
85%
Noise
100%
Add Points
70%
Average
76%
86%
Smartphone *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review HTC Droid DNA (Butterfly) Smartphone
Author: Daniel Schmidt, 2013-08- 6 (Update: 2013-08- 8)