Would you prefer the HTC DROID DNA or the LG Nexus 4?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| November 14, 2012

Within the past month I’ve written a couple of articles mentioning the LG Nexus 4 and the HTC DROID DNA (which had an unofficial device name at the time). With both of these phones now being formally announced, I have had a chance to sit down and write down the pros and cons that each device had to offer for the everyday mobile tech fanatic. Which one do you think would work better for you?

Let’s look at the Nexus 4 first. There’s always the major bonus to having the ‘Nexus’ name tacked on to any device, and that’s being the first in line for any major Android updates straight from Google themselves. That being said, this device is the first to ship with Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), so for those of you foaming at the mouth to get your hands on this bad boy, I hope you had a chance to reel in an order before the stock was depleted after just a few hours in the United States yesterday afternoon.

I had questioned whether you thought LG was a manufacturer worthy of producing a Nexus device, seeing as a company like Samsung (who is currently sitting at number one in smartphone sales with their innovative Galaxy S III) created the most recent Nexus 4 predecessor, the Galaxy Nexus. Personally, I think LG could have done a better job in the spec department once you compare the Nexus 4 with the HTC DROID DNA (WHY DO I FEEL LIKE I’M YELLING WHEN I TYPE THAT?) a device which was formally announced at an HTC/Verizon event yesterday afternoon in NYC.

For one, the Nexus 4 will not have LTE capabilities. However, T-Mobile also does not support LTE, which is the only US carrier to have a Nexus 4 specifically tailored to their company. Instead the Nexus 4 will use HSPA+ 4G speeds, which isn’t that bad, but it’s also not that good considering you can definitely get faster speeds elsewhere.  The Nexus 4 will have an 8 MP rear-facing camera, with a 1.3 MP front-facing. It offers 1280 x 768 pixel display within a 4.7” screen. It’s a pretty decent-sized phone, but certainly not the biggest. This device will sport a 1.5 quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, making it pretty dang snappy.

But sometimes “snappy” isn’t good enough, and you’re always going to have that one kid in class who you never thought would beat you at the track race that comes and steals the thunder right out from under you, even if you have been training for months - in this case I mean HTC.

As I described in my recent article, HTC is pretty down in the dumps this past quarter when it comes to sales, joining the low, low ranks of BlackBerry. HTC had to do something to try and make its way back up, and by the looks of it the HTC DROID DNA just might do the trick.

The HTC DROID DNA is what HTC Representative Chris Park called the “Frankenstein” of phones, taking all the good parts of the best smartphones in the market and rolling it all into one. For starters you can look at the display – 1080p (440 ppi) S-LCD3 display on a 5-inch screen. It might look like a bunch of numbers and letters to some, so what does all that mean? It means that it’s the clearest display on any phone in the market today – and the screen is huge. There’s nothing I love more than a crispy display, so that in itself is impressive to me. As you all know, I could do without the size but sooner or later I’m going to have to give that up and just go get hand enlargement surgery so I can comfortably enjoy all these gigantic masterpieces being released.

This device has an 8 MP rear-facing camera, but takes it up a notch by introducing a 2.1 MP front-facing camera - the highest megapixel for a front-facing camera today. I mean, I look pretty good with my iPhone 4S VGA resolution (ha), but imagine how much better I would look all that 2.1 MP glory! Whew. And don’t lie to me and say you weren’t thinking the same thing. These specs are about to just blow me away, let me tell you.

The batteries on both devices are similar, with the Nexus 4 having a little more edge with a 2,100 mAh battery over the DROID DNA’s 2,020 mAh battery. So really, battery life will pretty much be determined by how much and how often you use your device. Naturally, how often you have 4G turned on will play an important factor in battery life, so if you’re not using 4G I recommend switching to 3G to save yourself from an extra charge or two.

The Nexus 4 will come in 8 and 16 GB variants, while the HTC DROID DNA will only come in a 16 GB package - both with no micro SD capabilities.

Finally, one of the most important factors for many out there – is the price worth the device? Depends on where you’re coming from. If you’re up for a contract renewal or opening a new line with Verzion Wireless, you can purchase the HTC DROID DNA for $199 starting on November 21, with pre-orders being available as of yesterday. I feel that it’s a pretty expected price for such a device. As for the Nexus 4, the price starts at $199 on T-Mobile starting today if you’re available for an upgrade or planning on opening an account with them. Otherwise, T-Mobile will sell the device for $499 outright. If you’re on AT&T you can purchase an unlocked version of the Nexus 4 straight from Google for $299. The phone might be cheaper through Google for AT&T customers, but you won’t be able to use the 4G connectivity so if that’s an important feature to you, you will probably end up disappointed.

So what do you think, PhoneDog readers? Are you interested in either one of these devices? Personally, if I had to choose one I would definitely go with HTC DROID DNA. I think they’ve put enough effort into the device to at least give them a small boost this holiday season, but I feel like (as with most phones) they could fare better if they didn’t succumb to carrier exclusives. Same goes for the Nexus 4. Is either device good enough make you want to jump ship to another carrier? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


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