So I've moved on from the DROID DNA. I carried it exclusively for a week and discovered a lot about the highlights and sore points of the device, what it's like to carry a single smartphone again and what really matters when I only have one phone to rely on at any given time.
Reflecting on the DNA specifically, it only lacked two things that I desperately need in a daily driver: extreme battery life and more storage space. (Have I driven that point home yet, HTC?) Aside from that, it was a darn good device, one that I would seriously consider using personally. It has an absolutely gorgeous display, the design and build quality are top notch and the speaker wasn't much to scoff at either. The camera could definitely be much better, but in the right situations, it's a worthy competitor to the iPhone's shooter.
On Tuesday, I switched back to my normal rig, the Verizon iPhone 5 in my left hand and the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note II in my right. With the exception of the serenity of only having one phone start a miniature earthquake on my desk with each new email, text, call or tweet, there is really only one thing I truly miss about the DROID DNA, dual-LED notifications.
I have had a penchant for LED notifications since my early BlackBerry days. In fact, I'm pretty sure my first cell phone ever had a notification light. But it was my first BlackBerry, the Curve 8330 that really set things off. I purchased an application not long after I got the 8330 that allowed me to set a different color and blink frequency to every different type of notification and for every different account. I could set different colors for each individual email account or Twitter account. And I remember spending upwards of two hours setting up the LED notification colors each time I flashed an unofficial software up date.
Based on the vibrate pattern and color or frequency of the blinking LED on the front of my phone, I could tell exactly what type of notification I had received without taking my phone out of my pocket or turning the display on.
Of course, I could effectively do the exact same thing with different ringtones and notification sounds, but I like my discretion. And if you're anything like me, your phone rarely goes off silent.
Many of the first-generation of Android smartphones had notification lights. The white trackballs on the Sprint HTC Hero or the Nexus One, for example, doubled as notification lights. Motorola and Samsung have had their fair share of notification lights on Android phones, too.
However, these notification lights are rarely predominant features. More or less, they always feel like afterthoughts. "Let's throw this LED underneath that extra space in the speaker grill. Oh, you can't see the LED if you're not looking directly at the phone? Ah, leave it. No one will notice."
But I do notice, and I don't like not having or not being able to see the notification light. And since switching back to the Galaxy Note II, I have noticed how often I innately toss my phones face-down. With the DROID DNA, it doesn't matter which way you lay it down. Face-up or face-down, there is a notification light that's easy to see. The light on the front is behind the speaker grill, but it's close enough to the grill that it can be viewed from a fairly wide angle.
As insignificant as it may seem, it's one of my favorite features of the phone. And it's one that I would love to see in future HTC devices, but also in other smartphones from other manufacturers. It's the little things …
Tell me, folks. Do you like the dual-LED setup on the DROID DNA? Do you wish your phone had a notification LED on the front and back? (No, the LED flash doesn't count. A notification light shouldn't burn retinas.) Or do you prefer no notifications lights whatsoever?