If you have seen our review of the HTC Droid DNA, you probably noticed that despite its shortcomings, we think it’s a great phone. While sales might not have been as high as HTC and Verizon hoped, there are still plenty of fans of the DNA, so for those of you using the phone, here are 11 tips and tricks to get the most out of it.
If you would rather see these tips in video format, you can jump to the video at the bottom of the article. Otherwise, read on.
1.) Use Best Shot Mode
You’re human; you move. It’s a fact of life that can often ruin photos. Luckily, the HTC Droid DNA has a built-in feature that can provide a solution to this problem.
When you take a photo with your DNA, instead of simply pressing the shutter button, hold it down. The camera will take a rapid series of exposures–up to twenty photos. Now you can either use Best Shot to automatically select the best looking photo, or save them all and pick the best yourself.
2.) Change Your Lock Screen
We’re all different, and that means that we all use our devices in different ways. The very first thing you’re going to do when you pick your phone up varies greatly from person to person, including what they do with their lock screen.
The HTC Droid DNA offers a wide range of different lock screens, starting with the most basic: your wallpaper and a few icons. By going to Settings -> Personalize -> Lock screen style, you can choose from a variety of different lock screens starting with Productivity, which shows your most recent notifications, Photo Album, Weather, People, Clock, Stocks and Music. You can even choose to have no lock screen whatsoever if you wish.
3.) Turn Off 3-Finger HTC Gestures
If you have an HTC Media Link device, you can easily connect your Droid DNA by swiping up on the screen with three fingers. However, this has the side effect of preventing other apps from using three-finger gestures.
If you don’t use HTC Media Link or would rather have three-finger gestures available to other apps, simply go to Settings -> Display & gestures and uncheck the box next to HTC gestures. Now any three-finger gestures will be recognized by other apps. Music apps in particular seem to use these gestures, so you may want these types of gestures to pass through.
4.) Create Custom Scenes
If you like to customize your home screens but don’t like to take risks, custom scenes may be for you. While there are a few included to choose from, like Verizon, HTC, Work, Play and Travel, you can also create as many custom scenes as you want.
Just go to Settings -> Personalize -> Scenes, and hit the menu button at the top. You will see the option to delete or rename existing scenes as well as create new ones. When you create a new scene, your home screen will be nothing but wallpaper and the app drawer button. Feel free to add widgets and apps as well as customize your skin and wallpaper. If you want to return to a previous look, just select the desired scene in Settings.
5.) Turn Off Fast Boot
Fast Boot is a great feature that does exactly what it promises to–it allows your HTC Droid DNA to boot up quickly. The problem is that when this feature is enabled, you’re never really actually shutting down your phone. Instead, it’s more similar to the hibernate feature found on PCs. While this is handy, sometimes you just want to start over with a clean slate.
To turn off Fast Boot, just head to Settings -> Battery and uncheck Fast Boot. Now the next time you reboot or power off your phone, you will actually be rebooting. While you’re probably not always going to want to have Fast Boot turned off, it might be nice to do this if you want to flush out your system, so to speak.
6.) Flip Your Phone
We’ve all been there: your phone starts to ring at the worst possible time, and you need to scramble to silence it. Luckily, with the Droid DNA, you can simply flip the phone face down on a desk, for example, to silence it immediately.
This same gesture can also prove useful when you’re in the middle of a conversation as well. Flipping the phone down in front of you mid-conversation will automatically activate the Droid DNA’s speakerphone. Picking the phone up again will deactivate speakerphone.
7.) Use Two-finger Scrolling Options
While this isn’t going to work with every app, some of the built-in apps included with the HTC Droid DNA offer alternate modes of navigation when scrolling with two fingers. Two examples are the built-in Mail app and your Contacts.
In contacts, for example, scrolling with two fingers allows you to quickly scroll through the alphabet. I personally don’t have enough contacts for this to be especially useful, but those of you with huge contacts lists will no doubt find this incredibly useful. It’s a shame that this type of navigation can’t be used in Gmail, for example, but it’s understandable that this doesn’t work. Still, one can hope.
8.) Try Out Slo-mo Video
While a lot of the items on the list so far have leaned more toward the useful side of the fence, this item is a lot closer to just plain cool. I doubt you’ll find much use for this, but it is definitely worth playing around with.
To try out Slo-mo video, all you have to do is enable in the shooting options menu in the camera app. Now any video you capture will be slowed down considerably. Unfortunately, there’s a major downside in that the quality of the video is reduced drastically. Still, experimenting with this feature can lead to some fairly interesting results.
9.) Enable HTC Sense Keyboard’s Swype-style Features
When we talk about replacement keyboard apps, it is almost impossible not to mention Swype. While it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (I’m not a fan, for example), many people swear by it and the ease of use it brings to typing for some people is a huge time saver. With the Sense keyboard on the HTC Droid DNA, you don’t even need to download it.
To enable Swype-like functionality on your DNA, head to Settings -> Language & Keyboard -> HTC Sense Input and check the Trace Keyboard option. Now you can use your keyboard either normally or exactly as you would Swype.
10.) Improve Your Battery Life
There are a lot of things you can do to save battery life on any Android phone, and I’m not going to cover them all here, but there are a few quick things you can do to improve battery life on your HTC Droid DNA in a just a few seconds with minimal impact on performance.
First, turn off automatic brightness and set the brightness as low as you can while keeping the screen usable. Not only does the reduced brightness save battery, but the lack of monitoring to change the brightness helps a bit as well. Now, if you’re on WiFi, turn off mobile data. Even if you’re not using it, this can chip away at your battery. Finally, head to Settings -> Battery -> Usage and close any apps you’re not using that are eating up battery.
Alone, none of these solutions will do much, but together, they’ll help squeeze out a little more crucial battery life on a busy day.
11.) Unload Unused Apps From RAM
I’ve said before that I’m a big fan of the multitasking or Recent Apps button on any phone that has it. With the HTC Droid DNA, there is a nice bit of functionality here that some people don’t seem to know about.
In addition to simply switching between apps, it’s possible to flick them upwards and off of the screen. This does more than simply remove them from the list; it actually removes the app from memory. The simplest way to test this is to open a page in the brower and hit the home button. Open the browser again and you’ll see the page appear instantly. Now hit the Recent Apps button and flick the browser off the screen. Open the browser again and you’ll see the page has to load.
If you have a lot of apps going at once, this is a handy way to free up some extra system resources without much trouble.
Now obviously everyone is going to have their favorite tips and tricks, and the ones we’ve mentioned are just a few. What are some of your favorite tips or tricks for the HTC Droid DNA? What do you think of the tips we mentioned? Let us know in the comments below.