HTC Droid DNA vs HTC One X+ [video]

December 30, 2012
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HTC has had some hard times as of late. Once a major player in smartphones, for a while the company seemed to all but disappear, releasing phones that either fell short compared to other devices on the market, or didn’t make enough waves to really be talked about.

Lately, it seems that HTC is making a major effort to regain the position it once held as a top manufacturer of smartphones, throwing its hat in the ring with both Android and Windows Phone 8. Of course, one look at the name of this site will show which one we’re more interested in talking about.

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The original HTC One X was well received, but fairly quickly outclassed by higher spec’d devices. Instead of starting from the ground up, HTC smartly upgraded some components, changed the look a bit and released the results as the HTC One X+.

It seems that elsewhere within HTC, the idea to build a new flagship from scratch had taken hold, however, as not long after the release of the One X+, the HTC Droid DNA was released. Now we’re pitting these two devices against each other to see which one comes out on top.

In a hurry? Check out our video review or jump to the conclusion!

Build Quality & Design

The build quality of both phones is generally very good, as it should be for two of HTC’s highest-end phones. Despite both the HTC Droid DNA and the HTC One X+ being made of plastic, they feel very solid, while remaining light.

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Obviously which look you’re going to prefer is very subjective. Personally, I like the red accents on the Droid DNA. I also prefer the feel of the Droid DNA to the One X+, though I find that the haptic feedback on the One X+ feels a little more solid.

The button layouts are very similar with the capacitive buttons, volume buttons and headphone jack being located in the same spots. The location of the power button is the main difference, with the HTC Droid DNA placing it in the center of the top of the device, and the One X+ placing it to the right side of the top. The location of the USB port is different as well, with it being located on the bottom of the Droid DNA, and the left side of the One X+.

Display

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It would be very easy to simply hand victory to the HTC Droid DNA in the display category, thanks to its 1080p resolution and 441 ppi pixel density, and it does best the HTC One X+, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the display on the One X+ is bad. Far from it.

While 720p resolution and 321 ppi pixel density might not sound like much compared to the Droid DNA’s screen, the One X+ still boasts a fairly nice looking display. Is the Droid DNA’s screen better? Yes, but you’re not always going to notice this. It depends on what is being rendered on-screen.

Performance

I have stated before that I’m not a big fan of benchmarks, and that I don’t use them as a foundation for my thoughts on a device. Still, when trying to spot performance differences between two devices, they do have their use.

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In my testing, I found that in nearly every case, the HTC Droid DNA received higher scores than the HTC One X+ in the benchmark tests I used. There were, however a few exceptions. Whenever the tests in question relied more heavily on the GPU than the CPU, the HTC One X+ would often produce higher framerates. Despite the higher clocked processor, the HTC One X+ produced lower scores in CPU-bound tests.

When looking at the two devices in use, the two devices are much closer. I never found a situation where one device was significantly faster than the other, though obviously the HTC Droid DNA was incapable of running Tegra-specific games.

Camera

If the rear-facing cameras on the HTC Droid DNA and the HTC One X+ aren’t identical, they are close enough that they might as well be. Aperture, focal length and megapixel count are all identical, and photos from one device are indistinguishable from those taken on the other device, given that they are of the same subject in the same conditions.htc-droid-dna-camera

This applies to the 1080p video capture as well. As you’ll see in the accompanying video further down in the article, it is very difficult to tell which device was used to capture a video. This is a good thing, as the cameras on both phones take very nice photos and videos.

Things change when we get to the front-facing cameras. While the 2.1-megapixel camera on the HTC Droid DNA captures 1080p video, the 1.6-megapixel camera on the HTC One X+ is only capable of capturing 720p video. This is a relatively small issue, but still one worth mentioning.

Battery

While there have been many complaints about the low-capacity battery in the HTC Droid DNA, it isn’t too often that we hear the same complaint about the One X+. This is strange as the battery in the One X+ only holds 80 mAh more, at 2,100 mAh to the 2,020 mAh battery in the Droid DNA.

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Further, in my testing, I found the battery in the HTC One X+ seemed to drain far more quickly than the HTC Droid DNA. This was especially noticeable when benchmarking the two devices, and in testing the gaming capabilities of both phones.

It’s very clear that neither of these phones are going to hold up to the 3,000+ mAh batteries found in devices like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2, but it’s important to keep in mind that most people don’t put as much strain on a battery in daily use as it sees during testing for reviews. I have found that the battery in the HTC Droid DNA fares much better during daily use than it did during testing.

Video

Conclusion

In a perfect world, it would be nice to see a model of the HTC Droid DNA that had the internal storage and faster GPU of the HTC One X+. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.

When choosing between the Droid DNA or the One X+, the deciding factors are likely to be internal storage and screen size, with style coming in at a distant third. In the end, it depends on what is more important to you.

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Personally, I lean toward the HTC Droid DNA as I prefer the slightly larger screen, higher resolution and increased pixel density. The better performance doesn’t hurt either. That said, I obviously can’t speak for everyone, and I’m the type of person that doesn’t have much use for a large amount of storage.

Given the choice, which of these phones would you choose and why? Let us know in the comments below!

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