Going into 2013, LG and HTC seem to have two opposite trajectories. The once mighty HTC is severely losing momentum in terms of sales and fan base. In the other corner, South Korean manufacturer LG is basking in the success of its successful Q4 2012 releases, the LG Optimus G and the Google Nexus 4.
You might be tempted to think that the LG Optimus G Pro is the successor to the LG Optimus G, the first smartphone to come out with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro. However, while the Optimus G sports a 4.7-inch display, the LG Optimus G Pro uses a 5.5-inch display, thus trespassing into phablet territory.
While LG has had some experience with phablets in the past (see the peculiar LG Optimus Vu line), in the other corner, the HTC Droid DNA, with its 5-inch display borders the fine line between smartphones and phablets.
Both the LG Optimus G Pro and the HTC Droid DNA are complete Android powerhouses, but what are the similarities and differences between them? Is one of these devices preferable to the other? Keep reading to find out all the details or jump straight to the video for a quick sum-up!
The HTC Droid DNA was the first handheld to come with a Full HD display (1920 by 1080 pixels resolution). Measuring 5 inches across the diagonal, the laminated Super LCD 3 display on the Droid DNA boosts a Pixel Per Inch (PPI) ratio of 441 and features great contrast and brightness levels, as well as very accurate color reproduction.
The LG Optimus G Pro uses a 5.5-inch True HD IPS+ display, also running at a 1920 by 1080 pixel resolution. The PPI ratio rests at 401 ppi. While the pixel density is lower than that of the Droid DNA and the other 5-inch 1080p phones that have recently invaded the market, it’s likely you won’t notice a crispness difference at the regular viewing distance.
Verdict: Both are great displays, so it really boils down to your personal preference. If you’re looking for maximum crispness, go for the HTC Droid DNA. If you’re hunting more screen real estate, go for the LG Optimus G Pro.
Design and Build Quality
Design is one segment where the LG Optimus G Pro actually resembles the Optimus G. Same curved display, same cube pattern on the back, and roughly the same overall look. It definitely feels like the LG Optimus G Pro is basically a larger Optimus G.
The Optimus G Pro features one hardware home button flanked by two capacitive buttons that rest below that 5.5 inch display. The Optimus G Pro measures 150.2 x 76.1 x 9.4 mm (5.91 x 3.00 x 0.37 in) and weighs 160 g (5.64 oz).
Design-wise, the Droid DNA speaks kind of the same design language as the HTC One X, although with less rounded corners and with colored accents. The three capacitive buttons, as well as some of the metallic inserts on the Droid DNA are bright red, just so you always know that the Droid DNA runs on Verizon’s network.
Thanks to its smaller display, the HTC Droid DNA is the more compact device, although still larger than what’s considered to be a regular smartphone these days. Its dimensions are 141 x 70.5 x 9.7 mm (5.55 x 2.78 x 0.38 in). In addition, the Droid DNA weighs considerably less than the Optimus G Pro: 141.7 g (4.97 oz).
Verdict: Looks are a subjective aspect, so, given that the build quality seems to be comparable, I’m going to call this one a draw.
CPU, GPU & RAM
The LG Optimus G Pro uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chipset that can be found inside the HTC One, meaning we’re dealing with a 1.7 GHz quad-core Krait processor and an overclocked Adreno 320 GPU.
In the HTC corner, the Droid DNA uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, one that features a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor and a standard Adreno 320 GPU.
Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon 600 is up to 40% faster than the S4 Pro, and the score of some of the benchmarks we have run seem to support this bold statement.
Both the HTC Droid DNA and the LG Optimus G Pro use 2 GB of RAM, probably more than enough for your multitasking needs.
Internal and Expandable Storage
While the HTC Droid DNA comes with 16 GB of internal storage and lacks microSD card compatibility, the LG Optimus G Pro is much better equipped here, featuring 32 GB of internal storage, as well as a microSD card slot.
Although megapixels are not the best way to asses the quality of a camera sensor, it’s all we have to work with until we’re able to take the Optimus G Pro into further testing.
The HTC Droid DNA uses an 8 MP primary sensor and a 2.1 MP front facing camera, while the LG Optimus G Pro uses a 13 MP primary camera and a 2.1 secondary camera. Both primary cameras feature an LED flash.
Unfortunately for HTC fans, we have now reached what’s clearly the weak spot of the Droid DNA, as its non-removable 2020 mAh battery was widely and rightfully criticized by the entire tech blogosphere.
The LG Optimus G Pro does much better in this segment, thanks to its removable 3140 mAh battery.
Verdict: The LG Optimus G Pro wins this round with ease!
Operating system and software
Both the HTC Droid DNA and the LG Optimus G Pro currently run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, although each manufacturer has overlaid its own proprietary UI on top.
The Droid DNA uses HTC Sense 4+ and hopefully it will receive the New Sense UI (Sense 5) that HTC has recently showcased on the HTC One. The LG Optimus G Pro uses an updated version of the UI that can be found on the Optimus G, with some additional improvements to the camera app, such as a panorama mode (think Photo Sphere) and simultaneous dual camera recording.There are some differences between the implementation used by HTC and that used by LG on these devices, but unfortunately, custom user interfaces rarely improve on the vanilla Android UI, and this is not the case here.
Verdict: Draw! Take them out for a spin before you buy and decide which custom UI is better.
Pros and Cons
Optimus G Pro Pros
- Larger display
- Faster processor
- Supports wireless charging
- Bigger screen
- Some software improvements
Optimus G Pro Cons
- Plastic build
Droid DNA Pros
- More compact
- Crisper display
Droid DNA Cons
- Slower processor
- No microSD slot
- Smaller, non-removable battery
- Sense 4+ is dated
In the context of this versus article, the HTC Droid DNA is more a large smartphone rather than a phablet by modern standards. It features a more compact design and a slightly crisper display. But you should bear in mind that the Droid DNA has a relatively small, built-in battery, and lacks microSD card support.
In the other corner, the LG Optimus G Pro is the first true contender to Samsung’s Galaxy Note line, and while there’s nothing especially interesting on the software side, the LG Optimus G Pro uses all top-end hardware, with a design and battery size that will not disappoint.
What do you guys make of this battle? Is the LG Optimus G Pro the better device? Is the HTC Droid DNA preferable thanks to its more compact design? Let us know which way you swing in the comment section below!