Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC Droid DNA

March 16, 2013
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samsung galaxy s4 vs HTC Droid DNA 1 aa 600

On Thursday, the Samsung Galaxy S4 was finally unveiled by Samsung in New York, putting an end to months of rumors and speculations about the new member of the insanely popular Galaxy S line of smartphones.

Arguably one of the highlights of the device is the use of a 5-inch 1080p display. With the Galaxy S4, Samsung has made its fashionably late entrance in the already crowded club of full HD phone makers. At this point, the full HD invasion is complete, with nearly every Android device maker boasting at least on full HD phone in its portfolio.

The fast adoption of full HD displays is so much more impressive when you think that just a few months back, the HTC J Butterfly, and its American doppelganger the Droid DNA were making the headlines with their new ultra crisp panels.

Has Samsung managed to define what a modern smartphone should be like? Has HTC struck a better balance between specs and design, functionality and appearance? Let’s find out together.

You can jump to the bottom of this article for a video review, or join us as we pit the Samsung Galaxy S4 against the HTC Droid DNA in four rounds: display, design and build quality, internal hardware, and software.

Specs

Specifications Samsung Galaxy S4 HTC Droid DNA
Dimensions 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm130g 141 x 70.5 x 9.7 mm (5.55 x 2.78 x 0.38 in)141.7 g (4.97 oz)
Display 4.99-inch, Super AMOLED1920 x 1080 Full HD, 441ppi 5-inch Super LCD 31080 x 1920, 441ppi
CPU and GPU International version

  • Samsung Exynos 5 Octa
  • Quad-core A15 (1.6GHz) + Quad-core A7 (1.2GHz)

US version

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T
  • Quad-core Krait 300
  • 1.9Ghz
APQ8064 Snapdragon S4 ProQuad-core 1.5GHzAdreno 320
RAM 2GB 2GB
Storage 16GB/32GB/64GB internalmicroSD, up to 64GB 16/32GBNon-expandable
Cameras 13MP rear, LED flash, autofocus, burst mode, Shot with Sound, Dual record, Smart Erase 8MP rear,  autofocus, LED flash2.1MP front, 1080p, 30fps
Battery 2600mAh, removable 2020 mAh12.8h talk time (3G)
Networks GSM, UMTS, HSPA+/LTE GSM, UMTS, CDMAHSPA+, LTE
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n acWi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, DLNA, NFCBluetooth 4.0 A2DP

microUSB, MHL 2, infrared

A-GPS

Wi-Fi 802.11 b, g, nWi-Fi hotspotmicroUSB, DLNA

NFC

A-GPS

Bluetooth 4.0

Operating system Android 4.2 TouchWiz UIAir View, Smart Scroll, Smart Pause,S Translate, Knox, S Drive Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Sense 4+

Display

The HTC Droid DNA features a 5-inch full HD Super LCD 3 display that clocks in an impressive 441ppi pixel density. This Super LCD 3 display is a joy to gaze at, as it not only offers great contrast levels and pixel-free crispness, but also accurate color reproduction.

In the Samsung corner, the 5-inch full HD Super AMOLED display on the Samsung Galaxy S4 is equally crisp, has better brightness, but (as all SAMOLED panels) less accurate color reproduction.

Verdict: The HTC Droid DNA has more accurate color reproduction, thus has a small advantage in this round, although SAMOLED fans will surely want to go for the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Design and build quality

The Samsung Galaxy S4 borrows a lot from the design of its predecessor, featuring a very similar home button flanked by two capacitive buttons. The corners are less rounded on GS4 than they are on the GS3, making the phone look like a cross between last years Galaxy S and the Note.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 measures 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm (5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 in) and weighs in at 130 g (4.59 oz), while the HTC Droid DNA measures 141 x 70.5 x 9.7 mm (5.55 x 2.78 x 0.38 in). As the numbers dictate, the Galaxy S4 is the more compact of these two smartphones.

The HTC Droid DNA features an aggressive design, with bold red aluminum accents in line with Verizon’s branding. HTC has applied a rubbery texture to the back plate,  making the DNA a bit easier to use with one hand.

Verdict: Feel free to disagree in the comment section below, but even though the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a bit more compact, the Droid DNA is the better looking device.

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Internal Hardware

CPU, GPU, and RAM

The HTC Droid DNA uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro system on a chip (SoC), meaning that under its hood hums a 1.5GHz quad-core Krait CPU and a Adreno 320 GPU, coupled with 2 GB of RAM.

The recently unveiled Samsung Galaxy S4 comes in two versions: an international version that uses an Exynos 5 Octa, a brand new chipset (rocking a quad-core A15 CPU plus a quad-core A7 CPU in big.LITTLE configuration, a GPU), and a North American version that will make use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 CPU (a 1.9 GHz Krait CPU, an Adreno 320 GPU). Both versions will feature 2GB of RAM.

As preliminary benchmark tests demonstrate, the Exynos 5 Octa proves itself faster than the Snapdragon S4 Pro.

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Internal and Expandable Storage

The Samsung Galaxy S4 comes in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions and can work with microSD cards, while the HTC Droid DNA comes with 16GB of internal space and no microSD card slot.

Cameras

The HTC Droid DNA features an 8MP primary camera and a 2.1MP secondary camera for video calling, while the Samsung Galaxy S4 seems to be a bit better endowed in this department, with its 13MP primary camera and a 2MP secondary shooter. Besides the larger sensor (and probably better optics), the Galaxy S4 also integrates a number of new little feature, that some might find gimmicky, but I am sure that many users will appreciate.

samsung galaxy s4 12 aa 600

Battery

The Samsung Galaxy S4 uses a 2600 mAh user-removable battery, which is obviously preferable to the 2020 mAh non-removable battery that’s inside the HTC Droid DNA.

Verdict: The hardware specs round clearly goes to the Samsung Galaxy S4

Android implementation and software 

Verizon’s HTC Droid DNA runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Naturally, both the carrier and HTC have promised a timely update to Android 4.2, but don’t hold your breath.

The Droid DNA uses the HTC Sense 4+ interface, which is arguably better designed than the Samsung Galaxy S4’s TouchWiz interface, albeit the latter comes with a number of useful software features such as: Air View, Smart Scroll, Smart Pause, and a number of others that you can learn all about in the article here.

Verdict: The TouchWiz interface on the Samsung Galaxy S4 wins this round thanks to its array of software features.

Hands-on video

Verdict

Both the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC Droid DNA are great Android smartphones, but the Galaxy S4 is not only faster, but also the more complete and versatile device.

The Droid DNA features one of the best displays on any phone (especially if you want true-to-life colors) and features a snazzy design, it does have a couple of flaws that could have been easily avoided by HTC. Yes, I’m talking about that smallish battery and lack of microSD card support.

What do you guys think: is the Samsung Galaxy S4 the new king of full HD smartphones ? Has the Super LCD 3 display on the HTC Droid DNA charmed you? Let us know in the comments!

Comments

  • Faiz

    Actually according to the recent article here, the Galaxy S4 has a more accurate colour reproduction compared to previous amoleds. So who knows, it could be equivalent to the LCDs. And even if it is not accurate, the colours are a lot nicer.

    • sxp

      SAMOLED has non-accurate and over saturated colors.
      although SAMOLED are only liked by Samsung fans.

      it’s like- clicking a photo and highly saturating it, making it look fake (a photographer can understand what I mean)

      but some people like that and hence Samsung makes it.

      • Faiz

        The only ones who care about accurate colours are hipsters and experts. The average consumer prefers a more vibrant colour reproduction. When I first got my Samsung device, I was blown away by the how nice pictures look on the samoled screen. Even my friends agree. So no, not only does Samsung fans like them. And I’ll say again in case you didn’t catch what I said, the S4′s colour reproduction is more accurate than before.

        • inspire

          Thank you for the categorization!
          but still I prefer SLCD or IPS colors rather then SAMOLED colors, and *my friends also agree with me*.
          S4 color reproduction: well, don’t know yet, exactly, but the comparison that came some days ago showed S3 / XZ colors better then S4 (IMHO).

          so, look at the perfect colors of HTC one / droid DNA / Nexus 4 / Optimus G/pro / sharp aquos

          • Faiz

            Not perfect, but more accurate. It all boils down to user preference. I, and many others I know, prefer the vibrant Samsung Amoleds. You don’t have to share the same opinion =)

  • Hein Htet Aung

    touchwiz wins sense? Are you kidding me? rofl

    • inspire

      hahaha, true.
      although both are very customized versions of pure android and both are good but still Sense looks more beautiful then “comic-sans-fonted” Touch wiz

      • Faiz

        Actually I prefer touchwiz due to loads of useful features it has. Sense looks pretty but has nothing good inside. It’s made even worse with the new “blinkfeed”. And besides, you can always use a custom launcher.

        • IMO

          and actually I don’t prefer touch wiz,, coz it looks so childish.
          and, custom launcher.. yeah.. I would rather buy nexus device for that rather then no-so-beautiful galaxy :)

          • Faiz

            Well that’s your opinion then =)

    • yungqb7

      Don’t like either, but touchwiz is more tolerable to use. I have played with the DNA and the GS3 for an hour or 2 each. Sense just wasn’t vibe’n with me (LG Revolution owner)

  • the wanderer

    As a owner of s3, I won’t be running out to get the s4, but given what I know about the galaxies, my money is on the s4 simply because the s3 is fantastic.

  • leocal79

    There is no bias here just look at the first picture. Why don’t they put it up against the One because it would lose. I think the One will blow the doors off the S4. I just wish the screen was a little larger like 5.1-5.2 inches and still keep almost the same size. Tha being said the battery on the DNA is an issue and I don’t like longer screens the aspect ratio is not great but the DNA has a sick screen makes the note 2 screen look like garbage.

    • Faiz

      In terms of design, yes the HTC looks sleeker. But if you want a phone that can do more and a nicer looking screen, the S4 wins.

      • leocal79

        Have you seen the s4 in person. Plus the One has a higher pixel density than the s4 with a smaller screen. The S4 isn’t out yet either. Also the One has stereo speakers and is made of aluminum

        • Faiz

          Anything higher 400ppi looks the same. While aluminium does give a nice premium touch, plastic is way better in smartphones due to their ability to absorb shocks.

          • inspire

            and how about dragontrail glass in XZ ? which has been tested to all the brute forces and still smiles back ? not to mention, it looks more elegant then plastic.

          • Faiz

            Xperia Z is an awesome device, and yes, the design is better than the S4. If the S4 had Xperia Z hardware, it would truly be a killer phone. But nothing is perfect… I would still want a removable battery though

    • http://www.facebook.com/frederic.lam.9 FrĂ©dĂ©ric Lam

      The HTC one isn’t even out yet…

      • leocal79

        I love Samsung and its various features but I hate this design as I hated the S3 and the note design. Can’t they come out with something that looks a little higher end. That is my beef. If they meshed the Galaxy software features with sense and htc design it would be a superphone

        • Faiz

          I agree with you. BUT, I think the current design is not that bad. Definitely have to see and use it in person because pictures doesn’t do it justice.

  • SĂşni F Petersen

    I really want to see benchmarks when the Exynos 5 is being used

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.davtyan70 David Davtyan

    I do not understand HTC at all. They do think about only what they want to do. many times people told them that they want removable batteries adn SD slot. here you go… Samsung has less product quality than HTC. But HTC does not listen to the people’s willingness.

    • http://profiles.google.com/xencillo21 Luis Enrique Cornejo

      Thank you HTC for not listening to the people that says:”We need removable battery and micro SD card slot!” HTC…why are you so much fu..ing g…y of not saying that Apple is the mo…erfu…ing company that told you that you can’t get removable battery and micro SD card in your flagships, because those mo…erfu…ers might ban your products if you do that? HTC, why you are so much fu…ing coward?? HTC, Just tell us Apple was responsible for you not listening to the people. AND finally, Apple, you are a mo..erfu..ing piece of sh…t!!

  • aman mathur

    @androidauthority : please provide detail and comparison between both processors on galaxy s4. which one is best

  • ZachC123

    I prefer HTC over Samsung any day i own a HTC DNA and love it. The reason that Samsung gets so much credit for they’re phones is because they sell more and thats only because they lie and pay companies like Verizon to try to sell there phones with more potential and advertise them more but over HTC is the better company!

    • freedomspopular

      The reason that they get so much credit is because, for the most part, they actually listen to what their consumers want and their phones “just work,” are full of features, get good/great battery life, are fairly durable, and have a branding/interface that customers are familiar with.

      • PhoneGuy

        Not true, if Samsung “listen” to their customers, then why did they keep the cheap plastic?

  • Gowkill

    2000 mah sealed battery on a 5 inch fullhd panel!??
    what a bad idea htc.. and you guys are here talking about
    the one, but its the same, tests reveals that one’s battery
    too small for the job.. GS4 BETTER THAN BOTH BY FAR!!

    • Orlando Perrone

      Unless you are a super power hog, the battery in the DNA does just fine. I still have 50% or more battery at the end of a good day, and on a heavy day, I’m putting it on the charger before bed with 20%. The DNA is a phone for people who like something powerful, but not for people who are stuck in the phone they can’t seem to pay attention to everything else.

  • bizkit

    design wise, htc droid dna wins for me.
    just at first sight I know droid dna looks better than s3 or even s4.

    however, feature wise, S3 & S4 wins, no doubt about it. the most important thing for me is microsd slot & removable battery. samsung listen to their customer, no wonder they sell well.

    I think htc is totally idiot here. if only they give microsd slot & removable battery on droid dna, I will buy it since day one, and I’m sure other people will do the same. it will sell like hot cakes.

    poor htc, that’s what you got for being stubborn. enjoy.

    • Aceoangels

      What exactly is the upside to removable batteries and SD card?

      • cojo

        I take it you dont travel…. I have spare batteries for my phones makes my life easier the expandable memory not so important but I still like the choice of having this functionality. Storage of movies backing up and having it is better than not having it.

        • Orlando Perrone

          It’s a matter of preference. I still haven’t filled my phone to 50% capacity. Then again, I have a tablet for watching movies and such.

  • David Brymer

    Faiz stop Licking Samsungs ass. Omg I enjoy reading people’s comments but every time sum1 doesn’t big up Samsung ur in with ur tongue out shouting Samsung were do u want me. Sad lil man. P’s I’m taking my xperia z back wen the htc one is out coz I’ve been having problems with them.

    • Faiz

      How am I licking Samsung’s ass when I’m just stating why I like the particular Samsung products I’m talking about? I thought AA is free of assholes and trolls like you lol. And the Xperia Z has multiple issues too, such as an inferior screen quality and mediocre speaker. You can see reviews of it on youtube.

      • Flymgo

        stop crying baby!
        you are definitely licking, all your comments proves that with whatever justification.
        XZ’s poor speaker ? probably you should check the same youtube tests which shows that speaker is only poor when it is freshly out of water and NOT OTHERWISE.
        poor screen ? well, many people prefer accurate colors rather then over-saturated colors.
        but if that’s not enough- then there is HTC one with dual speaker and screen with good viewing angles.

        • Faiz

          Lolwut? Many people prefer “over-saturated” colours as well. Yeah the HTC One is nice, but in my opinion the Galaxy S4 is up to the same standard, putting the design aside, since that is based on personal preference. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlhXpHULwys Of the Xperia Z. Fucking hell man AA is turning into a shit website already. I thought I could have at least a civil argument, yet you people act like kids. Pathetic.

    • lalala

      and xperia z has terrible camera.

  • Fwhite

    I have feh DNA and have no interest with the S4, the DNA is a beautiful and awesome phone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/atessono Allritch Tessono

    It’s funny how HTC was bashing the GS4 at the Samsung event but earlier confirmed today that they will not be carrying the HTC One on Verizon wireless which is the “number one” carrier in the U.S. with At&t following behind it. The GS4 is definitely gonna win the battle in the Android front. http://phandroid.com/2013/03/16/htc-confirms-the-one-will-not-come-to-verizon/

  • http://www.facebook.com/atessono Allritch Tessono

    It’s funny how HTC was bashing the GS4 at the Samsung event but earlier confirmed today that they will not be carrying the HTC One on Verizon wireless which is the “number one” carrier in the U.S. with At&t following behind it. The GS4 is definitely gonna win the battle in the Android front. http://phandroid.com/2013/03/16/htc-confirms-the-one-will-not-come-to-verizon/

  • David Brymer

    No ur not getting what I mean faiz, no1 on here can say anything bad about the perfect bestest s4……. Which u have not even seen proper or held it, I only mentioned my xperia z and that I’m taking it back and ur on here again putting it down, but how dare any1 say wat they feel about the s4 and again ur on here telling us all how wrong we r. So don’t throw ur dummy out a the pram because u get sum of ur medicine back and take it like a ” man”. I get the feeling that u think u know it all mate, but u really don’t.

  • rvichar

    Kind of a useless comparison. Let’s compare the S4 to my toaster.

  • Devon Harris

    I am a DNA owner, I love the phone and am glad I picked it over the s3. I did this because I realized that the DNA would have more relevant specs in the future due to it’s high end specs of the release time. I do think the s4 wins this though due to and ONLY due to it’s “8 core” processor (4 cores x 2 really). But I do like the extremely compact size too, I just can’t feel safe with the plastic on the s4/s3′s. So I would rather have a durable feeling phone than the phone that has the faster processor that will only be utilized some of the time anyway… Just wondering as well, did they mention anything such as gorilla-glass on the s4???

    • lalala

      gs4 is the 1st device with the latest gorilla glass 3

      • Orlando Perrone

        Gorilla glass 2 does just fine. If you need to worry about scratching your phone, you’re not taking car of your device.

        • lalala

          i was just replying to @google-a84adc71ac0046c4cd85296c7a169604:disqus lol.gorilla glass 3 is thinner thats the main point.i dont mind the scratching part as im going to slap a screen protector anyhow no matter even if it is made out of diamonds.its the safety feel too that assures me.thats all.

    • yungqb7

      I rather have a phone with awesome specs, lots of memory, and a bit of “future-proof” feel to it as well as a battery to hold its own. Based on those preferences HTC DNA is not the phone for me. Besides my LG phone is plastic, I’ve held the GS3 and DNA. The DNA has a nice build, but I don’t see anything wrong with GS3′s either. The only reason why I didn’t get the GS3 is that I prefer having the latest phone on the market when I upgrade and I knew that the GS4 was going to be announced. I just have to be a little more patient

  • Lighten Oup

    I wonder how many people were hired to bash one brand while promoting another brand when neither phones got RELEASED!

    They also seems to be bashing people who are expressing REAL opinions.
    Anyways, I think both phones will be great, but I can’t say it for sure 100% until people can actually get their hands on them.

  • M.Beg

    Htc dna much better.FACT

    • jj

      Duh fuck Samsung they full of shit

  • Orlando Perrone

    Please stop arguing about DNAs lack of removable battery and sd slot. If you want those things, don’t get the DNA. Simple. Right?

  • gkuglikjgo

    So the owners of htc praise droid dna,and some people never use htc blame it just to kill time,or maybe samsung hire you.

  • sebastian

    i have the dna and i love the dna i dont see me changeing i had the s3 before the dna and loved it but i think the dna beats s3 and see no reason to change to the s4

  • sebastian

    also before u change think about the s3 i had it while i did like it not as much as dna dont ever drop the s3 or prob s4 omg a simple drop on carpeted floor and my s3 went nuts kept crashing everything dna can take bumps

  • Dcdanger

    I’m just a regular user but went to the Verizon store and did the “can I twist and bend the frame ” test. DNA is much stiffer ie: better build quality so its works for me.So much for the caveman test.