Superphone showdown HTC Droid DNA vs Samsung Galaxy S3

first_imgOne of the curious things about the Android vs. iOS argument is that there’s some confusion as to which Android phone is the best, which makes it hard to compare any one piece of hardware against Apple’s latest iPhone. Inside Android circles there are smaller groups of fans that support one manufacturer or another so, when deciding which Android phone is the best you really have to look at the flagship from each manufacturer.Now, both HTC and Samsung have a handset that could easily be considered the Android flagship. When you compare the Samsung Galaxy S3 to the HTC Droid DNA, which comes out on top?Build qualityHTC and Samsung have always had wildly different design ideas. While both manufacturers use a lot of plastic in their phones, Samsung tends to go for high gloss and high shine, while HTC uses matte surfaces and darker colors. On paper, these two phones are very similar. The Droid DNA features a 5-inch screen and weighs in at 138g while the Galaxy S3 features a 4.8-inch screen and weighs in at 133g. Both phones are 2.78 inches across, but the S3 is 4.4mm shorter and 1.3mm thinner than the thickest point of the Droid DNA.Ultimtely, the Galaxy S3 is a flat slab of plastic and glass, while the back of the DNA curves to feel more comfortable in the hand. The DNA also features a soft touch coating on the back, making the it feel much more stable in your hand.HTC takes the point here for build quality, but there is something to be said for the hit to usability that Droid DNA takes if you have smaller hands.Under the hoodDepending on which Samsung Galaxy S3 you are using, the Droid DNA offers a spec boost in one direction or another. The GSM variant of the S3 features a quad-core 1.4GHz Exynos processor with 1GB of RAM, while the LTE variant uses a dual-core Snapdragon with 2GB of RAM. The Droid DNA only comes in Verizon LTE form, and features a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro and 2GB of RAM.Samsung’s GPU, a Mali 400, does a pretty good job of standing up to the DNA’s Adreno 320. If the Droid DNA and the GS3 had similar screen resolutions the Adreno 320 would overpower the Mali 400, as was demonstrated when comparing the Galaxy S3 and the LG Optimus G. Since the Adreno 320 has to work a lot harder to drive the 1080p screen on the Droid DNA, the Galaxy S3 actually outperforms the HTC phone in graphics benchmarks.The Galaxy S3 comes in 16, 32, and 64GB sizes, with an external storage slot capable of holding another 64GB. The Droid DNA advertises having 16GB on board, but the user only has access to 11 of those gigabytes. Since there’s no removable storage, you’re stuck relying on either the cloud or something like a Kingston Wi-Drive for holding extra music and movies.HTC clearly has a more powerful phone on paper, but if your smartphone is where you play video games or listen to music the Samsung Galaxy S3 is likely the more functional phone in real world cases.DisplayBoth phones use Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2 to protect the screens, but the displays underneath couldn’t be more different. Samsung uses a Super AMOLED display with a 1280×720 resolution at 306ppi. The Droid DNA uses a Super LCD 3 display with a 1920×1080 resolution at 440 ppi. Typically Samsung AMOLED displays are capable of outperforming LCD displays outdoors, but the Droid DNA handles itself well even in direct sunlight. The Droid DNA is also a big winner when trying to use the phone in a completely dark room, while even on the dimmest setting the Galaxy S3 can be irritatingly bright.While both of these smartphones feature color rich displays that function well both indoors and outdoors, the screen on the Droid DNA is undeniably superior when holding the phones up close. Text is sharper, images clearer, but video playback is almost identical.HTC chose a great display for the Droid DNA, and is the clear winner in this category.CameraIt has been a little while since we have seen anything from Samsung or HTC that didn’t ship with a great rear camera. Both phones have 8MP cameras that record video 1080p at 30fps, and both phones have flash. HTC’s ImageSense offers a backlit sensor that takes great shots in low light, but Samsung’s camera does a better job with HDR shots and offers way more in the way of photo features.HTC has recently made some huge improvements to their front-facing camera, which is now a 2.1MP camera instead of the 1.9MP on the Galaxy S3. The camera on the front of the Droid DNA is also capable of grabbing a wider field, which makes things like video chats a much more enjoyable experience.Overall, HTC and Samsung offer very similar experiences, but the Droid DNA’s front-facing camera puts it out in front.And the winner is…While it may seem like the HTC Droid DNA won in a landslide, it’s important to point out that this is just a handful of small victories added up. The Droid DNA and the Galaxy S3 are both great phones in their own respects, and the Galaxy S3 is available everywhere while the DNA is stuck on Verizon Wireless.If you are looking at a new phone on Verizon, or a good excuse to switch to Big Red, the HTC Droid DNA is easily the best phone on their network right now.last_img