Nov. 13, 2012 -- You can't help but feel that there's always a mix of good news and bad news when a new Android phone is launched. The good news is that there's a brand new phone for people to choose. The bad? That a phone you bought yesterday feels utterly outdated.
The new Droid DNA by HTC is that exact mixture of good and bad news. The phone tops all the new Android phones when it comes to raw hardware specs. Yes, it even beats the brand new Nexus 4 by Google and LG, and the Samsung Galaxy Note II, which just launched on T-Mobile and other networks.
So what does this phone have that the others don't? A full 1080p screen, to start. The Droid DNA is the first smartphone ever to have a 1920 x 1080-resolution, 5-inch screen. By comparison, the Nexus 4 has a 4.7-inch 1280 x 768-resoution display and the iPhone 5 has a 4-inch, 1136 x 640 screen.
What that resolution translates to is very, very crisp text and images. A 1080p video on the phone looks incredibly crisp, and thanks to the SuperLCD 3 technology the colors are vibrant and realistic. And that's based on some hands-on experience with the phone; not just the company's marketing materials.
Beyond the screen, the Droid DNA is full of other top-of-the line hardware components. It is powered by a quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM, and runs on Verizon's LTE network. The phone runs Android 4.1, or Jelly Bean, with HTC's own Sense software. Similar to the software it had on its HTC One X, the customizations don't slow down the performance of the phone and add some nice animations and design elements.
HTC seems to have done most of the improvements on the software for the camera. The phone has an 8-megapixel camera with HTC's ImageSense software and hardware, which improves optics and adds some new photo features. The new sightseeing mode, for example, lets you launch the camera just by pressing the lock button; it automatically launches the camera so you don't miss a shot when you are out and about seeing a new place.
The 2.1-megapixel, front-facing camera has also been improved with a wide-angle lens. The Auto Portrait software also counts down before taking a self-portrait so you can prepare your hair or make sure you don't have anything in your teeth.
And even with all that inside, the DNA is just .4 inches thick. While the large screen makes it a bit unwieldy to hold and really isn't for anyone with smaller hands, the soft-touch back and the curved edges give it a nice feel. HTC still says it can provide a full day's worth of battery life, but you can't swap out the battery if it doesn't live up to the promise.
It's one well-rounded piece of hardware, but how can we know that the next great Android phone won't come out next week or next month? Has the spec contest finally leveled off?
"I don't know if the spec game will end, tech continues to advance, but there are plateaus. And the Droid DNA by HTC, the first to achieve a 1080p screen, sets a new bar and I don't think there are many screens that will able to extend pass this anytime in the near future," HTC's Director of Public Relations, Tom Harlin, told ABC News.
That's reassuring, but as we said, the Droid DNA is great news for those looking for a new phone and not-such-great news for those who bought a new Android phone, say, yesterday.