LG Nexus 4 vs. HTC Droid DNA: The First 1080p Smartphone

LG Nexus 4

The HTC Droid DNA has now arrived to Verizon as the first 1080p smartphone in the United States. The phone is available for $199 with a two-year contract or will set you back $599 without contract.

Right now, the arguably two hottest Android devices in town are the LG Nexus 4 and the HTC Droid DNA. So which device should you choose? First, if you are currently locked into Verizon for whatever reason (perhaps reception only works with the carrier, etc), you don’t have much choice, as the Nexus 4 isn’t available through the Big Red carrier.

Second, it really depends on what you are looking for. Verizon and HTC worked together to lock the HTC Droid DNA down tighter than Fort Knox. Sure, it will likely end up with a hack present thanks to efforts from the XDA Developers out there, but it will also be pain. In contrast, the LG Nexus 4 gets the latest and greatest versions of Android while being a totally open, vanilla experience that is welcoming and inviting for developers and modders.

Outside of carrier and modding preference, what about their hardware? On paper, how do the two devices differ?

Processor & RAM
The processors in both handsets run are 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pros, with 2GB of RAM. This means they are pretty tied here, at least on paper. There are certain factors like vanilla Android, custom software and many other factors that could make performance turn out differently.

HTC Droid DNA

Display
The 5-inch HTC Droid DNA really signs here with its impressive 441ppi display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The Nexus 4 is a 4.7-inch phone and has a pretty decent 1280 x 768 display with 318ppi, but on paper it’s clear that the LG Nexus 4 is blown away by the Droid DNA.

Storage Capacity
While the LG Nexus 4 and HTC Droid DNA are both hot devices right now, they also have a shared weakness: storage space. Neither phone has expandable memory through microSD, and the Droid DNA only comes with 16GB of storage, while the Nexus 4 is available in 8 or 16GB models.

Camera
The Droid DNA has 8MP rear cam with autofocus, simultaneous HD video and image recording, 1080p video capture and LED flash. The LG Nexus 4 also has an 8MP rear cam with autofocus, LED flash and 1080p capture, and has support for the new PhotoSphere feature.

As for front cams? The Droid DNA has a 2.1MP front cam. The LG Nexus 4 has a 1.3MP front cam.

Battery
The Droid DNA not only has a smaller battery at 2020mAh versus the 2100 mAh in the Nexus 4, it also DOES have 4G LTE which means that the Droid DNA is going to suck through this thing relatively quickly I’d wager. Keep in mind that’s just speculation at this point.

It’s worth mentioning that both batteries are non-removable types.

Operating System
No beating around the bush here. If you care about having the latest version of Android without worrying about a bunch of modding (which the HTC Droid DNA is currently locked out from anyhow), go with the LG Nexus 4.

The Nexus experience means you get Android 4.2 Jelly Bean now and are pretty much guaranteed first dibs on all the latest and greatest updates of Android going forward over the next several years.

With the HTC Droid DNA you get Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and the HTC Sense UI 4+ and ALL the bloatware that comes with. If you want a pure Android experience with quick upgrades, there just isn’t a comparison here.

Connectivity
Both handsets are armed and ready when it comes to NFC support, but it is worth noting that the HTC Droid DNA has 4G LTE, while the LG Nexus 4 does. If you absolutely need 4G LTE, you might want to strongly consider the HTC Droid DNA.

Then again, not everyone has LTE access in their area, so it might not be that big of a deal breaker.

LG Nexus 4

Weight and Overall Dimensions

The Droid DNA is 141mm x 70.5mm x 9.7mm and weighs 138g. As for the LG Nexus 4? It measures 133.9mm x 68.7mm x 9.1mm and is 1 gram heavier at 139g. Pretty close here, honestly. Sure, the HTC Droid DNA is bigger, but they weigh about the same really.

Pricing

Honestly, the LG Nexus 4 is an amazing deal from a price point of view. You get a top-notch quad-core smartphone and yet you only pay $299 with no contract for the 8GB model, or $349 for the 16GB variant.

Next to the LG Nexus 4, the HTC Droid DNA seems pretty overpriced. Keep in mind, it really isn’t, but Google’s pricing with the LG Nexus 4 makes ALL handsets look overpriced in comparison. So how much for the DNA? It’s $199 with a two year contract, or $599 outright.

Conclusion

I’m sure I’m missing at least one or two key comparison points here, but I think this gives everyone a pretty good idea of how they compare – on paper. The truth is that it’s hard to say when judging by paper, and even then factors like design preference play a big role in most consumer’s decisions. The big takeaway is that they are pretty close from a spec point of view.

LG Nexus 4 is stronger when it comes to the pure Android experience, unlocked nature and the extremely aggressive pricing.

The HTC Droid DNA has a great screen and overall comparable specs. There are also Verizon “Droid” fans out there, and this will likely appeal to them.

So what do you think, are you interested in the HTC Droid DNA or does the LG Nexus 4 lure you in with its pure and unlocked Android experience?  Of course, you have many other options.


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7 Comments

  1. sean says:

    that the HTC Droid DNA has 4G LTE, while the LG Nexus 4 DOES error
    sorry im a English Nazi

  2. I really think the only really big choice here is if LTE is that big of a deal. For a lot of people, it isn’t. Also, if you enjoy having google android without clutter. Both phones look pretty darn good to me. I have the Nexus 4, and I love it. But the Droid looks pretty good too. Nobody loses really.. the customer has a choice over two good phones to own.

  3. I must say the N4 is something new, to me a cellphone without a contract is something new. A vanilla android experience will be nice, I had the OG Droid and also a Kindle Fire running 4.1.2 so replacing my D3 which is a POS with an N4. The HTC looks nice on paper but it’s more Sense with a very impressive resolution.

  4. Definitely getting the Nexus 4, but I do think the HTC is nicer looking.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Already ordered the Nexus 4 and I am going to enjoy the hell out of it when I get my hands on it. But before I sign off I must admit that in my opinion, the displays on both handsets doesn’t make a big difference; the DNAs a whopping .3 inches larger than the Nexus 4 doesn’t necessarily make it out in size…4.7/4.8(GSIII) is my sweet spot/preference. Also all his hype about PPIs on phones…the human eye can’t pick the difference in anything above 300 PPI. It’s more of a”look what I have in specs”bragging rights than anything else. Also i can’t tell big difference in 720/1080p. But because I am a techie, I have to have greatest tech for bragging rights. What makes a huge difference for me in displays is what it actually looks like when I view it. What I mean is that whatever catches my eye in saturation, warm/coolness, brightness of screen and crispness. So will I choose bragging rights over what actually looks good to me screen wise? So long as it has 90% of specs I can brag on, I’d get what I want in how good the screen looks to me when I view it because in the end, it’s my $, my preference and I’d be looking at the phone everyday. It all lies in the eyes of the beholder.

  6. David says:

    HTC sucks it doesn’t give update to its old phones no matter if they have supportable hardware…after one year Droid DNA will have no worth as they will not get latest android version of that time!

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