HTC Droid DNA and ThunderBolt.

What a difference a year and a half makes, eh? OK, call it 20 months, maybe. Regardless, here's the brand-new Verizon Droid DNA, and the aging ThunderBolt. HTC phones, both. One represents the manufacturer's first go at an LTE device, back when the technology was new, and design (and battery life) suffered for it.  A 4.3-inch display. Mere 1400 mAh battery. And, damn, was that thing ever thick.

Now we have the Droid DNA. A 5-inch Super LCD3 display that's got 1,080 freakin' pixels on the short end. A 2020 mAh battery. And a svelte design. Basically you're looking at the difference between me and a Victoria's Secret model. (Yeah. Enjoy that image.)

Anyway. Video and pics after the break, so you get a better idea of the difference between these guys.

Have Droid DNA questions? Ask 'em in our Droid DNA forums!


Reader comments

HTC ThunderBolt vs. the Droid DNA


Man, the T-Bolt was such a brick. It even weighed more than my EVO 4G. But to have LTE on day 1 was really freaking awesome.

a huge step, I'm particularly pleased with the hardware... doesn't make my search for my first Droid device since switching to iPhone any easier though... I'm really feeling the Nexus

This is my wife's position. Has a thunderbolt, needs to upgrade. Thinking the DNA or Note 2 verizon version. I'm a heavy AOSP fan, so not sure which one of them will be better from a dev standpoint should we want to go pure, but choosing between the note 2 and the DNA considering a $100 difference is pretty tough.

From a development standpoint, the Note 2, like all popular Samsung devices, is off to a great start, while HTC devices tend to be largely hit or miss in this category.

Also the Note 2 has better built in "phablet functionality" and a bigger battery. In my opinion it is a no brainer to go for the Note 2 when looking for a 5+ inch phone, the competition just has nothing relevant yet. With that said, this is just the latest of the myriad of HTC devices relegated to the "good, but not good enough" corner that they've painted themselves in.

If I were you, unless you're a massive a Sense fan (if even such a thing exists), I would steer clear from HTC until they get their house in order and figure out for themselves what consumers have figured out already. Sense sucks and people don't like it, they want timely updates, and good customer service. Some of you might not think that this is important, and perhaps you are right, but indirectly word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools out there.

Careful on the Note II if you want AOSP ROMS. I am pretty sure I read that CM won't be supporting Exynos processors anymore do to Samsung not releasing the source to their SOC. I may be wrong, but do your research.

I disagree. Sense really filled in the gaps of what Android was in the beginning. It also did it with a constant theme, unlike touchwiz which has no flow to it at all. Motoblur doesn't even belong in the conversation.

Android has improved, so has sense and touchwiz. Sense is very nice to look at, but too resource intensive. If it wasn't so resource intensive, it would be much better. Touchwiz still doesn't have a complete flow in its widgets, apps, and dialer Basically, Samsung has cool features, but all of the software they make doesn't look like it was made by the same people. And honestly, the dialer needs a lot of work. The colors and finish need a lot of work.

All of the HTC menus, dialer, apps, and widgets look like they were made by HTC. If sense wasn't so slow, more people would be on board with it.

I had a Droid Incredible and loved it, till it was on its last legs after about 2 years. I now have a Galaxy S3. I love it too, but touchwiz, from an appearance standpoint, doesn't hold a candle to sense.

What do you mean no one likes sense? There was a poll for One X owners on xda where 40% chose rosie ( sense launcher ) while the others were split between the bevy of other launchers on the play store such as nova and jb stock. Saying that sense sucks and people don't like it is quite ignorant, I might as well say TOUCHWIZ SUCKS BALLSACS but I don't because there are those that also like touchwiz. With popular HTC devices, development is great, have no idea what you're spouting about. Also, recommending Samsung with the regard with good customer service and timely updates shows how little you know how both Samsung AND HTC suck in those regard, just might as well recommend a Nexus device.

I am an AOSP kind of guy myself, I do not like any of the cancerous launchers that OEMs like to put on top of stock android, and with that said, you guys need to face facts, HTC is simply not selling phones and it's not because of brand recognition or build quality, because on those departments HTC gets good marks.

Like it or not, Sense is a novelty item at best for most consumers and, while well received amongst critics and it's fans, it only fills a very niche market in the android ocean. People prefer Motorola's and Samsung's less invasive approach. And quite frankly, if given the choice, I feel like the average consumer would appreciate AOSP's more minimalistic approach to UI design.

Yea sense fan here too.. I keep coming back from cm10 because I miss sense widgets, app drawer filter and the camera app.. nothing beats sense camera

Samsung devices get much better aosp roms. It might be due to the nature of htc hardware? I don't know. But I have a flagship htc (One x Tegra 3) and it has plenty of development but running an aosp port gets a little annoying. Battery life is a lot lower, and there are small bugs which eventually get very annoying. Also, I came from a nexus s so I loved stock android but using sense 4.0, 4.1, and now 4+ I've gotta say sense is really nice. I switched from CM10 on my one x back to a custom sense rom.

This would be my recommendation too most likely. Pretty much stock Android already on it. Does she want a 5+" phone? It's a damn shame Motorola didn't put this out with an S4 Pro chipset, but the S4 has proven to be an amazing way to go.

As beautiful a phone as the DNA is it's like Verizon & HTC just didn't want to come out guns blazing. I'm sorry but for all practical purposes the DNA missed on battery size. Please explain to me how the smaller One X+ from HTC has a bigger battery? Everyone is so worried about making these phones thin. The Note 2 has a 3100mah battery plus more storage space. Plus a removable battery on top of that.

Another 2 years with horrible battery life is a long time. I hope the DNA proves me wrong.

Is the S3 the new starting point for acceptable battery life? I've heard people aren't satisfied with the battery life on the S3. Also, you can always swap out a battery in the S3.

I can't imagine anyone who bought a Thunderbolt will be buying this phone, unless they like punishment, and not being able to use the 32gb microsd card Verizon gave them with their TBolt.

Options for great phones are pretty slim this year on Verizon. I'd have loved to get the Nexus 4 for her, but no word yet as to whether there will be an LTE version. 4G came to our town literally Monday, so abandoning 50Mbs download speeds to get right back to 1-3 Mbs on other carriers in the area is difficult. I really wish there was more info on whether or not there will be a Verizon Nexus or Nexus Clone, and if so, when to expect this.

Droid Razr Maxx HD is the obvious choice after dealing with almost two years of the Thunderbolt's battery.

there are typically less devolopers for HTC because the terrible process to unlock the bootloader, then having to write everything through the command promt. (unless someone makes a tool) its a pain in the butt. Samsung is far easier... but in my opinion... dont look as nice as HTC.

A friend asked me about my phone, I went through the features I like (Evo LTE). Then she as said "check this out" and showed her the kickstand and put the phone on the table, she asked "so, how often do you use it?" I had to think for a while... and I mostly use it to show people how cool the kickstand is. Most of the time, I hold my phone on my hand to view videos... it's not that often that I use the kickstand.. so YMMV.

I'm still debating getting this for on the side use, it really depends on how good the battery is and how easy I can unlock it...I would have no problem selling my nexus and just flashing roms on this beaut

Yes, I was a day 1 thunderbolt owner and the LTE goodness was worth the flawed phone. I cured the battery problems with a RAZR maxx but I do miss the kickstand!

Wow the Htc Thunderdud that bought back memories no doubt. That wanna be Evo 4g on Verizon those were some funny days. Galaxy Note 2 for me tomorrow...

Why would you insult yourself Phil by calling yourself a Thunderbolt (yes, i was a T-Bolt user, a nightmare from the get go).

Yah, what a difference; no more user replaceable battery or SD card! That's progress! I'll just have to settle with the Note 2 and its 3100mAh user replaceable battery while putting my Thunderbolt's 32GB SD card in it. :( Bye HTC... thanks for the native kickstand and first taste of Verizon's LTE!

It looks like you have an extended battery in the TBolt which makes it much thicker than it should be. Did you even realize you had one of those large batteries in there?

No, it's the standard 1400mAh battery (and door) in the pix. If it were the extended battery (and door), there would be a hump starting at the kickstand to the top. The door is not flush with the kickstand when using the extended battery.

Yes let's all laugh at all the Thunderbolt users. God I am sick of this phone already. And to add insult to injury the screen has been cracked sinceI can kill the battery in a hour or 2 without trying that hard. Please compare the TB WITH the Extended battery to the DNA. That would be comical.

I'm still on my tbolt with original battery. After rooting I have no problems getting 20 hours out of it. Granted I had to switch it to 3G only because of the signal dropping issues on 4G, and I can only type in landscape as the right-most quarter of the screen is no longer touch sensitive. I honestly wouldn't feel to pressed to upgrade if it weren't for the later issue.

I've rooted but haven't flashed a ROM onto mine yet...plan on doing so soon. I have issues with it dropping my connection as well, and with very poor signal in my office, switching it to 3G only helps with battery life too. Other than that, mine seems to be alive and kicking like normal.

with rebound battery and 3g (i only need 4g when I am serious surfing,) I get all day and some on my tbolt. I would rather keep it, I will never own a phone with less than 40g storage. my 8 + 32 is the minimum I would ever own. don't care if it is internal or SD, I also don't mind using the cloud BUT I WILL NOT BE A SLAVE TO IT!!! this snapper is a FAIL

I've been into tech and phones for many years so the thinness of the new DNA doesn't seem like that bigger deal.

That's the kind of progression we should expect surely? A year and a half is a long time. Put the GSII next to the GSIII or the sensation next to the one x.

I found it interesting that the software looked almost identical.

I saw that too, I was foaming at the mouth to find out how to get that on mine when I remembered I'm carrying my OG Droid around this week because my TBolt battery among the many other flaws has totally failed me (and by fail, I mean swollen up like Kirstie Alley and threatening to cause a fire if I charge it again).

Comparing the two I would say they haven't learned allot. In many areas they have gone in reverse. Still undersized battery, pathetic IMO, The thunderbolt has allot more storage, built in kickstand, Just because the damn phone is thinner to me that doesn't mean shit. Much rather have a little thicker phone and a battery that will last me one full day, the new Droid will be dead on arrival. No storage, to me that is a complete deal breaker. Sounds to me Phil is trying to push this phone. In my Opinion the Note 2 is far and away the much better device. It has it all, The software is killer, did I say killer, yes killer, 3100mAh battery, expandable storage and the int storage is available in 16, 32 and 64 mb. These will be available soon. On top of all these items the developer support for the Samsung phones are always the best. The new Droid I would bet will have the locked down boot loader, no dev support for this phone. The only thing this phone has is a great display and with that great desplay, LTE radio and the 2020mAh battery you will be lucky to get 6 hours out of it. Yep, HTC really came a long way, yah down the wrong damn road. Don't buy this phone, it is a head ache waiting to happen. Samsung is the only company giving us what we want and ask for, I will always support the company that listens to it's customers and the Note 2 will have the best developer support. This is a no brainer, The Note 2 is a very easy pick.

The Droid DNA: A Prettier, Better Spec'd, 2012 Version of the Thunderbolt. Great features and a battery that will make you have to limit and turn off most of them.

What's the point of buying a high end phone like this and then turn off all the features!? Turn off 4G, dim the screen to 0, turn off sync, limit use overall, disable all widgets. If your going to do that, why in the hell did you by a $600 smartphone!? And, do people really take out their batteries and swap them throughout the day? I've found keeping it charged is more sensible. Micro USB chargers are a dime a dozen and are everywhere. :-?

There are several things I like about the DNA, but I'm just not sold on it. Aside from the larger screen, there's nothing super compelling to draw me away from my Thunderbolt. The biggest issue for me is that I don't know how I would get by with so little memory. I'm seriously just baffled by the fact that this phone only has 16GB of storage. The battery is an issue too. I will wait to see reports of how it holds up, but there's more to it than just how long it lasts through the day. What about how long it lasts overall? Is it going to be like my iPhone and after a year or so the battery will only hold a charge for two hours? On my Thunderbolt, if the battery goes T.U. I can just get a new battery. I don't need to send the entire phone in for a replacement. Same with memory. If the flash memory dies after warranty, I can just put a new card in. But the real issue here is that I can't think of a single way this device would make my life better in comparison to my thunderbolt, except for the fact that it's new and it has the bigger display. I'm not sure it's worth the $400 or so to convert.

OMGosh!!!! I am so happy this phone is finally out. I have a galaxy S3...In a few weeks I am stealing one of my upgrades to go back to HTC!!! I miss the way Sense works...seems like a lot of work on the galaxy and my contacts aren't syncing like they did on HTC!!! HTC has always been my android of so glad to be going back! Does anyone know if it has the compact keyboard? I miss the keyboard too!!! Nobody does it like HTC!!!

I think it is ironic that as I watch this video, I sit here sending a text to my father on my HTC Thunderbolt expressing how beautiful the DNA is. Can't wait for my upgrade to snag this phone. Big fan of the red/black colors as well as the beautiful screen. HTC4LIFE

I really want to like the the DNA, but:

1) No swappable battery, not so good. This is one of many reasons I don't drive an iphone. Batteries DO wear out, and I don't want to give up my phone to get it fixed. At least I have other power options with my T-Bolt.

2) No expandable memory might be livable, but not great. Seems like a giant push to increase wireless data usage - which brings up the next problem.

3) Having to give up my unlimited data if I upgrade = pretty much a deal breaker on me upgrading. I'm still fuming about Verizon telling me "don't worry, you're grandfathered in with unlimited" last year, and then taking it away a year later. I suppose this is my thanks for being a loyal customer for 15 years. To me, the ONLY way their new pricing scheme works is if you have many devices, as a family might. I don't.

This has me seriously considering jumping ship from Verizon, even though they have the best coverage hands-down where I live. Sadly, I doubt they care.