Galaxy Note 2 vs. Droid DNA-- which Verizon device deserves our money this holiday season?
07-27-2013 12:13 AM
- Let's come to a decision as fellow Verizon Wireless customers-- which of these two devices will earn our money this holiday season? Stay tuned here for my thoughts, complaints, and daily reactions-- ask questions, sound off, and let me know what you think-- which one has the edge?
Day 1-- This is going to be more difficult than I thought....
My first day of touting two of Verizon Wireless best devices started early at 7 a.m., and the challenge has already begun. Before I jump into the shower I place both devices on the shelf and hit playI listen to music to keep myself from falling asleep while getting ready. The winner here was clearly the Note 2volume is loud and distortion is minimal, with rich tones and deep bass. The DNA, despite its amplified rear speaker, remains just a hair too quiet for comfortable listening.
Im off. I head to the subway station, which as New Yorkers know (and often regret) is just far enough underground to avoid most cellular reception. This poses a problem for the DNAwithout removable storage, my music choices are limited to Rdio and Google Music, as I tend to be stingy with my internal storage. Sure, I could sync a playlist or two, but why not just switch over to the Note 2? Its microSD card has been with me for years, and contains an extensive library of my favorite music. Samsungs phablet, thanks to its removable storage, wins another round.
Thirty minutes later, Im back above ground. Before I head into my office, I stop for a coffee at the cart on the corner. As Im drinking and walking, I notice an email that I want to respond to before it slips my mind. I begin to compose and realize that this is a daily occurance, and its a situation that can only be handled by one of these phones. The Note 2s 5.5-inch whopper of a screen is simply too big to compose a message single handed. Im not talking about comfort or convenience herethe task is absolutely impossible, even for a semi-large handed individual like myself. The DNA, on the other hand, strikes a perfect balance of size and usability, and Im able to type my email comfortably with one hand. The DNA comes from behind.
I spend the next few hours at my desk, where my phone(s) sit idle with the exception of a few text messages. During this downtime, both devices conserved power admirably, yet the DNA outpaced the Note 2 by a few notches; after a few hours of little to no usage, the Note 2 lost about six percent of its battery, while the DNA lost just one. Ive noticed this stellar performance consistently during my time with the DNA, and I can comfortably say that this phone goes stone cold in standby, a testament to the Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and HTCs optimizations.
The long day is coming to a close, and I head out on my nightly walk home (I try to keep my time underground to a minimum). This time, thanks to the uninterrupted data connection, the DNA is the better music player, as the built-in Beats audio produced sound that is noticeably more detailed and deep than the Note 2s. A lot of critics deny the benefits of Beats, and it is admittedly a matter of personal preference, but for me, it outperforms the competition.
And just like that, the day is over and Im no closer to a decision. All of a sudden, I remember the last time I was in this predicament; it was the HTC Thunderbolt vs. the Droid X, and I was just as torn. But for the first time ever, Verizon Wireless customers like myself will have a hard time deciding where their money will go due to an overabundance of quality devices rather than a shortage. Its going to be a confusing and conflicted few days.
Day 2-- The Note 2 wins the wow factor
I attended a holiday party last night with a nice mix of colleagues and friends, all in their 20s and 30s and most carrying a smartphone. I had both phones on me and used both occasionally throughout the night to text and make a few phone calls. Every time I busted out the Note 2, it attracted at least once "ooh" or "ahh". An iPhone user stopped me and wanted to chat about "that huge phone", and one person asked to put it in their pocket to get an accurate feel, as he was considering buying one himself.
The Droid DNA, on the other hand, caught nobody's eye. Not due to lack of character, as the DNA is one of the most handsome phones I've ever used, but it does appear a bit more generic than the Note 2, and certainly lacks the "wow" factor.
This isn't enough to sway me either way, as I have phone for myself and not the attention of others, but it's worth the mention.
Looking forward to spending the weekend outside of the office with these two...
Day 3Lets go shopping for some accessories
During my first weekend with both devices, I decided to do some shopping, in particular for cases. I know, I knowboth devices are gorgeous enough to leave naked for the whole world to enjoy. But Im a firm believer in cases, not only for the protection, but for the personality they add. I dont want my phone to look like everybody elses, and slapping a cool case on it is my way of making the device my own.
I stopped by my local Verizon Wireless store and was faced with a vast sea of nothing. Nada. Zip. There wasnt one case for the DNA, and the only thing in stock for the Note 2 was Samsungs Flip Cover, which Im trying to avoid. Herein lies the problemeven at Amazon, Ebay, and other online retailers, there are few, if any, cases for the DNA. The only remotely attractive option Ive found are the Otterbox varieties, but Im looking for something a bit more stylish.
On the other hand, the Note 2 already has plenty of choices, and from the Verizon Wireless store I walked across the street and found a great Speck Candyshell case for the Note 2. This says a lot about this predicamentsince the Note 2 is on nearly every carrier right now, your accessory options are multiplied. Youd be hard pressed NOT to find a case in either T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, or Verizon stores. And open up your search to Amazon or Ebay, and youve got a plethora of cases to chose from.
This is a major pro for the Note 2 and con for the DNA, not just in terms of cases, but all accessories. Whenever a device is limited to one carrier, the available accessories lacks dramatically. And if youre buying into an obscure or unpopular phone, forget ityoull be left with nearly nothing. I trust that manufacturers will eventually release more cases, chargers, docks, and car mounts for the DNA, but the devices options will never reach whats out there for the Note 2. In a case like this, it helps to own a popular and widely-available device.
I left with my Candyshell case and never looked back. The Note 2 wins another round, has temporarily taken the lead.
Day 4-- Durability
Well this is a fitting follow up to my accessory dilemma. Got to work today and took both devices out of my jacket pockets. Upon closer inspection of my DNA, I noticed a scratch on the soft-touch back. It's not super noticeable, but it's there, and that's enough to really grind my gears. This could have been avoided had I found a case for it this past weekend, but we all know how that turned out.
This leads me to my next question-- which device is more durable? Putting cases aside, which one will age more gracefully? I'm extremely careful with my devices, to the point of obsession, and I was able to scratch the DNA with nothing more than a quarter floating around my pocket. The Note 2, on the other hand, has a finish less attractive than the DNA, yet it's less likely to show blemishes.
Has anybody dinged/scratched/scuffed or otherwise marked up their device yet? If so, how?12-04-2012 10:08 AM
- I got the dna on release day. Overall very good device and is still definitely in the phone realm while the Galaxy note 2 is a true phablet (hate that name) ultimately I returned the dnaand got the note 2 but only because the internal battery was not replaceable. The battery life was average to good but I use my device constantly and the replaceable battery is required for me. Either device is a great buy. Htc build quality trumps the note and my s3 but in the end needs won out over design and screen. Very happy with my note 2.12-04-2012 11:00 AM
- Honestly, this wasn't even a tough decision for me. I sold my 7 inch galaxy tab and my s3 to get the note 2 and I'd never turn back. Samsung isn't BSing about it being a phone and tablet!
Sent from my SCH-I605 using Android Central Forums12-04-2012 11:05 AMLike 4
- It was a no brainer for me as the DNA's non-removable battery (in particular) and no SD card are deal breakers. Otherwise, only thing the DNA has going for it is the screen, but even that is questionable to me as I don't think it's all that valuable on a phone. IMHO, Note 2 is all around a better phone, add in the S-Pen capabilities and it's no contest. Size wise: the Note 2 isn't a problem; comfortable in hand and for me easy to hold in landscape as well. I can't imagine going back to anything less than a 5.5" screen now.
Edit: I have to add coming from a HTC Thunderbolt, I inintially had build quality concerns with Samsung, but that was completely unfounded as the Note 2 is a very well made device and while light in hand feels very solid, not cheap what-so-ever.12-04-2012 11:17 AMLike 5
- Using both also. I think the Note 2 is the clear winner. The DNA is like a real sexy 2 seat sports car. Drives fast, great to look at. Feels great in hand also. Note 2 is like a well refined SUV. Powerful, lots of storage and a big gas tank. And it loks great also...just big!12-04-2012 11:52 AM
- I got the DNA on it's release day and I like it. Sense is stale but most manufacturer UI's are nowadays. I just got the Note II today and I'm impressed. I didn't have a problem with battery life or memory (had an USB OTG cable and 16gb thumbdrive). I think my issue was how the DNA felt and the lack of accessories(I hate that is a factor for me now....smh). The DNA felt awkward at times and even though the Note II is larger, it conforms to my hand better. The S-Pen for added functionality is a plus.12-04-2012 03:29 PM
- Once you've used the S Pen personally, you'll never want to go back. It adds so much more precision and access to information that it's hard to imagine getting by without it.
That being said, the Note 2 is the clear winner hands down. The S Pen is not a gimmick that you can buy in a store for $20 and expect it to add functionality to a random phone. The Note 2 is built from the ground up with the S Pen in mind and the stock ROM is flawless. Verizon screwed with it a little, not liking how they removed Blocking Mode and took WiFi toggle out from the power bar and put it into the notification area, but other than that it's beautiful. For the first time since I got involved in Android years ago, I can finally say I am 100% satisfied with a OEM ROM and have no intention of ever flashing other ROM's on this device.
This is not to mention the absolutely gorgeous screen which imho is superior to the DNA's. At some point cramming pixels into a dense area hits diminishing returns, you put in more resources and effort to gain very little. I feel we've hit that point with 720p phone screens. Anything beyond that resolution is just wasted battery life and gpu cycles. You really have to strain your eyes to notice the difference in resolution between the two devices. Then there's the battery life. The Note 2 chews up the DNA and spits it out in this field. I've seen people on 3G Note 2's hitting an astounding 11 hours of screen on time using Wifi. That is UNREAL. Granted the most you can expect out of the Verizon Note 2 with LTE on is about 8, but that still downright tears apart the DNA's average of maybe 3 or 4 hours.
It's true that the DNA's processing components are technically faster, but given the current performance of the Note 2, the difference is insignificant. The Note 2 already is pretty much performance capped and the only place you may need the extra (battery intensive) horsepower is in maybe future games. Even then that is not to say the Note 2 is slow by any means. It is still incredibly fast, just not as fast as the DNA.
At the end of the day, if you are comfortable with the size of the Note 2, get the Note 2. It's an all around better phone with the users choice in mind. Removeable battery, SD Card slot, S Pen just amazing. Perfect device imho.12-04-2012 05:20 PM
- I have had the Droid DNA since day one and have absolutely fallen in love with the device. For those who say the Note 2 screen is better.... You clearly need glasses. The DNA is faster hands down, and is over all better performance in literally every category other than battery life, which let me mention i'm fine with the 35 hour average per charge. Then pen while seems nice, will stay tucked away most of the time. Droid DNA all day.12-04-2012 06:19 PMLike 10
- I had the DNA and returned it for the Note2. The Battery life was okay I couldn't get as much out of the battery as other people were stating. The Fact that the Note 2 has expandable memory was a plus. I like the way the Note feels in hand. I also was worried about the lack of accessories for the DNA, that was another reason for me.12-04-2012 06:26 PM
- I had the DNA and returned it for the Note2. The Battery life was okay I couldn't get as much out of the battery as other people were stating. The Fact that the Note 2 has expandable memory was a plus. I like the way the Note feels in hand. I also was worried about the lack of accessories for the DNA, that was another reason for me.12-04-2012 06:30 PM
- cj100570Spoken WordThe DNA wasn't even in the running. My Galaxy Nexus was retired and replaced with the Galaxy Note II. It may not be an issue for some, but for me, 16GB of storage with no SD card slot is a non starter.12-04-2012 06:32 PM
- I had the VZW Nexus and wouldn't have switched from it to the DNA... it's the Note II's features and the OEM crap is at a level that's still acceptable coming from a Google Experience device. I bought the Note II outright to keep unlimited plan and am going to sell the GNex.
Ben12-04-2012 06:35 PM
- Using both also. I think the Note 2 is the clear winner. The DNA is like a real sexy 2 seat sports car. Drives fast, great to look at. Feels great in hand also. Note 2 is like a well refined SUV. Powerful, lots of storage and a big gas tank. And it loks great also...just big!
Sent from the Beast that is Galaxy Note 212-04-2012 06:40 PM
- DNA or Note 2.
Depends on what you need the phone for. If you plan on taking notes with the S-Pen, then of course the Note 2 is the better device.
Battery and SD card are also factors.
I have the DNA and do not regret it. I've grown tired of Samsung's dinky GPS and their weak radios. Also tired of their unwillingness to stop using flimsy, cheap feeling plastic.
HTC has created a phone, not a phablet. These two devices aren't comparable. The better comparison is the LG Vu. And no one wants that piece of crap.
The DNA is comparable to the S3. Its simply a large screened phone.
Again, use case will be the big factor. And if you simply want a relatively pocketable device, get the DNA. If you want to replace a tablet, get the Note.12-04-2012 06:50 PMLike 2
- OK, sure, the Droid DNA's 1080p resolution is overkill. But the Note 2's display is (non-PenTile, admittedly) Super AMOLED @ 267 ppi, while the DNA's screen is Super LCD 3 @ more than 300 ppi (it doesn't matter past that on a phone). Also, I feel like the Note is just too big (for me, anyway). Personally, I think 4.7 inches is the sweet spot, but 5 inches is probably easier to handle than 5.5 inches.
Basically, it comes to a set a questions. Add 1 to your score for each yes.
1. Do you need more than 11 GB of usable storage?
2. Do you need a removable battery?
3. Do you prefer a 5.5-inch display over a 5-inch one?
4. Do you prefer SAMOLED over LCD?
5. Can you tolerate a less-than-300 ppi display?
6. Do you prefer TouchWiz over Sense?
7. Do you like using Kies for updates?
8. Do you need to use Wacom stylus features?
9. Can you tolerate Samsung's build quality?
10. Do you need your battery life to be really long (i.e. more than a full day)?
11. Can you tolerate Samsung's crappy CDMA radios?
If your score is 6 or greater, get the Galaxy Note 2. If your score is 5 or less, get the Droid DNA.
Ultimately, it's personal preference.12-04-2012 06:51 PMLike 4
- In addition to all of the great innovations on the N2 (multi window/ Spen, etc.) I have 70gb of storage on board with my 64gb sd card and the battery life is fantastic. I am averaging 7-8 hrs of screen on time. This is the best phone I have ever owned hands down.
Sent from my rooted SGH-160512-04-2012 06:53 PM
- Droid DNA. The note 2 is more for the business aspect to me. large screen , spen. stuff like that. i mean if you want the same features minus the spen get the S3. but i got the dna. i love the feel of the phone. People talk about accessories.. The dna has some pretty cool backing and stuff on amazon. Carbon fiber, brushed aluminum. feels great. But i like the dna get great battery life. Screen is stunning. And you def can tell the difference between 720p and 1080. my Galaxy nexus looks awful and so does my n7.12-04-2012 06:58 PM
as for size....i came from a gs3 and was looking for big, but really, just feels natural in the hand, i don't notice the size at all except that the screen is awesome.
s pen is amazing....its not just drawing or note taking, its airview ....its handwriting recognition instead of the keyboard. its all the quick gestures. i was looking forward to it but wondering if i'd use it...i find myself using it all the time in lots of ways.
and yes any company that would make a phone or tablet ....without a removable battery and/or expandable memory is crazy.....12-04-2012 07:02 PMLike 2
- At first i almost got the DNA, but after careful consideration, The GN2 is the clear winner here. Larger screen, expandable storage, removable battery, Battery life in general, Samsung has a better record in up dates than HTC and i love the S PEN. S-pen is something most would say they wouldnt use it, but once you start playing with it, You start to appreciate it more like i have. Plus i cant stand SENSE....12-04-2012 07:02 PM
- I purchased the Droid DNA the day it hit. In my mind, the Samsung Note II is too large to feel comfortable using it as a phone. The DNA, by contrast, is considerably less wide - thus feeling more natural as a phone. As for performance, I couldn't be happier. While I saw a few odd messages during my configuration of email and browser bookmarks, the phone has been solid since. Best of all, as a PC (Win 7) user, synchronization with MS Outlook is critical. In this regard, HTC Sync Manager works very well for contacts and calendar while SymTasks is great for Outlook Tasks. Since then, however, I've changed to MyPhoneExplorer and have full Outlook synchronization (contacts, calendar, tasks, and notes) - all wirelessly. Bluetooth pairing with my car was a snap. It's also important to note that HTC tech support is very good. I've owned Samsung phones in the past and, while I liked their phones very much, I found their tech support to be dreadful. Also... took some great car shots at the LA Auto Show with the phone this past weekend. Very good camera. I'm very happy with my Droid DNA.12-04-2012 07:04 PM
- Samsung Android Phones
- Samsung Galaxy Note 2
- Verizon Galaxy Note 2
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