With the way phones have gone in the last year it is no surprise the term phablets has been coined. Even the Iphone 5 has increased its screen size in a marked divergence from its hold onto the 3.5 inch screen in the recent past. Many think there is no point in getting a tablet with the smartphones available. Although I am not in that camp I can see their point.
Size is Important
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has emerged as a leader in this niche. With excellent functionality and a great screen. The HTC Droid DNA does not fall squarely in the tabphone, or phablet, mold but is clearly competing in the same niche for the same customers. With its 5 inch 1920 X 1080 screen it offers the highest resolution of any smartphone.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is much larger than the HTC Droid DNA. It is much more clumsy to hold and does not do well on one-handed usability. Is this a negative though? After all it is the size that is perhaps one of the largest draws to the phone.
The HTC looks thinner but is actually beaten dimensionally by the Samsung on this front. As always the appeal of a design is a personal preference. I prefer the HTC, with its classic HTC look, soft matte finish, and the highlighting of the red lines accentuating the curves.
The Droid DNA buttons are a bit of a problem. They are prone to accidental operation and are not particularly user friendly in their responsiveness. Their flushness to the surfaces, although perhaps an attempt to minimize false-operation, don’t work. They make them difficult to operate without solving the problem. The Galaxy Note 2 scores better on this with better button placement, less likelihood to accidental operation better “feel.”
Something that sets the Note 2 apart from the HTC is its S-Pen. This is conveniently and smartly tucked away. It offers the opportunity to write notes and brings into play additional software. Using the pen as a “mouse” like tool can make it nice and functional for browsing, especially if you have fat fingers.
The Note 2 display is 5.5 inches. Is it a phone or a tablet? It is huge. It is a 5.5 inch 720 X 1280 HD Super Amoled Display. It has great colour capacity and is sure to impress.
The HTC is perhaps even more impressive. Coming in slightly smaller it still packs a punch with a 1080 X 1920 Super LCS 3 display, the highest resolution to hit the market in any smartphone. The Pixel density of the HTC is a whopping 441 ppi, whereas the Samsung Note 2 trails at 265 ppi.
The specifications of the HTC are much better. But it is only when viewing detailed images ad small text that any difference is really noticed. The HTC certainly wins on the display quality. If size matters, and it sometimes does, then the Note 2 wins on this.
Overall, in the battle of the phablet and the almost-phablet I give my vote to the HTC Droid DNA with 9.5/10. The Samsung Note 2 comes in a close second at 9/10 for me.