Nov 16 AT 4:46 PM Nick Gray 83 Comments

HTC DROID DNA battery life receives mixed reviews


HTC is no stranger to criticism on its choice of batteries for its latest devices. Earlier this year, HTC decided to incorporate non-removable batteries in many of its flagship devices in an effort to keep handset profiles as thin as possible. Technically, this allows HTC to find a slightly larger battery into a phone without increasing the phone’s footprint, but in doing so, HTC has taken away the option for power users to swap out batteries in their phones. In general, non-removable batteries shouldn’t really be an issue, but HTC phones like the new HTC DROID DNA are equipped with top-of-the-line specs like Qualcomm’s quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and 440ppi 5-inch 1080p display.

For a while, there were a few rumors that the HTC DROID DNA would come with a 2,500 mAh battery, but everyone’s hopes were shattered when the handset was officially unveiled with the same 2,020 mAh battery found in the HTC J Butterfly. To put things into perspective, a 2,020 mAh battery is actually quite large for a mobile device. There are less than a half dozen Android-powered phones on the market with larger batteries, but none of them features specs comparable to those found in the HTC DROID DNA.

Qualcomm’s quad-core processor may sound extremely power hungry, but it’s actually extremely power efficient. Unlike NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 processor, which keeps all cores revved to the same speed at all times, Qualcomm uses asynchronous core technology. This allows each of the four cores to operate independently, meaning that all four cores are dynamically clocked based on the the processing load required. Therefore, the CPU can operate a lot more efficiently when the device is not loading web pages, watching videos or playing games.

While the processor in the DROID DNA may be great at providing good battery life, the same cannot be said about the 5-inch 1080p display. Yes, Sharp does claim that the Super LCD3 technology used in the display is 2.5 times more power efficient when the display is static and 20% more efficient under heavy load. But, that doesn’t change the fact that the 1920×1080 display of the DROID DNA has 125% more pixels than the 1280×720 displays found on phones like the HTC One X, Nexus 4 and Samsung Galaxy S III. Regardless of the improved efficiency of the Super LCD3 technology used over Super LCD2 or Super AMOLED, more pixels always has a direct correlation on increased battery drain.

So how does the HTC DROID DNA batter life perform in real life?

It’s still too early to say. A handful of tech sites have already posted their full reviews on the HTC DROID DNA, but none of them seem to agree on how consumers can expect the phone to last on a single charge.

The Verge - The DNA lasted a meager four hours and 25 minutes in the Verge Battery Test, which cycles through a series of websites and high-res images with the screen at 65 percent brightness. In daily use, it frequently tapped out long before the day was over.

Gizmodo - The Droid DNA still lasted until 10pm every night with moderately heavy usage. It’s certainly nowhere near the marathon levels of the Droid RAZR MAXX HD, but it outlasts the Galaxy S III

Engadget - In terms of real-life usage, the DNA got us through a full day on moderate use, but it’s quite apparent that the screen will drain the battery much faster, so frequent users will need to keep that in mind before heading off on the daily commute.

Android Police - The DROID DNA seems to have perfectly adequate battery life for moderate users, and even a little more than some other high-end phones may provide.

 Will the 2,020 mAh battery in the HTC DROID DNA be enough to get you through a long work day? It all comes down to how you use your device. What are your thoughts on the 2,020 mAh battery inside the HTC DROID DNA? Did you decide not to purchase the phone once you learned that it would not have a 2,500 mAh battery?
Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • triangle

    Since a phone’s no good unless it has juice, I’d rather wait to adopt something with a 1080p screen until they get more juice in it. While I’d love to have this screen, I’m going to be perfectly happy with a 720p screen in the interim with little lag and good battery life.

    • rics

      It makes no difference to me about having a removable bettery. I have charger in the car and just picked up a HTC battery bank 4000mAh for $50. Will charge my phone twice.

      • carziNess

        Sounds like you got ripped off, you can get a much higher capacity battery off Amazon for way less than that. I have an Anker btand battery that I got for $39, 10,000 mAh and charges my Nex4 about 5 times.

    • Derek

      I agree. I’d rather have a 720p over 1080p when considering battery life. I mean a 720p 5″ display would still have close to 300ppi. Who needs 440ppi at the expense of shorter battery life?

    • mel

      It has 4+ hour screen on time, and as a 5inch phone, its battery life is a great performer. A greater battery life than S3, which is wider than DNA!

      • ObsceneJesster

        It’s a common misconception that a power bank can charge mah for mah. For instance, you think just because a battery is 2000 mah and your power bank is 4000 mah, it must be able to charge it twice. I’m not going to get into the technical aspects but I promise that you will not get two charges out of it. You will most likely get 1 full charge and then maybe 40% more. Next time look at the Trent power banks. They give you the most quality for your money.

    • masterpfa

      A bit quiet here on Androidandme, no updates since this article was covered.

  • GUI_Center

    Raise your hand if you carry a usb charge cable around with you regardless of which android phone you have…. In the end the battery will never be sufficient as more apps get more power hungry.

    • Nick Gray

      I don’t carry a power cable with me, but I have a charger in my car and at my desk at work. The only phone that’s ever lasted me an entire work day was the DROID RAZR MAXX, but I’m not willing to pay an extra $100 for better battery life.

      • GUI_Center

        Exactly. I have one at my desk and in my car too, only carry one when I am off to conference or offsite meeting. $100 just isnt worth it when you can charge home/office/car.

        • Prince77

          I’m in line with you two as well. I went to the Verizon website and they are asking 299.99 for the Droid Razr Maxx HD. It does have that 3300 mah battery, but damnan extra $100??? My contract with Sprint isn’t up until June, but I can upgrade in April, I think I will ride them all the way out until June and see what is out then and see if Sprint improves their towers and service. If not, then I may go to Verizon. A friend of mine is looking into the no contract phones on T-Mobile, I might go that route.

          • leroybrute

            1300mah more battery, 32gb internal instead of 16gb, plus sd-card slot.
            Well worth the 100.00 for the HD Maxx.

        • ObsceneJesster

          I have to say. The GS3 is the first phone I’ve had in a long time that lasts me all day and all night. I’ve had it since July and haven’t used my car charger a single time. I have heard Verizon’s GS3 doesn’t last nearly as long as the GSM version though.

      • Ken

        You can get a MAXX HD for 199.99 or even less if you’re willing to look around a bit.

    • Homncruse

      I carry a small backpack which contains my tablet, and in one of the side pockets, I have:
      * a 2 amp wall charger,
      * a small form-factor car charger (the kind with the female USB connector for plugging in your own cable),
      * a 1500 mAh “ReVIVE Series ReStore” portable battery pack (though the solar recharging is a joke)
      * two micro-USB, 1 mini-USB, and 1 Asus TF101 USB cable

      It sounds like a lot, but it really takes up a very small amount of space, and while I rarely access any of the aforementioned contents during the typical day, they all come in handy when I’m off at a tech conference or geek convention or some other form of travel and using my phone *a lot* while out on the go.

      • Homncruse

        Oh, I forgot to mention that the advantage of the above setup (the battery pack solution, anyway) is that I don’t have to buy an extra battery for every device, and I’m known as “the portable power house” by my friends when we’re out at a convention like PAX or Comic-Con, because I can charge any of their devices as well.

    • C-Squared

      My GSM Galaxy Nexus lasts around 16-20 hours on a single battery charge. I have a charger at work and one in the car, but I’ve only had to use the car one once in the 10 months I’ve had this phone and that was after a full day of constantly taking pictures. I haven’t used the charger at work once. I’m content.

    • ozzzy3z

      The Anker extended battery in my S3 scoffs at usb charge cables.

  • scott

    As long as it lasts me through the day on one charge ill be happy. I’m not a heavy heavy user but ill be on it quite a bit.

  • JP

    Having Had a Droid X where the battery died, a removable battery is pretty important to me. I was able to keep the phone running and functional for a few more months just by spending $20 on an extra battery.

  • MyMilan

    The battery for me isn’t that much of an issue because this phone has wireless charging. So it will be charging most of the time that I’m not using it. A bigger issue is not having a SD card. HTC could sidestep the whole battery issue if they didn’t worry so much about saving that last millimeter of phone thinness. Just make the battery removable and then those who want a higher capacity battery can just add one. I can deal with the phone being a few millimeters thicker. It’s not as important as having the option to replace the battery. Don’t these phone manufactures have focus groups or common sense? This is a great phone, much better than the much hyped galaxy sIII, but a few key bad decisions on the part of HTC phone designers will radically hurt sales.

    • Supra98

      i thought you were suppose to let you battery almost die before you plug it in again? and not leave it plugged in and use it at the same time. maybe i head wrong?

      • Homncruse

        Short answer: that’s no longer true with modern batteries.

        • kiki.utena

          Toyota maintain the life of their lithium batteries in hybrid cars by keeping them between 30% and 80%.

          Short answer: batteries are much more resilient than they used to be but there are still ways to maximise your batteries life.

    • PhysiX

      Yes, this phone has better parameters than Galaxy SIII, but bear in mind that Galaxy SIII is at least 6 months older and technology evolves really fast..

    • Donna

      > The battery for me isn’t that much of an issue because this phone has wireless charging.

      You do know that “wireless” charging still needs to be plugged in somewhere.

      There’s very little difference between “dropping a phone on a pad” VS “dropping a phone in a dock”.

      Except… the dock is 1/5th the price… and charges the phone much faster.

  • PhysiX

    Well, if HTC won´t make top models with removable battery and with microSD slot, I will not buy them. And yes, 2020 mAh battery is not enough – The Verge brings real test (with 4/10 battery life rating and “Battery life is terrible” conclusion), another 3 servers didn´t specify testing condition, only “moderate” usage, which tells nothing..

    • AB

      May be you should take a look at the through statistics provided by Android Police. It even has screen shots of BetterBatteryStats. Lasted more than a day for him on 4g with 4 hours screen on time.

      • Devil

        Thorough test on Android Police?

    • carlisimo

      Oddly, the CDMA GS3 finished The Verge’s battery test in less time than the DNA (4:12 vs. 4:25), yet they gave the GS3 an 8/10 for battery life.

  • carlisimo

    Well, everyone seems to love the Samsung Galaxy SIII, and it ran out of juice faster on The Verge’s battery test (4:12 vs. 4:25). That was the Verizon version; AT&T’s gets 4:31. The Galaxy Nexus is also popular in the Android community and I have to imagine it does worse than any of those.

    So it doesn’t set a new standard like we all would’ve liked, but it’s perfectly competitive.

  • snowbdr89

    I wonder if they do the tests on app n widget bloated phones or if they disable the apps n widgets from running to see if that helps!!

  • Hom0ncruse

    final nail in the coffin for HTC DROID DNA

  • spintrex

    You know it’s funny when I first saw the announced specs I had to do a double-take. The specs screamed power hungry and low battery with LTE, quad core(although efficient), and the 1080p screen. Either way the battery shouldn’t be a decision maker to not buy the DNA.

    Good thing about Android, not sure if Apple has this, is that you can disable apps such as bloatware. At first I was having battery problems with my One X and was getting pretty frustrated with the battery draining so quickly. After disabling a bunch of unnecessary apps and setting my phone to airplane mode in dead zones I found my battery to last way longer than expected. Back in July I was in between the One X and the S III but decided to go with the ceramic One X and I am way more than happy with it.

    Personally this phone has great specs and physically is really damn nice. If you are a power hungry user then you may want to stray otherwise you should be more than fine.

  • DroidSamurai

    Remember HTC once had a study concluded that consumers didn’t care about battery performance? That’s the result of it.

  • Nathan D.

    I always carry my charger with me so removable batteries don’t matter to me.

  • Dreadfomonk

    That’s why I got the Maxx originally. Hate having to carry chargers or having to charge at all other than home. I’m a power user so for me, as much as I would love this phone, a 2020 and resource hungry Sense just doesn’t put gravy on my potatoes.

  • Bittyballs

    Not sure you understand percent difference… it’s (1920×1080*1280×720)/(1920×1080)*100% that comes out to 55.6%, not 125% as claimed. Statistics don’t lie, but liars use statistics.

    • Bittyballs

      There’s a difference between % difference and multiplicity, you probably meant “But, that doesn’t change the fact that the 1920×1080 display of the DROID DNA has 1.25 [TIMES] more pixels than the 1280×720 displays found on phones like the HTC One X, Nexus 4 and Samsung Galaxy S III. Then again you started that sentence with the work But…

      • carziNess

        Started it with the *word But….. You being all “precise”and all, I thought you’d appreciate that.

    • PhysiX

      It is simple.. 1920 x 1080 is cca 2.07 mil. 1280 x 720 is cca 0.92 mil. And 2.07/0.92 equals to 2.25 that is 125% more..

  • lilmoe

    “It lasts you well throughout the day”…. Why is that the “standard”? Why can’t the standard be 2 days or even 3 days???

    • Droid Sam

      For it to be a standard, that should be the norm. We might get there some day, but right now we’re not even close.

  • kennopalus

    The first is the still the best. The bionic has a extended battery at 2750 mah and has ice cream sandwich now and will get jelly bean. I got two extended batteries and not having any issues.

  • scott

    If I were to get a 5inch phone(DroidDNA) would it be pointless to get the Nexus 7….? In need of guidance

    • AC

      No it would not. Nexus7 works only on wifi. I have one and use it at home obviously. The 5in screen gets rough on the eyes at the end of the day. I also have a 10in XOOM. I use them all regularly depending on how long I’m goingto be online, how much time they have remaining after their last usage and how big of pics I want to look at for detail. Then there is also the laptop. I like both the Maxx HD and the DNA but am leaning towards the Maxx HD bcuz of the battery and increased memory.

  • kazahani

    We desperately need new battery technology. Weren’t they working on blue-green algae batteries that were supposed to be coin sized? Whatever happened to those micro fuel-cells that were supposed to power devices for a couple of MONTHS?

    DARPA is either holding out or they’re letting us down bigtime…

    • spintrex

      Solid Snake destroyed them along with the Patriots

      • kazahani

        God I loved those games. Whatever happened to that franchise?

        • spintrex

          Yeah same here. The franchise is still going actually however the story arc of Solid Snake has ended. There’s been a shift in focusing on the life of Big Boss with a new title in the works which looks pretty great.

          Here’s a link to the next game titled ‘Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes’ :

          Wish I can see the originals somehow incorporated on an android.

  • jamal adam

    I think that they should have added a larger battery just for the fact that it it has a 1080p screen, which will suck more battery life than a 720p screen would. A 2500mAh would have been a nice touch. Another thing we need to consider is that real world battery life is different for each person and what they use the phone for. The reasoning for why these different sites have varying ranges of battery life can be attributed to how they use to smartphone and even though they are high-end users, they still don’t all use the same apps, sites, brightness levels, games, etc.

  • bellken

    I have a Droid DNA in hand, and, the battery life is by far better than my rezound (fwiw). Whle a bigger battery would have been desirable, I think for most users the 2020 will be fine.

  • Jorge Vieira

    I think that the quad core should do a great job of manging the battety. And I think there is just enough to last a “day” not all day, abd thats just not enough. But I do carry a power bag so idk.

  • Steve

    Well I guess I am going to have to get used to the Galaxy Note 2 then. Why do manufactures care so much about a thin phone. It doesn’t matter when the phone is 2 foot tall and is uncomfortable in your pocket because of length. Manufactures need to put bigger batteries in their phones.

    Until then, Seidio needs to make a moderate sized extended battery for these phones….oh except the DNA because you cant change the battery. lol thats an iphone feature. I dont want that. I want real options and choices.

  • vaclon

    1080p seems a bit too much for phones to handle right now; both in power management and processors (or ram? i’m not sure if the screen’s pixel shifting is handled through the processor or partly through memory).

    Having owned both the Razr M and Razr HD which have the same processor but the latter is a 720p screen i’ve noticed a significant drop in framerates on the latter. a 1.5 S4 is great and 4.1 really helps keep the frames smooth but the hiccups in Android are magnified by quite a bit when you have to push that many more pixels and unfortunately those hiccups aren’t something a lot of reviewers get to see with their short time with devices.

  • mel

    4 hours and 20 something minutes screen on time(tested by android police) is a fabulous battery life, greater than the s3. Although we can always ask for more, I am happy.

  • Thomas

    Ive used android phones for many years now. I always carry my usb cable and charger with me. I can charge my phone in my car and I always carry my external battery with me so battery life is not much of an issue with me. I can easily plug it in to my laptop or PC while working so Im going to buy this gorgeous powerhouse :P

  • Walter Levine

    I’ve got the Razr Maxx and am thrilled with the battery life. Have at least 20-40% left at the end of the day and just plug in overnite. Would love to have the HTC DNA but will wait and see what the comments on it’s battery life are.

  • dsb9938

    After using this phone for the last week, I can tell you it does just fine.

    I would guesstimate the average user will get 36 hours of normal use out of it.

  • Kevin

    If you’re going to get a 5″+ phone and want adequate battery life then get a Note 2. Every smart phone I’ve ever own I plug in by 2 pm. Heavy heavy user. Not with the Note2. It’s a 30 hour phone. Of all the things I like about this phone, and there are MANY, the 3100 mAh battery is probably the biggest deal. 720p on a 5.5″ phone and not just a full day of sunshine, a full day + of use.

  • Shirely

    I can’t believe it is THAT difficult and expensive to make a device with a simple, replaceable battery.

    The Samsung S3 does it perfectly. The super thin back comes off. It only increases the thickness of the device by about 1mm. The price increases by $0.

  • Shirely

    What percent of the users would fall into each category?

    1. I will specifically only buy devices with replaceable batteries.
    2. I don’t care if it is replaceable or not.
    3. I demand my devices have only NON replaceable batteries.

    I would imagine that #3 is less than 1% of the users. Yet manufacturers seem to think otherwise.

  • Tsepz

    I find it hard to believe that this can outlast a GS3, maybe they are talking about the dual-core Krait 1.5GHz S3, as the Exynos4412 Quad-core GS3 could definetly outlast a DNA.

    Would’ve been great if HTC gave this a 2500mAh batt, i just dont get why they consistently choose to use smaller batteries than the competition, on top of sealing them.

  • Androidome

    I think it does enough for most of the users. Verge has been pretty harsh. It’s a great phone and screen is a stunner –

  • Jayshmay

    I don’t buy ANY phone where that memory card & battery aren’t USER accessible!

    Function is far more important than fashion (thinness).

    Having an internal battery has nothing to do with thinness, the Galaxy S3 is plenty thin and still has a USER accessible battery!

  • Jayshmay

    Droid DNA: 10.2mm thick
    Galaxy S3: 8.6mm thick

    S3 is in fact thinner, and still retains a USER accessible battery & memory card. HTC fails.

    • Brian

      I had the s3, and I have the dna now, and honestly the dna feels thinner because of the taper. See my notes on the battery below.

  • Brian

    I’m currently on hour 19 of this charge and still have 43% battery. Multiple phone calls, app use, and Web searching. All in all, I’m pretty pleased.

    From my DNA.

  • Riley

    I got my Droid DNA a few days ago, and I have no problems with the battery. It has lasted my all day with pretty moderate use. Even when I’m using my apps, such as the DISH Remote Access app, which lets me stream live TV to my phone anywhere I am, the battery is good. One of my DISH coworkers also has the Droid DNA and they love it. It’s interesting since the phone has such a good display and processor.

  • Adam

    I just had to put my 2cents in on this one. I was patiently awaiting this device. With all the other devices making appearances before the DNA it was pretty tempting to just get the S3, RAZR HD, or even the i5. But now that this thing surfaced and it lacks at least a 2500 mah battery and no SD card slot??? HTC is just killing me slowly with these phones. I love my ReZound but the battery was horrible without an extended battery which gave you the 16+ hours on a charge but made it way to bulky. I shouldn’t act surprised, I guess I’ll probably end up waiting even longer now for something else that fills my needs…. hopefully???

  • Mark

    Seriously considering returning my DNA to get a Note 2. Battery life is way too short. Run out every evening, sometimes sooner, but then I actually use my phone for work, kindle, lots of web. Had one day where calls alone badly killed the battery by late afternoon at work. Battery low warning just went off while typing this. Had Droidx2 with extended cover and battery before this. Rarely needed to swap extra battery in, but loved having the ability, especially when travelling. Thought larger DNA screen might be too big but fits in picket fine, so Note 2 should be fine — with a spate battery.

    • JoMaMMIE

      All I can say bro is RUUUUNNNN. Before your time runs out! Lol. I returned mine and never looked back. The DNA is an awesome device don’t get me wrong. But I promise you once you get that N2 in your hands and make it your every day driver you will look back and say “What the hell was I thinking? I should have got the N2 from the start”.

      This device runs so fluidly and seems to incorperate itself into your life. Usually it’s the other way around. It becomes your companion and does things no other Android device on the market could ever get right.

      I know it sounds like a N2 add but hey WTF can I say? I love the F*$)$ phone! This is coming from someone who hated Android back when I had my Droid X.

  • Mark

    P.S. Swype beta is relearning my style on new phone, hence typo’s. That plus I don’t give a damn.

  • aykutb

    that has been HTC’s main issue most of the time,however I’d go for it,with that specs it’d be silly to expect 6 hours of battery life

  • kookeetree

    “HTC decided to incorporate non-removable batteries” Well, this sucks. Android it seems don’t have the best battery life. My Samsung Skyrocket is proof. Glad my Skyrocket has removable battery, I did upgrade to 3600mah Mugen extended battery. It is insane, light usage, 30% brightness, and mostly in sleep mode. 8 days!!!!!!! @ 8% battery. =D

  • melan26

    What is up with all these mediocre batteries that they put in.

  • Krummy

    I own this phone and the battery life is excelent. Its twice as good as my last phone. I get an average of 12 hours on a charge and use my phone all day between calls and internet. Love it

  • Kevan

    I can now get 24 hours of light to moderate usage from this phone. However, I had to turn off all background apps, install battery saver and lower screen brightness to get there.
    Google Now, the background cards, seemed to be the biggest drain by constantly updating my current location and “planning” my trip to my favorite locations… from wherever I was.

    I could get 3 more hours from my previous HTC Incredible 2 but this HTC Droid DNA is a pleasant and faster experience, worth charging a little more often for.

  • seanhollinsworth

    Actually, I think there are more than half a dozen phones with a battery better than the HTC DROID DNA.

  • wilfred

    The battery life sucks. It won’t make it for 24 hours if your a heavy phone user.

  • JoMaMMIE

    From personal experience battery life seems erratic and average on the best days. With heavy gaming I would be lucky to get 3 hours out of it before it needed a wall charger. I actually returned it for this reason mainly. I also thought It would be no big deal with the non removable battery and no SD slot.

    That is until me, someone who thought I would never fill 11gb on a phone managed to do it in less than 3 days w/o even thinking about it. I was going on a long car ride and attempted to load a few games and 2 movies. That was a NO GO. No movies for me. It was then and there I realized I made a big mistake and practically ran to verizon to return the damn thing.

    I was torn between the Note2 and DNA and picked the DNA based on screen specs alone. After now have traded my DNA for a N2 and owning the N2 for 2 weeks now I can say it was the best decision I have ever made.

    The N2 has a gorgeous yet slightly less detailed screen; which in my opinion it makes up for with that sexy AMOLED. The battery life is leagues ahead of the DNA. I spent 7 hours total playing temple run 2 on my phone today and I still have %60 battery. I have over 30Gb of storage and the speakers in the N2 at least for me seem way louder than the DNA. The UI seems way more fluid and that stylus; which I thought I would HATE; is HELLA FUN to play with.

    GN2. Best decion I have ever made. The best Android device I have ever used hands down

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