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HTC Desire S vs HTC Desire HD

We take a look at how two of HTC’s best stack up against each other with the HTC Desire S versus the HTC Desire HD


Yet another internal scuffle this time as we take the two top-of-the-range HTC Desire devices and have them duke it out to see which one rules the roost.


HTC Desire S - 115 x 59.8 x 11.63 mm, 130g
HTC Desire HD - 123 x 68 x 11.8 mm, 164g

The HTC Desire is the bulkier of the two handsets, but not by much, they’re almost equally thin and sleek in design. Visually the Desire HD is a little more angular, much as we found with the Samsung Galaxy S II, this seems to be something of a trend but one we’re rather in favour of – larger but thinner handsets with less curvature on the corners makes for a very appealing appearance. The Desire HD is also a wee bit heavier but not enough to make it cumbersome.

The overall size of the phones means the Desire HD has the larger screen of the two at 4.3-inches to the 3.7-inches of the Desire S, but we’ll cover the display in more detail later.

Of course, they’re both top-range HTC handsets so visually they have more in common than not, overall however, we feel the HD Desire has a design which is slightly more in-line with contemporary trends and looks all the better for it. For that reason, the HTC Desire HD wins this round.

Winner – HTC Desire HD


The Desire S uses a 480x800 pixel resolution capacitive touchscreen with multi-touch and a proximity sensor for auto-rotate. The Desire HD has the same setup but the touchscreen is an S-LCD, Sony’s own LCD technology, in place of the Samsung AMOLED display.

The switch to S-LCD was largely due to shortage of supply in AMOLED screens from Samsung but supposedly the S-LCD’s are still quite efficient with regard to battery usage and feature a similar 180-degree viewing angle through Sony’s VSPEC III technology.

There isn’t much difference between the two handsets in this regard but as we mentioned earlier the Desire HD has a larger screen so our vote has to go with the HD on this occasion.

Winner – HTC Desire HD


Operating System:
Both handsets use Google’s Android operating system, the Desire HD uses 2.2 Froyo while the Desire S uses 2.3 Gingerbread.

The Desire S seems to have received preferential treatment on the OS front as 2.3 is certainly the better of the two versions with an improved keyboard and general tweaks all round.

Rumours abound that the Desire HD will, at some point, receive a 2.3 update but in the meantime it’s at a slight disadvantage. Both phones have had the ‘HTC Sense’ UI overlaid with the Android OS and this had been known in some cases to create slowdown issues.

In this round we have to declare the Desire S as the winner and it’s all down to Gingerbread.

Winner – HTC Desire S


The Desire S features 1.1 GB of internal storage, 768 MB of RAM and supports Micro SD and Micro SDHC cards, the Desire HD, meanwhile, has 1.5 GB of storage space, with the same RAM and card support. Not much difference here but the 0.4 GB difference in space means the Desire HD comes out as the winner on this one.

Winner – HTC Desire HD


The Desire HD features an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus, dual LED flash, face detection and geo-tagging. The camera also has a few built in visual effect options such as vignette and depth of field and can capture images and video in HD at 720p.

The Desire S has a more humble setup, the megapixel count is still reasonable at 5-megapixels with LED flash and autofocus and is also capable of HD capture at 720p. The Desire S also has a secondary VGA camera at the front.

The Desire S has a nice camera setup but the Desire HD is simply much better in this area, if decent camera capability is a priority then the Desire HD is a clear winner.

Winner – HTC Desire HD

Both handsets use exactly the same 1Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 processor and have the same amount of RAM so performance should be equal. Not much of a contest here just two impressively powerful handsets. Looks like this round is a tie.

Winner – Draw


As both phones have identical processing power and memory and both use Android they are both going to be similarly competent at running apps, however, being on 2.3 Gingerbread the Desire S will be able to actually use more of the thousands of apps available on Android Marketplace than the Desire HD, or at least until the HD receives an upgrade.

Also a point about the Desire HD in general which is also relevant to apps is that the battery has less capacity than that of the Desire S. The Desire S uses a 1450 mAh battery with an average talk-time of 9.83 hours, 7.25 hours on 3G, and a standby time of around 430 hours. The Desire HD, on the other hand, only has a 1230 mAh battery. In terms of talk-time this makes little difference but when running intensive apps and games the rapid drain of the Desire HD is noticeable.

Between the bigger battery and more up-to-date operating system the Desire S wins this round.

Winner – Desire S


Final Thoughts:
The Desire HD seems to win out in more rounds than the Desire S, individually most of the features are more enhanced on the Desire HD but there are a few areas, arguably quite important ones, which really let the Desire HD down and show just how good the Desire S actually is.

The Desire HD would be so much better with a bigger battery because as it is the fast drain whenever you try to do any typical smartphone activities is ridiculous. The Desire S also has a better version of the Android operating system.

The main area in which phones tend to be distinctly better or worse than each other – processor power and memory – is an area where these phones are identical.

What it ultimately comes down to is the fact that the Desire HD has more bells and whistles than the Desire S and they are generally better: the 8-megapixel camera with its many useful features, a slightly bigger storage capacity, a bigger screen and sharper looks. It’s a close call but we can’t really argue with a 4-2 score for the Desire HD, despite its flaws.


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