HTC Desire HD vs iPhone 4

Following today's unveiling of the HTC Desire HD, it's clear that this new smartphone is going to the give Apple's iPhone 4 a run for its money. Whether you're new to this smartphone malarkey, or you're considering upgrading your current handset, these are both handsets that you need to consider. If you're already a die-hard fan of either brand then you probably don't need our help to decide. However, if you've yet to pledge your alleigance to Team Apple or Team Android, then read on for our head to head comparison.


Dimensions

Winner: iPhone 4
115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm, 137g
Loser: Desire HD
123 x 68 x 11.8mm, 164g

While both phones sport tidy, compact designs, the HTC is considerably larger than the iPhone, and although that means a larger screen, it also means that it's not quite as pocket-friendly. The Desire HD is also heavier than the iPhone and while the 27g difference in weight is unlikely to make that much difference, it's an important issue when it comes to mobile devices and one which makes Apple the winner in this category.

 

Display

Winner: iPhone 4
3.5in, 960 x 640, 326dpi, TFT-LCD
Loser: Desire HD
4.3in, 480 x 800, 240dpi, LCD

When it comes to touchscreen smartphones, the display is one of the biggest stand-offs. At 4.3 inches, the Desire HD's screen is considerably bigger than that of the iPhone. However, the higher resolution offered by the Apple goes a long way to making up for its relatively diminutive screen. What's more, the iPhone's Retina display has been designed to replicate reading on paper. Bright, shiny paper, but paper, nevertheless. On balance, the Apple wins this one.

 

Engine Room

winner: Desire HD
1GHz Qualcomm 8255 Snapdragon, 768MB
loser: iphone 4
Apple A4 CPU, 512MB

The two smartphone contenders have a fairly similar spec under the hood, with both sporting 1Gz processors. While the iPhone has Apple's ARM Cortex A8, the Desire uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform. Though different, they both offer the sort of high-end performance you'd expect in a quality smartphone. However,  the Desire HD offers a fair bit more RAM than the iPhone, and that's why we're handing it the win on this point.


Imaging

Winner: Desire HD
8MP, AF, flash, 720p video capture
Loser: iphone 4
5MP, AF, flash, 720p video capture

If you want top quality photos and video footage then you should really opt for a camera or camcorders of some sort. However, if you're just after a phone that can take half-decent snaps and film at a moment's notice, then both these handsets offer decent performance.

As predicted by the online rumour mill, the Desire HD does indeed have am 8MP camera, along with auto focus and a dual LED flash, and will offer a variety of effects such as fisheye and vignettes. As you can probably guess from the phone's name, it has also been equipped with the ability for 720p high-def video capture.

Apple finally relented to the calls of 3GS owners, and introduced an LED flash to the 5MP camera, along with a better sensor and lens. It also introduced the ability to capture video in 720p high-def resolution. Although fairly evenly matched in this area, we think that HTC deserves to take this round thanks to its 8MP camera.

 

Storage

Winner: desire hd
1.5GB + expansion with microSD card
Loser: iphone 4
32GB

The Desire HD wins this one just, mainly because while the HTC technically has less onboard memory, you get the ability to expand it and swap out micro SD cards, where you can't with the iPhone.


Software

Winner: Desire HD
HTC Sense + Android 2.2
Loser: iphone 4
iOS4

This is possibly the hardest category in which to pick a winner, as both phones offer awesome operating systems. With the introduction of iOS 4.1, the iPhone has gained a few extra strings to its bow including Game Center capability for social gaming and HDR photography that combines several images into a single picture.

Android is fast catching up with iOS 4 in terms of apps, and although we still think that the iPhone interface is far more clear and intuitive, Android offers more flexibility. The Desire HD has been blessed with an updated version of HTC Sense which, it is claimed, will power up in 10 seconds and lets your filter your mail and also enables pre-caching of maps saving you waiting around for them to download. The update also brings with it HTCSense.com which will let you store and browse messages on your computer, help you to locate your phone when it's lost around the house and remotely forward your calls or erase your phone data, should you get your phone nicked.

At the risk of upsetting all the iOS 4 fans, we're going to declare the HTC the victor in this round (and then we're going to duck and cover).

 

Price

Winner: Desire HD
£415 (SIM free)
Loser: iPhone 4
£570 (SIM free)

The Desire HD will be available in Europe in October, with Vodafone confirmed as launch partner,  and although no pricing has yet been confirmed, the blogosphere puts it somewhere around the £415 mark for a SIM free handset.

In contrast, there's no getting away from the fact that the iPhone is very expensive, and we only hope that Steve Jobs is secretly donating to charity as enthusiastically as some of his comtemporaries. A SIM free handset will currently cost you dearly, with the best deals coming in at around £570. For that reason, we think that the HTC will probably have the edge is this category.


Conclusions

This is a tricky one, as we're looking at two very different pieces of ground-breaking technology. However, if pushed to pick a winner we have to go with the HTC on this occasion thanks to its flexibilty, larger screen and cheaper price. That's not to say that the iPhone is dead in the water. Apple's handset offers a great user experience that many will find easier to manage than HTC's Android-based phone. While we've looked in detail at the specs that were available to us, the proof is in the pudding, and we'll get stuck into the Desire HD with a full review as soon as we can. In the meantime, you can can check out our full review of the iPhone 4.



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