HTC Desire HD vs HTC Desire

Both the HTC Desire HD and original HTC Desire were certified as Pocket-lint Hot Products after rigorous inspection from our reviews team. While there's no doubt that one is a more up to date and spec-wise superior handset, the question is: how much better is it? Sitting there with cash in hand, is it worth shelling out the extra on the HTC Desire HD or is the experience just as good on the straight Desire? Would you be best off going cheap and biding your time for the next upgrade instead? With the current market difference around £100, Pocket-lint investigates.

 

Form Factor

Winner: HTC Desire
119 x 60 x 11.9mm; 135g
Loser: HTC Desire HD
123 x 68 x 11.8 mm, 164g

If there's one area the original HTC Desire is going to work out better it's on the general levels of portability. It's smaller in almost every department - save that 0.1mm thickness - and it's considerably lighter as well. Effectively, what you're going to notice when you carry it around is that it takes up less space in your pocket and doesn't alter the line of your clothes quite so much. Of course, if you're carrying it in a handbag, there's not much in it, provided you can handle the extra 30g in weight. That's like hefting an extra 8 or 9 pennies. Not too big a deal. All the same, a win's a win and the old HTC Desire is going to have to take what it can in this contest.

 

Display

Winner: HTC Des. HD
4.3", 480x800, 217ppi, AMOLED
Loser: HTC Desire
3.7", 480x800, 252ppi, AMOLED

Although this category counts as a win for the Desire HD - as one would expect with a name like that - there's actually no difference in the screen resolution whatsoever with both sporting the exact same number of pixels. So, as a result, you'll get a crisper, clearer image on the straight HTC Desire. The trouble is, of course, that no matter how good the picture is, the fact remains that the screen is smaller. On balance, at the mobile phone size, it's going to be better to watch video on something a little bit bigger, even if the quality is not quite as good. Once you're holding the thing at arms length, or even set down on a table, you'll probably not notice the difference and just be glad to have more display real estate to enjoy.

 

Engine Room

Winner: HTC Des. HD
1GHz QSD 8255, 768MB RAM, Adreno 205
Loser: HTC Desire
1GHz QSD 8250, 576MB RAM, AMD Z430

There's no doubt that if they were cars, the HTC Desire HD would be the GTI turbo version of this handset. It's got the next step up Snapdragon chipset with improved graphics on board and half as much memory again stuffed into its frame. What that all means is a better ability to handle all your apps, multitasking, videos, gaming and anything else complicated that you throw at it. It should also make it faster at doing the simple tasks as well. Don't expect the HTC Desire HD to have flawless performance, but it'll certainly run a ring or two around the HTC Desire, which is no slouch itself.

 

Imaging

Winner: HTC Des. HD
8MP, dual LED flash, 720p video capture
Loser: HTC Desire
5MP, LED flash, 720p video capture

More megapixels is what the Desire HD offers at the end of the day. There's face recognition, geo-tagging and HD video capture but, once updated with the latest version of HTC Sense and Froyo, that'll all be on offer in the old Desire as well - along with all the built-in art filters. As well as the bonus resolution, there's also the addition of an extra LED flash to make for a brighter exposure and slightly better results in dark situations which, to be fair, are never going to be great on mobile phones anyway. At least not for a while.

So, while there's increased stills resolution, consider this another win for the Desire HD, but not a significant one.

 

Storage

Winner: HTC Des. HD
1.5GB + microSD expandable
Loser: HTC Desire
512MB + microSD expandable

Both these phones can be plugged up with 32GB microSD cards although most likely both will arrive in the box with 4GB to play with. The more important stat, though, is the on-board phone storage and that 1GB difference is larger than it looks. While Android 2.2 allows the user to store apps on the SD card, only a minority of developers have set their software to be able to do this. As a result, they all have to fit on the smaller phone storage space and, believe us, that 512MB on the Desire fills up mighty quick.

 

Connectivity

Winner: HTC Des. HD
Wi-Fi b/g/n
Loser: HTC Desire
Wi-Fi b/g

There's a lot more in the way of connectivity to both of these phones, but it's most notably the Wi-Fi standards that separate them. They each have Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP wireless stereo, you can tether over Wi-Fi and USB with them and GPS is present and correct as well. There's even the added network sharing features from the latest version of HTC Sense, but both will have that too once updated.

So, when it boils down to it, it's the network hardware itself that's been upgraded for the HTC Desire HD. It offers the further reaching and faster talking n-standard Wi-Fi signal as well as a boost to the theoretical 3G upload and download speeds - 14.4Mbps and 5.76Mbps vs 7.2Mbps and 2Mbps - but, of course, your real limiter is going to be the mobile broadband network. So, is this an area where the HTC Desire loses out to the new kid? Again, not really.

 

Battery Life

Winner: HTC Desire
390mins 3G, 400mins talk
Loser: HTC Desire HD
320mins 3G, 550mins talk

Controversial this one, but we're going to say that the battery life is better on the HTC Desire than on the HTC Desire HD. The actually battery itself is larger (1400mAh) on the first version than the second (1230mAh) but the improved Qualcomm chipset on the HTC Desire HD makes up for much of that shortfall in efficiency. The trouble is that the HTC Desire original still offers over an hour more 3G action each day than the Desire HD and anyone who uses a smartphone will tell you that that's where the majority of the day's power tends to go, along with audio and video as well. On the whole, most user habits are not to drain devices with straight phone conversations. Both handsets will still get you from dawn to dusk on a single charge, but the HTC Desire old-school is more likely to get you there even when you're having a heavy one.

 

Multimedia

Winner: HTC Des. HD
SRS Sound & Dolby Mobile
Loser: HTC Desire
None of the above

Much of what you read about the HTC Desire HD with all of its codecs, sharing, built-in apps and what have you, can actually be found on the old Desire with upgrades to HTC Sense and the Android OS itself. What you don't, and will never have are the hard wired technologies like SRS Sound and Dolby Mobile both of which are going to make consuming content that little bit better. The Dolby works wonders for your video sound and the SRS adds richness to your audio - provided you've invested in a reasonable pair of headphones.

 

Conclusion

When you really strip it down, that extra £100 pays for a bigger screen, better storage and superior sound quality. The improvements to the camera and connectivity are there, but not worth worrying about, and, although the Desire HD comes packed with a better engine room, you'll not find the old Desire wanting just yet.

What we'd have to say is that the HTC Desire HD is just about worth the extra outlay as well as the confidence that you didn't wimp out on buying the top of the range phone. That said, one can't help but feel the next generation of superphones on from the original HTC Desire and Nexus One haven't quite hit yet. With Apple getting serious on the Retina Display and front facing camera, there's some Androids out there that'll be looking to up their game very soon indeed. So, perhaps a cheaper stop gap might be the way to go.

If you really want to add some confusion to your decision, check out how the HTC Desire HD does against the Samsung Galaxy S and the iPhone 4.



>