HTC Desire S vs iPhone 4

It's been a while since the Desire took the world by storm but thankfully HTC is well aware of that. In repsonse, the Taiwanese company refreshed its line of smartphones at Mobile World Conference 2011 and that included a few bumps for one of 2010's top handsets to produce what we now know as the HTC Desire S.

The big question for consumers and Android phone fans everywhere though is how good is this phone and the best way to answer that is to put it up against its auld eneny, the iPhone 4, and find out. So, if you want to know whether it's an Apple or a Google you should be going for come mobile phone upgrade time, then here is the HTC Desire S vs iPhone 4 spec show down to help.

Form Factor

1st: iPhone 4
115.2 x 58.7 x 9.3mm, 137g

2nd: HTC Desire S
115 x 59.8 x 11.63mm, 130g


Theses two smartphones have an almost identical profile apart from the fact that the iPhone 4 is considerable slimmer. All, the same, it's the Apple handset that's a little heavier. At the end of the day, though, it's the thin, sexy one that's going to look a little better as well as leave less of an impact on the lines of your pockets. Interestingly, something smaller and heavier tends to smack more of quality in the hand than a larger object, so the iPhone might even have the edge there as well.

That said, none of this should take away from the fact that the HTC Desire S has got a rather splendid design of its own. It's been made with the spirit of the HTC Legend and hewn from a single lump of aluminium. So, even though the iPhone 4 takes this one, the Desire S certainly has a form factor of its own to brag about.

Display

1st: iPhone 4
3.5-inch, 960x640px, LCD with IPS

2nd: HTC Desire S
3.7-inch, 480x800px, AMOLED


Surprisingly, there's been no real upgrade to the screen of the HTC Desire S and, as such, the iPhone 4 - even though 6 months its senior - beats it hands down with the superb Retina Display. Naturally, the Desire S has a slightly bigger panel and the colour and low power benefits of AMOLED technology but it still comes out second.

Engine Room

1st: HTC Desire S
1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255, 768MB

2nd: iPhone 4
Apple A4, 512MB


As with the old iPhone 3GS, it seems that the S part of the Desire's moniker is all about speed. Rocking a chipset with a 1GHz CPU, Adreno 205 graphics and a whole 768MB of RAM, it blows the away what the iPhone 4 brings to the party. Gaming, videos, multitasking, you name it, the HTC Desire S has got the power to perform.

Imaging

Tie: iPhone 4
5MP rear, VGA front, 720p video

Tie: HTC Desire S
5MP rear, VGA front, 720p video


It's a dead heat for imaging and it's nothing to be ashamed of in either case. A primary 5MP camera complete with AF and an LED flash is what one would hope for a smartphone in this modern day with 720p video capture and a webcam the icing on the cake. Yes, it would be nicer to have something a bit more powerful to make your video calls home with and 1080p video is always a good headline but most people would probably rather save on the what it would add to the price tag.

Connectivity

Tie: iPhone 4
3G, GPS, BT 2.1, Wi-Fi

Tie: HTC Desire S
3G, Wi-Fi, BT 2.1, GPS


Neither handset really goes beyond the basics in terms of connectivity either. There's no DLNA, advanced versions of Bluetooth or NFC to play with but, naturally, there will be certain apps to help out with wireless content streaming to a degree. All the same, it's another tie here and one has to begin to wonder where the Desire S is going to be when Apple ups its game come summer 2011.

Battery Life

1st: iPhone 4
1420mAh, up to 14 hours talk

2nd: HTC Desire S
1450mAh, 10 hours talk


With roughly the same battery solution, it's the HTC Desire S that loses out here. The reason is that its engine room takes a lot more juice to run than that of the relatively low powered iPhone 4. As a result, there's 4 hours less talk time on the Desire S and doubtless much less on offer than the up to 10 hours of video that Apple states users can get out of its handset.

Software

1st: HTC Desire S
Android 2.4 Gingerbread, HTC Sense

2nd: iPhone 4
iOS 4.2.


Software is always a contentious category given that much is it comes down to personal taste but, as things stand, we feel that Android currently offers more to the user than iOS particularly when paired with HTC Sense. The big factors to consider are that you get full Flash internet browsing, proper multitasking, full customisation and the ability to turn your handset into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot as well. Yes, iOS is tighter system; yes, the app selection is a touch better and yes, the Game Center for online multiplay match up is an excellent feature but, ultimately, none of these are enough to make the difference.

Storage

1st: iPhone
16/32GB

2nd: HTC Desire S
1.1GB + microSD


When you're talking about using apps, games and videos, then memory becomes a pretty important consideration for a smartphone. The iPhone 4 often gets a lot of jibes about its lack of an expandable memory but there is a certain convenience that comes with not worrying about which microSD card you've got in and what piece of data is where.

Of course, the HTC Desire S has a larger potential amount of storage than the iPhone but although the latest versions of Android theoretically enable you to store your apps on the SD card, not all of the developers have updated their software to do so. As a result, many apps still need to be stored on your phone's memory, and that 1.1GB - although sizable - will begin to fill up. As time moves on and the app developers catch up, this shouldn't be a problem, but at the moment, the iPhone offers the better storage solution.

Price

1st: HTC Desire S
Less

2nd: iPhone 4
More


There's been no announcements over how much the HTC Desire S is going to cost, either outright or on contract, but it's highly unlikely that it'll work out as more expensive than the iPhone 4. Most probably we'll see the networks advertising very similar prices to the original Desire when it arrived and that most certainly comes in at sub-Apple prices.

Conclusion

Tie: iPhone 4

Tie: HTC Desire S


While many of these categories are worth examining, there's only really three that seem to stick out as we make our judgement. Both phones are beautifully made with ample connectivity, decent imaging and storage and neither is really going to offer the kind of battery experience that the world is crying out for.

The real difference then lies in the three S's of the software, screen and speed. The iPhone 4 has the wonderful Retina Display to enjoy and, if you're all about the video watching, then perhaps this phone is for you. On the other hand the speed of the HTC Desire S combined with the functionality of full browsing and potentially free tethering make it an excellent choice in terms of flexibility and function. If you want more of a tool, go with the Desire, if you're more about the toy, then make it the iPhone.

Check out more from Mobile World Congress 2011 on our MWC2011 homepage



>