HTC Desire S vs Apple iPhone 4: Smartphone showdown

Which is the better phone -- HTC's Desire S or Apple's iPhone 4?

HTC's Desire S is the successor to the original Desire, which is currently sold exclusively through Telstra in Australia

HTC's Desire S is the successor to the original Desire, which is currently sold exclusively through Telstra in Australia

The HTC Desire, along with the Samsung Galaxy S, is one of the most popular Android smartphones on the market in Australia. HTC has just lifted the lid on its hotly anticipated next-generation Desire, called the Desire S. Does it have what it takes to compete with the Apple iPhone 4?

Read our original HTC Desire review, and our Apple iPhone 4 review.

Techworld Australia feature: Nokia N9 vs. iPhone 4

Check out our detailed preview of the HTC Desire S and see our roundup of the best upcoming smartphones in 2011.

The HTC Desire S has a 3.7-inch SLCD display with a resolution of 480 x 800, a 5-megapixel rear camera that doubles as a 720p HD video recorder, a 1.3-megapixel front camera for video calls, and an aluminium "unibody" design that HTC claims makes it stronger than the original Desire.

With this in mind, how does the HTC Desire S stack up against the iPhone 4 when it comes to specifications?

HTC Desire S vs iPhone 4: Specifications

Feature Apple iPhone 4 HTC Desire S Verdict?
Operating system (OS) Apple iOS Google Android 2.4 (Gingerbread) Draw
Display technology Capacitive retina IPS SLCD iPhone 4
Display resolution 640x960 pixels 480x800 pixels iPhone 4
Multitouch Yes Yes Draw
Camera 5 megapixels, LED flash, autofocus, geotagging 5 megapixels, LED flash, autofocus, geotagging, image stabilisation Draw
FM radio No Yes Desire S
GPS Yes Yes Draw
Internal memory 16GB or 32GB 1.1GB iPhone 4
Expandable memory No microSD card slot Desire S
Dimensions 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm 115 x 59.8 x 11.6mm iPhone 4
Weight 137g 130g Desire S
Application store Apple App Store Google Android Market iPhone 4
Processor Apple A4 Qualcomm Snapdragon (1GHz) Draw
3G networks HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100 HSDPA 900/1900/2100 iPhone 4
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n Draw
Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP 2.1 with A2DP Draw
NFC (Near Field Communication) No No Draw
HDMI-out No No Draw
Quoted talk time Up to 7 hours Up to 7 hours 10 minutes Desire S
Quoted standby time Up to 300 hours Up to 455 hours Desire S
Adobe Flash support No Yes Desire S

HTC Desire S vs iPhone 4: Design

HTC claims one of the best features of the HTC Desire S Android phone is its design; unlike its predecessor, the Desire S uses an aluminium "unibody" casing, the same design used on the HTC Legend and HTC Desire HD Android phones. HTC claims this construction makes it lighter but stronger than its predecessor.

The iPhone 4's stainless steel band (which also doubles as the phones antenna) is certainly intriguing, and at just 9.3mm thick, it remains one of the best built smartphones on the market.

The HTC Desire S Android phone features an aluminium "unibody" design.

HTC Desire S vs iPhone 4: Display

The HTC Desire S has a 3.7-inch SLCD display, slightly larger than the iPhone 4's 3.5in screen. Unlike the original Desire, which used an AMOLED screen, the Desire S has a Super LCD display; it is claimed to offer a clearer and brighter image, along with enhanced battery life compared to regular LCD screens, but doesn't offer the vibrancy of Super AMOLED screens like the Samsung Galaxy S.

Apple's iPhone 4 uses IPS technology (the same used on the iPad, and thanks to its 640 x 960 pixel resolution it has been described as a "retina" display, due to the human eye being unable to distinguish individual pixels.

HTC Desire S vs iPhone 4: Software

The HTC Desire S Android phone runs the 2.4 Gingerbread version of Google's Android platform, and features HTC's Sense UI overlay. This consists mainly of home screen widgets and applications, including the handy HTC Friend Stream, which aggregates social networking contacts from Facebook and Twitter, People, which combines all forms of contact with an individual in your phonebook, along with a weather widget that offers fantastic animations, including a windscreen wiper that swipes across the screen to wipe away raindrops. Android 2.4 Gingerbread also means the Desire S has a revamped keyboard, better copy and paste, improved power management, and a slicker user interface as improvements over previous versions of the Android platform.

The iPhone 4 runs Apple's iOS4 operating system. It offers a familiar swipeable home screen enhanced by folders, and the consistent Apple UI look and feel extending across all of the standard applications. If you have never used an iPhone before, you can expect a device that is easy to pick up and use, a well-populated App Store, and excellent multimedia capabilities. The iPhone's iPod integration ensures it remains one of the best music smartphones on the market, while mobile Web browsing is fast and efficient.

The HTC Desire S runs Android 2.4 Gingerbread.

Though the streamlined iPhone experience has won many fans, Apple's closed platform means the iPhone 4 doesn't offer the same flexibility as smartphones like the HTC Desire S. The iPhone has an inferior notification system to Android phones, and it doesn't let you customise and display live widgets on your home screen. By the same token, the iPhone interface and overall user experience are far more polished than what is currently on offer from Android phones.

The HTC Desire S will be exclusive to Telstra for three months after it launches, which is expected to be any time between now and June. A Telstra spokesperson also confirmed that there is an option to extend the deal beyond the initial three-month period.

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Tags HTC Desire SApple iPhone 4samsung galaxy smobile phonessmartphonesAndroid 2.4 GingerbreadTelstraTelecommunications

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