Apple iPhone 4 vs. HTC Desire HD – Review

by Jerry D on September 22, 2010

The iPhone 4 has already gone into the ring with the HTC Desire. But how will it fare against a newer, bigger and all-round beefier HTC Desire HD? Has the Jesus Phone met its match? Or is the Desire HD just an Evo with its 4G talents removed? Time for a big phone fight…

iphone 4 vs htc desire hd Apple iPhone 4 vs. HTC Desire HD   Review


This round has ‘tie’ written all over it. As far as wireless technology goes, the Apple iPhone 4 comes with 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR. HTC has crammed its handset with 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR/A2DP. Spot the difference? No, neither did we. It’s a point each. (1-1)

See more Apple iPhone 4 fights or find other HTC Desire HD skirmishes

Size & Weight:

The spec sheet reveals that the Desire HD is the wider of the two super-phones, measuring 68.0mm to the iPhone 4′s 58.6mm. The Desire HD is also the taller of the pair, measuring 123.0mm to the iPhone 4′s 115.2mm. Neither result is surprising when you consider the eye-widening size of the Desire HD’s display. Measure the weight of the duo and the iPhone 4 weighs 137g, while the HTC Desire HD is a bulkier 164g. (2-1)



Apple has built the iPhone 4 with a 5.0 Megapixel camera that boasts neat tap to focus functionality, an LED flash, geo-tagging, plus VGA and HD video recording (720p). It also features a second, front-facing camera for Apple’s own brand of video chat – FaceTime.

Where the original Desire included a 5.0 Megapixel snapper, the Desire HD boasts better technology – an 8.0 Megapixel camera with autofocus, a dual LED flash, face detection capability, geotagging and 720p HD video recording. Note the maximum resolution here – a whopping 3264 x 2448 pixels. No front camera though, so all-in-all, this camera technology round comes out even. (2-1)

Here’s how the raw technology of the cameras compare*.

1.0MP – 1280 x 960 pixels
2.0MP – 1600 x 1200 pixels
3.1MP – 2048 x 1536 pixels
5.0MP – 2592 x 1944 pixels (Apple iPhone 4)
8.0MP – 3264 x 2448 pixels (HTC Desire HD)
10.0MP – 3872 x 2592 pixels
12.0MP – 4290 x 2800 pixels
16.0MP – 4920 x 3264 pixels

*These are typical resolutions. Actual resolutions may vary


As for screen size, the Apple iPhone 4 features an unparalleled 3.5-inch (640 x 960) touch-sensitive LCD display. There are an incredible 614,400 pixels onscreen overall, which translates to 329.714 pixels per inch. (And yes, I know that Apple’s own PR says 326 PPI, but you can see how we worked it out in the pixel density league table below…

View the best mobile displays in The ‘pixel density’ league table

In comparison, the Desire HD’s touch-sensitive LCD display is bigger, measuring a massive 4.3 inches. But size isn’t everything. And in this battle, it suffers from a lower screen resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. With only 384,000 pixels onscreen, the pixel density is a lowly 216.977 pixels per inch. (3-1)



In terms of processor speeds and software, the iPhone 4′s processor is a 1GHz Apple A4 chip, while the Desire HD uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8255, also rated at 1GHz. Apple’s own iOS4 comes installed on the iPhone 4; while the Desire HD uses Android 2.2 (Froyo) with HTC Sense.

Both OSes have their advantages. iOS has integrated video editing and access to a huge amount of applications on the App Store. While Android 2.2 offers a Wi-Fi hotspot feature and supports Flash 10.1 for better web browsing. Let’s call it a draw. (3-1)

Downloadable apps


The 32GB of memory in the iPhone 4 beats the 1GB default capacity of the Desire HD. Of course, without an expansion slot on the iPhone 4, 32GB is the maximum amount of storage you can get. The Desire narrowly takes this round as you can expand the memory of HTC’s phone via the microSD slot. The maximum is 33GB. (3-2)

Battery life:

With a fully topped-up battery, Apple boasts 7.0 hours of talktime for its iPhone 4, versus 9.0 hours for the Desire HD. The standby times are 300 hours for the iPhone 4 and 420 hours for the Desire HD. The points belong to the Desire HD, drawing it level. (3-3)



So it comes down to this final round… The iPhone 4 also includes GPS/A-GPS, a digital compass and a 3-axis gyroscope. The Desire HD features GPS/A-GPS, a g-sensor, digital compass, built-in FM radio, Dolby Mobile, DLNA wireless content sharing and integration to sneak the point. (3-4)

The HTC Desire HD wins!

htc desire hd Apple iPhone 4 vs. HTC Desire HD   Review That was a close one, but the Desire HD battles back to take the victory (3-4). Controversial? The Desire HD obviously has the highest-spec camera and the bigger of the two screens. But it also boasts great battery life (apparently) and has an OS that has dramatically improved since it first launched.

Sure, the iPhone 4 has a better screen. Sure, Apple has the most downloadable apps. But the Desire HD offers just enough technology and versatility to make you think twice about buying one.

Do you agree with the outcome of this fight? Leave us a comment below now…

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