What happens when you take three of the world’s smartest phones, dress them up in leather skirts and pit them against each other in deadly gladiatorial combat? “I’m Spartacus!” “No, I’m Spartacus!”…
HTC Desire HD
The Desire HD is a notable improvement on the original Desire, which is easily one of our favourite Android handsets. You could argue that it set the Android ball rolling and that it was instrumental in introducing Google’s OS to legions of disillusioned Blackberry, Symbian and Windows Mobile users.
There’s much to like about the ‘HD’ version. The 4.3-inch, 480 x 800 pixel S-LCD display, for example. Then there’s the 8MP camera, complete with autofocus, dual LED flash and 720p HD video recording. The second-gen Desire is also thin (11.8mm) and boasts a talktime rated at 9.0 hours.
Rocking Android 2.2 (Froyo) with HTC’s Sense UI, the Desire HD marches to the beat of a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8255 CPU. True, the 1.5GB of onboard storage is lousy. But plug in a 32GB microSD card and you’ll have 33.5GB to play around with. Give or take a few Megabytes.
Google Nexus S
Enter the Nexus S… This is Google’s second attempt to make a splash in the smartphone market. There are three attractions here: first, this handset runs a pure build of the newest Android OS – version 2.3, codenamed ‘Gingerbread’. Second, it’s available unlocked so you’re not tied to any network.
And third? The Nexus S incorporates Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in anticipation of a future where physical cash is ‘uncool’ and we’ll all be paying for new pants by waving our phones at a wireless card reader. Of course, Samsung-built Nexus S isn’t the first phone to feature NFC. But it’s arguably the first to make a big song and dance about it.
The wireless technology is part of a cracking specification that also includes: a 4.0-inch Super AMOLED (480 x 800) display, 5.0 MP camera and a speedy 1GHz processor. Better still, the Nexus S is slim (10.88mm) and light (129g). If there’s a fly in the proverbial ointment, it’s that the 16 gigs of onboard memory can’t be extended. And a battery life that promises 6.7 hours of talktime is hardly spectacular.
Apple iPhone 4
Like it or not, the iPhone 4 is still the smartphone to beat. Its competitors are fast catching up, but Apple pushed the boat out for its 4th-gen model and it still has key advantages. As good as Android has undoubtedly become, iOS4 is more versatile, fluid and more widely supported. Yes, it’s a walled garden approach compared to Android’s half-watched free-for-all. But it works.
Technology-wise, the iPhone 4 also leads the pack in terms of screen technology. At 3.5 inches across the diagonal, it might not be huge. But its Retina Display still boasts the highest resolution of any smartphone at 640 x 960 pixels. Apple’s strikingly designed handset is also delightfully thin, measuring only 9.3mm around the middle. That’s supermodel skinny.
The rest of the specification will undoubtedly get a boost when the iPhone 5 appears. The 5.0 Megapixel camera is good, but faces being eclipsed by 8.0MP lenses and 1080p video recording. We can also expect the 1GHz Apple CPU to get a dual-core upgrade to keep up with the sophisticated (and power hungry) games and utilities that are making waves on the App Store.
Taking everything into consideration, we reckon that…
The Google Nexus S wins!