HTC Desire HD vs. Nokia N8 – Review

by Jerry D on September 24, 2010

HTC’s Desire HD is now bigger and better than the Desire before it and more than a match for any modern smartphone. Along comes the Nokia N8, a swagger in its step, buoyed by a beefy spec and a brand new Symbian OS… Which one would you smash with a hammer?


The Desire HD features 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR/A2DP. The N8 features 3G/HSDPA (10.2 Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP. (1-1)

See more HTC Desire HD fights or find other Nokia N8 tussles

Size & Weight:

In terms of raw size and weight, the Desire HD is slightly skinnier than the N8 with a chassis that’s only 11.8mm thick. The Desire HD, meanwhile, is much wider, measuring 68.0mm to the N8′s 59.12mm. In terms of weight, the HTC Desire HD weighs 164g, while the N8 is a more lightweight and pocket-friendly 135g. (1-2)



The Desire HD’s 8.0 MP lens features an array of goodies such as: autofocus, dual LED flash, face detection capability, geotagging and 720p HD video recording. Photos taken with the camera will have a resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels.

The N8 trumps its rival with an improved 12.0 Megapixel lens with a maximum resolution of 4290 x 2800 pixels. Nokia has really pushed the boat out here, throwing in Carl Zeiss optics, a Xenon flash, autofocus, geo-tagging, face/smile detection, plus 720p HD video capture and editing. A extra camera on the front is perfect for video calling. Although does anybody really do video calls? Anyone? (1-3)

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
8.0MP – 3264 x 2448 pixels (HTC Desire HD)
10.0MP – 3872 x 2592 pixels
12.0MP – 4290 x 2800 pixels (Nokia N8)
16.0MP – 4920 x 3264 pixels

*These are typical resolutions. Actual resolutions may vary


Headlining the HTC Desire HD is a 4.3-inch touch-sensitive LCD display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. It has 384,000 pixels onscreen overall, which works out at 216.977 pixels per inch.

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

At only 3.5 inches, the N8′s touch-sensitive AMOLED screen has less room. Its 360 x 640 pixel resolution is also no match for the HTC display. The surprisingly average pixel density of 209.714 pixels per inch here is less than the 216.977 rating given to the Desire HD. (2-3)



This is where the Desire should pull back a few points. On the inside, the N8 uses a ARM 11, rated at 680MHz. The Desire HD’s processor is a nippy 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8255 chip. As for software, the Desire HD uses the latest and greatest version of Android (Froyo), while the N8 runs the new Symbian ^3 OS, which is promising, if untested in battle. (4-3)

Downloadable apps


Storage-wise, the N8 provides more space out of the box with 16GB of internal storage. This compares to the Desire HD’s 1.5GB. Plug a bigger memory card into the Desire HD’s microSD expansion slot and the maximum capacity rises to 33.5GB. The inclusion of a microSD expansion slot on the N8 bumps up the capacity to a massive 48GB. (4-4)

Battery life:

Measuring battery life isn’t an exact science. But the Desire HD weighs in with 9.0 hours of talktime; the N8 in comparison boasts 12.0 hours of talktime. In terms of standby times, HTC’s phone can last 420 hours, while Nokia’s model boasts 390 hours. The N8 steals it here and edges into the lead. The question is: can it keep it? (4-5)



The Desire HD also includes: GPS/A-GPS, g-sensor, digital compass, built-in FM radio, Dolby Mobile, DLNA wireless content sharing and integration. The N8 features onboard 3D graphics acceleration, GPS/A-GPS (with free Ovi Maps), digital compass, Web TV, Flash support, FM radio (with RDS) and an HDMI out with Dolby Digital Plus support. (4-5)

The Nokia N8 wins!

Nokia N8 HTC Desire HD vs. Nokia N8 – ReviewAs good as the improvements to the HTC Desire HD are, the N8 emerges as the winner of this fight (4-5). Nokia is hoping to recapture some market share by releasing a phone that outclasses the hardware of its rivals. So it has the highest-spec camera (a 12MP lens, no less), not to mention the best all-round camera features. It’s also got the most memory and it benefits from a slim and lightweight build. But a slow processor and Symbian ^3 could prove to be its undoing.

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

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