HTC Desire HD vs. Samsung Galaxy S – Review

by Jerry D on September 23, 2010

If big screens are all the rage these days, then the new HTC Desire (4.3 inches) and the Samsung Galaxy S (4.0 inches) are two of the biggest. Both run the Android OS, both pack the latest mobile technology. But which one would you choose? Here’s the big phone fight verdict…

htc desire hd vs galaxy s HTC Desire HD vs. Samsung Galaxy S   Review


The wireless options on this revamped Desire include 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR/A2DP. As for the Galaxy S, Samsung has specified 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi as standard. (1-1)

See more HTC Desire HD fights or find other Samsung Galaxy S scuffles

Size & Weight:

Compare the two handsets and the Galaxy S is the slimmer of the two phones with a depth of 9.9mm. The Desire HD is 11.8mm in comparison. It’s also wider, measuring 68.0mm to the Galaxy S’s 64.2mm.

But the big difference is in the weight of the two phones. Drop each one on the scales and the HTC Desire HD weighs 164g, while the Galaxy S is a much more lightweight 119g. It’s no contest. (1-2)



The design of the HTC Desire HD incorporates a 8.0 Megapixel camera with a max resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels. The extras include autofocus, a dual LED flash, face detection capability, geotagging and 720p HD video recording. It’s a superbly capable photo/video package.

Despite autofocus, geo-tagging, touch to focus functionality, face and smile detection and HD video recording, the Galaxy S’s 5.0 Megapixel camera drops points here. It also lacks an LED flash, which makes taking clear snaps in low lighting conditions almost impossible. The Galaxy S also has another camera located on the front that’s ideal for video calls. (2-2)

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 (Samsung Galaxy S)
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


Display size is key here, especially as both displays are bigger than the average touchscreen. The Desire HD features a 4.3-inch (480 x 800 pixel) touch-sensitive S-LCD screen. The resulting pixel density of this handset can be measured at 216.977 pixels per inch.

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

The Galaxy S’s touch-sensitive Super AMOLED display is slightly less roomy, measuring 4.0 inches on the diagonal. The resolution is the same, but do the math again and the pixels per inch (PPI) rating of this screen is 233.25. The AMOLED technology just nabs the point here, offering better colour reproduction overall and better power-savings than an LCD. (2-3)



In terms of raw power and usability, the two phones are evenly matched. The Desire HD’s chip is a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8255, while the Galaxy S uses a ARM Cortex A8 processor, also clocked at 1GHz. HTC uses Android 2.2 (Froyo) with HTC Sense on the Desire HD; Samsung uses Android 2.1 (Eclair) on its phone. (2-3)

Downloadable apps


The Galaxy S wins the internal storage battle with 16GB, compared to a standard 1GB on the Desire HD. The Desire HD also has a microSD interface, which can extend the overall capacity to 33GB. A microSD slot on the Galaxy S further boosts the overall memory on Samsung’s phone to 48GB. A win for the Samsung phone to edge ahead in this fight. (2-4)

Battery life:

With a maximum charge, HTC’s spec sheet lists 9.0 hours of talktime for its phone, compared to 6.5 hours for the Samsung Galaxy S. As for standby time, the phones can last for 420 hours and 576 hours respectively. The Desire HD edges it here and is starting to make a real fight of it. (3-4)



The Desire HD is stuffed with technology and also includes GPS/A-GPS, a g-sensor, a digital compass, built-in FM radio, Dolby Mobile, DLNA wireless content sharing and integration. The Galaxy S, meanwhile, features a stereo FM radio with RDS, GPS/A-GPS and a digital compass. (4-4)

It’s a tie!

htc desire hd11 HTC Desire HD vs. Samsung Galaxy S   Review Just when the fight was swinging towards the Galaxy S, the HTC Desire HD makes a late surge to level up the scores (4-4).

The Desire HD isn’t the thinnest phone you’ll ever try and stick in your pocket. But it does boast a great camera (with a flash – take note, Samsung), a massive display and a decent battery life. It’s a worthy upgrade to what is one of the best Android phones around.

The Galaxy S counters with a superbly thin design, vibrant Super AMOLED touchscreen display and significantly more memory.

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

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