HTC Desire HD vs. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

by Jerry D on January 16, 2011

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc is easily one of the best smartphones that Sony Ericsson has ever made. But while it’s newer than the HTC Desire HD, it doesn’t go far enough to comprehensively beat its opponent. What could Sony have done better? Let’s find out…

HTC Desire HD versus graphic HTC Desire HD vs. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc


The wireless options on the powerful and popular Desire HD include 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR/A2DP. The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, meanwhile, has an equally good spec: 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. This opening round ends in a tie. (1-1)

Size & Weight:

Run the numbers on these two phones and the Desire HD measures 123.0 x 68.0 x 11.8mm, while the angular Xperia Arc is 125.0 x 63.0 x 8.7mm in comparison. The Xperia Arc is the taller of the two phones by 2.0mm. But it’s also the thinnest, tapering to an eye-catching 8.7mm. Weighing 164g, the Desire HD is 47g heavier than the Xperia Arc, which weighs a lightweight 117g. (1-2)



The Desire HD’s 8.0 MP camera features autofocus, a dual LED flash, face detection cleverness, geotagging and 720p HD video recording.

The Xperia Arc also sports a 8.0 Megapixel camera (with autofocus, an LED flash, image stabilization, geo-tagging, face and smile detection, plus 720p video capture). There’s no real difference in camera quality, although the dual LED flash on the Desire HD just edges it here. (2-2)


HTC has built the Desire HD with a 4.3-inch touch-sensitive display. The S-LCD screen has a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. With its 4.3-inch display and an overall pixel count of 384000, the Desire HD has a pixels per inch rating of 216.977.

In comparison, the Xperia Arc’s touch-sensitive LED-backlit LCD (dubbed a ‘Reality Display’) is 4.2 inches wide. The resolution is slightly better (480 x 854 pixels), although not so you’d notice. (2-2)

HTC Desire HD
Creative Commons License photo credit: 3 Sverige


In terms of processor speeds and software, the Desire HD boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255, which consists of a 1GHz Scorpion CPU and nippy Adreno 205 3D graphics. The Xperia Arc says ‘hey, me too’ and so matches the HTC handset for performance. (2-2)


HTC’s phone uses Android 2.2 (Froyo) with HTC Sense, while Sony Ericsson’s handset launches with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), which boasts an updated UI, support for higher screen resolutions, native SIP VOIP telephony, NFC (as seen in the Google Nexus S) and improved power management. Nice. (2-3)


The 8GB of memory included with the Xperia Arc beats the 1.5GB capacity of the Desire HD. The Desire HD also boasts a microSD slot to increase the maximum capacity to 33.5GB. The Xperia Arc’s overall capacity can be increased to 32GB via its microSD memory card slot. The points go to the Arc. (2-4)

Battery life:

With a fully topped-up battery, HTC’s spec sheet lists 9.0 hours of talktime for its phone, compared to 7.0 hours for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. As for standby time, the phones can last for 420 hours and 400 hours respectively. The Arc loses this one. (3-4)


Note: The Standby time specification is an industry standard that is only intended to allow comparison of different mobile phones under the same circumstances. Power consumption in a standby state is strongly dependent on factors including: network, settings, location, movement, signal strength and cell traffic.


The Desire HD also includes GPS/A-GPS, a g-sensor, digital compass, built-in FM radio, Dolby Mobile, DLNA wireless content sharing and integration. The Xperia Arc features GPS/A-GPS, DLNA content sharing, Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine pixel processing, Stereo FM radio with RDS, HDMI port, noise cancellation and a digital compass. (3-4)

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc wins!

It was a close fight, but the Sony Ericsson phone just edges it. Where was the battle won? The Xperia Arc is slimmer and lighter than the HTC Desire HD, boasts more storage out of the box and runs a newer version of the Android OS.

It’s a shame that Sony Ericsson didn’t push the specification further with a higher screen resolution and a dual-core processor. As such, the Arc is good, but it’s instantly outclassed by the likes of the LG Optimus 2X and Motorola Atrix.

See if the two phones in this fight make our list of the Top 10 Best Smartphones

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