Samsung Galaxy S vs HTC Desire: Which is best?

Two top Android phones go head to head

Both the HTC Desire and the Galaxy S run Android, but which one can be crowned victorious? We pit them against each other to see which smartphone comes out on top...

Samsung's Galaxy S has certainly appeared to do the business for the Korean company, boosting their sales and ultimately being the flagship of their Android-touting superphones. However the question remains, can it really be as good as the HTC Desire; the Android phone which is regarded as the most worthy competitor to the iPhone 4. These phones aren't cheap, and when it comes to spending your hard earned cash we want to help, so here's a breakdown of all the specs to help you decide..

Build and design

Samsung Galaxy S: At just 10mm thin it's only slightly smaller than the Desire, has a plastic, but strong feel to it and the capacitative buttons at the bottom of the phone feel classy and responsive.

HTC Desire: A simple, understated but ultimately classy design, built with a rubberised plastic back to be reasonably tough. The new optical trackpad eschews the trackball for slimness and aesthetics, while tactile buttons at the bottom feel better than the Nexus One’s touch-sensitive ones.

Operating System

Samsung Galaxy S: Obviously both handsets here run Android, Google's operating system. Of course both companies have employed their own skins to make using the phone a more unique experience. The Galaxy S uses TouchWiz 3.0, which makes Android seem more fun and colourful employing brightly coloured surrounds and simple touch gestures to navigate. However Samsung haven't yet confirmed a Android 2.2 update for the Galaxy S, so if you do buy one, there is a risk you may not see FroYo for a while.

HTC Desire: The Desire on the other hand employs HTC Sense, which, if you have an unbranded or Virgin/Vodafone handset will have the brand new Android 2.2 (FroYo) update either preinstalled or available for download. The Sense UI is incredibly slick, employing seven customisable home screens along with the Android familiars such as the scrolling main menu and 'slide to unlock' feature.


Samsung Galaxy S: The Galaxy S has a 5MP snapper on the back, and whilst it may be lacking a LED flash it will record 720p footage, which can then be outputted through your HDTV.

HTC Desire: The Desire also has a 5MP camera, this time with a LED flash but no 720p recording, however Android 2.2 will enable 720p recording on the device, so it seems that problems been solved.

Data Storage

Samsung Galaxy S: The Galaxy S comes with a whopping 8GB or 16GB internal storage, so you'll have plenty of space for apps, music and photos, and of course if that isn't enough it has a micro SD slot which can add up to 32GB.

HTC Desire: The Desire may only come with 512MB of memory on board, but most handsets will come with a 4GB micro SD provded, which can then be replaced with up 32GB of glorious storage for your apps and the like.


Samsung Galaxy S: The Galaxy S employs a 1GHz Hummingbird processor which allows for swift browsing of the Android OS but also makes sure the video playback is smooth and seamless, rumour has it something similar will be seen on the Galaxy S Tablet.

HTC Desire: The HTC also has a 1GHz processor on board, this time from Qualcomm, it's incredibly responsive making HTC Sense a breeze to use. Qualcomm has also just come up with a 1.5GHz processor, so expect to see that on future HTC smartphones next year.


Samsung Galaxy S: The Galaxy S has a 4-inch AMOLED screen which is quite frankly superb. Watching media on this handset is a dream and whilst it may prove troublesome in strong light, it's one of the key features that makes the Galaxy S so good.

HTC Desire: The Desire also features a AMOLED screen, this time in a 3.7-inch package. It's brilliantly clear and makes viewing images and webpages a pleasure, however, like the Galaxy S it can be prone to suffer on a sunny day.

Battery life

Samsung Galaxy S: Talk for the Galaxy S over a 3G network is a reported 390mins, however during test we found the battery life varied wildly on how you used the phone. Interestingly, watching media seemed to use less battery than using certain applications.

HTC Desire: 400 minutes of GSM talk time, 390 over 3G. HTC claim the Desire has 390 hours standby time.


Samsung Galaxy S: All the usual that you'd expect; Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0, 3G and a HSDPA of up to 7.2Mbps plus the new nWiFi chip and GPS.

HTC Desire: Almost the same, boasting the same download speeds, with 3G upload speeds of up to 2Mbps and the same 802.11 b/g WiFi chip as the iPhone 4.


Samsung Galaxy S: Whilst both handsets have access to the ever increasing Android Market, each manufacturer will of course provide their own. The Galaxy S is no exception offering a small range of their own apps, such as the game Asphalt 5 and a 'Today in history' application.

HTC Desire: The Desire, being wrapped in HTC's Sense UI means that it has access to not only the Android Market but also an array of useful, and sometimes odd widgets and programs that are available both through the Market and HTC's own portal. With the Android 2.2 update, users can now save apps to the SD card which is a huge improvement to before when you only had the internal 512MB with which to satisfy your apps cravings.

If that's not enough to make your mind up then why not check out our full reviews:

Samsung Galaxy S review I HTC Desire review