The Desire has been one the most popular Android platform phones made by HTC. It was the first smart phone that I seriously considered getting to replace my iPhone 3GS when my contract was up. The only catch was that it wasn’t available in the US when it first came out last spring. Now that you can buy it in the US I already have an iPhone 4-and I really couldn’t see myself using any other phone right now. The HTC Desire has been out a few months longer than the iPhone 4-so how does it stack up against the flagship from Apple?
The Desire has a beautiful, large 3.7 inch OLED capacitive touch screen, and manages Android version 2.1 (Éclair), and is supported further with the popular SENSE UI. Furthermore the Desire has a fast, polished, and functional user experience that has been drawing people to HTC in large numbers in the recent past. As a faithful iPhone owner, one of the most intriguing features is the use of HTC’s Widgets that dramatically personalize the phone to fit your needs.
The buttons on the bottom of the Desire are raised, physical aluminum buttons rather than the simple one button approach employed by Apple. The middle of the keys on the Desire contains an optical trac ball. Many smart phone users prefer a trac ball of some sort, perhaps for the tactile feedback, and the Desire provides an intuitive answer to this dilemma.
The surfaces on the back of the phones are very different. Each backing has its pro’s & con’s. The Desire’s rubberized coating on the back makes it feel like it wants to slide out of your hands at times. While the iPhone 4’s glass backing is easier to hold onto, it is made entirely of glass and is more prone to shattering when dropped.
Inside the phones are very similar. The HTC Desire uses a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, and the iPhone 4 has a 1 GHz Apple A4 processor. Both phones have a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash. The most notable difference that sets these phones apart is the HTC SENSE UI. People love to personalize their phones, and with Android operating systems they have the ability to do that in many ways the iPhone 4 user cannot.
HTC has also added Social Networking to the Desire UI with Facebook integration, HTC Peep for twittering, and a powerful feature called Friend Stream for sorting all of your contacts into one location. In addition, they have also added in a robust Exchange service that includes better task functionality, calendars, email, and contacts.
The Desire has seven home pages compared to 11 available in the iPhone 4-but the iPhone owner can a actually add dramatically more apps through the use of folders which can hold 12 apps each. This gives the iPhone a potential capacity of 192 apps per page! On the Desire the home pages can be populated with a combination of a variety of widgets including, but not limited to bookmarks, calendar, clock, Friend Stream, mail, music, live wallpapers, and Twitter feeds. The Desire also uses Multi-Touch to activate a feature called Leap View that allows you to view all your home pages, up to seven, at one time. From this view you can go straight to another home page without swiping through any other view on the way.
The HTC Desire and the Apple iPhone 4 are both very capable smartphones. HTC’s use of their SENSE UI appears to make the Desire one of the more powerful, and user friendly in the HTC’s lineup today. However, it is not completely without flaws, one of the more notable being the fact that the widget ecosystem is battery hungry. Both manufacturer’s have Apps Strore’s, similar processor speed, and RAM capabilities. Apple gets the nod on internal flash storage, though. In the end, you really can’t go wrong with either device. It is more of a personal choice, and possibility the ability to personalize your user experience on Android devices that may or may not sway you in the end.