Apple iPhone 4 vs HTC Desire S

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The HTC Desire was the most popular HTC device to date, so what’s changed with the HTC Desire S and is it better than the iPhone 4?

Screen
The iPhone 4’s screen has been touted as the best out there, with crystal clear resolution and tip top brightness.

The display is a 3.5-inch, LED backlit IPS TFT number and offers a higher pixel ratio than any other device. Apple has named this pixel density ‘retina display’, although it’s more technical jargon than anything else. It basically means you won’t be able to clearly see any of the pixels.

The HTC Desire S’s display is Super-LCD and although it’s top quality, it doesn’t come close to beating Apple’s stunning screen

Winner – iPhone 4

Camera
The iPhone 3G and 3GS didn’t rank very high in the camera stakes, but the iPhone 4 takes this to another level. It’s a 5-megapixel snapper and features an LED flash for highlighting those dark moments.

Sure, pictures aren’t as stunning on those from specifically developed camera phones such as the Nokia N8, but it does produce some tip top results. Video can be recorded at HD resolution (720p), although there’s no HD out option.

The HTC Desire S’s camera isn’t a massive step away from that on the HTC Desire, although photos are equally as good. Some photos in low light do suffer from an over-zealous flash, but 720p video capture is a nice bonus, although it’s not as perfected as videos recorded on the iPhone 4.

Winner – iPhone 4

Speed and performance
The iPhone 4 features a 1GHz ARM Cortex processor with a powerful PowerVR CPU and 512MB. It runs along smoothly, thanks to the lack of full multitasking, but we reckon it could suffer if Apple did ever introduce fully-charged multitasking.

The HTC Desire S does have the fullest experience of multitasking out of the two and handles the actions well. With a 1GHz Scorpion processor, it may not be as groundbreaking as the newer dual core device, but it cruises along nicely whether you have one or ten apps open.

Winner – HTC Desire S

Software
The battle between Android and iOS has been raging for quite some time now, and we’re sure most of you are aware of the finer points of the confrontation but for the initiated: Apple’s iOS is simple, efficient and looks good.

Even the most technophobic of users will find it easy to adapt to and while it lacks certain functionality (such as multi-tasking) it performs soundly with little user maintenance required. Android, however, is something different.

It looks good and is nearly on-par with iOS in terms of usability but it brings features to the fore which are critically important for some users, such as the aforementioned multi-tasking and the openness to allow users to manage their device without the need for bulky software installations (iTunes, we’re looking in your direction!).

The open source roots of Android has been a huge draw with consumers too, as you’re free to make the device your own with custom UI overlays, such as the included Sense UI that comes with the Desire S, and even custom ROM’s for those that like to dig a bit deeper. It really is a case of Apple’s and, erm, oranges. If you’re after an open device that you’re free to tinker with, Android’s your boy, if it’s a simple, effective, training-wheels on approach you like then opt for the iPhone 4.

Winner – Draw

Build
Apple has a sound reputation for building nice looking, alluring devices and this shines through in the iPhone 4. It’s sleek (115.2×58.6×9.3mm), good looking, well balanced and feels premium, but there is the tiny matter of the ‘death grip’ to contend with, which means that you can’t really enjoy your device as the designer intended unless you want to lose signal in a big way.

If you want to be able to use the device you have to insulate it with a liberal covering of rubber. Does that upset the aesthetic appeal? Yes.

The HTC Desire S, however, has no such drawback. The device is nicely constructed, feels pleasant in the hand and its matte-black finish lends an air of executive verve to the device. And no, you don’t need to wrap it in a case to enjoy its full functionality.

Winner – Desire S

It’s a draw! Which is none too bad considering the iPhone 4 was up against a device that’s nearly a year newer. The Desire S, for the most part, is a worthy upgrade to the original, which was itself one of the first great Androids.

The lack of a camera upgrade may put some users off and the reliance on a 1GHz CPU when many competitors are packing in dual-core chips is a noodle scratcher, but it doesn’t offset the general good feeling you get when using the device.

Apple’s iPhone 4 is still (and will be for some time, we’ll bet) a brilliant device. It has its foibles but the charm that the device exudes more than makes up for those.

The one thing that may put people off is that it is still an expensive piece of hardware, and we’re unsure whether the device warrants the premiums involved in acquiring one, but if you take the plunge you won’t be disappointed.

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