HTC Desire Vs HTC Desire S – Specs, Size and Software

Here it is, the official DesireFanatics showdown between the mighty HTC Desire and the new boy in town: the HTC Desire S.

Having owned the HTC Desire since it’s launch on the T-Mobile network last February, I must say I’m still happy with my phone. There have been a couple of additions to the Desire range but they didn’t quite have the same impact as the original Desire (possibly the Desire HD being the most talked about out of the two – the other being the Desire Z of course).

So let’s see what HTC have tweaked and improved with a year’s worth of feedback and reflection. The reason I say ‘tweak’ and ‘improve’ is because the Desire in its own right was pretty much perfect in both design and features.

[update 09/06/11) I have just made a video to compliment this story which you can see below. I still recommend reading the rest of the article once you’ve watched the video though ;)]

So let’s get down to business.


For those of you who say size doesn’t matter – it does – at least when phones are involved. Bigger is certainly not better but too small and it’s unusable, the size of the handset is very important.

HTC Desire S Size Comparison

As you can see, the HTC Desire S is slightly smaller than it’s older brother. The only thing you would notice really however is the fact it is thinner than the Desire.

CPU and Memory

HTC Desire:1GHz with 512MB internal memory
HTC Desire S: 1GHz with 1.1GB internal memorye th

The Desire S still ‘only’ has a 1GHz like the Desire. This is disappointing. As we start to see new Android handsets shipping with dual-core CPUs I was hoping for something more from HTC.

The internal  memory has been more than doubled in the revised Desire. This is good news for speed and app space improvements however it isn’t a huge amount. It would have been nice to see maybe 4GB of internal storage – just for future proofing but this would have put up the production costs I suppose. As more and more apps support moving to SD storage it should become less of a problem but I still can’t help feeling a little underwhelmed.


HTC Desire: Android 2.2 Froyo
HTC Desire S: Android 2.3 Gignerbread

The Desire started its life with Eclair 2.1 but was then updated to Froyo 2.2. This brought with it speed and functionality improvements. We can expect the same improvements from Gingerbread.


HTC Desire: 1400mAh
HTC Desire S: 1450mAh

What?! Did HTC not see the problems users had with battery life in their Desires? Increasing the battery size by 50mAh is not really going to help. Let’s hope that Gingerbread brings even more improvements to the battery life so the Desire S with it’s increased bells and whistles can last at least a day.


HTC Desire: 5MP camera with single LED flash
HTC Desire S: 5MP cameria with single LED flash + front facing VGA camera

This is the big physical change on the desire – the inclusion of a front-facing camera. In no way is this new or amazing technology to have on a phone but it is nice to have as an option. I must admit, none of the phones I have had with a front-facing camera have had any use out of it but that might just be me. In a increasingly “FaceTime” (I hate that word) world, people start to expect these kinds of things. Skype will soon support video calls (if it doesn’t already) so it’ll be useful for many users. Still only a 5MP camera on the Desire S I would have thought HTC may have opted for 8MP at least.


The second physical change in the handset is the new unibody design of the Desire S. This makes it a lot stronger and lighter (by 5 grams) than the Desire. HTC have also removed the physical buttons from the Desire S. This is something I was unsure about until today when I had the pleasure of using an HTC Wildfire. The touch-screen buttons worked well and the feedback received when pressing a button was sufficient enough for my liking. There is an interesting omission of the optical trackball. I often use this to move the text cursor around when correcting spelling errors so let’s hope Gingerbread introduces an easy and precise method of navigating through text.

Final thoughts

If I didn’t have a Desire I would get the Desire S in a heartbeat. Sadly I do have a Desire and I also have 12 months left on my contract. I admire HTC for improving the near-perfect Desire but it’s not enough to make me want to spend £400 on a new toy. I’m quite happy to spend another 12 months with my Desire however, I haven’t gotten bored of it yet like I have done with other phones. I think in the ever evolving world of apps and software updates it keeps consumers occupied for longer and thus the product’s lifespan also increases.

If you don’t have a Desire then go for the Desire S. If you do, I’d hold out until the Desire HD 2 comes out and we’ll see what that’s like 😉

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20 Responses to “HTC Desire Vs HTC Desire S – Specs, Size and Software”

  1. Paul Says:

    “let’s hope Gingerbread introduces an easy and precise method of navigating through text.”

    I’m currently using Cyanogen 7 on my HTC Desire which is based on Gingerbread. The text selection is much easier thanks to a new ‘drag’ selector which make text navigation easy. I still use the optical trackball out of habit but when I’ve had to use the on screen text controls they’ve worked excellently every time. So, something to look forward to when Gingerbread finally comes to the Desire.

    • Jon Says:

      Ah excellent to hear! I should try out one of these Gingerbread ROMs at some point – I just haven’t gotten round to it yet!

  2. HTC Desire S available in the UK end of March « HTC Desire Fanatics Says:

    […] Is it time to upgrade yet? If you’re not sure then read my blog post comparing the HTC Desire to the HTC Desire S […]

  3. Shane Says:

    I have just become a member fo the HTC clan with a new HTC Desire S.
    I have however noticed that the battery life is terrible. I charge it over night and by the time I get to bed that same day I am well into the red bars. Thats without excessive use etc. Is this normal? My iPhone 3G lasted much longer than this.

  4. boo Says:

    great article and assessment. I completely agree. I love my HTC Desire and while I would love to have the S, it doesn’t seem worth the upgrade.

  5. Pajero Tim Says:

    Finally, a review that tells me to buy the Desire S rather than the Desire if I currently don’t own a Desire at all – Thanks! My wife owns the fantastic Desire HD, but it’s a little big for me, so it looks like the S is on the shopping list.

  6. H Says:

    great review. Really clear comparison. My question is, I’ve read quite a few reviews of the Desire S because I’m really keen on buying it, but the battery life seems to be really poor… Howcome this isn’t a deal breaker for those who have bought it? Isn’t a DAY of battery life (to begin with, I assume it will get worse)…reallly bad??

  7. HTC Desire vs HTC Desire S – Benchmarks, browser speed test and more [HD] « HTC Desire Fanatics Says:

    […] I’m back with another video today comparing my lovely HTC Desire with my shiny new Desire S. This is to compliment the little write-up I did a month or so ago. Let me know what you […]

  8. richardbibby Says:

    I have the Desire S and it’s my first smart phone. I know it’s not the best phone on the market, but I wouldn’t swap it.

  9. Elbereth Says:

    I just wanted to point out that I have a HTC Desire (with AOSP Gingerbread 2.3.4 – Oxygen v2.1.6 to be exact) and my battery life is 2 to 3 days with one charge (doing 2G/3G from work [Emails/RSS feeds/Apps DL/some web] ~8hours and Wifi at home ~8hours, disabling all data during the night ~8hours, receiving & sending somes SMS, receiving some calls), even when I was using a Sense Froyo ROM my battery life was in the same order.

    One note however, I almost never used the HTC provided roms since I bought it in june 2010.

    • Jon Says:

      That’s very impressive! Thanks for sharing your experiences. Looks like you’re doing just fine! Thanks for providing your ROM info too.

  10. Me Says:

    Thanks for the review. I’m new to smart phones (and smart things in general) and wanted a comparison but wasn’t expecting one as comprehensive and non sales oriented as this. Perfect!
    The only thing I don’t understand is looking at the specs from where I am going to purchase my phone(, the battery life considerably better in the desire s. Would this be just because it’s new in Oz and it’s been improved or am I being shafted? Something to bring up with the sales person I guess. Either way, I’ll be stuck with it for 2 years. I blame you … jk

    • Jon Says:

      Glad you found the comparison helpful.

      I wouldn’t say the Desire S is significantly better than the Desire in battery life to be honest. They’re around the same from what I’ve experienced.

      Either way they’re both fantastic phones and you won’t be disappointed!

      • Me Says:

        I have two now! One for me and one for the Mrs. We did plan on getting the phones and having a quiet night in as haven’t seen her in a while due to me being a shift worker. But it seems she’s more interested in the phone than me. Understandable.
        Once again thanks for putting in the time and effort so people like myself have an idea of what’s going on. The phone itself has far more features than I’ll ever need. There were more popular phones (HTC Sensation, Galaxy SII) but this light weight compact phone is perfect for me. As for the battery if it starts to annoy me I may follow your lead and order a new one as you described in your link earlier on to someone else.
        Cheers mate.

  11. AL Says:

    is it true that the paint scratches off easily for the Desire S? I’m having a hard time deciding whether to get the original Desire or Desire S. I personally love the looks of the old Desire much more than the new Desire S, and i’m thinking if there’s not that much difference or huge improvement between the two, I want to get the HTC Desire simply because I really love the looks of it. But I also heard of this issue about HTC Desire and how it often reboots on its own when the phone gets hot…is that true at all?

    • Jon Says:

      I haven’t had anything peeling off my Desire S! The reason you should go for the Desire S is its internal memory is much greater than the Desire and you’ll be able to install many many more apps etc. The old Desire as lovely as it was had too man “disk space low” problems…

  12. Desire Says:

    I’ve seen how long the HTC Desire’s battery can last. 26.6 days on average when it comes to an idle period is already a sweet deal because you have a long lasting phone.
    This outweighs any Apple phone in the market. I personally think that Apple is just a style. However when it comes to great features, I’d go for HTC.

  13. Muhammad Jamil Says:

    sir, i buy first time htc wildfire s, but i n not satisfy from his battery timing, its too short, give me advise and tricks that i got battery timing as like desire , thnks

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