The HTC Desire & Samsung Galaxy S are the two best Android Devices out on the market at the moment, so we decided to put them up against each other to give you an idea of which is better at what. If you have anything you would like to know that isn’t covered in this brief post, leave a comment. So hit the break to get into it.

Desire vs Galaxy S

  HTC Desire Samsung Galaxy S
Battery Life Pretty bad at first, but as with most batteries, after a few charges it can hold itself up for a full day with non-intensive use. If you have GPS going and like to listen to music, you can kiss your battery goodbye fairly quickly Not too bad given that it has a larger screen. Intensive use sees it last a bit longer than the Desire but you also have to factor in the extra 100mAh that the battery (1500mAh) has over the Desire (1400mAh). Will stop you from taking photos & listening to music when the phone begins to go flat
Display Vivid colouring, but not as deep & clear as the Galaxy S. Very responsive. Deep & clear colours and text. By far the best display on any Android Device.
User Interface Sense UI is the by far the greatest User Interface available on the Android platform. It’s intuitive and brings a whole new layer to Android. Only downside is that it can be quite CPU intensive and slow, even when powered by a 1GHz CPU. Samsung’s UI is.. sub-par. It doesn’t look at all professional and makes the phone feel kind of comical, which is a complete let down. I also found that it freezes all the time, but this has apparently been fixed by Samsung in an update.
Speaker Fairly loud, but not the greatest quality sound. Doesn’t distort when up as loud as it goes. Also fairly loud, quality is pretty good. Neither of the phones will blow your mind in terms of sound quality
Carrier Apps Telstra has managed to pack 19-20 carrier applications on to the Desire, and after a while they will begin to annoy the hell out of you as they get in the way and do nothing but link you to websites. And if you’re connected to WiFi, they won’t even do that. They aren’t removable. Optus has only put 4 carrier apps on to the Galaxy S and they at least seem to have a use, such as checking how much you’ve spent on your account. They are also no removable.
Usability Very usable, pretty quick and easy to get a grasp of. You’ll continue to find new features for the first few weeks as some features are hidden away nicely. Very simple to get a grasp of, if you’re coming from an iPhone you’ll have no problems what so ever.
Camera/Video Can shoot 5MP photos that are quite clear and look brilliant if you size them down a bit. Video is pretty basic, but 720p is coming with the 2.2 update whenever that comes. Also shoots 5MP photos that are pretty clear (see review). Video can be shot in 720p (see review again) and can look jelly-like when moved quickly. Comes with a front-facing camera for all your video calling needs. Has no camera flash and “night mode” makes photos look very noisy.
Updates HTC update their devices usually quite quickly and are willing to tell you when an update is available. 2.2 is expected before Christmas. Samsung have not been great with updates in the past, such as not telling people if their device can be updated. Updates for the Galaxy S should be available soon.
CPU/GPU Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250 @ 1GHz (pdalab) Samsung-Intrinsity S5PC110 @ 1GHz (pdalab)
Cost The Desire will set you back $49/mo on Telstra or $768 outright which is cheaper than the Galaxy S.

$729 from MobiCity
The Galaxy S will also set you back $49/mo on Optus but it’s $839 outright through Telechoice.

$829 from MobiCity
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Just get an iphone 4 people…much better than Andriod phones!


Hi Chuckls,
I can only answer to your first question … A friend of mine has got the HTC Desire and it does have this mode (“etiquette” ?). He uses a lot this possibility of turning it face down to get it quickly silent !!!


Hi guys

A couple of questions:

1. Do either or both of these phones have etiquette mode? (i.e. Turn it face down and it goes into silent mode)

2. Do either or both of these phones automatically go into landscape mode when tilted.

My Samsung Omnia used to do both, but the Omnia II doesn’t automatically go into landscape mode.

If I could turn my Omnia II into an Android phone, I’d just stay with this.

Looking forward to your comments.



Not too sure about the etiquette mode but both does goes into landscape mode automatically when you tilt it.


There is a great need of update to froyo 2.2 Maybe if i write on every forum, someone from Samsung will notice and do something about that! Thank you!


Hi i am from Romania and i have just bought Samsung Galaxy S. Before i bought this i test HTC DESIRE. I did not know what to do; One friend of mine chose HTC; I must tell know that he envies me! The Screen is Super Amoled; the speed is faster; the memory stock is better; The screen is wider, thinner and is not as heavy as HTC! It is just perfect for my requirements!


Hi i am from Romania and i have just bought Samsung Galaxy S. Before i bought this i test HTC DESIRE. I did not know what to do; One friend of mine chose HTC;


Hi i am from Romania and i have just bought Samsung Galaxy S. Before i bought this i test HTC DESIRE. I


That’s own not owe ops mistaken


Unfortunately I don’t owe any of the phones mentioned above. but I’ve played around with them. I’ve found that Glaxy s has very clear screen.Both phone look really cool and easy to use but glaxy s does’t have any flush which hinders me buying it. Apparently i’ve found that mobile camera is so important. Don’t know I’m looking for outright can’t stick for 2 years contract.


well i took the plunge and finally went with the i-phone 4. I had been comparing: htc desire, samsung galaxy s and the i-phone 4. when i played with the htc desire and the galaxy s in store they seemed “sticky” they weren’t flowing like the iphone. why did i ultimately go i-phone? In my experience –after having been burned by every other crappy mp3 player i ended up splurging on an i-pod that i have had for years and never had a problem. every other product i owned for music has broken or died pre-maturely. So when i tested… Read more »


UPDATE: I have had the iphone 4 for about 5 months now and my gf just got the samsung galaxy s. She got the galaxy s because the phone plan was cheaper and the we have been hearing its A LOT better than the iphone 4 and that people who have had both wish they could switch to samsung galaxy s phone. MY review of both? The iphone is far better. The samsung galaxy s is so complicated its ridiculous. I thought the user interface on the iphone 4 was annoying. The iphone 4 is a dream in comparison. Dont… Read more »


Do either support flash??? If so, in what platform… ie adobe, quick time… etc


This is the best page I found researching these phones (esp with the specs link added in comments!). I have been reading and watching youtube comparisons between these two and the iphone for hours and have had a hard time deciding. here is an idea- and maybe someone can tell me why this is not possible… maybe some manufacturer can make a case for the galaxy that has a light on it (front and back) that can help when taking pictures in the dark. I know it seems like a small problem but if i’m going to invest in a… Read more »

i don't want to buy an iphone

so the Galaxy Ss are finally back in stock and oh my goodness. just an unbelievable phone. i played with the iphone4 a day before its release and it was fun, don’t get me wrong. but it was like watching a child dabble in finger-painting compared to the divine artistry of the galaxy s. everyone who sees the phone is blown away. what a boost for android believers. i’m a very happy non-apple customer.


I have the Galaxy S, Bought it outright, and Im running it on Telstra.. By far the best phone I have ever owned, and I can see myself holding onto it for a few years at least.. I have read 100’s of comparisons on these 2 phones, and they are clearly ahead of iPhone 4. A lot of people are concerned about the Galaxy not having a Camera flash… So What? get a Digital camera… For Phone functionality, and general useability I have found the Galaxy to be perfect. FYI, my battery last around 48 hours, even speaking on the… Read more »


don’t really agree with you about the flash… this is supposed to be a top of the line smartphone not a budget dumbphone. If the Galaxy gpu/cpu was crap and it couldn’t play half the games on the market would tell someone So What?.. go get a PSP?


I think what he is saying is that phones that DO have a camera flash, still take shitty pictures (the LED flash is extremely limited), so its no big loss not to have one. I have a good SLR camera in addition to my phone for just this reason. Even in a pinch the flash is pretty darn useless.


man all these comments have just made the choice between these two phones so much tougher!!!!


You might be able to get an app for that


I’m tossing up between these 2 phones but need something with automatic answer facility (for skiing). Desire doesn’t have it – does anyone know if the Galaxy does?


I owned the desire for a solid 3 months before switching over to samsung. The primary reason was a factor not even mentioned in there article – in built memory. I ran out of precious memory to install apps on the desire and had to pick and choose what Iwant but my samsung has 16gb inbuilt! Froyo IS coming very son for the desire to eliminate this but the samsung phone is my ipod replacement and for that it doesn’t disappoint. I really miss Sense UI but found my fix by using LauncherPro and beautiful widgets. Also the bigger screen… Read more »


Great comparison, but another valid category to compare would be ROM/storage. 512mb vs 2gb is quite a significant difference… esp only limited number of apps can do app2sd at thr moment. The 16gb internal is also very handy for media.

Keep up the great work buzz!


I have both the HTC Desire (UK version) and the Samsung Galaxy S (from Optus). Galaxy S is easily mistaken for an iPhone. Desire looks a little more stylish IMHO. HTC Sense is nicer but you can install ADW or launcher pro on the Galaxy S to get that “Sense” experience if you need to. HTC Sense has more widgets that suited me better than the Touchwiz widgets but as Apple ads always say “There’s an app for that” so you can always replace what you have lost. The Galaxy S hardware beats the Desire hands down. Front facing VGA… Read more »


We have a Desire bought outright from FoneZone (call around to get a better price – we did and it for $735 when retail was $779, only $40, but better in my pocket) I played with a Galaxy today, I personally thought the graphics of the home screen/menu was a little childish and looked like a toy.
We are rather partial to HTC’s in this house (i have the Legend and my husband has the Desire)
Out of these two phones, I would recommend the Desire.
For those worried about the Telstra crapware, don’t…….easy to get rid of it.


Could you please advise how you deleted all the craware from Desire? Have one, bought outright, on LiveConnected and want to get rid of Telstra apps…



Yea… i’d like to know how you got rid of them as well. They’re so annoying and a waste of space on your app page. I know you can get rid of it if you root it but then it voids the warranty. Is there any other way that you can get rid of it?

Peter Graham

lots of great back and forth chat on these replies .. its been really helpful and only further solidified me getting the galaxy s.


I have both of these phones and did a quick review myself.
Definately best two phones in the country atm


Bought the HTC Desire yesterday because
– Does not look like an iPhone
– I can update to 2.2 now if I root the phone, ROMs for the Desire are easy
to find


I hate reading that the reason people wont buy the galaxy is because it looks like an iphone! so what who cares if you look at most touch screen phones they all have some form of resemblance to the iphone. In my opinion the new iphone looks better than any of these phones even the 3gs wasnt bad looking but the problem was just apple and their gay software. I have the galaxy top phone. It doesnt lag with me at all and i am already running 2.2 just did a quick software flash real simple. That being said my… Read more »


The iPhone (and Samsung Galaxy S) chromed bevelled edges are nasty looking. I’m sure bits of cake would get stuck between it and the screen. I prefer the flush/seemless look of Nexus One & Desire.

James Finnigan

I was considering a desire because HTC Sense is a dynamite overlay. But the fact that the Galaxy S has true multi touch, the best processor in a phone at the moment, TV out and can play 720p mkv and divx files tipped the scale for me. I also found the Samsung launcher horrible, but you can swap it out for LauncherPro and problem solved. I quite like the Samsung music and contacts application, because of the extra options they provide over the stock applications (like an EQ) without the slowness of the HTC apps. Android’s customisability makes the shipped… Read more »


Text input in the Samsung has Swype. None offered by HTC.
Internal Storage is also the big difference.


You can download/install Swype for Desire anyway, my friend’s done that with his Desire. As for me, I’m waiting for Galaxy S to come on 3.


What about installing “vanilla” Android on either of these? Is it possible?
That way you can hopefully break away from dependability on the hardware makers.


I think Paul O’Brien at is working on that for Galaxy. For Desire, I had 2.2 without Sense (the one for Nexus One) on my Desire for a long time. Now I’ve got 2.2 with SenseUI as well.


I believe the ARM Cortex A8 processor in the Galaxy S is meant to have a faster GPU than the snapdragon (many times faster I beleive).


I would add another category for upgrades which for me at least is a major part of choosing an android phone. Looking at the two companies history Samsung will likely update the Galaxy S to Android 2.2 but as soon as they have a newer phone will no longer support the galaxy S so it is unlikely to see Android 3.0. HTC on the other hand have a great track record of supporting phones that are nearly 2 years old so with the desire you are likely to see Android 3.0 and possibly whatever follows it.

Buzz Moody

I’m currently away from a computer to add specs, but GSM Arena does it well


Thanks for the GSMarena link Buzz.


Wildfire on Telstra exclusivity begins August – period unknown …


Exclusivity ends 21st October (launched 21st April) …


i want a desire. but i will not put up with telstra’s intrusive apps. their exclusive period is about to end.. is there any news of other carriers having desire’s??


Unfortunately I don’t think Telstra’s exclusive on the Desire is about to end – from memory the original 3 months exclusive period was extended to 6 months.

(I’d love to be wrong on that though…)


thats depressing. i can bring myself to get a galaxy s either because it look so much like an iphone. superficial i know.. but i hate apple and iphones 😛


mate, dont let this be a reason not to get the desire.
I have a desire and whilst they are slightly annoying it is certainly no reason not to get the phone (the only reason they are annoying is they clutter the menu – which you use rarely anyway because u have 7 home screens to customise as u please). They dont take up much space either as they are just shortcuts to websites! approx 4kb each.
im very happy with the phone. I would recommend it without a doubt


Well, you did say it was brief, so I guess spec detail doesn’t fall into that category.


Agree with Peter. Audio & Video file format support would be my desire in particular.


I’m having a difficult time deciding between these two phones. If it was just the phone I think I’d have a very slight preference for the Desire, but Telstra’s crapware and limited data allowance has me leaning towards the Galaxy S…


Titanium Backup (free download from the Market) will uninstall the bloatware 😉

Also 2.2 for HTC Sense handsets should start appearing this week…


Titanium backup only works if your phone is rooted.

Peter Graham

Great review buzz .. its a pretty close race between the two phones .. is it possible to add side by side tech specs to the review as well? .. just to make it a bit more comprehensive.


Seems like it’s neck and neck to me. Sense UI vs better screen seem to be the only major differences. If only Virgin would send me my Galaxy S…


You forgot to say that the Galaxy S has no camera flash for the 5MP min camera, night mode photos have lots of noise and look terrible