HTC Desire HD vs Samsung Galaxy S

Camera and Multimedia:

Both camera interfaces are touch-friendly and it's hard to pick a winner here, since the one on the Samsung Galaxy S offers more scene modes, but the interface on the Desire HD looks fantastic, and has no less than 13 color effects that can be applied to your photos and videos.







Good interfaces don't mean much if not coupled to good cameras, and we have to say that both the 5MP cam on the Galaxy S, and the 8MP one on the Desire HD can be very good, but not excellent. The photos from the Samsung Galaxy S come slightly out of focus, if not kept steady, boasting good color representation, but indoors the noise suppression algorithm kicks in, and takes away from the details, as on all handsets that can't light up the scene with a flash, or don't have a backlit sensor.

The HTC Desire HD has a dual-LED flash, but problems with metering, which returned yellow-tinted “darkness with flash” snaps. Outdoors the Desire HD was hit-and-miss. It captures details aplenty and returns accurate colors, but there is again some blurring if the phone is not held extremely steady.





With that out of the way, we must say that both handsets can produce very good photos, but it takes learning the scene modes and image adjustments for that to happen. Out of the box, the 8MP doesn't shoot better photos than the 5MP one, leaving the flash as the only advantage of the Desire HD camera for cases when it's pitch dark. Both devices shoot HD video at 30fps, but the one from the Samsung Galaxy S comes out smoother, with better image quality, and more accurate colors.

HTC Desire HD vs Samsung Galaxy S Sample Videos:



The photo and video gallery on the Samsung Galaxy S is the stock one, with nice animations and some rudimentary editing capabilities. The HTC Sense approach is a category list, and a thumbnail grid view; it also has separate tabs for Facebook and Flickr. Both handsets allow for media streaming to DLNA-enabled devices straight from their galleries.


The music players cover all track sorting basics, with the Samsung Galaxy S displaying a list, and HTC Desire HD having a Cover Flow-like approach for flipping through songs. Now, both devices are of the few that support some sort of surround sound. Samsung has this faux 5.1 channel SRS effects in headset mode in a lot of its  phones lately, and similar technology is present on the HTC Desire HD. However, HTC's handset ups the music ante with offering the surround sound effect both in headset, and in loudspeaker modes, while topping it off with Dolby Mobile technology. SRS intensifies the sound, as if the singer is breathing in your ears, while Dolby Mobile boosts the base sounds for some throbbing tunes. Both are a nice addition for the audiophile in us, but, on the flip side, the loudspeaker on the HTC Desire HD manages to produce just average volumes.


Having those huge screens at your disposal means that you will be watching plenty of videos - both handsets support a large number of formats, including DivX/Xvid, and the chipsets are powerful enough to play HD resolutions without any issues. The HTC Desire HD is a bit more capricious at what you throw at it, and DivX/Xvid played well up to about 640x480 pixels of resolution, then there was some lag and stuttering. Knowing that the bottleneck is not in the speedy chipset, we downloaded a video player off Android Market, which fixed the issue, and added the ability to loop video and subtitle support to the mix. We can still check that as a disadvantage of the video playback on the HTC Desire HD compared to the Galaxy S, though. The player supports the SRS and Dolby Mobile effects in the speaker when watching video, but you won't be noticing much difference, given that the speaker is turned away from you and barely heard then. With plugged-in handsets it does make a difference for a more immersive experience, though.


We were curious to test the battery life for video playback, so we looped an HD trailer, encoded in the popular MPEG-4 with the screen brightness to the max on both handsets, killed idle processes in the background, but left the 3G and Wi-Fi radios on to simulate more of a real-life usage.

The HTC Desire HD achieved 4 hours and 34 minutes of video playback before the battery gave up the ghost, while the Samsung Galaxy S lasted slightly more at 5 hours and 17 minutes, which can be easily explained with the bigger battery. We were actually expecting more from the Super AMOLED screen, given that it sucks the least juice in video playback, but this just proves that the new Snapdragon chipset is well optimized for video playback too. In the end it comes down to a choice between a bigger screen, and more vivid, lively colors. Our personal preferences are the saturated colors and excellent player on the Samsung Galaxy S, but having extra 0.3” of screen diagonal is nothing to sniff at either.

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29 Comments

1. ghost_uwi

Posts: 47; Member since: Nov 05, 2010

grabs more pop corn

2. Mart unregistered

A very close call between these 2. I'm still trying to decide which phone I upgrade to in Feb 2011. By that time maybe Samsung will have launched their upgrade to the Galaxy S, as rumoured. If that's the case then my choice is simple - come on Sammy, let the games begin !

3. Yassham unregistered

Uhhm , Sorry For Your Conclusion But : 8MP 2xLED Vs 5MP No LED ( Hanging With Some Friends In The Night And To Say Sorry I Don't Have Flash ' ! ) 1GHZ 786 MB RAM Vs 1GHZ 512 MB RAM ( Booting In The HTC Is Way Quicker Than The Samsung... ) 4.3" SLCD Vs 4.0" SAMOLED ( I Understand That SAMOLED Are Better Than SLCD But It A 4.3" Will Be Better On Typing And Browsing Web ) HTC Desire HD Vs Samsung Galaxy S ( Better Sound Quality And Loudness , Better Voice Quality, Better Navigation On The HTC . Just Some Option In The Samsung That Are Better Than The HTC Which Are : SAMOLED, A 1h Difference Of Battery , Plastic Design . I Would Definilty Choose The HTC Desire HD

4. argumon unregistered

One thing is completely left out, as it will not occur under test conditions. The more apps are installed on an SGS, the it lags, making it completely unusable with 10 or so screens of apps (not running, just installed). Search for SGS lagfix and you know what I am talking about. This can be fixed if you like to be a kernel hacker on your phone. But for the average user, the SGS will become mostly unusable with more apps installed. This problem does not occur out.-of-the-box or with just a handfull of apps, so it is not covered in test situations. I gave my SGS back for that reason

5. Jaskaran unregistered

SGS is really very nice and powerful device. using it for a month with 100+ apps installed but no lags. its pretty fast....... I think I made a good decision

6. Alui unregistered

Desire HD is just too big. I played with a showroom unit and I did not like it how it feels in the hand. Also it does not have a secondary camera (to be used for video calls or taking pictures of the guy who stole your phone with Track and Protect app:) ). Why? Why did HTC not put the secondary camera on their flagship Android phone? I think there should be a clear limit between smartphones and tablets. With 4.3 inch screens the phone is a small tablet in fact. So IMHO, the screen smartphones should be 4 inch tops. Tablets from 7 inch onwards. Any screen between these sizes does not make much sense for me. What smartphone producers should do, is to increase resolution of the screen, not the size.

8. ItsMichaelNotMike

Posts: 8; Member since: Nov 21, 2010

Although I own the Samsung Galaxy S (T-Mobile Vibrant) and love the phone (probably the best I have ever owned), I am not biased toward it. I can objectively say that this shoot out ("review") is spot on accurate. It's also very detailed, well written and thorough. Have to say it's one of the finest product reviews I have ever read. I have an HTC HD2, a MyTouch Slide, and Touch Pro2 (oh, and a G1). So I am familiar with HTC products and I have always said HTC is the hottest handset maker on the planet. So I was quite surprised that the Samsung Galaxy S turned out to be as good a handset as it is. Sure, there's a few things I don't like, but no handset and software has ever been perfect, in my experience. A pleasant surprise is that my Vibrant has held its own against the 2010 holiday phones. I figured that by now a Samsung competitor would have come out with some phone that might motivate me to consider the Vibrant "outdated." But so far no one has debuted a phone that beats my Samsung Galaxy S in terms of hardware, form factor, specs, software and performance. After having used the Vibrant for six months now, the only complaint I have is that when shooting a video the volume rocker at the side of the phone functions as the digital zoom adjustment. I have accidentally hit that at times when shooting videos with one hand. I'd like to be able to disable that feature (digital zoom). Interestingly, that's all I can come up with, in criticism of my Samsung Galaxy S. LOL.

9. ItsMichaelNotMike

Posts: 8; Member since: Nov 21, 2010

Oh, I have my HD2 to compare HTC's 4.3" handsets with, both in form factor and weight. I have to say the HD2 has a great, quality feel to it (when I got it in March 2010 I was thoroughly impressed with it. It was pleasing to the touch and felt like the $500 I paid for it.) However, comparing the two, I prefer the Vibrant's extremely light weight. I know some criticize the Vibrant (Samsung Galaxy S) as being and feeling like cheap plastic. But that doesn't bother me because a lot of my expensive phones are "cheap plastic." For example, my Touch Pro2, an excellent HTC phone that debuted in August 2009, had an expensive looking back, the battery cover looking like brushed metal. But the cover was simply "cheap plastic." And that phone was HTC's flagship product at the time, costing $550 retail here in the U.S. and over U.S. $700 in Europe. It is kind of amusing how people (even professional reviewers) commented on how "cheap" the Samsung Galaxy S felt, simply because it was so light. I guess people thought (and continue to think) that expensive electronics should feel expensive, as in being heavy.

10. tanchev unregistered

Your voice is so stupid man, just go and kill yourself somewhere.. i don`t want to listen to your voice because it`s so stupid. Make some blowjobs and maybe your voice will change. Varna bitch!

11. jony.tk unregistered

I've got 2 questions. Does the Desire HD have frontal camera? Does the Samsung Galaxy S have flash with the camera? I guess the answer to both are "no".

12. Sven

Posts: 10; Member since: Feb 19, 2009

it's really amazing how people on this site are "HTC-haters"!!!!! when you read a comparison review or a single htc review, it's always HTC who's the worst!!!!! stop doing this to our lovely HTC mobiles please! every phone has its + and - !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

13. GalaxyS Rocks unregistered

Galaxy S is the best! Using it from last one month and very satisfied overall. Just updated to FROYO through Kies, no hassle no lag prbs. Already installed almost 95+ apps from the market no crash no hickups etc...And who use mobile camera's to capture the photo's at night????..Foolish, even if you have a flash you can't capture a good quality pictures at night as compared to any handycam(5mgpxl). Galaxy S is a full entertainment box in terms of size, price and handling..Jumbo HTC need a jumbo hands and jumbo pocket to caryy it. :)--------------

14. MVB unregistered

GalaxyS Rocks posted: Jumbo HTC need a jumbo hands and jumbo pocket to caryy it. Sucks to have suck a low IQ as yourself if you think that 3.8mm wider, 1.9mm thicker and .6mm taller makes the HTC so much more larger. Desire HD = 68mm(2.68") X 11.8mm(0.46") X 123mm(4.84") Galaxy S = 64.2mm(2.53") X 9.9 mm(0.39") X 122.4mm(4.82") The size difference is minimal and I'm sorry to hear about your small hands.

15. crytek unregistered

My personal experience Sense UI is the only advantage of HTC`s flagship unit Samsung is all the way better in everything else, hands down crytek

16. Don.Camello

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 10, 2011

I spent hours reading your valuable comments everyone. I think the choice is still hard to decide between both devices. but, I think I will go for the HTC today, because of the larger screen, which is easier to type for larger fingers as I use emails most of the time. But I'm really worried about the battery issue, I think I'll have to buy a car charger and another emergency charger.. although I hate to walk with all that wires in my pockets :-) But still the HTC Desire HD is the one who grapped my most attention.

17. snuski unregistered

The battery could be uppgradable to 1800 m on desire hd i heard somewhere

18. Ashmit unregistered

It was a very difficult decision......but I chose Galaxy S.....but that doesn't mean Desire HD is not good. 1. DHD has 8 MP cam but Galaxy's 5MP cam is equivalent to it even better in some daylight pics, DHD has flash but LED flash doesn't make much difference. 2. Galaxy has world's best 4" Super AMOLED screen(Scratch resistance Gorilla glass display) and full touch phones are all about navigating on screen like browsing internet, watching videos, watching pics you took or uploaded into your phone, playing graphics rich games etc all is pleasure on Galaxy's screen. DHD has 4.3" S-LCD which is good too but .3 inches doesn't make any difference as 4" is more then enough and S-LCD can't be compared to Super AMOLED. 3. HD video quality is far better in Galaxy S and has video out capability. 4. Galaxy S has front facing cam for video calling. 5. Better Audio quality. 6. Most importantly battery life.....DHD needs to be charged by evening after moderate use but Galaxy S's battery works whole day even more. I compromised on build quality and LED flash because that is not much important for me then the other things specially Display and battery backup.

19. the critiquer unregistered

I must say that the desire hd is an awesome phone... Probably the best match up for galaxy s. I can clearly see why people would prefer the htc with its monstrous 4'3" display, fast download speeds and so on. However, it is not perfect. All these features... including those in the o.s overlay, do eat away at the time you have with the phone. What's the point of so many features if you won't be able to use them long? Take my advice, the sgs delivers where its most important. Its close, but sgs just about remains as the smartphone king for now.

20. James1998 unregistered

Hi also just spent hours trying to figure out which one to buy. Eventually I chose the Samsung, mainly because the screen looks a lot nicer and the battery life is better. The HTC looks nice, but a little too big and that screen looks washed out compared to the Samsung. Plus, I'm worried about battery life. The lack of flash on the Samsung bothers me. I have the Nexus at the moment and the flash was very useful. But hopefully I won't miss it too much. I receive the Samsung tomorrow. Can't wait!

21. Rubadubadoobag unregistered

Well, maybe the Samsung is better. But Im pretty sure the Desire will do better, because as a casual buyer/user, I looked at both of them and decided to pay more for the latter because the former felt and looked cheap and lightweight. Like it or not a book's cover is part of the purchase calculus and the Galaxy S's build will tell against it even if it is objectively a + for women and small-handed men.

22. Kustom unregistered

Why has no one expanded more in the multimedia section and the gorilla glass of the phones? I have owned HTC mobiles for the past 4 years and have loved them, but after getting a SGS, I am douptful of returning to HTC unless they can make something pretty good, and the DHD isnt one of them. I have the SGS and have to say that it has been able to play any video format Ive thrown at it. I have a lot of HD Tv shows and movies that are usually .mkv format. The SGS just plays it straight out of the box without any computer conversions required. I just plug in the phone to the PC and copy any movie I want to play on it. Cant do this on the DHD or any other android phone for that matter without converting it at home. Additionally, if you have a Samsung TV on your home network you can instantly stream photos / music and videos to it as long as your TV is on through Samsung Allshare app built into the SGS. No messing around with TV remote at other then turning the TV on. Shoot some video footage while out and about, come home press allshare, select Samsung LED, select the vids to play and then they start streaming in 720p on the TV. People have this thought in their head if a device is lite it cant be good. I was the same when I first got my SGS, but after having it for the past 4 months there is no way I want to go back to a heavy brick like DHD. There is no problem with the build quality of the SGS. The gorilla glass is great as well. I dont have any screen protector on my phone and havnt got any scratches on the screen after months of use. This is a major advantage as most people do not review a phone with a screen protector on it, which usually decreases the screens visibility and responsive ness. this makes the SGS screen an outright winner in this category.

23. sammie unregistered

Hi everyone. I started to thinking about a new phone. I am choosing between the Samsung Galaxy S and HTC Desire HD. But I can not decide. I can get Galaxy for better price, but I prefer HTC. Which one would you suggest and why? Thanks for any help! P.S.: Sorry for my English. Regards.

24. Jim unregistered

I spent 12 days with the Galaxie S. I did like it, but found it buggy, It reboots several times a day. ey claim to be working on a fix) Also it did not play nice with the Ford Sync. I had 14 days to take it back. On day 12 the Desire HD was released in Canada. I switched the sim card to the Desire HD and never looked back, While it may be spec'd better the HTC is easier to set up. I much prefer the htc keyboard. htcsence online is neat, will ring your phone when you can't find it, also turns the ringer back on. Not to mention the gps find your phone feature. Big brother may not like these features, but I do. It is way less buggy than the Samsung, and was running on 2.2.1out of the box. I returned the Samsung the next day. No contest in my mind. Tried the screens side by side, running the same applications, and found the HTC was easier to see. Not sure why, but liked the contrast better.

25. sammie unregistered

Thank you, I will buy HTC Desire HD.

26. Rikki unregistered

Kaixo, I'm now in Australia and I am no sure to buy the Desire HD or the Samsung Galaxy S. Samsung seems to go better In Australia with Telstra Next G coverage, compared to to the DHD which can only run on 3G. I think I might go for the Samsung 'cause of the battery life. If the DHD had a better battery option, I would choose that as I love it's features. So it's the Samsung Galaxy S for me, and I'm a chick, so I don't have fat stubby fingers, but the life of the battery is important. Byieee.

27. Nick unregistered

is that battery life really that bad on the DHD?

28. KD unregistered

I must say, I'm quite surprised the Galaxy S was the winner here. I got the Desire HD recently and my friend the Galaxy S. I've played around with both quite a bit and I'm glad that I got the desire HD. The 4.3 inch screen is just the right size for me and the device sits perfectly comfortably in my hand. Also when comparing the home screen on the DHD and Galaxy S, both with full brightness, the colors on the DHD's S-LCD are SO MUCH more vibrant. Great performance and the battery lasts fine too. I love this phone!

29. Ameya unregistered

Many thanks for this comprehensive thorough review. It helped me make a decision.

30. mb unregistered

htc desire hd...no doubts!!

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