Phones

HTC Desire S vs HTC Desire: What's the difference?

We've gone elbow-deep in specs to tease out all the differences worth knowing between the original HTC Desire and the new HTC Desire S.

The HTC Desire was one of our favourite phones of last year, but the new Desire S could cause you to be a bit stumped. It's got the same name, same screen size and same processor speed, but is it just the same phone in a new, aluminium suit? It's time to sort the stats from the specs.

Size and weight

The Desire S is slightly lighter and smaller, than its predecessor.

Desire: 135g, 119 by 60 by 11.9mm.
Desire S: 130g, 115 by 59.8 by 11.6mm.

Processor and memory

The Desire and the Desire S both have processors running at 1GHz, but there are differences. The Desire S has a faster GPU, more RAM and more storage than the first Desire.

The Desire S's Adreno GPU claims to give significant improvements in shader performance over the Desire's Adreno 200.

Desire: 1GHz Qualcomm 8250 Snapdragon CPU, with an Adreno 200 GPU. 576MB RAM. 512MB of on-board storage.
Desire S: 1GHz Qualcomm 8255 Snapdragon CPU, with an Adreno 205 GPU. 768MB RAM. 1.1GB of on-board storage.

Camera

The Desire S doesn't pump up the megapixels, but it does add a front-facing camera for video calls and self-portraits.

Desire: 5-megapixel camera, LED photo light, 720p video recording.
Desire S: Same, plus a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

Software

The Desire S will arrive with Android 2.4 Gingerbread, the latest version of Android meant for phones (Android 3.0 Honeycomb was designed for tablets).

The original Desire came with Android 2.1 Eclair, got an update to 2.2 Froyo, and will get another one to Gingerbread -- someday. 

The Desire S also includes an online phone-management service called htcsense.com.

Desire: Android 2.2 Froyo.
Desire S: Android 2.4 Gingerbread.

Screen

The screen on the Desire S is the same size as the Desire, and we thought we'd prove it with this fancy comparison photo.

Desire: 3.7-inch, 480x800-pixel resolution.
Desire S: Ditto.

Battery

You'll get an extra 190 minutes of talk time out of the additional 50mAh stuffed into the Desire S's battery.

Desire: 1,400mAh battery gives 400 minutes talk time and 340 hours standby.
Desire S: 1,450mAh battery gives 590 minutes talk time and 430 hours standby.

Connection speed

The Desire S has faster top speeds over 3G, and adds support for the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi standard. It also has DLNA, for connecting wirelessly to home cinema equipment.

Desire: Up to 7.2Mbps download speed, up to 2Mbps upload speed over 3G. 802.11b/g Wi-Fi.
Desire S: Up to 14.4Mbps download speed, up to 5.76Mbps upload speed over 3G. 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.

Update: We misjudged the Desire S's weight -- well, they do say the Internet adds ten pounds. It's 130 grams, which makes it 5 grams lighter than the Desire, not 5 grams heavier.