Maxis10Reviews – iPhone 3GS vs the HTC Desire

Here is Part 3 and last of my crazy guest bloggers write-up on smart phones. Josh Lim, an Apple fanboy, takes on the analogy of his beloved iPhone versus the HTC Desire.

Blackberry user? You can read about HTC Desire vs Blackberry HERE . Or HTC Desire vs an older Android. What improvements were there? Read HERE.

Hello I am Josh Lim from

I use a PC for daily work, flirt with a Macbook Pro for occasional presentations, but am in a serious relationship with my iPhone. It is worth noting that before I bought my iPhone, I had at least 3 dreams about getting an iPhone. As of such you can expect me to be biased.

However, being a tech geek I will give you a technical breakdown of the iPhone 3Gs vs the HTC Desire, and from there you can decide what’s best for you!


The iPhone 3Gs and the HTC Desire weigh about the same (133 g vs 135g ), seriously! I actually weighted on a digital scale that Rebecca uses for cooking (that can measure very precise grams). The scale fluctuated a bit, but you can’t really tell the difference in weight.


HTC Desire


The iPhone feels slightly thinner due to the rounded off edges. But they’re really about the same thickness.

iPhone vs Desire

Touch sensitivity

Btw in the Advertlets office as of now we have someone with a HTC Hero (Sham), Nexus One (Rebecca’s) (the Google phone manufactured by HTC) in addition to the HTC Desire which Rebecca is testing.

I think I can safely say that the HTC Desire has the best touch sensitivity of all HTC phones so far, and quite a few agree.

A bit about touch screens:

There are two kinds of touch sensitivity mechanisms that are mainly used for phones:

Capacitive and Resistant.

Most Nokia phones right now (even the newer ones, except for some coming up soon) are using resistive touch. This means, you can use your fingernails. Or a stylus.

With capacitive touch, it requires a live conductor to detect movement or presses on the phone. In this case, your finger. Generally high end phones like the iPhone and HTC Desire use capacitive touch. While the HTC Desire is definitely more sensitive, it loses out on the ‘light touches’ that the iPhone 3Gs can handle well.

Using it in the car is rather hard. And yes, I know I’m not supposed to use a phone while driving. The police that pull me over often seem to know that too.

Read more about touchscreens here (this compares the iPhone vs the HTC Droid Eris, Motorola, Nexus One, Palm Pre & Blackberry Storm 2). They actually used a ‘robot finger’ to test the touch sensitivity of each phone.

Link 1:

Link 2:


The HTC Desire has a larger screen, and uses an AMOLED display compared to the iPhone’s LCD screen. AMOLED screens look sharper and have better contrast under normal lighting, but have really poor visibility outdoors in bright light compared to LCD screens. AMOLED screens are capable of ‘true black‘ as they don’t need a backlight.

The HTC Desire being a newer phone, the resolution is about twice the iPhone. Browsing is a really good experience – text is crisp, contrast is good and colors are rich.

However, a more fair comparision would be the HTC Desire vs the iPhone 4 (not 3Gs when it comes to the screen).


The HTC Desire camera wins the iPhone 3Gs by a long shot, with some very good color customization, ISO adjustment, contrast adjustment, resolution, etc.

There’s very good low light sensitivity, and if you’re looking for something which is about as powerful as a point and shoot digital camera, this comes very close.

Software / Design

The HTC wins for the homescreen applications. I must say that it’s quite beautiful. There’s an ‘Expose’ type view (Mac users will be familiar with this), and good ‘Tweetdeck’ style sliding between homescreens.

Design wise, the HTC Desire has accomplished something quite impressive, in the sense that it feels like a solid interface that doesn’t ape the iPhone’s design language. You do get the feeling that there are always more options that you don’t quite see though with the HTC Desire.

Build & Hardware

The HTC Desire’s physical buttons are fantastic and feel solid. It also has a trackpad (similiar to the newer Blackberrys) which is quite sensitive. I do sometimes wish the iPhone had a trackpad, but oh well…

The expandable memory on the HTC Desire is cool, and something that Apple will never implement. The HTC Desire also has an FM radio, if you’re into that sorta thing.

The build of the HTC desire is pretty solid except for one thing which I’ll go into later. The feel of it is kind of like a smooth pebble, with a mixture of rubberized and either metal or magnesium alloy areas.

I’ll say though unlike the iPhone 3Gs it doesn’t feel ‘brittle’, it feels a bit tougher and you don’t worry too much about it getting scratched. I have yet to see a HTC owner using a casing.

I’m also talking as someone who unfortunately, dropped his iPhone 3GS before screen down, and had to pay RM300 just to replace the screen.

The back (which is made of plastic, sigh – to be fair the iPhone backing is plastic as well) is dissapointing though. Taking off the back is ‘scary’ as you have to pull it off and then click it back on (it doesn’t slide off). Watching the back of the phone bend as you pull off the back is a bit unnerving as you don’t know if you are going to break it.

open casing - HTC Desire

open casing - HTC Desire1

open casing - HTC Desire2


I do get the feel that the HTC Desire (and subsequent Android phones) have a lot more features and customization options, and it’ll be great to have one to play with. You get the feeling that there’ll be a lot that you can explore and a lot of new software apps to try out. But for daily use I would say that an iPhone 3Gs still is the best in terms of ease of use.

I’m hardly a newbie when it comes to smartphones (I bought the first ever Nokia cameraphone off a journalist very early before its official launch), but there are times when you have to use your phone half-sleepy (or half or fully drunk) and you don’t want to be doing the wrong thing.

In short, the HTC Desire is probably one of the closest competitors to the iPhone so far. But, I’ve already decided, my next phone will be an iPhone 4G.

All in all, even as an iPhone user I like the fact that the smartphone competition is heating up, and stuff like the HTC Desire with Android and the upcoming Windows 7 Mobile OS really shows where the industry is headed.

I’ll say that if you’ve been eyeing any HTC phone so far, forget it and get this. However if you’re still undecided, I suggest waiting for the next 3 months for major tech innovations (eg launch of future HTC phones, the iPhone 4 being reviewed more completely and the upcoming Windows 7 Mobile phones.)

Note: Reviews by Josh Lim, Pictures by Rebecca Saw, unless otherwise stated.

iPhone users, comments appreciated!

PS: You want more?

Maxis10Reviews: The camera – Nexus One vs HTC Desire
Maxis10Reviews: The video of a village house – taken with the HTC Desire camera
Maxis10Reviews: Sharp clear pics at the Premier Screening of Toy Story 3
Maxis10Reviews: My first video! The Unboxing video of the HTC Desire
Maxis10Reviews: HTC Desire vs Blackberry HERE .
Maxis10Reviews:: HTC Desire vs an older Android. What improvements were there? Read HERE.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Sean

    have only been using the iphone for two months, but it’s been quite addictive. but hopefully, they’ll catch up with the camera quality for the htc desire in future versions, so i don’t have to carry my p&s camera everywhere anymore 😀

  2. Siu Fai

    As an iPhone user, I would definitely say iPhone is best in terms of usability, functionality and the cool-sleek-sexy design.

    In terms of hardware though, the iPhone 3GS probably loses out to most smartphones (that’s for iPhone4 to reclaim), including HTC Desire. Noting the fact you can’t really sync iPhone outside of iTunes too.

    So in this battle between iPhone 3GS vs HTC Desire, I would say Desire wins just a neck ahead of the iPhone. Only just. iPhone 3GS was ahead of its time, and its time has gone.

  3. botakai

    the iphone rite… is damn good UI apps are so awesome and game and all but then… the battery is really damn sucky… but i wanna test the desire also…!!

  4. via

    the IR1968 restaurant very interesting place and nice foods there … u shud go for the invite in july …

  5. Mike Effland

    hi,good apple in your post,I love thatelegantapple,I need to find one for me,jane

  6. sophia

    Okay, since I’m technologically challenged, all these viewpoints about the HTC and iPhone really helped. I need an expert to help me know these things!

  7. Calvin

    ‘there are times when you have to use your phone half-sleepy (or half or fully drunk) and you don’t want to be doing the wrong thing’

    LOL how true 😛

    Anyway, as an iPhone user who has officially been poisoned by the Android OS, I have to say that there should be more people who would adopt an Android phone cause there are just too many iPhones out there already.

    To the point that it isn’t a novelty anymore. Too common a sight.

  8. arystle

    the iPhone is a revolutionary product – one gadget which has impacted and change the way smart phone users communicated.

    the one flaw of the iPhone has got to be its battery life. but alas, steve jobs has found a solution to that and ta-da, an improved battery life will soon be seen with the iPhone 4.

    i’ve never used the HTC desire yet, but would like to try it out just for fun. to me, the iPhone completes me like no other phone can. with the thousand of apps to complement my lifestyle, the iPhone apps are its additional plus point when compared to the HTC.

    so, it is no surprise that i find myself already saving the cash to buy the much improved iPhone 4 when it hit our shores. 🙂

    iPhone FTW! always! :good:

  9. feicipet

    If you’d asked me 3 months ago, I’d agree that the Desire is the phone to get. Not anymore.

    Any current user of Android phones launched 3 months ago or longer would tell you that the miserable internal memory available on our phones (145MB on my Nexus One) is a big limitation on the number of apps we can install and it’s one of the reasons why so many of us are rooting our phones and installing 3rd party ROMs (which feature enhancements to enable installing apps on the SD card).

    Right now there’s a new generation of Android phones equipped with 8GB or more of memory, the Samsung Galaxy S and HTC Incredible being 2 of them. IMO, these are the phones to get.

    And although 8GB may not seem like much compared to the iPhone 4’s 16/32GB configurations, you have to remember that the 8GB is reserved exclusively for applications only. You can still add on loads of SD card memory for media files and what-not, while iPhone memory needs to be shared between applications and media files.

    I don’t know if HTC intends to introduce a GSM version of the HTC Incredible, but the Samsung Galaxy S is already available in Singapore, carried by SingTel.

  10. Jill

    Taking a more indepth look into the Apple iPhone 4 beyond the glory and assumptions, people are now seeing that the iPhone 4 is turning out to be an unexpected expensive paperweight. Dropped calls and data attempts occuring more frequently, it is unavoidably a strange antenna issue coming from the designer, Apple. There was a class action lawsuit filed only 6 days after release accusing Apple and AT&T on numerous accounts of actions.

  11. HTCDroid Eris

    I’ve had my droid since december however needed to get a substitute because the software program ruined my telephone when it updated itself. So for sure having troubles & discovered this wonderful website lol i do have a questio tho…my ram storage is gettin smaller & there nethin i can do to assist get sum back?

  12. droid incredible

    Good day all simply discovered the site and thought I might say hello. I like a whole lot of you’re waiting for my Incredible to be shipped. I ordered it on-line on 6/9 and so they preserve telling me it’ll ship this Wednesday 6/30. Fingers crossed that it does this waiting is killing me! I am soo glad this web site may be very informative to me. Thanks

  13. htc hero

    Does anyone know which kind of video information are supported? I bear in mind the Instinct solely might dl 3gp utilizing opera mini. I downloaded the twist ap, possibly that is the problem? How can I watch movies from sites aside from youtube? Which file varieties? Usually I’m given the option of 3gp or mpeg4. Cannot get both to work. Thank you on your time! Rattling I want I used to be eligible for the improve to EVO!

  14. Luis Studzinski

    At the same time as I like a bodily keyboard, after coping with the Samsung Captivate for roughly 15 minutes, it is hard to head back. Right now I am debating whether to visit Verizon for the Droid X, go to Sprint for the EVO, or stick with AT&T for the Captivate…selections, decisions.

  15. jordan 13

    Fortunately, Jordan was sensible sufficient to change approach and resorted to passing. He had velocity and excellent jumping capacity. I got a chance to do two waltzes and a rumba and I never done ballroom in my life, Jordan revealed. surprised myself in a lot of ways.”Jess continued, think the show has taught me that you don have to present yourself in a different way to attract an audience We here to show ourselves in the best possible way and just grow. jordan 13

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