Samsung Galaxy S (I9000) vs. HTC Desire

Recently I got my first Android based mobile phone (Samsung Galaxy S 9000) and shortly after another one from my employer (HTC Desire). So people asked me to write up some comparison and here we go:

Both phones are still running on Android 2.1. No official updates to 2.2 available yet from T-Mobile for Desire and Samsung. HTC already released an update but the Desire is T-Mobile branded so no fun yet. Both vendors promised an update to 2.2 in September though.

Technical details (mainly where both phones differ):

HTC Desire:

  • 3,7″ 480×800 AMOLED (S-LCD in future revisions)
  • Weight: 135 g
  • 5MP camera with flashlight
  • RAM 576 MB
  • internal memory 512MB
  • microSD slot
  • Headset w/ earplugs
  • notification LED

Samsung Galaxy S:

  • 4,0″ 480×800 S-AMOLED
  • Weight: 119 g
  • 5MP camera w/o any light
  • RAM 512 MB
  • internal memory 8GB
  • microSD slot
  • Headset w/ in-ear plugs
  • no! notification LED
  • additional front camera


In addition to what you can see above here are some comments when it comes to real use. I would call the display the biggest advantage of the Galaxy. It’s bigger, it looks black (compared to the grey of the Desire) and it’s less reflecting than HTC’s. Fingerprints are also not that striking. The downside is that the size is pretty much at the limit what you want to control with one hand. The case of the Desire feels a bit higher quality to me mainly because it’s heavier and not glossy. The Galaxy is pretty much designed as the iPhone3. The USB connector on the Galaxy is at the top right and has a little slider to close it. The HTC’s connector is at the bottom centric and it looks much more likely that there will be car kits or other cradles what I pretty much doubt for the Galaxy because of the connector’s position. As you can see above the difference in memory capacity is pretty stunning. The internal memory compares between 512MB and 8GB. On the memory side there is also to mention that you can replace the microSD card in the Galaxy while the phone is powered on what you cannot do with the Desire as the battery has to be removed to access the slot. The thing what I miss most on the Galaxy is a the LED to see if there are any new notifications.


Both handsets are coming with a similar set of preinstalled applications. HTC ships a home screen extension named HTC Sense which is similar to the design they ship with their Windows Mobile devices and looks appealing (at least) to me. (I like their animated weather applet ;-)). Samsung has another design and other included widgets. The main set of apps is quite different. They seem to have different EMail, Calendar, ActiveSync, Music components for example. (I have no idea if any of these is the original Android default application.) The Samsung EMail app has some usability issues as they list the IMAP folders at the top side by side and shorten the folder name. So I end up seeing something like “INBOX/Archi|INBOX/Arch|INBOX/Arch” at the top because I have subfolders under INBOX/Archive. Apparently more than one sublevel is not really usable. Samsung ships an application called AllShare which is basically a full? DNLA framework . I haven’t found such a feature on the HTC. But then again the Desire comes with a backup feature which can save stuff to the microSD card. The Galaxy lacks a built in backup feature. General responsiveness of the phone seems to be better on the Desire. For whatever reason I sometimes get lagging in the UI animations and application startups on the Galaxy for unknown reasons. I have to add that I use more apps on the Galaxy than I do on the Desire but I don’t think that’s the full truth. So I’m awaiting eagerly the arrival of the new Android 2.2 based firmware which hopefully fixes other issues as well.

Data roaming:

A short note about the general handling of data connections in Android 2.1 which is the same on both devices: For the case of roaming you can disable the use of data connections (except WiFi) completely. There is no official way to turn off data in your home network. There might be apps to do that.

Phone quality:

I cannot go into details yet because I haven’t done that many phone calls and haven’t tried the headsets for calling yet. Also I use different carriers with the phones which makes it hard to compare the right things. From my small experience I feel that the Desire has worse sound quality as I hear overdrive artifacts with it what I didn’t notice with the Galaxy. Connecting hands-free sets to both phones worked flawlessly.

This comparison is by far not complete but includes the things I found important after using both for only three weeks now.


Yesterday I’ve updated my JF3 firmware to JM1 (which is not Froyo yet) and apparently these mysterious lags are gone now from my Galaxy.


4 thoughts on “Samsung Galaxy S (I9000) vs. HTC Desire

  1. Internal storage is indeed a massive difference, and having 8GB of it would be excellent. Having said that, it’s really not that big a deal once you’re on Android 2.2 (which, hopefully, HTC will push soon). From 2.2 on you can store apps on SD card, freeing up much of that valuable internal storage.

    Interesting that you like the Galaxy’s screen so much! My N1 has pretty much the same as the Desire (the two are pretty much the same phone anyway), and that blew me away in comparison to the iPhone, even the iPhone 4 (iPhone 4’s higher PPI was nice, though). The Galaxy’s screen must be outstanding, then.

  2. Just to put these number in perspective, Apple sells 8M iPhones a quarter. If Samsung really manages to sell 10M Galaxy S by the end of the year, it’ll sell around 30% as many Androids as Apple sells iPhones. Now, apple might increase the iPhone sales rate, but we need to remember that the Galaxy only came out in the second quarter.
    Very impressive achievement for Samsung.

  3. Hi,

    I like your arguments.
    I agree with you.
    The only thing that’s putting me off the Galaxy is the lack of LED. Without it, it’s basically impossible to catch a decent photo or record a video at night. sigh.

    However, the downside of the Desire is the screen.

    I don’t know which one is more useful. A LED or better screen? Can you advice me?


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