written by: Shawn Drew•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/25/2011
These two powerhouse U.S. Cellular smartphones pack a ton of features into stylish bodies, but if you have to decide between them you'll need to investigate a lot more than just a spec sheet. This article will break down these two very similar phones to find out what makes them unique.
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Samsung Mesmerize vs HTC Desire
US Cellular customers may sometimes feel that they get overlooked when it comes to getting access to the best wireless phones, but over the past year the company has made some tremendous strides in its network quality, network speed and phone selection. Currently, US Cellular offers two of the best Android phones out there, the Samsung Mesmerize and the HTC Desire. Both devices run versions of the Android operating system and have touchscreen interfaces, but there are some slight differences that you should consider when you are comparing the phones. Keep in mind, however, that both the Mesmerize and the Desire are quality devices and you will probably end up happy with either of them.
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Both the Samsung Mesmerize and the HTC Desire have a similar, familiar design with a large touchscreen above a few shortcut buttons. The Desire also includes a touch-sensitive trackpad, allowing you to use certain aspects of the phone without using the touchscreen, a welcome addition. The Samsung Mesmerize is about 0.2 inches taller and wider, although it is also about 0.1 inches thinner and 0.5 ounces lighter. The extra space on the Mesmerize is taken up by a gorgeous 4-inch Super AMOLED screen that simply blows all other current touchscreens on the market away. The 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen on the Desire is no slouch, featuring bright colors and good detail, but the Mesmerize wins this battle, hands down.
Both devices look good, feel good in your hand and won’t weigh you down, but with the superior, larger touchscreen and a slightly lighter body, the Samsung Mesmerize takes the edge in design.
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The Samsung Mesmerize and the HTC Desire both run on the Android 2.1 operating system, but both use custom-built overlays to personalize the overall Android experience. Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 overlay and the HTC Sense overlay feature seven customizable homescreens that users can fill up with custom widgets. Both overlays affect how the main homescreen operation works, but in similar ways. The biggest difference between the two overlays, besides the minor differences in the widgets, is the overall quality and feel of the build. HTC’s Sense feels slick and responds well, while Samsung’s TouchWiz just feels a little cheap and the performance is occasionally lacking. While both of these overlay’s are an improvement over the standard Android 2.1 build, you’ll probably be impressed by the Desire’s operating system more than the Mesmerize’s.
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In regards to smartphone features, the Samsung Mesmerize and HTC Desire really come in neck and neck. Both phones feature a 5.0 megapixel camera which takes excellent pictures and videos in good lighting conditions, and fair pictures and videos in poor lighting conditions. Both devices support Bluetooth technology and can determine your location via GPS. The devices both feature integration with social networking sites and allow you to manage messages across multiple platforms. In addition, both devices have access to the Android Market where you can choose from thousands of applications to download.
There are a few differences in the available widgets and default applications, for example the HTC Sense’s Friend stream allows you to stay connected to all your networking sites, while the Mesmerize’s Write and Go app allows you to compose a message and then decide which medium you want to send it through. Another one of the small differences between the devices is that the Mesmerize allows you a few additional formats for playing audio and video, but both devices feature a robust audio and video experience with wonderful interfaces. The Mesmerize offers an additional 2 GB of internal memory that the Desire lacks, but with the size of memory cards these days that’s a slight victory at best.
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The Samsung Mesmerize and the HTC Desire both have excellent call quality, with little to no background noise and clear sounds even when on speakerphone. My personal testing had the Desire perform slightly better, but these tests were very close and can be considered anecdotal at best. Download speeds on the 3G network were impressive on both devices with no discernible winner here, and both devices can connect to Wi-Fi networks as well.
Browsing the web on the Webkit browser is a dream compared to non-Android devices as I could flip between pages and tabs with little to no lag. The Mesmerize and the Desire both have a 1 GHz processor and it makes it easy to switch between applications and to navigate around the device. The Desire does take a slight lead in the performance category, mostly because of the Sense overlay that just seems to be more responsive than TouchWiz.
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If you have narrowed your selection down to the Samsung Mesmerize and the HTC Desire, you are guaranteed to get a quality device, so there is no point in stressing too much over your decision. The Mesmerize has a slightly better design and one of the most visually stunning touchscreens on the market. The Desire features a better overall smartphone experience with all of the thought that went into the HTC Sense overlay. The decision here, like so many in life, comes down to what’s important to you: flash or substance.
If forced to pick one, I would give the Mesmerize the edge as software problems can be fixed, while the two device's designs are set in stone. The upcoming, and oft-promised, upgrade to Android 2.2 could clear up many of the Mesmerize's performance issues, and if that is the case, the fantastic Super AMOLED screen on the Mesmerize would make it the clear winner.