Form Factor, Size and Design
Like we said, the HTC Desire and Google Nexus One are almost identical. At first glance, you’ll certainly think that they are the same phone. However, if you take a second and closer look, that’s when you’ll realize that they are in fact two distinct phones.
Looking at the physical specs of these two phones highlights the slight differences. The Google Nexus One measures 119mm long, 59.8mm wide, has 11.5mm depth and weighs 130g (with battery). On the other hand, the HTC Desire measures 119m long, 60mm wide, has 11.9mm depth and weighs 135g (with battery). The HTC Desire is a bit thicker and wider than the Nexus One then.
When Google released the Nexus One, they successfully gave the impression that the phone is actually a Google manufactured phone, but it is not. It is actually manufactured by HTC. So, when the HTC Desire was launched, some thought that it copied the Nexus One. Well, it did not. The HTC Desire is a different Android phone. Appearance-wise, these two phone are almost identical. But giving them a closer look reveals some subtle but important differences.
Another physical difference between these two phones is the additional home, menu, search and back keys that sit below the HTC Desire’s screen. These effectively make the screen larger than on the Google Nexus One because it has the additional home, back, apps keys on the lower portion of the screen, while the trackball sits at the bottom alone.
Screen Real Estate, Navigation and Touchscreen Features
Both HTC smartphones sport a 3.7-inch 480x800 pixel AMOLED capacitive touchscreen. While both phones have responsive touchscreen features, I can personally vouch for the Google Nexus One’s not so responsive screen. Another major difference is that the HTC Desire natively supports multi-touch and pinch-to-zoom browsing functionality. To get this on your new Google Nexus One phone, you need to do a firmware upgrade.
Another difference between the two phones is the user interface. In fact, the HTC Desire would have been a Nexus One if not for its Sense UI, which is better than the Nexus One’s vanilla Android interface. Both the smartphones are running on Android 2.1 so the performance is similar and you’ll be able to choose from exactly the same Android apps. The HTC Sense UI is slick and stylish and it forms a welcome layer on top of the OS. It is quicker and has more intuitive movements when it comes to the features you use the most.
Looking at the two phones’ navigation features, as mentioned the Nexus One sports a trackball but this doesn’t do much in terms of navigation. Most Nexus One users would attest to the fact that this trackball is not useful at all and just attracts dust and dirt. You’ll find yourself using the touchscreen navigation more than this trackball if you use the Nexus One. Comparing this with the HTC Desire’s optical trackpad makes the Nexus One look bad. The additional buttons at the bottom of the HTC Desire are also very useful and allow for faster navigation.
Multimedia, Connectivity Features and Battery Life
Now we take a look at two of the most important features of any smartphone - multimedia capability and connectivity. Clearly both the smartphones excel in these departments. Both have 5 megapixel cameras with autofocus and flash. The only difference is the effective pixel resolution of these two phones with the Desire offering 2560x1920 while the Nexus One offers 2592x1944 effective pixel resolution. To the naked eye, the difference is only very slightly noticeable. Another difference in the camera department is the video capture capabilities of these two phones. The HTC Desire records video at 30fps while the Google Nexus One captures video at 20fps.
In terms of audio features, the HTC Desire has one thing which the Nexus One doesn’t have - radio. Audio file formats supported by these two phones are almost the same.
As for the two phones connectivity features, both support 3G/HSDPA, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, aGPS and USB 2.0 support.
Finally, we have the battery juice comparison. The HTC Desire’s battery life lasts longer when in standby mode than the Google Nexus One - up to 340 hours and 290 hours respectively. When both phones are in use, the HTC Desire will only give you up to 7 hours, while the Nexus One could last you for up to 10 hours.
So Which is the Better Phone?
Again, I would like to be on the safe side and say that the answer to the question of which is the better phone would depend on your preference. The Nexus One has the Google branding, sold by Google Store Online and is fully supported by Google. If that’s important to you, you’ll be biased towards the Nexus One. If you want something more from the Google Nexus One which Google can’t provide right now, the HTC Desire is the the better phone for you. Features and specs-wise it is the more powerful phone. Design and form factor, Nexus One gets my thumbs up.