The wife has HTC desire, I have the desire HD. The HD is better phone technically but neither has great battery life out the box. The HD is still being updated by HTC (ice cream sandwich upgrade coming soon), the original desire hasn't any more official updates.
Camera isn't great on either, better on HD.
However, you can root them and install a custom ROM, this will modernise either and improve battery life. Wife is happy with normal desire...I find it a bit too small as accustomed to the bigger screen.
Other one to look at is Samsung G2...better camera on it.