No sooner had HTC announced its rebooted Sensation XE, we got the chance to have a play with the finished model.

As you may suspect sound quality was a marked improvement, with the ability to switch the Beats sound profile on and off demonstrating the difference. We were using a pair of Beats Audio cans, though the Sensation XE will arrive with a pair of in-ear buds - Beats by Dr. Dre, naturally.

The pair that come bundles also have an inline remote - something of a rarity on Android headphones sets - whilst all Beats headphones will activate a special sound profile. We thought this was a nice touch if you’re not a things-in-your-ear type of music fan.

Having had enough time to navigate around the phone, and get the tour, we found that the processor speed bump had improved some of the lagging and stutteriness that we found on the original HTC Sensation.

The HTC Sense 3.0 overlay is here (not Sense 3.5) with the handy lockscreen shortcuts in attendance, alongside the visually rich weather and social widgets. HTC mentioned that the next generation of HTC Sense - which is allegedly already doing the rounds on the web - is still under development, and looks set to roll back the Sense interface, with a clearer toolbar at the bottom.

The Sensation XE also features a larger battery, which on paper promises an additional 25 minutes or so of talk time. Could make all the difference if you're waiting on that call to close an important deal, or you want to listen to another Yes song on the train ride home.

More seriously, this should help salve any complaints people had about the short battery life of the meaty dual-core original.

Apart from these minor spec boosts, it’s business as usual here; there’s still a Gorilla Glass-covered 4.3-inch screen, that reassuringly sassy unibody shell, VGA front-facing camera and dual-flash on the rear-facing 8-megapixel camera.

We’re expecting a review model to arrive in the next few weeks, until then click on for a few more shots. And ignore the Black Eyed Peas - it wasn't our choice.

Update: we've since had some more hands-on with the HTC Sensation XE since our original hands-on pics. While the exterior hasn't changed at all, we found the overall user experience to be a little smoother than before and so have adjusted the text to reflect this.

Original article by Mat Smith, with additional editing by Thomas Newton.

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