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HTC Sensation Review: In Depth


Picking up where HTC’s hit smartphone, the Desire HD, left off, the Sensation is their new flagship phone. It’s a powerful dual-core superphone, with an equally large (but slightly thinner) screen, and yet more features added to HTC’s Sense interface.

We’ve been spoilt by recent Android phones, and Samsung has made a real impact at the top-end with its Galaxy S2. How does the HTC Sensation compare?

What we like

Once you get the Sensation in your hand, you get a real sense of the build quality- you know you’ve got what you’ve paid for. The reliable weightiness is complemented by the huge 4.3-inch screen, which is slightly concave to avoid scratches and damage. It’s also been coated in superhard gorilla glass.

Behind its superhard curves, the screen has a qHD (quarter high-definition) resolution screen, and the widescreen ratio makes it perfect for watching videos.

Getting videos onto the device is easy. Aside from microSD (an 8GB card arrives inside the box), you can also connect the phone through the USB cable, or use HTC’s Watch service, offering some films and TV series to download- at a price.

The quality of video on the Sensation is stunning; photographs also look great on the expansive screen, while the upgraded 8-megapixel camera ensures good quality snaps.

HTC have worked hard on improving their camera offering, and it shows on the Sensation- there’s barely a moment between pressing the shutter button and actual capture. There’s also a dual- LED flash setup, which saved several of our pictures in dimly lit conditions.

There’s barely any motion-blur either, and the phone can also capture full high-definition (1080p) video- again, you’ll be amazed that a phone can produce video of this standard. Creations can be shared through several different ways, with the Sensation’s USB port compatible with HDMI, DLNA built-in.

The Sensation runs Android Gingerbread, but is also HTC’s first phone to have HTC Sense 3.0. Aside from the HTC Watch on-demand video service, the other noticeable addition is the new multi-function lock-screens.

These allow you to jump immediately to four customisable preset apps- from phones and messaging to gaming and maps. It’s an intelligent addition to the Sensation, and one which adds to the feeling of speed on the dual-core phone.

What we don’t like

Given the adaptable processing power, and all of the Sensation’s media chops, we hoped that the battery could put up with some serious use. Sadly, that isn’t the case, and we had to make sure to charge the phone once each day and a half.

Despite the Sensation’s high resolution pedigree, we found it difficult to see what was happening in daylight- something that really wasn’t too much of an issue for the Galaxy S2’s SAMOLED plus screen.

The phone only has a measly 1GB internal storage- again something that goes against the idea of the phone as multimedia player. Fortunately there is an 8GB microSD in-box, but it doesn’t compare favourably to iPhones starting at 16GB storage, or the Samsung Galaxy S2, which also starts at 16GB even without extra microSD storage.


The Sensation is another hit in the making for HTC, bringing its reliably solid phone design alongside new developments and features.

Technically, the screen isn’t as sharp as the iPhone 4, but it is bigger. Pitting the HTC Sensation against the Samsung Galaxy S2 is a difficult one to call- do you prefer a light phone with a slim profile, or something that feels a bit more rugged?

HTC’s value-added Sense gives you more than the lightweight Samsung TouchWiz interface, but we felt the Galaxy S2 delivered better in battery-life. How to choose?

Regardless, the Sensation is another superb Android phone from HTC, one that truly stands up to (and in some respects, towers over) the iPhone 4.