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HTC Sensation with Sense 3.0 announced: HTC Watch on-demand movies, 8-megapixel 1080p camera, 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU

After Vodafone jumped the gun this morning, HTC has now gone all official with the Sensation at a packed event in London. Not only is it HTC’s first dual-core phone (a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm CPU) but it’s also the first phone to come with Sense 3.0 – the latest version of HTC’s custom Android UI.

The Sensation features pretty much everything we’ve come to like about HTC over the past few years. It’s got an impressive resume of specs, features HTC’s trademark unibody design and the new-look Sense custom UI. There really is a lot to write home about with the Sensation so we’ll start with those vital stats first.

The Sensation’s touchscreen is a capacitive SLCD that measures 4.3-inches across and features a qHD (quarter High Definition) resolution. An 8-megapixel camera with a dual LED flash takes pride of place on the back and there’s a VGA front facer for video calls and self-portraits.

The main camera is capable of recording full 1080p HD video at up to 30fps, meaning that anything filmed at maximum resolution on the Sensation is going to look pretty incredible.

Not only that, but the twin noise-cancelling mics on the side of phone also allow you to record in stereo, so your videos will benefit from improved sound as well. You’ll also be able to crop out specific parts of your videos with a ‘video trimmer’ before uploading them to YouTube. It all sounds a bit iMovie to us and we can’t wait to try it out.

Storage-wise you get 4GB of internal memory, which you can increase up to 32GB with microSD cards; plenty of space for snaps, videos and movie downloads.

So demanding

The HTC Sensation looks like the perfect phone for watching films on the go too. The Sensation will come with access to HTC Watch, the on-demand movie service seen on the HTC Flyer. The 4.3-inch screen has a display ratio of 16:9, so no ugly black letterboxes around films. Thanks to HDMI-out, you can watch movies downloaded on a big screen TV as well.

Still no word on the pricing of HTC Watch just yet; we wonder if prices of films will mirror what we saw at Mobile World Congress; £0.99 to rent a film and £1.99 to buy. What we do know about HTC Watch is that it’ll feature a ‘paused download’ function, like the Amazon MP3 Android app.

If a download is paused or interrupted for whatever reason, it’ll resume from where it left off. So as soon as you get adequate signal or reconnect to Wi-Fi again. Good to know.

We also know that when you sign up for HTC Watch, you’ll be able to use your account on up to five other compatible devices. So anything downloaded on your Sensation could be watched on your HTC Flyer, without the need to transfer the film across.

Sensationalist

One of the major new changes that Sense 3.0 brings is a new unlocker screen. Like the lock screen of the INQ Cloud Touch, Sense 3.0 allows you to unlock the Sensation with a specific app or function of the phone, like the camera for example.

You can have up to four unlock shortcuts running on the Sensation’s lock screen. These can be customised however you like, giving you quick access to messages, the camera, email, etc instead of simply unlocking to just a main homescreen like normal.

The text input method features a new Swype style method which we’re very keen to try out. Can it replace our beloved SwiftKey though? We’ll have to see.

Apart from those two things, Sense 3.0 comes with a lot of cosmetic changes. The homescreen widgets have a transparent dark glass style effect that reminded us of the old Glasser extension for Firefox. When you pan left and right between homescreens, the widgets now float around the screen in a pseudo-3D manner.

All in all we’re very impressed with the HTC Sensation, HTC Watch and the new-look Sense. Stay tuned for pictures from HTC’s London event coming real soon.

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