HTC Sensation Smartphone Review

By Russell Jefferies on June 21, 2011, 3:08 AM

The HTC Sensation is the latest handset to show up to the dual-core Android smartphone party, boasting a 4.3-inch qHD touchscreen and an 8 megapixel camera to boot. The device hums along quickly and has plenty of UI tweaks, courtesy of HTC's Sense 3.0.

With other party tricks such as 1080p video recording and a distinctive beveled edge to the touchscreen, the Sensation certainly lives up to its name and provides the user with a very rich and customizable experience. This device is 99 percent the same as the HTC Sensation 4G available for T-Mobile, so much of the content and our review impressions apply to both phones.

The HTC Sensation is a great handset, there's no doubt about that, and it seems like the proper successor to the original HTC Desire. With a spec boost in almost every area it's a more convincing upgrade than the Desire S was and feels like a step forward both in terms of hardware and software.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 20

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princeton princeton said:

Unfortunately the SGS2 crushes it in every possible way except for the build material. It's thinner with a more powerful cpu, gpu, ram, more internal storage and has a far superior screen. And the funny part is HTC will try and price this at the same price as the SGS2.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Princeton said:

Unfortunately the SGS2 crushes it in every possible way except for the build material. It's thinner with a more powerful cpu, gpu, ram, more internal storage and has a far superior screen. And the funny part is HTC will try and price this at the same price as the SGS2.

Strange how the review seems to suggest otherwise...

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well and then there is an issue with 'death grip' as stated in review of GSM Arena, which somehow didn't made it in the review. Also considering the build quality, HTC is well light years ahead of samsung's pathetic choices of materials in constructing such high end smartphones.

princeton princeton said:

Archean said:

Well and then there is an issue with 'death grip' as stated in review of GSM Arena, which somehow didn't made it in the review. Also considering the build quality, HTC is well light years ahead of samsung's pathetic choices of materials in constructing such high end smartphones.

Because the build quality is what influences the experience you have with the phone, oh wait no it isn't. Oh and a death grip, nice job guys.

burty117 said:

Princeton said:

Unfortunately the SGS2 crushes it in every possible way except for the build material. It's thinner with a more powerful cpu, gpu, ram, more internal storage and has a far superior screen. And the funny part is HTC will try and price this at the same price as the SGS2.

Strange how the review seems to suggest otherwise...

The SAMOLED+ panel has a lower res than the SLCD, but it also has 4 times the viewing angle, an infinite contrast ratio and superior colors.

The exynos chip with the mali400 outperforms the qualcomm dual core in the actual phone environment. Engadget noticed no lag or slowdowns with the SGS2 but the Sensation had the odd jitter or slight lag.

HTC's build quality is heavier which may make it feel more sturdy in the hand but the fact remains that the phone is much thicker and matted plastic and metal is more prone to scratching than glossy plastic on the SGS2.

The SGS2 has more ram with a user interface that doesn't require as much ram to run, htc put in less ram on a very ram hungry UI.

Internal storage. Samsung's phones come with either 16gb or 32 gb of internal storage. The sensation comes with a whopping 1gb. I would also like to add that most apps can not be fully moved to the SD card. If you check in the system files you'll notice that some apps can only move around 8kb of data to the external storage. Another thing is apps from gameloft that take up large amounts of space must be kept on the internal storage. You'll be hard pressed to fit even two of gamelofts latest games onto the sensation.

Daleos said:

Princeton said:

Unfortunately the SGS2 crushes it in every possible way except for the build material. It's thinner with a more powerful cpu, gpu, ram, more internal storage and has a far superior screen. And the funny part is HTC will try and price this at the same price as the SGS2.

3 reasons I went for the Sensation over the S2...

1. Sense UI.

2. Build Quality.

3. Customer service.

Frankly, the differences between the rest of the specs are too insignificant for me to worry about and in all honesty, the S2 could be 25% better and I'd still get the Sensation due to the reasons I've indicated.

princeton princeton said:

daleos said:

Princeton said:

Unfortunately the SGS2 crushes it in every possible way except for the build material. It's thinner with a more powerful cpu, gpu, ram, more internal storage and has a far superior screen. And the funny part is HTC will try and price this at the same price as the SGS2.

3 reasons I went for the Sensation over the S2...

1. Sense UI.

2. Build Quality.

3. Customer service.

Frankly, the differences between the rest of the specs are too insignificant for me to worry about and in all honesty, the S2 could be 25% better and I'd still get the Sensation due to the reasons I've indicated.

Well you're definitely entitled to your opinion. But the fact of the matter is that the SGS2 is a superior device. It doesn't make the sensation bad but facts are facts.

Guest said:

huh yeah the feel of the phone is great and it has a much better ui and i can at least show off with it coz it looks nice unlike the s2 which looks fuk ugly

princeton princeton said:

huh yeah the feel of the phone is great and it has a much better ui and i can at least show off with it coz it looks nice unlike the s2 which looks fuk ugly

How about you make an argument based on facts instead of your opinion that it looks ugly. I think the Sensation is thick and bulky, but I can't make an argument based on that alone. I could make an argument based on the fact that a thinner device is more compact and have a more compact device is always more useful than having a bulky one.

This is the only review I could find that claims it lives up to its name. GSMarena and Engadget both rated it under the SGS2 and criticized things that this article claims are perfect, there's obvious bias here especially when the reviewer claims how nice the screen looks. Every other reviewer has commented on how the viewing angle is like 45 degrees, that's pathetic.

Guest said:

Hi,

Firstly, I would like to add, against the reviewer, to say that there is a pont for the bevelled screen. To silence the ringing phone whilst on a desk, you turn the phone over, like many other HTC phones, however the 1mm raised bevel allows the phone to rest upside down without touching the screen itself to avoid potential scratches.

Secondly, against the Samsung fanboys, regardless of storage space (and the HTC Sensy can store and hot swap upto 32gb SDHC cards against the SGS2) HTC have fundementally aimed NOT to copy Apple's IPhone and create a Phone unique to thier own brand rathjer than trying to cash in on the most popular phone today.

Samsung basically have not thought to design either an interface or a design of their own. They have copied the iPhone, both in terms of the default app screen, the navigation ribbon at the bottom of the screen, memory/storage configurations and in its style of design.

It may have better, faster internals to operate, but this just goes to prove that even with uprated electronics, it still doesn't surpass or even match the iPhone.

As far as I am concerned, anyone holding a Samsung Galaxy S2 is a cheapskate who still really wants an iPhone but basically can't afford one.

If you want a phone that has an identity of its own, rather than badly mimicing another, you know wich one to choose. [by Tink(GB)]

Guest said:

An addendum...

1) The HTC Sensation does indeed have an aluminium cover, although it may not look like it as it is enhanced by two grippy soft touch additions and the chassis is sprayed in plastic, giving it the unique and classy three tone look.

2) The curve of the case and extremely thin bezel, goes to make the Sensation FEEL smaller and narrower when in the hand than it measures. A great trick for a 4.3 inch screen. Weight-wise the extra over and above the S2, gives you again a feeling of holding something substantial.

Anyone with experience of upgrading from a PSP1000 to the Slim & Lite version will know what I mean - whilst the handheld console was more advanced and powerful, it felt cheap and tacky. Percieved as not really worth the amount paid - as such sales dropped rapidly...

3) To much hype has been made over the grip of death across the board. ALL phones are affected depending on the way you cover the phone. Against the ear or when data streaming you do not actually hold the phone as usually displayed when demonstrating the GoD.

Inside the back cover of the Sensation, houses many antennae for both Wifi and GSM etc...The HTC uses all of them to gain best signal rather than just one...

4) Finally to be fair, the G2's volume and call quality is definately superior than the HTC's. Outside, there is still too much wind noise getting through the noise cancellation sensors and although released in the UK first, the Contacts (People) application, imports telephone numbers in US format and can only handle US Zip codes rather than our alphanumeric Post code. Shame...but a fix is on the way...

Regardless, each to their own...I wonder what the iPhone 5 will look like? Anyone got a spare £400 to buy it for approx. £40 pmonth as is being reported? Rip off city imo but I will probably get one...[ by Tink(GB) ]

Guest said:

Princeton : ''Internal storage. Samsung's phones come with either 16gb or 32 gb of internal storage. The sensation comes with a whopping 1gb. I would also like to add that most apps can not be fully moved to the SD card. If you check in the system files you'll notice that some apps can only move around 8kb of data to the external storage. Another thing is apps from gameloft that take up large amounts of space must be kept on the internal storage. You'll be hard pressed to fit even two of gamelofts latest games onto the sensation.''

^^ Clearly a samsung fanboy that has no idea what he is on about. I've checked with gameloft... theres 2 parts to each of their games. One is <5mb and is stored on the internal memory of the phone, the second, ranging from 10-600mb in size is stored on the SD card.

So unlike you suggested, rather than 2 gameloft games, with a 32GB SD card, you could fit around 64 gameloft games on a HTC sensation if you wanted to.

To me, the HTC sensation wins not by being the most powerful phone, but by being the best Smartphone. The samsung gs2 is major ugly and feels tacky in the hand. Touchwiz 4.0 is pathetic compared to Htc sence 3.0. Extra speed on the GS2 is pointless when the phone looks and feels crap.

princeton princeton said:

Guest said:

Princeton : ''Internal storage. Samsung's phones come with either 16gb or 32 gb of internal storage. The sensation comes with a whopping 1gb. I would also like to add that most apps can not be fully moved to the SD card. If you check in the system files you'll notice that some apps can only move around 8kb of data to the external storage. Another thing is apps from gameloft that take up large amounts of space must be kept on the internal storage. You'll be hard pressed to fit even two of gamelofts latest games onto the sensation.''

^^ Clearly a samsung fanboy that has no idea what he is on about. I've checked with gameloft... theres 2 parts to each of their games. One is <5mb and is stored on the internal memory of the phone, the second, ranging from 10-600mb in size is stored on the SD card.

So unlike you suggested, rather than 2 gameloft games, with a 32GB SD card, you could fit around 64 gameloft games on a HTC sensation if you wanted to.

To me, the HTC sensation wins not by being the most powerful phone, but by being the best Smartphone. The samsung gs2 is major ugly and feels tacky in the hand. Touchwiz 4.0 is pathetic compared to Htc sence 3.0. Extra speed on the GS2 is pointless when the phone looks and feels crap.

Then download nova and move all the SD data to the external SD. Then boot it up. Make us a video of you accomplishing the impossible.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

That is why I said 'choice of materials' ... not how those materials has been used in this incidence

Guest said:

I'll quite happily upload a video when i get my htc sensation ha =]

Daleos said:

Princeton said:

daleos said:

Princeton said:

Unfortunately the SGS2 crushes it in every possible way except for the build material. It's thinner with a more powerful cpu, gpu, ram, more internal storage and has a far superior screen. And the funny part is HTC will try and price this at the same price as the SGS2.

3 reasons I went for the Sensation over the S2...

1. Sense UI.

2. Build Quality.

3. Customer service.

Frankly, the differences between the rest of the specs are too insignificant for me to worry about and in all honesty, the S2 could be 25% better and I'd still get the Sensation due to the reasons I've indicated.

Well you're definitely entitled to your opinion. But the fact of the matter is that the SGS2 is a superior device. It doesn't make the sensation bad but facts are facts.

Er, no. For those that just look at the hardware figures, you may see it like that but after several Nokia 'feature' phones, 1 iPhone and 2 Android phones, I know from experience that the tech-sheet has never been the best indicator for a 'superior device'.

aj_the_kidd said:

daleos said:

3 reasons I went for the Sensation over the S2...

1. Sense UI.

2. Build Quality.

3. Customer service.

I see where you are coming from but i would just like to say:

1. The UI on the SGS isnt great which is why i use Go Launcher Ex, which makes a huge difference in terms of usability, for me that is

2. You can have that victory, i'll stick with the phone that has the option of 16-32GB internal storage plus an awesome screen. I really dont understand why people are crying about the build of the SGS 2, to each their own i suppose

3. Never really had issues with my phone that i felt i needed to ring customer service, so again not a deal breaker

I dont doubt that the HTC sensation is great phone, but the SGS2 does everything i want it to do and well might i add.

Guest said:

Just to say, i have a Htc sensation now. And i just installed a gameloft game ONTO THE SD CARD. So ignore the samsung fanboy!

Guest said:

I bought the HTC and had to take it back 4 times it would never work right. I finely gave up on it. it either hung up on me, the camera had red lines through it or the apps would never download. As far as I am concerned it is a pos.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@aj

I did have issues with SGS, and frankly, Samsung's Customer Service is beyond pathetic, it forced me to a point where I've frankly given up on getting things fixed with it, and trying to go this period until I can get a replacement in few months time. Although IMO CS is always hit and miss for any company.

Guest said:

I bought Sensation a few weeks ago. I really like the phone. However, I downloaded a game, Innotia 3 recently. While playing the game, I experienced the phone freezing twice already. During those two occasions, I could not restart the phone or anything. I had to remove the battery to turn it on again. Has anyone experienced this also? What should I do? I do not know if it is the game or the phone which has a problem.

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