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By Russell Jefferies

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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.


Hardware

Like other handsets in the HTC range, the Sensation is a large, slab-shaped device with rounded corners and smatterings of soft touch plastic on the rear. The large qHD (540 x 960 pixel) display dominates the front of the device, with the usual Android home, menu, back, and search keys below, all of which are touch sensitive and illuminate in white.

Above the display is a wide earpiece grille with a built-in notification LED, next to which the Sensation's forward-facing camera sits. The rear of the device has a three tone black/grey color scheme, with soft touch panels top and bottom. The whole plastic rear cover lifts off as one piece, and does a lovely job of imitating an aluminum unibody, although unfortunately isn't one.

Toward the top of the rear cover is an assortment of holes, which allow the 8 megapixel camera's lens and dual LED flash to peek through. While the nicely recessed lens is quite protected, it does unfortunately also collect lots of muck and dust, and is difficult to clean without removing the rear cover.

Atop the phone is the power key and 3.5mm headphone port, while the bottom is home to the microphone pinhole and cover removal button. There are also three more pinholes in the rear cover, presumably for noise cancellation microphones. The only other hardware features are the chromed volume rocker and the micro-USB port: both of which can be found on the left side of the handset.

The HTC Sensation measures in at 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3mm (4.96 x 2.57 x .44in) and weighs 148g (5.22oz), putting it between the Desire S and Desire HD on both counts.

Overall, I really liked the Sensation's hardware, and the new screen is a delight, with rich colors and decent performance in direct sunlight, as well as its unusual beveled edge. The beveled edge never really seemed to have any use during our testing, as it starts within the screen's black bezel, but it certainly looks good and gives the phone a higher quality feel.