Camera, Music, Battery, Conclusion
Improving upon HTC's previous efforts is the Sensation's 8 megapixel autofocus camera, complete with dual LED flash. This is probably the best camera I've experienced on an HTC handset, and photos captured by the Sensation were generally quite vibrant and pleasing to the eye. Photos taken in low light could be a little more hit and miss, with some blur creeping in if the phone wasn't kept perfectly still, but you can judge the results for yourself by checking out the sample images below.
The usual white balance, exposure, and ISO settings were all still present, plus some neat extras like geo-tagging, self timer, effects, and face detection. Once you're done snapping, photos can be found in the Gallery, which can be quickly accessed from a button in the bottom left corner of the viewfinder. Within the Gallery app there are options for cropping or rotating images and adding effects, which is neat. Users can share photos via Bluetooth, email, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Picasa, or MMS, or show them off on a DLNA certified TV.
The Sensation's camera also has video recording capabilities, and can record video in 1080p resolution at 30fps. These videos generally looked pretty good, although the microphone was hugely susceptible to wind noise as you'll see in our sample video. Videos can also be viewed in the gallery, and switching between the still camera and video camera is quick and easy thanks to an on-screen button. You can even switch to the forward facing camera for low quality VGA resolution self portraits, if that's your thing!
The Sensation comes with the standard music player that we've seen many times before on HTC's handsets, and that's not a bad thing. The player displays album art, and playlists can be created directly on the handset. SRS sound enhancement shows up for another visit, or there's an equalizer with various presets if you prefer a different sound. Music can be filtered by artist, album, playlist, song, genre, or composer, and shuffle and repeat settings are available, too. This time, however, there doesn't appear to be integrated Amazon MP3 store access, although users are free to download the separate Amazon MP3 app if they wish.
The sound quality from the Sensation was perfectly good with a decent set of headphones, though HTC's usual set are also included in the box, should you want a low quality set with an in-built microphone and basic in-line remote. A neat feature of the music player is the control widget that appears on the lock screen when a song is playing, featuring album art and basic controls.
The HTC Sensation has a 1520mAh battery that is rated for 7 hours of 3G talk time and 22 days of 3G standby time. In real-world use I found myself charging the phone daily, although it would last around 1.5 days if left to run flat, maybe 2 days with very conservative use. I'd imagine that most people would find the battery lasting between 1 - 2 days, depending on their usage.
The HTC Sensation is a great handset, there's no doubt about that, and in my opinion it is 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 proper step forward both in terms of hardware and software.
If I was looking for a new handset right now I'd seriously consider the HTC Sensation, along with the Samsung Galaxy S II that we also recently reviewed. Both offer large displays and fast dual-core processors, putting them at the top of the wish list for many gadget fans, and with good reason.