HTC Sensation: Sensational

HTC Sensation Review - Dialaphone

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The HTC Sensation raises the bar for the Taiwanese manufacturer’s Android range, being the first to tout a dual-core processor. It may have taken the Desire’s place as the firm’s top-of-the-range handset, but by no means are those easy shoes to fill, considering the esteem in which that particular device was held.

Can HTC better it? And will the Sensation have the necessary tech prowess to allow it to compete in the dual-core market, especially as the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S II and Motorola Atrix have recently joined the fray? We take a look to find out…


The HTC Sensation has an aluminium body with some matte plastic panels on the rear, giving it a funky edge. The solid materials make the Sensation feel the ‘alpha’ smartphone so to speak, but they do weigh it down, tipping the scales at 146 grams.

This giant has a 4.3-inch display just like the HTC Desire HD, but the Sensation features curved edges, which make it much more comfortable to hold than its desirable counterpart. The screen itself is a qHD number with a resolution of 540 x 960,  a massive improvement on what we’ve seen from HTC before. The screen resolution may not quite match up to the iPhone 4’s Retina display, but the picture it creates is incredibly bright and vivid. Images and text on web pages are sharp no matter how much you zoom in on them and video quality is outstanding.

Power and Operating System

The HTC Sensation has a 1.2GHz Snapdragon dual-core processor, putting it in the same league as the Samsung Galaxy S II. The  HTC effort offers an incredibly smooth and slick user experience with speedy, lag-free transitions. This is mainly thanks to the Sensation having the latest version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread and HTC Sense. Even though Sense is already a success story in itself, HTC has gone further to improve its custom Android skin and the results are stunning. As well as offering the usual seven customisable homescreens, the lock screen is also customisable, allowing users to set up shortcuts to four features of their choice without having to unlock the handset first. The homescreen widgets have been given a 3D makeover too and are now displayed in a carousel-style as opposed to the flat linear screen progression of before. This small design element really shows off the processor’s power as transitions are seamless. The weather widget is an equally fantastic asset and provides live animation forecasts.

Another new feature on board the Sensation is HTC Watch, which is a sort of phone version of Blockbuster. You can buy or rent films and TV shows and download them directly onto your handset to really utilise the Sensation’s fantastic display. It doesn’t come cheap though with the latest movies costing £9.99 to buy (older films are cheaper),£3.49 to rent and TV shows setting you back £1.49 a pop. You can share your videos with up to five other HTC devices though, giving you more for your money.

Internet: The Sensation has all the key ingredients to offer a fantastic browsing experience with that beast of a display and it doesn’t disappoint. Pages load quickly and in crystal clear quality with the text resizing function being very responsive to the pinch and zoom function. The browser has full Flash support so you’ll be able to view videos and whatnot without having to venture into the separate YouTube app. Like all top of the range smartphones, the HTC Sensation comes with 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Camera: The Sensation has two cameras – an 8 megapixel snapper on the back and a front-facing VGA. While you need to insert a microSD card in order to take pictures, the 8 megapixel lens comes with a dual-LED flash and lots of options to enhance the shots you take. Being a top-notch smartphone, the Sensation can record HD video at 1080p and has DLNA connectivity so you can show off what you capture on a bigger screen if you so wish.

Other tech specs:

  • Music player – Supports MP3, AAC+, WAV and WMV files
  • Video player – Supports XviD, MP4, H.263, H.264 and WMV files
  • 1GB internal memory
  • 768MB RAM
  • MicroSD card slot that supports cards up to 32GB
  • A-GPS
  • Up to 8 hours 20 minutes talk time

Any downsides?

It’s a tad annoying that you have to insert a microSD card before taking any pictures or videos, although an 8GB microSD card is included in the box, so you won’t need to fork out for one before you get started. HTC Watch is also prohibitively expensive and may prove to be a bit of a hit-and-miss service, especially when users can put films and TV shows onto a microSD card instead.


The HTC Sensation ticks all the right the boxes and even though it may not be the fastest in the dual-core pack as far as benchmark tests go, you would never tell. With the lightning-quick transitions thanks to the combination of a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, Android Gingerbread and the latest version of Sense, the Sensation offers an impressive user experience. The UI is especially remarkable and we can see why HTC chose the Sensation as one of the first devices to showcase it. As dual-core smartphones go, the HTC Sensation has the whole package.

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