HTC Sensation 4G Review
Motorola ATRIX 4G and T-Mobile G2x have stood atop the ladder. Inexplicably being unveiled almost out of nowhere, the HTC Sensation is already being adorned overseas as it showcases the strength, ingenuity, and innovative qualities established by the Taiwanese company.
Thankfully though, the HTC Sensation 4G is aiming to arrive stateside through T-Mobile starting June 15th, where it plans to usher in the next generation of HTC devices this year with a banging start. Naturally, there is a lot to like about this sensational handset, even more when it features things like a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor, 4.3” qHD Super LCD display, 1080p video capture, and the latest version of Sense running on top of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but will it execute admirably in all aspects to keep it in contention amongst the alternative offerings out there? More importantly, will it be able to differentiate itself enough from the pack to establish an unprecedented new chapter for the venerable company? Let’s dive right in and find out!
Premium. This would be our word of choice to sum up the HTC Sensation 4G’s design. From the bevelled glass display through to the aluminium construction, the word is metaphorically lathered all over this phone. While the Samsung Galaxy S II scored across the board in our review, except for its uninspiring design, off the bat, we're smitten with the HTC Sensation 4G’s look and feel.
You can compare the HTC Sensation 4G with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
The display on the HTC Sensation 4G is a qHD (540x960) Super LCD with a Gorilla Glass fascia, measuring in at 4.3". It offers greater pixel density than WVGA screens of the same size such as the Samsung Galaxy S II and a longer 16:9 aspect ratio. The glass fascia is also bevelled, with a smooth raise towards the edges. We definitely appreciate the HTC Sensation 4G's aspect ratio when viewing movie content or using the phone one handed in portrait orientation thanks to it being narrower. The pixel density is also noticeably better when web browsing which is another plus. So while Super AMOLED Plus screens are generally more desirable, the HTC Sensation 4G still looks immense, especially head on offering great brightness with good colour and contrast levels. Unfortunately, viewing angles can be likened to the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, with colours tending to look a bit washed out when tilting the phone to the side, despite a great head on experience.
The inclusion of the bevelled glass around the edges of the screen provides multiple benefits. Most noticeably, acting as a protector for your screen when face down, preventing the main display from scratching against surfaces. The bevelling also cups your thumb when operating the capacitive buttons and serves as a tactile indicator when swiping, letting you know that you have reached the edge of the screen. While Samsung wins in terms of display technology, these subtle elements of design consideration give HTC the edge when it comes to interacting with the device and screen.
Going beyond and HTC just keeps on giving. The handset itself is predictably solid being partially made of aluminum, sitting comfortably in the hand with good weighting and an attractive design. The four capacitive buttons below the screen are nuzzled towards the fascia’s lower end against the bevelled glass, while the front-facing camera, light sensor and in-call speaker lie above the screen along with an HTC insignia. To the left side is a volume rocker and microUSB port, up top lies the power button and audio jack and below is the battery cover release button. The 8MP camera, dual LED flash, loud speaker and 2nd microphone all decorate the HTC Sensation 4G's reverse which is styled with a trademark three shade soft touch backing.
The battery cover is like a suit of armour, encasing everything other than the glass facia. When we think about the fear we experience when taking off the fragile yet super-slim Samsung Galaxy S II battery cover, this is the total opposite, delivering a cohesive styling, secure backing and an even more solid feel to the HTC Sensation 4G. Another plus point of the all encasing back cover is scratches. A scratch anywhere other than the Gorilla Glass fascia and you can simply purchase a new back cover.
As we said very early on, we’re smitten with the look and feel of the HTC Sensation 4G. Its design is interesting yet accessible, its feel is solid yet manageable, and while its screen is good, if not great, the little touches such as the bevelled Gorilla Glass and longer aspect ratio separate it from the crowd in a good way. It’s definitely sporting more character than the Samsung competition, but carries more bulk. Which is the better choice? While the screen quality may not be as good and it isn't anywhere near as thin or light, when it comes to design, the HTC Sensation 4G definitely has more flare and feels more solid.
1. rtimi26 (Posts: 41; Member since: 16 Mar 2009)
Okay I giv up, how does the htc beat the SGS II, I'm not following phonearena if their reviews are biased
11. yeahone (unregistered)
actually it doesn't SGS2 beats htc sensation in terms of everything. And HTC sensation even have 'death grip'!
12. INformant (unregistered)
DEATH GRIP MORONS!!!! Their is not death grip with the sensation if you watch the video he holds it in a way that is rediculous, you can do the same thing with a G2 and even some of the evo variants....and it did not even affect calls it was a wifi thing....no death grip just a jealous Ifanboy
16. medalaster1 (unregistered)
Not only sgs2 even the optimus 2x is more superior than the sensation i would say this is a biased review the phonearena is all about htc and apple
2. cyborg (unregistered)
It's funny how the cons of the Sensation have been addressed by SGS2 in a review last month and yet both have the same score. Oh, well phonearena.
3. cyborg (unregistered)
Hands down to PA for not mentioning iphone at the end of this review. Good job. That wasn't so difficult was it?
4. lazarus101 (unregistered)
Sense UI and a better build quality and screen resolution have compensated these cons.
7. Dark4o90 (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Feb 2011)
except for the battery life one day is not acceptable
5. Jeff (unregistered)
This 5 page review left out 1 important detail, how does it perform as a phone???
I have been hearing about death grip issues, and I want to know about reception and call quality, after all, this is still a PHONE!
8. lazarus101 (unregistered)
In-call quality on the HTC Sensation is very good indeed. With the length and shape of the phone, it feels comfortable and the speaker sits well against the ear, with sound emitted from it being clear and audible. When speaking on the device, the receiver on the other end reported clear, crisp audio quality and signal strength was average to good when compared with other handsets.
from the original HTC Sensation review (model sold in UK)
13. INformant (unregistered)
Their is not death grip with the sensation if you watch the video he holds it in a way that is rediculous, you can do the same thing with a G2 and even some of the evo variants....and it did not even affect calls it was a wifi thing....no death grip just a jealous Ifanboy
19. quesoesgrande (Posts: 192; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)
it does effect calls cause i have the sensation and i have to barely hold the phone at the bottom to get wi-fi calling cause my work has no reception
last i checked, wi-fi calling is still calling thus it effects calling
6. paul22 (unregistered)
Why cant your reviews include some benchmarks of WiFi speed vs range ?
10. tombaker (unregistered)
The viewing angles on this phone are terrible, this must be a standard TN LCD, fast, high res, and poor off angle viewing. I will never use a TN monitor if given the choice.
Why bother, with so many AMOLED and IPS options to be had. I wish they did more analysis of how strong reception is between phones
14. Julian (unregistered)
I purchased my Sensation yesterday and have to say I'm pleasantly surprised. With the exception of the battery not being the best, and the screen's viewing angle, everything else seems to work great. I love the way it feels in your hand. You feel like you bought a expensive phone, not a cheap piece of plastic. I used to have the Atrix, which is a great phone, but between the Motoblur and the occasional "glitch", I thought I try a change and I'm happy I did.
There are plenty of choices out there, just got to find the one that meets YOUR needs.
15. toolie (unregistered)
I just bought the Sensation and so far love it. The only bad thing that I have noticed is the external speaker is horrible! Call quality is good and I got over 12 hours of battery life yesterday, which is great for a smart phone...at least for me. Keep in mind battery life fluctuates with usuage and heavy usage will have lower battery life. I just didn't want everyone to think 12 hours was an everyday occurrence. I used to have to charge my Galaxy S two times within an 8 hour period and call quality was horrible. So far no death grip issues either. This phone far outshines my last one, Samsung, and I have no regets. UI is also great. First HTC phone and have to say I am impressed with this smooth running phone with excellent speed.
17. davonte (unregistered)
stop saying "just because," goddammit!
18. gain1998 (Posts: 11; Member since: 23 Jun 2011)
I find this phone pleasing to look at, I also find it to have many nice features and it really is a great phone. I don't understand why people would care about viewing angles, then again that's probably just me. Battery life isn't that much of a big deal for me (unless you're dead in between the hours of 7 to 2, then we have an issue). Basically it's a great phone, I'd get it but I want to hop on the Blackberry train, I know I must sound so idiotic for preferring a BB over an Android, but I want to have a firsthand experience.
20. Sean1337 (Posts: 1; Member since: 26 Sep 2011)
I have owned both the G2X and now the Sensation. G2X was fast for sure, it benchmarked very high, but at least 2 of the games I wanted to play on it wouldnt even open( they both work flawlessly on the sensation). The camera app was stock android and buggy, on one occasion the phone froze entirely after taking a picture requiring a battery pull to get the phone working again. The phone was blocky and felt awful against my ear. A 300 point advantage in quadrant does not make the g2x a better device than the sensation, which in my opinion is the finest handset on tmobile by a decent margin as of right now.
21. corleyman (Posts: 6; Member since: 26 Nov 2012)
Here it is a yr & a half later and I still love this phone. Lack of internal memory is OK b/c of my add-on 16-Gb microSD card. It does slow some when I need to clear program cache (easily done from settings), but otherwise the processor is fast & all works great! Especially the 4G. With WiFi off I'm getting 10 Gbps on the TMo HSPA network. But instead of TMo I enjoy unlimited talk/txt/data on a mobile network that pays me back! Check it at PenniesOverDollars.com