HTC Sensation Review
While reviewing another Android handset, we were in a bar in London having a drink with some friends when a girl commented on our phone saying she liked our HTC. We replied with a polite "It's actually not an HTC, though it does run Android". "Well, if it isn't an HTC, it's an iPhone, isn't it?" she said, to which we pulled a face, she walked off and we never saw her again. This little anecdote sums up how successful HTC has been in making its name synonymous with Android, at least in Europe. Of late however, HTC's handsets and tablets have been consistently good, just, not great. Specifically, their S range offered some refined elements, but lacked wow factor, while the HTC Flyer delivered functionality, but lacked both a dual-core processor and Honeycomb. With arguably better handsets and tablets being offered by other manufacturers, HTC needed something better than good to ward off the competition, they needed something sensational. So here it is, 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor with a qHD screen and HTC Sense 3.0 atop Gingerbread – the HTC Sensation.
Premium. This would be our word of choice to sum up the HTC Sensation’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's look and feel.
You can compare the HTC Sensation with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
The display on the HTC Sensation 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'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 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'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. 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. 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 definitely has more flare and feels more solid.
1. desire (unregistered)
so it means it's better than galaxy s2 for the normal consumers and the masses...!!
2. snowgator (Posts: 3200; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
I don't think so. I think the review just means the Galaxy S2 and Sensation are dead even- the screen is better for viewing and at angles and benchmarks a little better on the S2, the build more solid and the UI more polished for the HTC. Cannot go wrong with either handset. Very happy for T-Mobile consumers. Hoping AT&T and Verizon grab a similar handset for them. (Sprint, you already have the EVO 3D. No fair grabing another one.)
40. Evolution (unregistered)
If anything, I got from the review that the Samsung galaxy S2 has a slightly faster processor (according to benchmark scores) and better display and viewing angles and its bootloader is unlocked for installing custom ROMS. Not sure how you came to that conclusion.. ?
Seems like hardware & specs-wise Samsung galaxy S2 is more powerful, but the Sense 3.0 User Interface is more complete than Touchwiz.
42. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
real world performance is negligable. though if your a benchmark guy, the SGS2 cant be beat right now.
the SGS2 wins in
since thats just about every major category. lol. the sensation is by no means a slouch though nor a bad phone in any category, the SGS2 is just that far ahead in tech. The old dual core snapdragon is a generation behind the dual core exynos in archetecture design which is why its so poor on battery and not as powerful.
And PA, Why the hell do you keep trying to throw an iphone into every article? If android is not for a reader, they probably wouldnt be reading this article anyways. Seriously..
48. LionStone (Posts: 445; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)
I agree, so lame...this being a review for the hTc Sensation..."but if you don't want this great phone, how 'bout an ip?!"
51. TyDeL (unregistered)
Haha, the Iphone remark at the end of every review always makes me laugh.
"btw, after you just read through an exhaustive, 5 page, in-depth review of this Android phone, there's always the Iphone!"
Really, if you want an Iphone, you're not going to be bothered reading about Android phones, you're not even going to be reading reviews, you're going to blindly take the one option that Apple feeds you.
72. ladyhaly (Posts: 106; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
If you look into another article with a blind test done by PhoneArena in order to pit the devices' picture quality output against each other, you would know that you are wrong and that the Samsung Galaxy S II has the worst camera among all the high-end phones as of today as I'm typing this.
And no, that's not every category. You forgot the User Interface. If I was after a benchmarks and speed, I'd go for the Galaxy S II but I'm actually after an intuitive device that would bend towards my will and do the things I want to do. Out of the box, that is.
Unfortunately, Samsung isn't it. And oh, I also hate how Samsung uses plastic and how it makes the device light. Some people may like light devices--- I prefer devices with a more solid feel to them. Something that would feel premium in my hand. Something that won't go off and slip from my fingers because it's so light like a feather.
Basically, it all comes down to personal preference.
3. Your name here (unregistered)
I am so gonna get this phone!... I get excited only looking at it.
4. seeds (Posts: 48; Member since: 13 Apr 2011)
what about bootloader ?
locked or not ?
up there just said unlocled for sammy
41. Evolution (unregistered)
The bootloader is locked on this device.
52. TyDeL (unregistered)
Now that HTC is changing their stance on bootloaders, does anyone know if they plan to unlock future sales of the Sensation anytime soon? Or is this phone just doomed to have a locked bootloader forever?
71. Calvin (unregistered)
im sure this has been answered by now. But yes in fact i think most of the ones coming out of the box now should be unlocked and the other ones should be unlocked through an update.
5. AndroidTroll (Posts: 359; Member since: 05 Mar 2011)
This was a great review until it mentioned the iPhone 4 at the end. Seriously PA wtf!?! I swear they get paid by Apple everytime they mention it in a phone review. It is just so random and irrelevent how they manage to throw it in at the end of every Android phone review. To PA: no one who is reading this review of the Sensation gives a flying fuck about iPhone 4!
6. xenover (Posts: 171; Member since: 27 May 2011)
iPhone 4 is nothing in comparison to any dual-core device.
I think your right that phonearena gets paid everytime they say "iPhone 4"
20. iwebdroidberry7 (Posts: 230; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
So what do people buy if the don't want an Android phone? You understand that everyone does not want an Android device right?
21. jrocka01 (Posts: 19; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)
If they're not interested in an Android device then why the hell are they reading the review for one? Everyone who doesn't live under a rock knows what the iPhone 4 is. There's no point in mentioning it in an Android review. Did they list alternatives(Android, WM7, etc.) in the iPhone review?
23. jrocka01 (Posts: 19; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)
All they mention in the i4 review is screen size differences.
26. iwebdroidberry7 (Posts: 230; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
Yeah they do mention android in iPhone reviews. Go read the 1st paragraph of the Verizon iPhone review.
"If they're not interested in an Android device then why the hell are they reading the review for one?"
Thats what reviews are for. To show consumers the products so they don't have to go out and buy something they don't want. If someone reads the review and decides they don't like android then its helpful to list alternatives. And they did mention other Android phones as alternatives
34. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
You speak truth. Let's see how many thumbs up you get.
43. jrocka01 (Posts: 19; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)
I read the one for AT&T and I edited my statement. You said:
So what do people buy if the don't want an Android phone?
If you don't want an Android phone why bother reading the review for one? I never wanted and Iphone, which is why I didn't know every detail of the review. Should have checked before I posted though.
38. Lucas777 (Posts: 2121; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)
its windows PHONE 7... and why do u people get so upset they mentioned the iphone? did it hurt u in some way?
44. jrocka01 (Posts: 19; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)
Don't think anyone's THAT upset. It's just annoying sometimes how everyone is so smitten with Apple products and just overlook their shortcomings. I rarely hear mention of the lack of SD slot in Apple devices. Some of these review #s seem biased. How does the Sensation only get a 9, really?
7. john (unregistered)
apple brainwashed him to like apple product till dead, wake up pa
8. jeck77 (Posts: 25; Member since: 09 Dec 2010)
Seriously, grow up people. This is a phone blog, and he's giving comparisons. He mentions the iPhone 4, but doesn't say anything about it to attempt to sway anyone towards that direction. All of you are so quick to jump on the, "He's an Apple fanboy!" bandwagon, that none of you stop and attempt to use your brains. Trying to look cool on the internet doesn't make you cool in real life, it just makes you that much more pathetic.
11. AndroidTroll (Posts: 359; Member since: 05 Mar 2011)
I have used my brain and it concluded that the iPhone 4 should not be mentioned in this review because it is a single core, small screen, non 4G, non Android, last year's tech POS device that is completely out of its realm when compared to the Sensation!!
19. iwebdroidberry7 (Posts: 230; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)
How DARE you speak with any logic at all on PhoneArena?!!!
22. jrocka01 (Posts: 19; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)
That's a load of S%^T!!! There are no comparisons in the iPhone 4 review.
24. jrocka01 (Posts: 19; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)
The i4 review does compare screen sizes. And jeck77, chill out dude. Like you said it's a phone blog. Insults aren't necessary.
33. jeck77 (Posts: 25; Member since: 09 Dec 2010)
Everyone has opinions, and are entitled to them. My thing is that people want so bad to look cool on the internet, that they will jump all over someone who even mentions anything in regards to the iPhone. I've owned every smartphone platform out there (other than Win7) and I've owned countless Android phones, and a currently have an iPhone 4 on Verizon. Android has many advantages and disadvantages, as does the iPhone. Guess that means I'm being paid by Apple since I just made a comparison too.
35. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
Much agreed. The slightest mention of the iPhone means you're a mindless Apple sheep. Seriously?
45. jrocka01 (Posts: 19; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)
For me, it's more the scores that the Apple products keep getting and their shortcomings get overlooked. I rarely hear mention of the lack of SD slot on Apple products. How is the Sensation only a 9?
47. jrocka01 (Posts: 19; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)
No one said they're Apple fanboys. He's said they're getting paid to mention iPhone in EVERY SINGLE REVIEW(only slight exagerration.)
53. TyDeL (unregistered)
I wasn't appalled that he mentioned an Apple device at the end of the review, but it did seem completely irrelevant. Just like when you're watching a movie and some really bad acting or effect pulls you out of the story, there's absolutely no reason to mention the Iphone at the end of this review.
I was excited when I realized he was making a comparison between the SGS2 at the end because these are two of the newest phones, which target the same market with nearly identical specs. That's a logical comparison to make between two, next-generation phones. To randomly bring up the Iphone4 after that, which is now horribly out dated and has been available for what feels like an eternity in the tech world is just completely unnecessary.
9. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2942; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
So let me get this straight, its a little bulky, the screen angles could be better, and the battery life could be better? It only gets a 9 where the motorola atrix gets a 9.5.
Sorry to complain but this phone is way better than the iphone and atrix put together.
30. KingK (unregistered)
Not really. Notice no benchmarks are posted.........
Nothing special about the Sensation.
10. EA (unregistered)
i dont mind the 3d on the evo but it would have been better if it had a better camera. htc and sprint should have made a phone with a better camera,maybe 12meg instead of the 3d...tmobile and htc did a good job with the sensation by keeping the camera more relavent. unlike the evo3d which sacraficed a better photograph for a fun toy that wont be used often
16. Dark4o90 (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Feb 2011)
i don't care about 3d and phones with 3d like evo and LG have poor viewing angles and for now i've never seen anybody talking about how exciting is 3d
28. AndroidTroll (Posts: 359; Member since: 05 Mar 2011)
Here is a philosophical question for you: What good is a newborn baby?
My point is that glasses free 3D on a phone is such new tech that people may not be able to see and understand the value of it until it has had a chance to develop. If you give it some time it might end up being a necessity for those who grow accustomed to it.
12. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2942; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
The screen is way better than the thunderbolts, way better battery life, way better construction, thinner, has a dual core processor, runs the latest version of sense and has gingerbread, can shoot full 1080 hd videos, but yet it gets the same score.
This is why people complain about the review scores, they never make sense.
17. sweetlou (unregistered)
if you read the whole review, it is much more positive than the thunderbolt's. If you've read both, its obvious that the Sensation is far ahead spec wise, so the scores shouldnt even matter. I know i never look at them.
18. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2942; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
The scores shouldnt matter? So they should give it nothing but compliments and only minor complaints but give it the same score as a phone that had a lot of issues? People look at overall scores and take that into consideration.
54. TyDeL (unregistered)
The problem with applying scores/rating to technical products is that the technology is always changing. Thunderbolt is a fairly new phone but even still it was released when there weren't really any dual core processor phones out. It may of been a "9" when it was reviewed several months ago, but it would be more of an "8" if it came out today. And that's really the only way you could make scores relevant, if you retro-actively went back and constantly updated ratings with the current technology.
You have to keep in mind the date of the review when you look at ratings.
13. Dark4o90 (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Feb 2011)
one of the best devices ... haha and at the end!! just can't miss to mention iphone
36. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
Good point. Android fans can mention iPhone in almost every comment trying to defame it, but at the moment someone says anything positive about Apple anything, their automatically referred to as a sheep and a troll.
39. Whateverman (Posts: 3189; Member since: 17 May 2009)
I agree with you Darko90. It doesn't upset me to see the ip4 mentioned in an Android review because at this point I expect from PA. I think when you are writing a review you should have a target audience in mind, and mentioning the ip4 on a review that will draw a huge amount of Android fans is kinda like going to Madison Square Garden, grabbing the announcer's mic and screaming "Miami rules"! You gotta expect a few people to say "WTF"! And seriously, at this point EVERYONE knows what an iPhone is. No one needs to be told...well there is also the iPhone! This mention of the ip4 was a shameless plug and you know it, iwebdroidberry7 (I like the name BTW, but you forgot about Symbian) If anyone is reading this article, it's more than likely they are looking for an alternative to iOS, not the other way around.
14. cellphoneuser (unregistered)
Sick and tired of all the best devices coming out on not the best of networks. I'm on Verizon, I'm due for an upgrade, and they keep coming out with crap. Sick of it.
15. sweetlou (unregistered)
great phone, would pick it up tomorrow if it were offered on a better carrier. Why good android phones cant be offered across different carriers bewilders me. Loving the "truly unlimited" plan at tmobile, aka throttled back lol.
25. snowgator (Posts: 3200; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
The HTC Holiday may be the Sensation upcoming on AT&T, only with a 4.5" screen as opposed to a 4.3". Verizon not having a dual core HTC product does seem strange. They are going all in on the Bionic, I guess.
29. Su-Rio (Posts: 51; Member since: 05 May 2011)
not everyone can afford to get an iphone, even less for the coverage of an iphone... i.e. no warranty, expensive hardware to replace, expensive plans, easy to break, and antenna issues that they decline to mention
37. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
I'm pretty sure this phone will either equal or costs more than iPhone.
59. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2942; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
lol you can get an iphone for 50 dollars.
Most high end android phones are 200-300 dollars, which is the same if it not more expensive than the iphone.
People need to realize owning an iphone now does not mean you are rich, it means you own a phone.
31. juiss (unregistered)
so basically this review said nothing, no benchmarks, no numbers, not even a full specification of the phone... all talk.. I hope it gets updated soon, but right now this is not a "review", more like a preview
32. hhaa (unregistered)
I really wanted to get this as i had the original Desire and absolutely love HTC Sense, but decided to go with the Galaxy S2 mainly due to the fact that the S2 has 16GB of internal memory and the Sensation? A mere 1GB, yet I don't even thinks this accounts for the inclusion of the OS.
Come on HTC! Give us more memory.......!
49. alien45 (Posts: 3; Member since: 02 Jun 2011)
I'm a iphone 3gs 16gb user(not a fanboy though). I never own a htc but really like the beauty of sense and freedom of android. I was very excited about the sensation but after watching some review about the performance review and mainly the battery life and internal memory I went for sgs2(probably going to get it tomorrow!). htc's upcoming & rumoured phones r no different in this case. They just want customers to rely solely on memory cards and recharging the battery twice a day, and that really sucks!
58. hhaa (unregistered)
I'm with you on that one, perhaps it was still early back then but when I picked up my Desire it was stunning yet no reviewer really picked up on the memory issue; even now they hardly seem to mention it.
My Desire came with 512MB of ROM, yet after the Android OS is accounted for I'm only left with 136MB!
With apps coming in at 10MB+ each, I managed to fill my Desire up in the first week of getting it!
A majority of apps will by default install to ROM, some may use external memory such as games. Certains apps might not function correctly either if installed to SD card.
For a high end phone you shouldn't really expect much when it comes to battery life and for me as long as it lasts through the working day I'm fine and thankfully both the Desire and S2 seems to do just fine.
Still, I'm quite envious of my girlfriend's iPhone 4 as it lasts well into 2 days from full even though she's constantly playing 'Plants vs Zombies'!
46. Matthew Drouin (unregistered)
I really don't know how this works, let's say I buy one unlocked on ebay for example, will it work on canadian networks ? I don't want to buy one for nothing if it is not going to work, i know they are different but all these frequencies get me lost...
50. alien45 (Posts: 3; Member since: 02 Jun 2011)
I think u mixed up bootloader lock with carrier lock. This phone's bootloader locked means u can't install custom firmwares/roms on this phone and that doesn't have anything to do with the carrier unlock. So if u buy a carrier unlock phone from anywhere its surely gonna work.
55. exo128 (unregistered)
remixfa I've got an iPhone and found this review extremely helpful. I'll be getting this or the S2
|Display||4.3 inches, 540 x 960 pixels (256 ppi) S-LCD|
Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 MSM8260, Dual core, 1200 MHz, Scorpion processor
768 MB RAM
|Size||4.96 x 2.57 x 0.44 inches|
(126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3 mm)
5.22 oz (148 g)
|Battery||1520 mAh, 8.25 hours talk time|