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HTC Sensation Review

HTC Sensation 4G 9

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HTC Sense 3.0 isn’t anything revolutionary, instead offering multiple improvements, not least of all in the form of an entirely redrawn UI and an intelligent lock screen. We have to hand it to HTC: it’s only been a few months since its last UI update, and already we’re seeing another. This approach of incrementally updating coupled with HTC’s recent announcement that it will unlock its bootloaders in response to pressure from users has left their brand image looking pretty fantastic right about now.

The HTC Sensation has HTC Sense 3.0 on top of Gingerbread - HTC Sensation Review
The HTC Sensation has HTC Sense 3.0 on top of Gingerbread - HTC Sensation Review
The HTC Sensation has HTC Sense 3.0 on top of Gingerbread - HTC Sensation Review
The HTC Sensation has HTC Sense 3.0 on top of Gingerbread - HTC Sensation Review

The HTC Sensation has HTC Sense 3.0 on top of Gingerbread


The redrawn UI sits on top of Gingerbread and carries the premium feel from the construction across to the interface. From a design perspective, HTC Sense 3.0 is so considered, elegant and cohesive, that it’s on another level to any custom UI we’ve seen. Each widget now has a silky smooth 3D transition when swiping the homescreen, so the layers of the widget subtly separate. Widgets are pin sharp and there are some really attractive new ones, such as the photo grid (gallery) widget, a huge improvement over the static photo-frame. If you're liking the idea of renting movies on the fly, the Watch widget, gives you quick access to HTC’s movie rental service. The 7 homescreens are also now on a revolving carousel system, so the last leads straight back to the first, and all with some rather slick SPB like carousel visuals in the process.

The widgets on the homescreen - HTC Sensation Review
The widgets on the homescreen - HTC Sensation Review
The widgets on the homescreen - HTC Sensation Review
The widgets on the homescreen - HTC Sensation Review

The widgets on the homescreen


The lock screen is also a definite improvement, with a ring in the bottom of the screen and four application icons just above. Drag a shortcut down into the ring and you will unlock your phone straight in that application, or just drag the ring up to unlock where you left off. There are also personalizations you can apply to your lock screen, the most obvious being selecting your shortcut applications, or going further and selecting your lock screen background. Your options are:

  • standard wallpaper
  • photo album
  • friend stream (in which you can drag an update into the ring to open that up)
  • weather
  • stocks
  • clock

The lock screen of the HTC Sensation can be customized - HTC Sensation Review
The lock screen of the HTC Sensation can be customized - HTC Sensation Review
The lock screen of the HTC Sensation can be customized - HTC Sensation Review
The lock screen of the HTC Sensation can be customized - HTC Sensation Review

The lock screen of the HTC Sensation can be customized


Suffice to say, similar lock screens can be installed by 3rd party means, but that’s the beauty of HTC Sense, as it matures it aggregates a number of awesome features into one complete experience, fresh out of the box.

Aspects that were overhauled in HTC Sense 2.1 haven’t seen any real changes, but suffice to say, operate smoothly with a staggered app drawer and quick settings and recent application shortcuts in the pull-down notifications tab.

Notifications - HTC Sensation Review
Quick settings - HTC Sensation Review

Notifications

Quick settings



The overall impression is one of seamless fluidity. Thanks to the 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon chipset, there isn’t slowdown or lag, and while loading times are occasionally found when widgets need to refresh, even these are minimal. The interface of the HTC Sensation therefore offers more than just Android, expanding functionality and ease of use out of the box thanks to Sense 3.0.

Of course, HTC's Sense 3.0 UI on top of Android delivers a fantastic messaging experience as well. When we couple the outstanding HTC QWERTY keyboard with the Sensation's giant 4.3" screen, it indeed makes for a compelling texting solution, when in landscape mode, that is. Email is as easy to set as it is on every other high-end Android smartphone out there - just input your username and password for the popular services, while custom accounts will require you to enter additional details. The Gmail app is of course very good, offering loads of options for its users.

72 Comments
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posted on 01 Jun 2011, 09:36 2

1. desire (unregistered)


so it means it's better than galaxy s2 for the normal consumers and the masses...!!

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 09:58 4

2. snowgator (Posts: 3601; 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.)

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 03:20

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.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 07:12 1

42. remixfa (Posts: 14255; 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
screen
performance tests
battery
customization/rooting
camera software.

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..

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 13:09

48. LionStone (Posts: 753; 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?!"

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 14:16

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.

posted on 30 Jul 2011, 18:40

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.

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 09:59

3. Your name here (unregistered)


I am so gonna get this phone!... I get excited only looking at it.

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 10:02

4. seeds (Posts: 48; Member since: 13 Apr 2011)


what about bootloader ?
locked or not ?
up there just said unlocled for sammy

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 03:27

41. Evolution (unregistered)


The bootloader is locked on this device.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 14:20

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?

posted on 30 Jul 2011, 16:07

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.

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 10:15 9

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!

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 10:20 3

6. xenover (Posts: 174; 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"

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 14:14 1

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?

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 14:23 5

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?

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 14:33 3

23. jrocka01 (Posts: 19; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)


All they mention in the i4 review is screen size differences.

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 15:45 5

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

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 22:13 1

34. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)


You speak truth. Let's see how many thumbs up you get.

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 09:24

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.

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 23:05 2

38. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; 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?

posted on 02 Jun 2011, 09:28 2

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?

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 10:27 3

7. john (unregistered)


apple brainwashed him to like apple product till dead, wake up pa

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 10:39 5

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.

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 11:07 7

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!!

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 14:13 4

19. iwebdroidberry7 (Posts: 230; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)


How DARE you speak with any logic at all on PhoneArena?!!!

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 14:26 2

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.

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 14:37

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.

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 18:11 2

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.

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 22:14

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?

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HTC Sensation 4G

HTC Sensation 4G

OS: Android 4.0.3 2.3.4 2.3
view full specs
Display4.3 inches, 540 x 960 pixels (256 ppi) S-LCD
Camera8 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon S3, Dual-core, 1200 MHz, Scorpion processor
0.75 GB RAM
Size4.96 x 2.57 x 0.44 inches
(126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3 mm)
5.22 oz  (148 g)
Battery1520 mAh, 8.25 hours talk time

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