HTC Sensation 4G Specs Review

Hardware and Multimedia

The dual-core chipset in the HTC Sensation 4G is of the third generation in Qualcomm's Snapdragon family. We've been hearing about this MSM8260 chipset being shipped to manufacturers since last June. Since it usually takes six to eight months before manufacturers test the chipset, and put it in production devices, it's normal that we are just now having a handset that is about to be released with it. The third generation is both produced with the efficient 45nm manufacturing process, and having two cores humming with 1.2GHz each.

Let’s not forget, however, that each Scorpion core in the dual-core Snapdragon chipset is still heavily-modified Cortex-A8 design, not the more advanced Cortex-A9 that the others are sporting, so we'll save judgment before a retail version is measured against its peer group with more than one CPU core.

We are delighted to see, however, that this dual-core Snapdragon has other virtues that make it unique. First off, it is a true system-on-a-chip, with baseband connectivity radio (14.4Mbits download speeds in the Sensation 4G case), and all other radios tacked on in one complete package, which should make it a more energy-efficient choice.

This Snapdragon is also the first crop from Qualcomm that has Netflix streaming support hardwired into the chipset, optimized codecs and all. “Snapdragon processors are designed to deliver dynamic performance and media protection features in a turnkey package, allowing the devices they power to more easily pass through the approval process required for Netflix certification. Additionally, Netflix video decoding is handled by highly efficient dedicated hardware, extending battery life and improving picture quality”, said the presser. This should finally allow for a decent Netflix streaming app on an Android handset, like what was demoed with the LG Revolution back at MWC this year.

Other perks include the Scalado Camera Framework, an imaging technology tailored specifically to work with Qualcomm's MSM8x60 chipset. The HTC Sensation 4G obviously employs Scalado's Zero Shutter Lag enhancement, since upon unveiling the new Sense UI 3.0, HTC said shot-to-shot lag has practically been eliminated, and you can capture the next image instantly.

This camera framework also allows you to do other neat things, thanks to all that dual-core might - when shooting group portraits, you can use Scalado's Rewind application, which lets you pick face expressions of your objects on different photos, and combine them all in one single perfect shot, among other possibilities.

And, of course, thanks to the dual-core chipset, the HTC Sensation 4G's 8MP camera shoots  1080p (Full HD) video with 30fps, and with stereo sound, similar to the Samsung Galaxy S II. You can see samples of said videos with a prototype HTC Sensation here - white balance and exposure adjustments are a bit slow to react while panning around, but the quantity of detail caught is just amazing for a phone camera in Full HD, and the colors have enhanced contrast to them, which most people will find appealing. Bear in mind that in the retail versions things might be improved even further. HTC is usually delivering average results with the camera sensors on even its best phones, so the Sensation 4G might be the turning point. Have a look at a video sample with the pre-production version of an HTC Sensation below:



The other notable hardware features are the 768MB of RAM (again, nothing different than the rest of the high-end HTC handsets), 14.4Mbps HSDPA downloads, and 1520mAh battery. The Samsung Galaxy S II slightly beats it on all counts here, but the Sensation 4G overcomes the T-Mobile G2x's specs.


HTC Sense 3.0


Starting off with the lock screen on the HTC Sensation 4G, you will notice that it now allows you to pin photos or various widgets, for example the weather or FriendStream ones, to it, as well as up to four app shortcuts. Thus you will be able to launch your most used apps, and have an instant glimpse at the weather situation or your friend's Facebook updates, without even unlocking the phone.


The homescreens have also received a new 3D transitional animation and endless carousel, so you can swirl through screens, widgets and shortcuts, floating around, until you find what you are looking for. Speaking of eye-candy, the Weather widget now occupies the whole screen, and those 3D effects we mentioned, are now dispersed throughout the main menu as well.

HTC has included its own productivity goodies in Sense 3.0, like a video editor, task manager, support for Wi-Fi printing, and HTC Trace, a Swype-like text entry method. The limit on tabs you can have open simultaneously in the browser, has also been removed. Social networking integration has been deepened, with even the ability to see if the friend that is calling you has a birthday today, if you have synced your Facebook account.

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With HTC Sense 3.0 the firm introduces HTC Watch – a one stop shop for multimedia downloads, be it music, movies or TV series, taking on everyone else who has its own store, like Apple or Samsung.

We don’t know the prices in there yet, so don’t get overly excited about this one. It might turn out with pricing more akin to Samsung Media Hub, which also offers movies and TV series, but they don't come cheap.

The next improvement is that the Sense UI now lives up to its name, as it uses the information from the phone's sensors intelligently, to know if the handset is in a pocket or a purse, and ring louder, until you take it out, then the ringer diminishes volume.

Conclusion

The best take from this preliminary specs review of the HTC Sensation 4G is that it is future-proof, and not only because it has a dual-core chipset, but also since the screen is with the largest resolution of all 4.3” phone displays out there. It is a strong package also with the other goodies like hardware Netflix streaming support, the Scalado camera framework, and the newest Sense 3.0 – all these features combined will keep it relevant at least until next year, and that’s an eternity in Androidland this day and age.

Related phones

Sensation 4G
  • Display 4.3" 540 x 960 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S3, Dual-core, 1200 MHz
  • Battery 1520 mAh(6.66h 3G talk time)

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11 Comments

1. msa1988

Posts: 418; Member since: Mar 30, 2010

Looks exactly the same compared to other HTC phones. Shocker.

4. snowgator

Posts: 3617; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

I agree that all HTC phones look the same, but would that keep you away from a device with 4G, dual core, improved UI, smooth running, vibrant screen, and great multimedia features from a manufacturer at the top of the quality food chain? I hope this thing is a runaway hit for T-Mobile. It is as close to future proof as you can get, considering how fast the tech changes in the mobile industry.

5. msa1988

Posts: 418; Member since: Mar 30, 2010

To be honest, yes. 4G is important, yes, but nothing else really is. It is possible for phones to come out and have all these features AND to have a different feel to them. There is seriosuly no difference betwee, the EVO, this, and all the other HTC high end phones that are about to come out. If HTC wants to capture the attention to anyone other than "geeks" looking for specs and only specs, then they are gonna have to make a powerful phone that actually looks good as well...

6. snowgator

Posts: 3617; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

HTC is showing record profits every quarter, increasing their sales each new set of devices they put out. These handsets appeal to a wide range of consumers, from "geeks" to the average Joe. The Sense UI makes wonderful use of the powerful Android OS, without overpowering it and adding useless steps. I agree a lot of these stats don't mean a lot to some people, but they put enough on them to appeal to most everyone. I do agree dual core is not important now, but the next Generation of Droid OS is coming, and it will be important then. I can respect totally your opinion that HTC is taking the easy way out by not adding some flare to different devices (kinda agree, actually), I just don't think the average consumer cares once the phone is in their hands. HTC makes a good product and, hopefully, the Sensation continues that.

3. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

But they aren't exactly the same soo...

7. BlynkOfAnEye

Posts: 5; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

Arg, come to Verizonnnnnnnnn.... :(

8. luis_lopez_351

Posts: 951; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

Yes, T-Mobile, yes!!!

9. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

Looking very nice, wish it was as slim as the galaxy s2 with the sensation build...ordered the s2 the lightweight and slim designs makes Me think it will feel smaller than it really is...alwayz thort 4.3inch was 2 big until i held the s2...thats just me...cant wait till thursday js wang to replace my ip4

10. Zorodroid unregistered

The best Android phone with 1080p video

11. anaheim unregistered

I hope its not THAT heavy.. but I like heavy better than Toy-Light, like SGS 2. SGS 2 would be perfect, were it not for the steep price (higher than iphone 4's actually), and the WVGA resolution (so last year's). At $900 a pop, I would buy SGS 2 ONLY if it has qHD resolution, coupled with dual-core. As it is, the Samoled+ is the only attraction it offers, and it is not THAT good at all. LCD would do just fine, actually. And the BRICK DESIGN is too blocky for my taste (it looks too much like my Galaxy Ace, actually). Atleast my Ace has a silver bezel so it looks stylish; ironically, the $900-SGS 2 is all plastic, front and back, and comes only in pure black.. talk about "looking cheap" but costing a fortune ;( As for the much-celebrated re-sizing of widgets, well, moto-blur has that too, and I dont find it very fascinating. If SGS 2 added DUAL LEDs, now that would be more interesting (and practical) than toying with widget sizes.. My conclusion: SGS 2 is NOT WORTH my $900.. not even by a long shot. So, I recommend the HTC Sensation -- best dual-core there is for 2011. Makes more "sense" to own than say, SGS 2, or LG 2X.

12. chrisnetwork unregistered

Wow, HTC has once again produced another outstanding devise! I have been researching a new phone to get as I’m eligible for an upgrade soon. The HTC Sense might just be a perfect fit for my wants and needs. I would have to say I’m pretty impressed. The technology seems to on point; the size and quality incredible. This of course is no surprise coming from HTC. One great thing about Android phones in general is their apps. One of the first apps I will download upon purchase will DISH Remote Access application. Using this app and my 722k receiver with a Sling Adapter; I will not only be able to stream live TV but my DVR recordings to my phone as well! I recently participated in the Free Sling Adapter offer and was eligible to receive a $99 prepaid MasterCard with the purchase. All I had to do was go to dish.com and fill out the rebate form in order to receive my prepaid MasterCard. As a DISH Network customer and employee, I have been using the app on my current phone for some time now and it is one that I think will be perfect for the Sense!http://goo.gl/Qsggz

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