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.