HTC Sensation Review
The HTC Sensation will be offered by T-Mobile in the U.S. as HTC Sensation 4G, starting June 15.


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.

HTC Sensation 360-degrees View:



1. desire unregistered

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

2. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 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: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 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..

48. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 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: Jan 17, 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: Apr 13, 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: Mar 05, 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: 174; Member since: May 27, 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: Jan 17, 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: Apr 27, 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: Apr 27, 2011

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

26. iwebdroidberry7

Posts: 230; Member since: Jan 17, 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: Dec 16, 2010

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

43. jrocka01

Posts: 19; Member since: Apr 27, 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: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 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: Apr 27, 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: Dec 09, 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: Mar 05, 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: Jan 17, 2011

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

22. jrocka01

Posts: 19; Member since: Apr 27, 2011

That's a load of S%^T!!! There are no comparisons in the iPhone 4 review.

24. jrocka01

Posts: 19; Member since: Apr 27, 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: Dec 09, 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: Dec 16, 2010

Much agreed. The slightest mention of the iPhone means you're a mindless Apple sheep. Seriously?
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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