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HTC Sensation XL Review

HTC Sensation XL

Posted: , by Daniel P.



HTC Sensation XL Review
Voice quality is very good in the earpiece, better on the strength front, and a tad less on clarity. The noise-canceling microphones are doing a great job to filter out environmental noise for the receiving end, and only relay our voice.

A 1600mAh battery is rated for nearly 7 hours of talk time in 3G mode, and 460 hours of standby. With average use we managed to get about a day and a half from the handset, which is good for an Android handset with a large screen.


If you have larger hands, and are only looking at the hardware specs, you’ll think that you’ve finally found the fairly compact, slim and affordable Android handset with a huge screen you’ve been waiting for.

Single-core chipset, average pixel density and lack of memory expansion slot should mean a 4.7” screen for the masses, but HTC doesn’t think so. It is priced as much as the high-ends with better (yet smaller) screens, and dual-core chipsets. The bundled premium headphones are not an excuse, as the Sensation XE has them too.

At that price, we would also consider phones with a tad less screen real estate, but better features - like the HTC Sensation XE or the Samsung Galaxy S II. Much cheaper alternative with features similar to the XL is also the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S, which has the smaller 4.2” display but is also way more compact.

In the US, there are also other big-screen alternatives in Android land, such as Galaxy S II variants, or the HTC Vivid, which sport 4.5” displays. We are also near the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus with its 4.65” HD display, that will be the first one to hit with Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

The 4.7” HTC Titan with Windows Phone is worth mentioning, too, since it has almost the same chassis and specs as the Sensation XL, so it’s a matter of personal mobile OS choice.

Software version of the reviewed unit: 1.05.401.4

HTC Sensation XL Video Review:


  • High-quality iBeats headphones
  • Large 4.7” screen
  • New HTC Sense 3.5 is more streamlined and runs great on the single-core chipset


  • Same or higher price as models with better features
  • Low-resolution screen, single-core processor and no memory card slot
  • Mediocre camera and camcorder
  • Power/lock and volume buttons are too flush with the surface, and with very shallow travel
PhoneArena rating:
User rating:
7.45 Reviews

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posted on 09 Nov 2011, 05:18 1

1. Thomas5.3 (Posts: 37; Member since: 30 Oct 2011)

this design in combination with the rezound specs would be perfect for me.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 05:42

2. u-suck-more (Posts: 529; Member since: 26 Aug 2011)

At first glance, the front of this phone looks like the LG Optimus Black white color

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 06:40 4

3. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)

PROS: Good looking, Great Design, Better Screen Size............................

CONS: Everything else...................

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 06:46 1

4. buggerrer (Posts: 306; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)

how is the screen ? if you comare it to Super AMOLED plus ?

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 07:10 1

5. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)

it's super lcd 800x480.. it's like an EVO 4G screen, streched to 4.7".

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 11:49

8. buggerrer (Posts: 306; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)

I know its a SLCD .. but many people said it got a gorgeous screen .. its like they developed the SLCD technology and made it brighter and more colorful like the Super AMOLED

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 07:26 2

6. som (Posts: 768; Member since: 10 Nov 2009)

Giant phone Galaxy Note is better than HTC XL.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 07:58 1

7. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)

not even worth the comparison..

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 12:11 1

9. mico85 (Posts: 4; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

Hi, there

I really don´t understand this guys who reviewed the Htc Sensation Xl. How is it possible the with the given specs of the 8mp cam with betters lens and sensor be so awful at taking photos, even inferior to the 8mp cam of the Sensation Xe without the upgraded lens and sensor?!?

What´s even more mysterious, is that in any other review of the Htc Sensation Xl, all reviewers state that the camera is top notch, only the guys here in phonearena think otherwise. Just read the recent review from "Recombu" and is completely different from the one posted today from Phonearena with such negative aspects of the phone.

Can someone enlighten me? Wich reviews are right or wrong? Is it true that the Htc Sensation Xl camara is weaker than the one in Htc Sensation Xe?

Can anyone confirm Phonearena claims? Because I would like to have this phone, and if this is true, i may prefer swapping it for an Htc Sensation XE!!!

posted on 10 Nov 2011, 05:12

15. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 258; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)

We have included full-size, untouched photos, straight from the XL's camera. We don't even add our watermark logo, so they are not edited in any way.

All samples are taken in "full auto" unless mentioned

Let you be the judge.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 12:27

10. Galaxys2...R (Posts: 46; Member since: 04 Oct 2011)

I have played with this phone today for a while and depsite the screen resolution it really isnt that bad tbh and I am getting this phone over the XE version because I like the the big screen its nice.

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 12:38

11. mico85 (Posts: 4; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

I like it too, very much, the build quality, best htc phone to date, with the Solo Beats Bundle, very nice, great screen for its size, but if phonearena claims about photo quality are reliable, thats very annoying for me, because I can overlook the fact that the resolution is low and dont have micro sd slot, but if the camera is weak too and video footage is mediocre compared with the Sensation XE, I really prefer the second, which is good looking too, do you understand my point of view " Galaxys2...R ?!?

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 13:53

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

Where is the Titan review if you don't mind me asking? And with this and the Titan being almost the same, would you all please do a comparison video with them?

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 14:01

13. mico85 (Posts: 4; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

Spec wise, Xl and Titan are the same, even more in the camera department, maybe Phonearena should explain why the review unit of the sensation xl, they claim in the review as a retail one, how on heart can produce so bad quality photos and video capture? Cos the photos are all washed out, full of noise, video also the same, and as Htc said when of the announcement of the Sensation Xl, that is was their best camera ever produced to date, so this seem all weird. Maybe phonearena messed up with the configuration of the camera, but the fact is that the results are worse than the one in Sensation XL based on the review of Phonearena!!! I don´t understand how and why can this be possible!!!

posted on 09 Nov 2011, 17:35

14. username (Posts: 25; Member since: 05 Nov 2011)

bring it stateside, and you got yourself a deal!

posted on 10 Nov 2011, 06:15

16. mico85 (Posts: 4; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

Phonearena, I compared your review on the Sensation Xl with the one on Sensation Xl, and I must say now that some photos in the XE are worse than the one´s on Xl based in the two reviews you have made on both handsets, but I think Is a bold claim, saying the Xl cam is medicore, when I see poor results either in the XE review, and the 1080p footage of the XE is even jerkier than the one presented in the review of the XL. You claim in the Xe review that the camera could be better, when I see poor results either like the XL, even worse in some photos, and than when we come across the Xl review, you say Cam is mediocre, Video is medicore, you\'re overreacting. I urge you, to test another retail model, tune the configurations a bit, and take photos again, because i saw in other reviews with factual proof as well, that the quality is not the one presented in your reviews, is way better. Maybe the unit you tested has some sort of defect, I think you must me sure of your claims regarding the camera, because that can mislead many buyers who are eager to buy this new beautiful machine, I just want the truth, nothing more.

posted on 11 Nov 2011, 02:31

17. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)

Instead of releasing a new phone every week with a slightly different feature, why not release them altogether in one package?
I mean in the last like 5 weeks there have been the;

1. HTC Amaze 4G - Great camera
2. HTC Sensation XE - Nice design and colours
3. HTC Sensation XL - Nice big screen and good looks
4. HTC Rhyme - Thunderbolt for the ladies
5. HTC Design 4G - Ok midranger which no one cares about
6. HTC Vivid - Nice video recording!
7. HTC Rezound- Great screen but played out design

If you guys pay attention you will notice that HTC is releasing their phones in only 2 form factors, like a Sensation 4G (Amaze, Sensation XE/XL) or like an EVO 3D (Rhyme, Design 4G, Vivid and Rezound.

I really don't see the need to release either the Rhyme, Design 4G, Vivid, or Sensation XL.

This thing is the exact same as the XE but more feminine, with a bigger screen but lowly single-core processor.

4.3'' is enough for anyone if you think about it it is 84% of the size of this screen (I calculated)

And WVGA? wtf they can release phones with 720p screens and this one is WVGA? They could have at least made it qHD.

This thing has a ppi of around 200 which is really poor for a hign-end handset.

On the good side this looks as if it can do photos pretty well, hurray!

posted on 13 Nov 2011, 09:15

18. bubble (Posts: 1; Member since: 13 Nov 2011)

Check out my early review of this phone on my blog:


Lots of info and pictures :)


posted on 13 Nov 2011, 17:18

19. adzadz (Posts: 3; Member since: 08 Aug 2011)

I only just recently added this phone to my budding collection :)

The only things that I could add to this review (which is pretty spot on) is that some international markets are not getting the phone with the in-ear earbuds but Solo Beats by Dr. Dre, which is what I recieved - these are a completely different beast to the in-ear buds you guys reviewed. Also I was sure that I read somewhere that the Beats customisation was not just Software based - but was also mixed with hardware more deeply than the XE???

Overall I'm quite happy with the sounds produced - using it as more of a music/multimedia player while my GSII remains my main phone

posted on 10 Mar 2012, 08:08

21. chaki- (Posts: 1; Member since: 10 Mar 2012)

Well, i wanna car that can cook, do laundry, do bl**jobs and etc..... Guys come on! Thats a phone. If you like it you buy it. I had nokia N8, Iphone 4, SE Vivaz and many others. For android i was excited and took the time to see everything thats on the market. Well at first wanted to byu a Samsung Galaxy S2, but there where countless software boundries that i didnt like. Always was some problem that occured. Yes the HTC Sens XL is not the best but hey they are like laptops, every month comes something new out. For pics i have digital camera, for video i have pc and for fun on the way i have the HTC. Playing games on big screen is superb. Watching TV stream, great. Listen to great music when do exercise, excellent! If i listen to all the reviwes i will never find something good. And probably never buy a smartphone.......

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HTC Sensation XL

HTC Sensation XL

OS: Android 2.3.5 2.3.4
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display4.7 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (199 ppi) S-LCD
Camera8 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon S2, Single core, 1500 MHz
0.75 GB RAM
Size5.20 x 2.78 x 0.39 inches
(132 x 70.7 x 9.9 mm)
5.73 oz  (162 g)
Battery1600 mAh, 11.83 hours talk time

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