HTC Sensation review: Front-page stuff

GSMArena team, 10 June 2011.

Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

Introduction

HTC burst right onto the dual-core scene with a phone that's set to be an Android sensation. They've gone all out with the design of that one - from screen, through camera to the powerful chipset. No cutting corners, no compromise on features.


HTC Sensation official photos

HTC has a flair for big names but Sensation sure is something else. The name simply sticks. We're talking a monster 4.3" S-LCD screen with qHD resolution (540 x 960). If the bump in resolution doesnít mean much to you, picture this Ė the Sensationís 4.3-inch screen has the same pixel density as a much smaller 3.7" screen with regular WVGA resolution.

The 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon chipset with the new Adreno 220 graphics bodes no good for rivals. But hey, that's the news we've been waiting for. A battle is brewing and dual-core domination is the prize.

Before we let the excitement of benchmarks cloud our minds, let's get the laundry list out of the way. Here's what the HTC Sensation has to offer and what didnít work all that well.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G support
  • 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • 4.3" 16M-color capacitive LCD touchscreen of qHD resolution (540 x 960 pixels); Gorilla glass
  • Android OS v2.3 Gingerbread with HTC Sense 3.0
  • 1.2 GHz dual Scorpion CPUs, Adreno 220 GPU, Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260 chipset
  • 768 MB RAM and 1 GB storage for apps
  • 8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash; face detection and geotagging
  • 1080p and 720p video recording @ 30fps
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • microSD slot up to 32GB (8GB card included)
  • Accelerometer, proximity sensor and an auto-brightness sensor
  • Front facing camera with video calls
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v3.0
  • MHL TV-out (requires MHL-to-HDMI adapter)
  • Smart dialing, voice dialing
  • DivX/XviD video support
  • HTC Locations app
  • HTCSense.com integration
  • HTC Portable Hotspot
  • Ultra-fast boot times (if you donít remove battery)
  • Office document editor

Main disadvantages

  • Serious "death grip" issue with Wi-Fi radio
  • Less than impressed with the screen's outdoor performance
  • Performance not quite as convincing as other dual-cores
  • No dedicated camera key
  • microSD is under the battery cover
  • No unibody construction as advertised

You'll notice that "unibody" is not on the feature list - the back cover is certainly interesting but this is by no means a unibody. Let's not let that sully the great impression though - the Sensation is one of the most powerful droids around and it's on the shortlist if you're looking for the ultimate in smartphones.

The 8MP camera with 1080p video recording begs for a camera shootout. And the high-res S-LCD unit calls for another display test. So that's a lot of testing we have ahead of us.

HTC Sensation HTC Sensation HTC Sensation HTC Sensation
The HTC Sensation at ours

But before we get busy, we need to give credit where it's due. HTC have been perfecting their interface designs for years and the latest Sense UI 3.0 is laced with equal amounts of useful features and eye candy.

Update, 02.08.2011: We've added a video summary of this review in the conclusion - check it out.

With all the tests and benchmarks that await us, we just have to let the HTC Sensation out of the box. That's exactly what we do on the next page and then go on to check out the hardware.

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Reviews > HTC Sensation review: Front-page stuff