HTC Sensation XL hands-on: First look
HTC Sensation XL hands-on
According to HTC, the Sensation XL comes with even deeper Beats integration than the Sensation XE. Extending the audio enhancements to games and movies as well, HTC has made sure that the Beats audio improves the overall sonic experience and not just the music player.
HTC will be offering a limited edition Sensation XL package, which will come with the White Solo Beats headphones included in the retail. We are not sure what kind of premium will be charged for that limited edition, but we really doubt it will come cheap.
More often though, the smartphone will come with the UrBeats model that we saw announced with the Sensation XE. There will be a white version of the UrBeats headphones as well and since that will be the only Sensation XL color version available at launch, we suspect that will be the one included in most retail packages.
Leaving the audio enhancements aside, we are finally able to notice that the HTC Sensation XL is one sweet-looking droid. You really can't go wrong with such huge screen on the front and aluminum on the back. The 9.9mm slim waistline benefits looks big time, too.
The Sensation XL is said to have unibody design, but just like some of the other recent HTC smartphones this is not entirely true. It's the Sensation kind of unibody, where you can slide out the back panel and not the proper kind, like the one used in the HTC Legend, for example.
Still, this doesn't take away anything from the Sensation XL excellent looks - you probably aren't even going to be able to tell that the back is removable at first glance.
Compared to the Sensation XE, the Sensation XL does feel larger, but it's not as overwhelming as the 4.7" screen might suggest. The XL is not meant for the tightest pockets, but it's not impossible to carry either.
When held in hand the Sensation XL does feel pretty heavy, but at 162.5 grams that's hardly a surprise. That's not necessarily bad, though as the heavy body give this solid impression that you cannot help but love.
At the back of the XL we found the other bit that HTC put some serious work into. The 8 megapixel snapper comes with wide-angle lens with an aperture of F/2.2. The bright F/2.2 lens should be able to collect about 70% more light than its conventional F/2.8 competitors. Plus the Sensation XL packs a backlit sensor, which improves light gathering even further so it should be doing quite well in the dark.
There's also a new panoramic photo mode, which we tried and found pretty cool. You can still see the occasional artifacts, where individual shots meet, but it’s way harder to notice than usual.
The video recording might not be too impressive at 720p@30fps, but the Sensation XL does stereo sound recording in videos, which is still a rarity among smartphones. And when it's not busy capturing movies, the second microphone is used for noise cancelling so your call quality should be excellent at all times.
Skip to the next page for our impressions of the HTC Sensation XL software package and a short hands-on video.