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June 29, 2011

HTC Sensation Review

This is already the 3rd dual-core Android smartphone we’ve reviewed and still the HTC Sensation got me excited as much as the first two did. Check out our full review and verdict on the HTC Sensation after the jump.

HTC has never failed to impress us with their signature handset designs. It’s got the same form factor as the Desire HD, only slimmer and sexier. It doesn’t have a unibody design but that allows you access to user-replaceable batteries.

Here our quick familiarization video of the HTC Sensation:

There are no physical buttons at the front panel, just touch-sensitive icons (same as the Desire HD). Power button is found on the top side along with the 3.5mm audio port. The volume rocker is found on the left side together with the micro-USB port.

At the back is the 8MP camera with dual-LED flash and the SRS speakers. Access to the battery and the SIM card is also from the back panel, split in three plates of varying shades of brown.

The large singular sheet of glass that serves for the display curves inwards along the edges (much like a concave glass). This helps the screen avoid contact with any surface when placed facing down (I normally do that when on a meeting or don’t want to be disturbed by SMS) — and hopefully also avoid possible accidental scratches (though the Gorilla Glass should do its job in that department).

Over-all build and construction is very good, has a bit of a heft to it and not that very slippery on the hands. The display is also almost at the edge (with very thin bezel left) so the screen real estate is maximized. HTC must have looked at the Desire HD’s shortcomings and built the Sensation from there.

And, unlike the relatively low resolution of the Desire HD, the Sensation’s 4.3-inch screen packs 540×960 pixel resolution so the display is more crisp and clear (and you can hardly see the flickering of the pixels in the screen even at very close inspection).

The Super LCD screen is bright and display vivid colors, much like what we’ve seen on the Desire S. It’s not as nice as Super AMOLED but for most of the time, you can’t really see any difference between the two (I’ve observed this with the HTC Desire on SLCD and AMOLED).

The HTC Sensation’s specs are way up there in the smartphone hierarchy, along with the Samsung Galaxy S2 which is its closest competitor.

HTC Sensation specs:
4.3 inches @ 540 x 960 pixels
1.2 GHz dual-core processor
Adreno 220 GPU
Qualcomm MSM 8260 Snapdragon
Gorilla glass display
HTC Sense v3.0 UI
1 GB storage, 768 MB RAM
up to 32GB via microSD, 8GB included
HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, WiFi hotspot
Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP
8MP autofocus camera, dual-LED flash
1080p @ 30fps video, stereo sound recording
GPS with A-GPS support
Li-Ion 1520 mAh
Android 2.3 Gingerbread

One thing that I found a bit inadequate is the internal storage. While most other smartphones of this caliber would come with 8GB or 16GB (up to 32GB in some) internal storage, the HTC Sensation only comes with 1GB. Good thing they included an 8GB microSD card in the box.

Performance of the handset is impressive — apps load faster, screen and navigation is responsive, camera launches very quickly, web browser renders pages fast and the device plays full HD 1080p movies very smoothly.

Our Quadrant benchmark gives the HTC Sensation a total score of 2033. Our SGS2 Quadrant score was 2622 but that was just pre-release model running 1GHz so I’m sure the scores will be higher on the current release model (I’m seeing around 3,207 for other results of SGS2 benchmark).

The HTC Sense 3.0 UI is even spiffier — lots of animation and transition effects, more intuitive and comes with more HTC widgets. The screen un-lock mechanism now involves a ring that you slide up.

The UI also allows for quick access to a maximum of 4 features which you can drag the ring into to instantly activate. Use this for frequently accessed functions like SMS, phone, camera and mail (or some other apps you like).

The Sense UI is undoubtedly the best Android UI we’ve ever used and the HTC Sense 3.0 brings it up a notch, pushing the gap further away from all other Android manufacturers.

The 8MP camera on the HTC Sensation is arguably the best camera we’ve ever used and/or reviewed on any HTC phone. The lens focuses very well, locks on the subject in a jiffy and captures it quite fast. I would not dare say it’s the best but it’s very close to what the iPhone 4 and the Galaxy S2 can get. There’s no dedicated camera here though so using the on-screen button can get a little cumbersome sometimes.

The photos are crisp and the images are well saturated. Let’s just allow the sample photos to speak for themselves, shall we:

Here are sample videos taken using the Sensation. It’s only at 720p (forgot to set it at 1080p, will post more when I can) but that should give you a good idea how good the video recording is.

The speakers at the back of the device does a good job in the sound quality department — the volume range is not too loud but once you activate the SRS Surround Sound, that’s when the sound is more powerful, clean and with solid bass.

Battery life isn’t impressive but if you’ve been using any HTC handset before, you might have gotten used to it. I’m getting between 24 hours to 36 hours on regular use — calls, SMS, Twitter, Foursquare, Dropbox and a bit of browsing over WiFi. The 1520mAh Li-Ion battery is pretty standard and it’s already a known fact that smartphones of this caliber need to be re-charge almost on a daily basis.

The HTC Sensation is definitely a great phone, both specs-wise and design-wise. HTC’s tight integration of hardware and software, especially with HTC Sense, is what separates it from all other Android smartphones out there.

The handset retails for Php31,990 in stores but you should be able to get it as low as Php28,000 in some. The HTC Sensation is on the running as one of the best smartphones for 2011, just like what the HTC Desire did a year ago.

HTC Sensation coming in June at Php30k
HTC Sensation set to launch on June 15
HTC Sensation launched, priced!

64 Responses to “HTC Sensation Review”

  1. JoMi
    Twitter: isp101
    says:

    ****One thing that I have noticed with HTC phones would be the lack of Internal Memory. Great review, tnx for sharing, YugaTech! =)

  2. dan
    Twitter: drapdesigns
    says:

    HTC Sensation vs iPhone 4

    which one? any suggestion?

    • lockex says:

      The HTC Sensation is about twice as powerful as the iPhone 4. It isn’t a fair fight. Wait for the iPhone 5 to get an actual match (though the iPhone would probably take that one by some margin too).

    • jojohudyo says:

      dude., your comparing values education class to your algebra class here…

      to which class do you belong?

      sensation dwarfes the iphone4, and even the iphone 4s will be this september, and iphone 5 will be next year– they will just stand short to the sensation’s remarkable power…life is UNFAIR. STICK TO THAT.

      APPLE SHOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT– BUT their “locked-up” attitude on their IOS devices throws craps to their faces and stunts the potentiality of IOS..
      ios4 is like windows7 phones.. restrictively boring. imagine a smartphone unable to send via bluetooth, a phone you needed to install 3rd party apps to maximize its potential? lame..

      BUT AS I SAY., WE’VE GOT VARIED TASTES..

      IF YOUR AFTER TECHY– CHOOSE SENSATION.,
      IF YOUR AFTER SIMPLICITY, CHOOSE IPHONE..

      IT IS, idiot friendly phone anyway..
      thats the i in IPhone :)

  3. ado says:

    Mr. yuga, napansin ko lang lagi ka nasa car pag may bago kang phone na review…whats up with that? too excited to check out the sexy beasts that you cant wait to go home to take pictures?? or your camera is set up in your car?? hehe

    nice reviews!

  4. Pinoy Android
    Twitter: pinoyandroid
    says:

    HTC Sensation is a great phone, performance wise it is behind the Galaxy S2.

    • jojohudyo says:

      i beg to disagree.,

      AND PLEASE– THIS IS A COMMON FALSE PREDICAMENT ON BENCHMARKS AMONG MOST OF NEWBIES OR PERHAPS IF PINOYANDROID IS ALREADY AN OLD BUDDY, IM CONSIDERING EVEN BRINES….

      what looks good on paper- is another story on real life tests.. have you really compared SGS2 and HTC sensation?

      HTC SENSE IS SUPERSLICK, SGS 2 IS FAST BUT IT TAKES AN EXPERT TO SEE A BIT OF STRUGGLING WHEN NAVIGATING THRU THE UI.. SAMSUNG STRUGGLES OPENING CPU HUNGRY APPS, AN EFFORT JUST SPEWING AIR FOR HTC.. TOUCHWIZ IS SO BORING, I ADVISE A CUSTOM OVERHAUL.SENSE IS SO OUTGOING AND FRESH–IT HAS THIS SOSYALIN VIBE, YUGA, I AGREE WITH THE BEST ANDROID INTERFACE YOU BLURTED…

      IM NOT SAYING SPECS DONT MATTER.ITS A MATTER OF HOW THEY RUN REALTIME..

      HTC LOOKS CAN TROPPLE APPLE TO ITS FEET, SGS IS DEFINITELY LOOKING CHEAP.BUY A CAPDASE OR WATEVER TO HIDE THAT AND VOILA..

      SENSATION, SINCE ACQUISITION HEATS UP WHEN I CHARGE IT, WHEN I PLAY ON IT HD HUNGRY.. WHICH IS ACCEPTABLE… AND MY REVIEW UNIT OF SGS 2- HAS MY TEMPERAMENTAL SIDE EVEN WHEN THINGS ARE NOT STRESSFULLY HIGH–IT OVERHEATS, AT 2 OCCASSIONS ALREADY- AND I DONT KNOW WHY..IT OVERHEATS, NOT IN THE BATTERY, BUT IN THE PHONE’S INNARDS–WHAT A FAIL….

  5. Darksen says:

    @ado nice observation hahaha. I think because tech news or reviews should be posted immediately or else sa ibang site na natin mababasa. Malamang nasa parking lot pa yan si yugatech after nya mag test ng video

  6. Paul says:

    Definitely one of the 2 androids I’m currently choosing from.

    one question: do any of you use portable wifi hotspot /tethering? do globe and smart allow this feature? am clueless on android and want to share my 3g access to my ipad if ever i get this phone. Thanks in advance.

    • karl says:

      yes I’m using wifi tethering on smart. I’m using SGS2 and its so easy to use that feature on my phone. Just one click and my SGS2 becomes a hotspot device.

    • Paul says:

      @karl, thanks for that. am also currently with smart but I was just reading on another forum that smart prohibits tethering on their data plans… so you don’t have any problems with your bills so far? and sgs2 makes wifi tethering really easy?

      If that’s the case I just might take the leap sooner than I thought… I was already looking into getting another plan on globe/sun just for this.

    • jojohudyo says:

      YES,, download a custom ROM,,, its a no brainer dude., i think its already activated with the HTC…. i have used a custom inspire 4g before (desire HD here ) and it worked supercool eh.,

  7. GC says:

    @paul yes you can tether using globe or smart. it’s phone dependent anyway.

    • paul says:

      thanks gc. in the US i think some networks already charge extra for tethering and can somehow control access to this feature. anyway glad to know.

      torn between the sensation or the s2. first android anxiety… =)

    • GC says:

      i’m also torn. but after inquiring with friends, i’m now leaning towards the sensation. i will be canvassing for prices hopefully within the week :)

  8. karl says:

    They said before that HTC Sensation will be more expensive than Samsung Galaxy S II.

    But now HTC Sensation’s is becoming cheaper fast.

    You can buy HTC Sensation with 27k @ CMK, while SGS2’s price stayed d same since day one at 27.8k

    *I wonder why???

  9. Abby
    Twitter: jesuisabby
    says:

    Hello,

    Anybody encountered a touchscreen issue with Sensation? Its quite alarming, I’ve seen a test unit that has this problem, ayaw niya mag spin around. I’m thinking between Desire S and Sensation but I think Sensation is not stable yet.

  10. Steve Watsons says:

    Check out the Nexus Prime pure google experience phone.. at least specs.. dont get this phone it will be blown out of the water by Samsung’s hardware.. htc is slipping lower now. htc use to be the top dog in the android game.. http://goo.gl/5AmNa

  11. Dale says:

    Can anyone help me please, ive just brought a HTC Sensation and i can’t logout of Facebook ive tried and have had no luck if anyone can help me out that would be great. Please leave some points on how to logout thanks.

    • gumburumbu says:

      dale you have to access settings then accounts and sync then select facebook. If you really want to log out you have to remove the account. Hope it helps.

  12. Thank you for this great review, i might use my HTC easily, keep on posting, why you did’nt mentioned about the internal memory of HTC sensation, but great review sir. Thanks YUGA TEch, you’re a pro tech-blogger.

  13. Lilliana says:

    I personally had been hunting for tips for my very
    own website and observed ur blog post, “HTC Sensation Review – YugaTech | Philippines,
    Tech News & Reviews” Sun Shades , do you really care if
    I personally implement several of your own ideas?
    Thanks -Matthew

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