HTC Sensation Review

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.



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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64 Responses

  1. i like the features, very nice.

  2. MyMaria says:

    WOW! Looks really good and performs very nicely, too!

  3. Zo says:

    i agree with Yuga, the 1 gig internal memory is the only bummer for me. But again that’s just my opinion. But internal memory aside, this phone is a keeper :)

  4. Jammic says:

    Very nice, . .

  5. allan says:

    definitely better looking than the sgs2. but for the specs, it’s the sgs2. but i would rather get this, htc really looks good.

  6. Erin says:

    What about the reported “deathgrip” problem that allegedly kills the wifi signal if you hold it in a particular way.

    • GeN_GiM says:

      Yeah, I heard about that too. GSMArena was able to detect that problem where holding the unit somewhere on the top part (I think) of the back panel makes your WiFi signal to drop to low or zero. This is almost inevitable as you would have to put your phone on landscape mode for widescreen mode while browsing.
      Maybe GSMArena’s unit was defective? I dunno. We have to check Yuga’s unit review as it might depend on the unit for a region.

  7. hybridstar says:

    I got this one and I’m quite disappointed with the battery life and 1gb *only* RAM.
    I wanna test out Galaxy S2, maybe trade-it it.

    • Antony says:

      I think the RAM is 768MB. The 1GB is the storage capacity.

      And usually, with this size of screen, the battery life is relatively short. Even with sgs2.

    • manoei says:

      dude go ahead. i wonder who ends up laughing in the end. :) if you do some research you would see that the SGS2 actually has more hardware issues than this phone.

      Sensation user here and I can say that the death grip issue is the ONLY ISSUE I can say about this phone. and the death grip only involves Wi-Fi. not the cellular signal.

  8. josh says:

    hi GUYS OFF TOPIC LANG!:)

    Can u help me kung hindi scam tong site na to?

    tcseller.com based sila sa china then factory prices super baba eh!

    Thanks! bibili ksi ako ng iphone 4 or torch eh! SUPER THANKS!:D

    • Pier says:

      Kung bibili ka ng phone na being sold in China, mas maiging dun mo na lang bilhin. Hindi yan aabot sa yo kung ipapadala mo lang. Ide-declare lang sa customs na lost item yan (pero malamang napakinabangan na nila yun).

    • Windmill says:

      mukang ok naman feedback ng ibang tao sa tcseller? try mo kuya bumili, balitaan mo kami. heheh :)

      http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110612051551AAlz8z6

      http://ask.alibaba.com/Q/809302926-About-TCsellercom-.html

    • mikey says:

      smells like scam. here are a few ways to determine if a site is a scam or not:

      >check the alexa ranking on alexa.com, if the rank is anywhere from “no rank data” to 1 million, then the site is not trustworthy. a high number rank basically means that it is not registered on alexa or that it does not get visitors. for reference, facebook is rank 2 and this blog is rank ~28000. personally i consider anything below rank 200k to be reliable.

      >inconsistent IP address. send them an email and wait for a response. when received, open the message properties and look for “X-Originating IP” (google if you don’t know how to do this). then check. if the seller claims to be from china like tcseller but his IP says he is from the US then it is obviously a scam.

      >no results on google. it’s always good to double check what others have to say, so you could try searching for a site’s reputation. i usually check by ” reviews.” no results=maybe brand new website=untrustworthy=high possibility of scam. ofc if there are bad reviews then it is a scam. sometimes there are fake positive reviews, it takes experience to tell real from fake apart.

      >gut instinct. if it’s too good to be true it probably isn’t.

      that’s all i could think of for now. if you go through with that site, i could predict what would happen. actually 2 things could happen. you pay for it, then 1)they take your money and you never hear from them again and 2)they give you a “tracking number” that’s either fake or when you receive it it’s a full box of magazines. this is what i hear from everyone who’s been scammed by “chinese wholesalers.” anyway, for those too lazy to read the whole thing, the verdict: tcseller.com = SCAM.

    • josh says:

      HI thank you sa mga reply:D… nag email ako skanila pero wala pa rng RESPONSE eh sguro SCAM nga! PERO may TRACKING NUMBER then pag chineck mo un sa DHL (FOR EXAMPLE)MAY RESULTS NAMAN NA DELIVERED NA EH:D GULO hehe

  9. adam says:

    Ganda sana nito di lang kaya ng budget.

  10. Antony says:

    “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 getting around 3,207 for that one).”

    Which phone does the score 3207 belongs? Because in gsmarena.com, it is as follows:
    htc: 2357
    sgs2: 3538
    lg2x: 2635

    same test, which is quadrant.

  11. razorous says:

    How bout the cameras dual led flash? How does this compare with SGS2 flash? From SE K800 to N8 to ? I’m not sure if I’m going to get better pictures at low light conditions compared to my old phone cameras with xenon flash

    • zymesh says:

      Xenon will always be better than LEDs on low light conditions. I have a N8 and it takes breath taking images.

  12. Tc says:

    To good to be true tcseller.com?
    Grabe price nila haha

  13. Xallisto says:

    I’ve also been reading about problems on unlocking the screen with the ‘ring’. Anyone got first hand experience on that?

  14. Bimboy says:

    No mention of the Death Grip Again? just like the Desire S Review, why do you keep on omitting this factor? Its for consumers to know such bugs, if you didn’t experience it, might as well assure the readers. Just my 2 cents.

    No offense meant, maybe you got lucky with both Handsets(Desire S and Sensation)? I tried 4 Desire S and they got the Death Grip, 1 actually disconnected. Tried 2 Sensation and they Both got it, those 2 I’ve tried got the 2 Bronze plate near the WiFi Antenna. Kindly confirm if you got the Model with the 3 Bronze plate near the Antenna(maybe that’s a factor.)

    Peace :)

  15. Ads says:

    hi Mr. Yuga please comment on the legibility of the screen outdoors. my job requires me to be always out in the sun. i love the design of HTC but their screen are washed out in direct sunlight. i will upgrade to Sensation if this problem has been finally corrected. hope to get your comment on this

    • yuga says:

      @ads – I would say it’s fair to good since you are able to adjust brightness to maximum. However, it really depends on the brightness of ambient light. If it’s high-noon, I don’t think any smartphone screen can stand that.

    • zymesh says:

      Get a phone with AMOLED. The Nokias Clear Black Display was almost at Par or better than Samsungs Super Amoled display.

      LCD screens will always be washed out. dont get an LCD screen.

      My n8 is visible on direct sunlight on afternoons and the brightness was not yet on max but the screen brightness pumps up on bright conditions and dims on low light conditions. I set it on 1/4 bar.

  16. it’s still quite expensive. i’ll wait for the price to go down. but as an HTC Desire user, i have no doubts this phone will also deliver

  17. Kira says:

    Probably, what should HTC focus is their pricing. Some would tend to choose Iphone just by adding few more thousands.

  18. GC says:

    Window shopped at MOA this late afternoon. The cheapest i saw was at 28,300. all stores had a dummy phone save for one and that one phone had the wifi death grip!

    To expound: held the phone in landscape mode (my left hand on the top part of the phone when in portrait mode), forefinger, middle finger and thumb holding the phone. This i how i normally hold my ipod touch in landscape mode. While doing this, the wifi indicator dropped by 1-2 bars. When i removed my hand, the signal went back to “normal” levels.

    Too bad i forgot to:
    1. Try holding the phone in landscape the other way (with the bottom of the phone by my left hand);
    2. Wrap a piece of paper or cloth (or something) around the antenna part to see if a hard/jelly case would solve the death grip problem.

    No available screen protector nor case yet in any of the shops.

    HTC concept store coming soon to MOA!

  19. itsme says:

    CMK has the cheapest around for most phones it seems. I bought the sensation the other day for 27,500. Here’s their website;

    http://www.cmkcellphones.com/

    On the sensation itself, the hardware is good. Nice big screen and responsive MOST times. HTC sense 3.0; a polished version of old but nothing really sensational about it at all really. One real piss of is that its got a larger screen but still only four rows for app icons, five would have been easy to fit in. But the what do you expect from an unimaginative Taiwanese company!?

  20. Creativeyou says:

    I think the review was too much, little biase over htc. this is the only review bout sensation with having an edge over sgs2. look at the specs- adreno 220 qualcom procesor lol its out dated! How come yuga is saying it will reach a benchmark point of 32xx?? In the final unit lol. Look at the raw specs it will tell u evrything. But im not against htc its just that I think this is too biase.

    • yuga says:

      @Creativeyou – the 3207 is for the final version of SGS2. Read the sentence again.

    • Creativeyou says:

      Sorry my bad. Htc sensation is using out dated hardware no wonder it scored low benchmark scores gpu, cpu, clockrate, etc. theres no way sensation will hav higher score than sgs2 or even lg2x (running froyo).

  21. Creativeyou says:

    Yeah what about the “death grip” issue? See its too obvious its a biase review ;)

  22. Creativeyou says:

    Yeah what about the “death grip” issue? See its too obvious I know yuga is aware of it, no, everyone knows about it. :)

  23. itsme says:

    Another annoying feature of the sensation is that despite the larger screen size you only get 4 rows of icons with lots of space between rows. According to ACER tech service you cannot adjust to five rows. Such a waste of good real estate. Typical unimaginative Taiwanese company.

  24. Seems to be OK, nice unique design and affordable to me.

  25. JoMi says:

    Once thing I’ve noticed with HTC phones would be the lack of Internal Memory. Great review, tnx for sharing, YugaTech! =)

  26. JoMi says:

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

  27. dan 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 :)

  28. 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!

  29. 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….

  30. 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

  31. 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.,

  32. 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 :)

  33. 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???

  34. Abby 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.

  35. 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

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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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