HTC Sensation Review
With the recent announcement of Samsung Galaxy S II and HTC Sensation, we are essentially seeing the birth of 4th generation of Android Mobile handsets and with that the age of dual core processors in mobile handsets.
With Samsung, LG and Motorola all making their offers public last month, HTC was the last one to arrive at the dual-core party of Android handsets, but its offering is certainly not leaving any stones unturned in garnering attention.
So let’s see, if HTC Sensation measures up to our expectations.
|Dimensions (width x height x depth)||126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3 millimeters (4.96 x 2.57 x 0.44 inches)|
|Bounding;Mass||148 grams (with battery)|
|Embedded–Operating:System:||Google Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread with HTC Sense 3.0 UI|
|CPU:Clock:||1.2 GHz (Dual Core)|
|CPU:||Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260|
|Graphics Accelerator:||Qualcomm Adreno 205 (OpenGL ES 2.0 capable)|
|System ROM;type:||Flash EEPROM|
|System ROM+capacity:||8 GB, including 1130 MB user-accessible non-volatile storage|
|User ROM;type:||MicroSD High Capacity|
|User ROM+capacity:||4 GB MicroSDHC card included|
|Display+Type:||Super LCD (TFT) Display|
|Display–Color_Depth:||24 bit/pixel (16777216 scales)|
|Display:Diagonal:||4.3” (109.2 millimeters)|
|Display_Resolution:||540 x 960|
|Analog/Digital Converter (Recording):||16 bit nominal quantization 48000 Hz sampling frequency|
|Digital/Analog Converter (Playing):||16 bit resolution 48000 Hz holding frequency|
|Cellular:Networks:||GSM850, GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS900, UMTS2100|
|Cellular_Data+Links:||CSD, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA|
|Call;Alert:||40 -chord melody (polyphonic)|
|Positioning:Device:||Capacitive Multitouch Touchscreen|
|Expansion:Interfaces:||USB 2.0 client, Hi-Speed (480 Mbit/s), Micro-B USB connector, microSD, microSDHC up to 32GB|
|DLNA||DLNA Media Player|
|Bluetooth_(802.15):||Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, Internal antenna|
|Wireless_LAN/Wi-Fi;(802.11):||IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, Mobile Hotspot|
|Analog;Radio:||FM radio (87.5-108MHz) with RDS radio receiver Proprietary headset as antenna|
|SRS Virtual;Sound:||For wired headphone|
|Complementary+GPS;Services:||Assisted GPS, QuickGPS, Geotagging|
|Navigation Suite||HTC Location, Google Maps 5.1 Navigation|
|Resolution:||3264×2448 pixels (8 MP) Primary, 640 x 480 pixels (0.31 MP) Secondary|
|Camcorder:||1920×1080 pixels (1080p HD) , 30 frame/sec|
The very first thing that strikes you after holding HTC Sensation is that it’s thin. To be precise, the device at 6 mm tall, only a millimeter wide and being a miserly 11.3 mm thick, makes up for one of the thinnest smart phones that we have reviewed till date (this will change with Samsung Galaxy S II).
While Android phones are not usually recognized for being either well designed or well crafted, HTC seems to have paid attention to coming up with a design that does not shout cheap. And in the process has managed to come up with a very elegantly designed phone.
Its bevelled glass display along with an exquisite aluminum body in a matte finish makes the device stand apart from an excessively crowded competition of new-gen Android phones.
At the top of the device, you shall find a 3.5mm standard headphone jack and the power / lock button.
At the top-front of the device you shall find the regular plethora of proximity and light sensors and an LED notification light along with a VGA front camera.
On the left-hand side there is a slightly large volume rocker, along with a micro-USB port further down.
The right hand side of the device does not carry any buttons, while the bottom features regular four Android function soft keys, the microphone and the latch to open the back of the phone.
At 148 grams, the HTC Sensation is very pocket friendly and given its sturdy construction using a single slab of metal, there are no wobbly ends or instances of backlight leaking out. Albeit I am no fan of the hard to press latch at the bottom, used to remove the back cover of the phone and the way the phone snuggles inside the back. It makes putting the back cover on, a tad tricky business.
HTC Sensation features a 4.3’’ qHD (540 x 960 pixels) Super LCD, enclosed under a layer of Gorilla Glass. This means greater pixel density than its closest competitor; Galaxy S II, at a better native screen aspect ratio of 16:9.
But of course the S-LCD is not much of a competitor when it comes to viewing angles and a highly vivid color output of S-AMOLED screens. This does not mean that HTC Sensation’s display cannot not hold on its own. It’s bright and produces good colors at reasonable contrast rates.
The high pixel density pays off on two fronts; watching high definition content, by removing extra black bars from the top, during video playback and providing you with a true wide-screen visual experience. And providing the user with more screen real estate. This helps with applications like Gmail which displays more of your emails, the calendar which shows more tasks and extra clear home screen icons, not to forget your pictures and videos which appear less grainier.
HTC Sensation has a primary 8 megapixel camera with auto-focus and comes along a dual-LED flash. And a VGA quality front-camera, to be mostly used for video chats.
HTC has introduced a feature to its software called ‘Instant Capture’, which enables the phone to minimize the lag between pressing of the button on the phone and the time it takes for the phone to snap the picture. And during our testing, the response time on the camera was indeed impressive.
While the dual-LED flash operated good enough to work in group environments, without whitewashing the subjects.
The phone’s camera software allows for the presence of regular shooting options, along with a variety of color effects and shooting modes.
The best aspect of HTC Sensation’s camera is of course its ability to record video at true 1080p HD quality. And while the auto-focus mode gets disabled while the video is being shot, the quality of the video itself is absolutely top-notch.
HTC has introduced its newest version of ‘Sense’ in HTC Sensation; Sense 3.0. Running Android 2.3.3, the Sensation is perfectly up to date with the most recent version of Google’s OS, and the new Sense 3.0 iteration is the next step forward for a user interface.
The first thing you notice in the new interface is the new 3D scrolling i.e. flicking through many home screens, which appears like one rotating cylinder, instead of the screen bouncing left and right in a linear way.
The widgets now expand inwards and outwards to add to the effect, without really affecting system performance which show off the dual-core prowess of the 1.2GHz processor under the hood.
HTC Sensation reacts instantly under the finger – and as described above, we were quite impressed by the display as it is.
The drag-down notification bar has been given a makeover by HTC, much like that on HTC Desire and the Desire S. Now you can drag it down to see emails, messages and application notifications, and also see a scrolling list of the most recently used applications in a sliding bar, along with music player controls if you’ve got some tunes playing.
There’s also a little tab at the bottom to let you control oft-used elements of the phone – in the shape of a star – it usually shows Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS etc all toggle-able with the touch of a check box. It comes across as a beaten down version of Samsung TouchWiz’s controls present at the top of the notification bar.
HTC has seemingly been working really hard with HTC Sense 3.0 user interface, and it shows – we didn’t find it taxing the base system much, throughout out testing and it will only end up impressing you more if you are already a HTC Sense fan.
Contacts can be accessed on HTC Sensation by either using the People’s app or just by going straight into the phone application. Here, your most recently used contacts are shown at the top, while dialer underneath can be used to search for someone using its smart dial feature (i.e. you start keying in the first few letters of the contact you wish to see, and it automatically searches and brings their name up).
You can also set up a widget on the Home screen to access your favorite contacts and can use either Facebook, Google or Twitter as means to port their profile pictures on your phone automatically.
While you can import your contact list via your Google Account in the usual way, my favorite part here just has to be HTC’s ability to link contacts together, since this saves me from going through individual contact details and then being able to remove duplicate entries. The auto-link feature works wonders here.
You can sort by forename or surname, and you can also choose to display contacts from only some of your linked accounts if you want. You can also use the arrow at the top to quickly see your contacts from only one of your social networking accounts, or go back to seeing all contacts.
In order to be able to see contact options, just click on any of the contact entries. The initial screen displays their phone and messaging details, and if you slide to the next tab at the bottom, you’ll be able to see your text history with that contact, presented in a threaded view. You can send a new message from here.
The next tab does the same for emails, and the next shows you their recent social network status updates. There’s also one to see their galleries from linked social network sites, and buried right at the end is your call history with them.
This is in addition to Android’s fabulous default feature, that if you tap on any contact’s picture it shows you the entire list of ways in which it can be contacted.
Adding a new contact presents you with an option of choosing to save to your cloud accounts or to the phone memory or SIM. After that, you’ve got all the usual options, including phone numbers, email addresses, IM usernames, postal addresses, birthday and more.
Of course, the more simple method also works – just tap a number into the dialer and a ‘Save to People’ option appears.
Messages while is a fairly straightforward text app, showing you an overview of the different people you’ve been texting on the main screen, with a threaded conversation view on offer if you tap on one.
Call quality on the HTC Sensation didn’t seem any better or poorer for that matter than many other phones, we have reviewed so far. The phone comes along with a separate noise reduction microphone present above the camera, which works well from reducing mainly wind noises from your conversation.
|HTC Sensation (Qualcomm Adreno 205)|
|Array test – uniform array access||
|Branching test – balanced||
|Branching test – fragment weighted||
|Branching test – vertex weighted||
|Common test – balanced||
|Common test – fragment weighted||
|Common test – vertex weighted||
|Geometric test – balanced||
|Geometric test – fragment weighted||
|Geometric test – vertex weighted||
|Exponential test – balanced||
|Exponential test – fragment weighted||
|Exponential test – vertex weighted||
|Fill test – texture fetch||
|For loop test – balanced||
|For loop test – fragment weighted||
|For loop test – vertex weighted||
|Triangle test – textured||
|Triangle test – textured, fragment lit||
|Triangle test – textured, vertex lit||
|Triangle test – white||
|Trigonometric test – balanced||
|Trigonometric test – fragment weighted||
|Trigonometric test – vertex weighted||
595 (59.5 FPS)
This is probably the only aspect of this phone, where I was not throughly impressed by. Battery life on HTC Sensation (with regular usage including WiFi, Camera, Video taking, making calls and texting) will keep you on your toes. In my own experience, the battery did not last me an entire day’s usage and I had to get the phone back on charge before night fall. Since we had received a technology demonstration handset from HTC, it is quite probable that this problem has already been taken care of in regular production devices.
Let’s start by saying that HTC Sensation is one fast device, and it shows its need for speed in virtually all aspects of its operations. Start by dragging the camera icon into the unlocking ring on the lockscreen and taking your first snapshot, which is a superbly quick affair. Google Maps and the web browser are super smooth to operate and very slick. Online Flash videos load quickly and it can play 720p videos without inhibitions.
The qHD display, excellent ergonomics, Sense 3.0, one very fast Camera and the dual core goodness make HTC Sensation quite easily the best smartphone that we have tested so far.
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