HTC Sensation Review

Chris Davies - May 23, 2011, 12:05pm CDT
HTC Sensation Review

Once, Android’s primary challenge was the iPhone: proving that Google’s open-source platform – and the devices that ran it – were good enough to share retail space with Apple’s groundbreaking smartphone. Now, with dominant market-share and increasingly polished handsets, the battle is between ‘droids. Into the fray drops the HTC Sensation, the company’s new dual-core flagship. It’s certainly the best-spec’d HTC to date, but is it enough to beat Samsung’s all-conquering Galaxy S II? Check out the full SlashGear review after the cut.

Hardware

In many ways, HTC’s approach with the Sensation is the antithesis of Samsung’s strategy. Where the Galaxy S II aimed for the “thinnest smartphone” title, compromising hand-feel in its rush to shed ounces, HTC has come up with a thicker device that feels far more in keeping with the flagship positioning. At 4.96 x 2.57 x 0.44 inches and 5.22oz, and combining a unibody metal chassis with soft-touch plastic inserts, the Sensation is slightly longer, slightly deeper, slightly narrower and a fair bit heavier than the GSII.

Opinions proved divided when we asked people for their favorite, some liking the waifish construction of the Samsung and others preferring the reassuring solidity of the HTC. It’s worth noting that the more curved chassis of the Sensation helps disguise its size and actually makes it feel smaller face-on than the Galaxy S II. It’s creak-free, too, and unlike the fiddly pop-off doors of previous HTCs, the entire rear panel unclips and the guts of the smartphone lift out to allow access to the battery compartment, SIM slot and microSD slot.

Up front is a 4.3-inch qHD 960 x 540 resolution LCD display and four touch-sensitive buttons underneath, fronted with a sheet of Gorilla Glass that tapers up to the edges. This meniscus helps keep the glass off the table when you flip the Sensation face-down – handy, since doing so automatically silences incoming calls – as well as giving your thumb some tactile feedback when it’s approaching the edge of the display. The panel itself is bright and crisp, the extra pixels leaving graphics and text smooth and very readable. It’s particularly useful in the browser, where pages can often be read without first zooming, though ebooks and videos look great too.

HTC Sensation unboxing & hands-on:

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Things are advanced inside, too, with the Sensation providing the first real outing for Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon MSM8660 processor. A 1.2GHz dual-core chip, the MSM8660 differs from rivals in offering asynchronous cores that can run at different frequencies and voltages, unlike most synchronous processors on the market today. HTC reckons that adds up to reduced power consumption, since it can scale to suit whatever app you’re running in a more granular fashion. It’s paired with Adreno 220 graphics, and altogether makes the Sensation HTC’s most powerful Android device so far.

There are some glaring flaws, however. Where the GSII pairs its 1.2GHz dual-core with 1GB of RAM, the Sensation makes do with 768MB. Similarly, while Samsung have packed 16GB of memory into their flagship, HTC leaves users with just 1GB baked inside; instead you get a preloaded 8GB microSD card. Unfortunately, there’s just no way that even a fast microSDHC card can be as quick as NANDFlash connected directly to the logic board, and that leaves the Sensation at a speed disadvantage.

By relying on external storage, HTC has also bypassed the EXT4 filesystem, one of the factors which we saw speed up performance on the Galaxy S II. EXT4 support arrived in Android 2.3, but the Sensation’s microSD card still uses FAT and the 1GB of internal memory is too small for a journaled filesystem.

Connectivity includes 900/AWS/2100 HSPA/WCDMA support – the Sensation 4G for T-Mobile USA will have HSPA+ – along with quadband GSM/EDGE, WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0. The microUSB port on the lower left edge, under the long (and easily pressed) volume rocker doubles as a 1080p HDMI output if you have the correct MHL adapter cable (which is unfortunately neither bundled in the box nor available to buy separately yet).

Then there’s the usual gamut of sensors, including GPS, gyroscope, G-sensor, digital compass, proximity and ambient light, along with a pair of cameras – 8-megapixels with autofocus and a dual-LED flash on the back, and a VGA fixed-focus camera up front for video calls. An FM radio – which uses the bundled wired hands-free kit as an antenna – and SRS virtual surround sound round out the key specs.

Software and Performance

HTC has slapped Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread onto the Sensation, complete with the latest version of HTC Sense, v3.0. As we saw on the Flyer, the newest Sense brings with it a useful Active Lockscreen with app shortcuts, more 3D effects in the seven-pane homescreen, and various tweaks throughout the UI that smooth over some of Android’s ruffles.

In general, the improvements are welcome. The Active Lockscreen – which allows you to pin four icons above the launcher hoop, unlocking the phone and opening the app in one swoop by dragging the shortcut down to the bottom of the screen – makes for a handy way to get into your commonly-accessed apps, and it also makes missed calls and SMS messages more obvious. The homescreen (viewable in portrait orientation only, unlike the Flyer’s landscape layout) whips around in a continuous loop, which slick 3D animations that change the viewpoint the faster that you swipe, and there are multiple skins and scenes to change the layout and theme (as well as more to download in the HTC Hub store).

The drop-down notifications bar has the same two tabs as on the Desire S, for alerts and quick access to settings, as well as a list of recently-opened apps. We did find that the curved glass could make quickly flicking the notifications pane down a hit-or-miss affair sometimes. There’s also HTCSense.com support, HTC’s free service which offers remote phone access, sync and tracking, among other things.

Preinstalled apps include HTC’s Dock Mode – which shows a recent Facebook update pulled from FriendStream along with weather and media shortcuts, and is designed to be used as a desktop or bedside clock; it can also be set to automatically launch the Mobile Hotspot app too – and Flashlight, which uses the LED camera light as a torch. There’s also Locations, HTC’s offline mapping system (which demands a subscription if you want the same turn-by-turn functionality that Android offers free with Google Maps Navigation), the Teeter game and HTC Watch.

Just as on the Flyer, Watch allows access to purchased or rented movies and TV shows, complete with streaming trailers (that can be viewed over 3G or WiFi connections; full content downloads can only be made over WiFi). If you’ve already got an account from your Flyer – or, indeed, another HTC phone when the company rolls Watch out on other devices – then you can access existing content you’ve bought (though not rented) on the Sensation. On our UK unit, movies were priced between £7.99 and £9.99 to purchase or £2.49 to £3.49 to rent; TV shows were generally £1.49 to buy.

Watch works well, though right now there’s not a huge amount of content to choose from. It’s also worth noting that, at present, there’s no way to get the video off your phone or tablet and onto a different platform: it’s locked to Watch on the Sensation or Flyer. If you and your family all use new HTC devices then perhaps that makes sense, but other platforms offer greater flexibility with their digital content.

The HTC Reader app is present, though lacks the clever annotation support of the Flyer. It has an ebook store powered by Kobo, with titles ranging from free classics to new bestsellers. Obviously you can also download Amazon’s Kindle app or another ereader app from the Android Market if you prefer.

Finally there’s the Mirror app, which turns the Sensation into a very expensive way of checking your eyebrows match. With HTC’s video calling app still missing-in-action, it’s up to third-party apps to fill that gap. Qik Video Connect works, though we found it sends the front camera image upside-down. We’re guessing the company will address that in an update, since we’ve seen similar teething pains with other new handsets to the market.

HTC Sensation vs Samsung Galaxy S II:

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We had high hopes for the dual-core 1.2GHz processor, but the benchmarks paint a less impressive picture than on the Galaxy S II. In Quadrant Advanced, the Sensation scored 2245 overall versus the Samsung’s 3504. Memory and I/O sub-scores were also telling, with the HTC managing 1794 and 2408 respectively, while the GSII came in at 3823 and 4472 respectively; that suggests that the Samsung will handle heavier loads and more frequent data reads/writes better than the Sensation can.

In SmartBench 2011, the Sensation scored 2340 against the GSII’s 3878, though the HTC did hold its own with a score of 47.257 MFLOPS in Linpack Pro versus the Samsung’s 46.939 MFLOPS. As we’ve seen on HTC’s Android phones before, JavaScript benchmark tool SunSpider doesn’t seem to play nicely with the customized browser, coming in with a 6481.8m/s score (almost twice the GSII) that we suspect is artificially sluggish.

What the raw figures don’t communicate is how responsive the Sensation feels in daily use. Side-by-side with the Galaxy S II, and it’s hard to tell the difference between the two phones: apps load quickly, webpages render at the same pace (in fact the Flash-heavy NYTimes.com frontpage finished on the HTC before it did on the Samsung). Even loaded down with simultaneously running apps, we didn’t feel like the Sensation was gasping for breath (or, indeed, for more RAM).

Out of the box performance is only half the Android story, of course. The platform has built a dedicated following of modders, for whom a factory-fresh device is a challenge not a treat. Here, HTC’s attitude to third-party Android ROMs may see them suffer: the Sensation comes with a locked bootloader, meaning it’s more difficult to install unofficial versions of Android. In contrast, Samsung has left the Galaxy S II more flexible in what it will run. We’re already seeing GSII overclock hacks stretching the processor out to 1.4GHz and higher; HTC’s decision is likely to leave the modding market to Samsung.

Camera

The Sensation’s 8-megapixel camera arguably has two key challenges: not only changing a run of lackluster optics on previous HTC-made phones, but taking on the extremely proficient imaging abilities of the Galaxy S II. Happily HTC’s shooter marks a significant step up in quality in both stills and video.

No more drab colors or middling detail; no more murky indoor shots. Colors are on the cool side on-screen when the Sensation is side-by-side with the GSII, but viewed off the phone and they look far more accurate. Close-ups are clear and crisp. The Sensation prefers bright lighting – as do most cellphone cameras, to be fair – with the overcast weather in some of our sample shots prompting a little more processing than we’d prefer to see.

The Sensation lacks a physical camera button but with the shortcut a lockscreen default it loads quickly all the same. HTC claims to have shaved away at the startup time and reduced the lag in-between tapping the on-screen button and the frame being captured, though in our (admittedly reasonably unscientific) head-to-head tests against the GSII it was neck-and-neck going from the homescreen to a shot being taken. Fast, but not the revolution in cameraphone photography that HTC seemed to imply.

Video, meanwhile, is recorded at up to 1080p Full HD resolution. Panning can lead to some tearing or jerkiness of the footage, though when steady there’s plenty of detail and the stereo microphone array is – as the wind noise in the sample clip below attests – perhaps a little too ambitious. Still, it’s a marked improvement over previous HTC devices. There’s integrated video trimming support in the gallery, and DLNA streaming to your TV.

As for the front-facing camera, finally, at VGA resolution it’s hardly promising much, and the end results are as pixelated as you’d expect. Over the same WiFi network, video calls using Qik Video Connect looked significantly better using the GSII’s 2-megapixel front camera than the Sensation’s camera.

Phone and Battery

We had no issues with phone performance on the Sensation, with both parties sounding clear. Speakerphone performance, meanwhile, is reasonably loud but prone to some distortion at top volume.

HTC quote up to 495 minutes talktime or up to 400 hours standby from the 1,520 mAh battery; having experienced two days use from a single charge on the Galaxy S II, we were eager to see how well HTC’s power management would perform on the Sensation. In practice, with push email turned on, periodic social network refreshes, some Google Maps and browsing use, and after 30 minutes of streaming TV using the BBC iPlayer app (using the Sensation’s speaker rather than headphones), and by the evening the handset was still showing around quarter of its charge.

That suggests that, with some judicious power management, you could get some way into the second day with the Sensation on a single battery. Not quite the performance of the Galaxy S II, but decent compared to the previous HTC Desire HD which was quite the glutton for juice.

Pricing and Value

The HTC Sensation launches as a Vodafone exclusive in Europe initially, with the smartphone offered “free” on £30 ($48) tariffs with a two-year agreement. That undercuts the Galaxy S II by around £5 per month, or £120 ($194) over the course of the contract. SIM-free sales are yet to begin, with stock expected toward the end of June; the Sensation expected at around the £498 ($800) price point, including VAT.

Pricing for the HTC Sensation 4G on T-Mobile USA is yet to be confirmed, though we’re expecting it to follow the usual $199.99 pattern with a new, two-year agreement including a mandatory data plan.

Wrap-Up

It’s a good time for Android smartphone fans. The Galaxy S II has already proved that devices running Google’s OS are certainly capable of stepping out from underneath the shadow of the iPhone, and the HTC Sensation is evidence that Samsung’s win can’t be dismissed as a one-off aberration. In Gingerbread form, Android has matured into a stable platform with growing choice in the Android Market to support it.

With strong devices, of course, come difficult decisions, and choosing between the Sensation and Samsung’s Galaxy S II is perhaps the most difficult to-date. Both have their hardware strengths: the Sensation’s qHD display lends itself well to browsing and ebook reading, while the lower-resolution Super AMOLED Plus of the GSII is better suited to multimedia. Samsung offers more RAM and internal storage, but the Sensation never felt at a loss aside from in the benchmarking apps themselves. Meanwhile, HTC Sense feels more thought-out and complete than TouchWiz, and the out-of-the-box experience with the Sensation is more polished than that of the GSII.

Neither is a bad device nor a bad choice; our gut reaction is to think of the Sensation as the consumer’s phone and the Galaxy S II as the Android fan’s phone. Broad brushstrokes do neither any great favors, though. HTC’s attitude to mods may dissuade the Android faithful, but those looking for a solid, well-designed smartphone with a premium feel and refined combination of hardware, software and services will be served excellently by the HTC Sensation.


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132 Responses to HTC Sensation Review

  1.  i actually love the design of Sensation but there is something about Samsung Galaxy S2 that makes it far better than Sensation like Exynos, 8.49mm, superamoled plus, best 8mp camera in phone ever, more ram and more internal…. 

  2.  @slashgear-c20ad4d76fe97759aa27a0c99bff6710:disqus i actually love the design of Sensation but there is something about Samsung Galaxy S2 that makes it far better than Sensation like Exynos, 8.49mm, superamoled plus, best 8mp camera in phone ever, more ram and more internal…. 

  3. I used to be an HTC fanboy (2 HTC Android and 2 HTC WinMo devices), but the locked bootloader and Sense is pushing me towards Samsung.  I like the qHD display and better aesthetics (the GS2 is ugly) but other that that the GS2 looks like the winner to me… assuming I can put CM7 on it.

  4. may I know what is the difference between Vodafone sensation and T-mobile sensation? (other than the network locking) is it the same hardware with same features and band compatibilities?

    also, can someone answer me why mobile devices are hardware dependent? why can’t we run android on a “windows mobile hardware?” what is the limitation there?

    also, can HTC sense software component be used on another manufacturer? (eg: samsung?)

    also, can we upgrade latest android on on devices ourselves? if not, why?

    sorry I am a newb…please help me…

  5. I’d absolutely love to see some high resolution close-ups of the two screens with the same webpage on them. I’m specifically interested in how much detail the the qHD really gives over the GSII’s screen.

  6.  I think Samsung wins here. Galaxy s2 got more internal storage, better still camera outcome, better video quality, better multimedia performance, better battery life than of sensation, smoother and slimmer.
    Htc Sensation is better only in two things that is Aluminium Build quality and HTC Sense 3.0.
    But still Htc Sensation is excellent handset after Samsung galaxy s2

    • So, samsung wins because it’s a huge conglomerate controlling half the mobile tech industry… A small, specialized, almost boutique company focusing on original, premium design and highly stable and refined software can’t really compete on those terms. Sorry, but the sensation still seems more luxurious and it easily takes the crown…

      • Yes it SEEMS more luxurious because of the “fancy” 1/3 aluminum case and eye candy sense. BUT in terms of quality of the internal components it’s not so fancy compared to Samsung. Also, I like the fact that Samsung has a capacity to develops its own hardware (CPU, memory, camera, screen, etc) instead of just buying them and assembling them.

      • Yes it SEEMS more luxurious because of the “fancy” 1/3 aluminum case and eye candy sense. BUT in terms of quality of the internal components it’s not so fancy compared to Samsung. Also, I like the fact that Samsung has a capacity to develops its own hardware (CPU, memory, camera, screen, etc) instead of just buying them and assembling them.

      • LOL. HTC is neither small nor a boutique company. Though i have to agree on the premium design part.

  7. Chris can you tell me how easy it is to open the back cover..??? 
    It seems on the video that it is pretty easy and I am afraid if it is an issue of any sort..

    • You have to press a recessed button on the bottom edge in fully, which requires a fingernail and an exact angle. I can’t imagine it coming open in a pocket or bag accidentally.

  8.  I’m going for the Sensation. Maybe the Galaxy S2 is the better one when it comes to hardware and benchmark results, but like the review says…HTC offers a more complete experience out of the box. I’m sure that when I buy the SGS2 I’m going to put custom firmware on it because I don’t like Touchwiz. Sense however is beautiful.

      • @41670c983eaf02e73ca824bde4bbd083:disqus
        In what way is GPU better??? Adreno 220 doesn’t hold a can to Mali 400, even a newB knows that!!!

        • Adreno 220’s maximum 532million pixels per second and quad core Mali400MP is rated at billion pixels per second. On top of the issues at hand, samsung capped the device at 60fps same as galaxy s. Based on the benchmarks it’s hard to tell but it is topping most benchmarks and that certainly wasn’t the case with adreno 220 setup in the sensation (may be attributed due to the resolution differences)

        • Yeah i know, my reply was actually posted against @41670c983eaf02e73ca824bde4bbd083:disqus who doesn’t seem to have any idea of what he is talking about

        • Adreno 220’s maximum 532million pixels per second and quad core Mali400MP is rated at billion pixels per second. On top of the issues at hand, samsung capped the device at 60fps same as galaxy s. Based on the benchmarks it’s hard to tell but it is topping most benchmarks and that certainly wasn’t the case with adreno 220 setup in the sensation (may be attributed due to the resolution differences)

  9. Great wrap-up guys! Sensation – one of the most powerful Android-phones for consumers, SGS2 – flagship for the fans.

    • Thanks Dmitri! I think that’s right – I know many Android fans who are already dismissing the Sensation because of the bootloader situation, but there are plenty of regular consumers who don’t care about that and will love its out-of-the-box polish.

      •  Exactly, although I was hoping for a bit more testing, what about outdoor visibility, are there reception issues with the metal body and a thorough battery performance test… What exactly drains the battery the most (on either phone), is it display, radios, software???

        • Outdoor visibility on the Sensation wasn’t as good as the GSII – that Super AMOLED Plus takes some beating – but it wasn’t impossible to use either. I didn’t experience any reception issues; remember, the top and bottom panels on the back are plastic, not metal, and they’re where the antennas are.

          I’ll be revisiting battery life in a follow-up, with more comprehensive break-downs. What I can say now is that the display uses the most power, as you’d expect, followed by the radios.

        • Okay thanks, I was still expecting more from the sensation’s LCD; I understand sunlight visibility can get better if the protective glass gets fused to the panel, iphone4 style, so why not make that move in your flagship device HTC, damn the service costs, you are already betting it all on charm and polish???

  10. Galaxy S II ftw by a long way.  I have had a long tryout with the Sensation and while it too is a great smartphone, the Galaxy S II is better in almost all facets:  Screen (such a huge difference, Super Amoled Plus is amazing, while the Sensation’s even though it has a slightly higher resolution is nowhere near the quaity of the Samsung screen), weight, thickness, battery life, speed, ram, internal storage (by a long way), better camera & modding friendly.

    There is really not a lot of aluminium of the Sensation, certainly not enough to make it a real advantage over the Galaxy S II and Sense 3.0 is quite good, but I prefer Touchwiz 4.0, which I find more user friendly.

    I’d like to have seen the shootout for browser speed, don’t believe it was in the video, as from videos I”ve seen of the Galaxy S II vs other phones, it is the fastest by a long way, quite phenomenal really.

     

  11. I have read that, for various technical reasons, present speed tests when run on the HTC Sensation are not accurate .  I note that in the speed test you give the Sensation and Galaxy 2 that the Galaxy begins perhaps a second before the HTC begins, but that the Sensation is constantly ahead of the Galaxy 2 and finishes the test about 5 seconds before the Galaxy does. This suggests something peculiar in the speed test. Is my scepticism about this and other speed tests correct or the result of my ignorance of speed tests.  Your remark that in real life, ” the Sensation never felt at a loss aside from in the benchmarking apps themselves” suggests that the speed tests do not accurately reveal the true speed of the Sensation. Am I missing something?

  12. I have read that, for various technical reasons, present speed tests when run on the HTC Sensation are not accurate .  I note that in the speed test you give the Sensation and Galaxy 2 that the Galaxy begins perhaps a second before the HTC begins, but that the Sensation is constantly ahead of the Galaxy 2 and finishes the test about 5 seconds before the Galaxy does. This suggests something peculiar in the speed test. Is my scepticism about this and other speed tests correct or the result of my ignorance of speed tests.  Your remark that in real life, ” the Sensation never felt at a loss aside from in the benchmarking apps themselves” suggests that the speed tests do not accurately reveal the true speed of the Sensation. Am I missing something?

  13. I don’t see why this wouldn’t benefit from EXT4. The Desire HD certainly does and as I understand it, the 1GB in the Sensation is just for the data partition (out of 4GB total).

  14. I don’t understand all this bickering and comparing between the Sensation and SGSII. Both will sell like hotcakes, the SGSII obviously because it is an incredible phone, and the Sensation because it is a great phone as well and HTC has a great fan base.

    Personally, I’ll be going with the Sensation. Main reasons? Firstly, the SGSII won’t even really be an option to me since I have T-Mobile and there is legitimate concern that the device won’t even be coming to Tmob. Apparently the Hercules might be the Samsung superphone that Tmob gets, but I simply cannot wait until whenever that device comes out. In that sense (pun intended), the Sensation will likely be Tmob’s best phone for the summer, meaning that people like me are automatically ready to pick it up (another reason that there is no way the Sensation won’t sell well). Secondly, I will be a first time Android user if I pick the Sensation up (I’ve got an OG Samsung Gravity), and I consequently know for a fact that I won’t have any interest in modding it or running custom software or anything. The Sensation looks like it offers an incredibly polished piece out of the box and so it fits my needs perfectly. In any case, I seriously doubt, coming from a 2 year old phone that can only text, that I would be disappointed with the Sensation. I’m honestly sort of glad that the fact the SGSII isn’t an option to me leaves me not having to make a choice (and I’m the type to have serious buyers remorse, so this way I can be completely satisfied going with the Sensation.

    I think the comments about how the Sensation is for the average consumer and the SGSII is for the phone geek perfectly sums this up. People on here who are looking to proclaim one phone as the definitive “best” and make snide remarks about the other need to remember this. The great thing is that we can all go with what fits each of us best. So can we calm down a bit with the trash talking?

      • source? the SGSII has not been on the leaked Tmob roadmaps for 2011, while another Samsung superphone (the Hercules) is on these roadmaps. as the Hercules has very similar specs to the SGSII but just has a larger screen, it wouldn’t make sense for Tmob to get essentially 2 versions of the same phone, just one larger than the other. so until I see proof that the SGSII is coming to tmob, I stand by my comment that the Sensation will be Tmob’s best phone this summer.

  15. The sample photos are 6mp instead of 8mp, may be because the picture format is not 4×3. All of them have less EXIF info than the SGSII and the GPS info seems to be not accurate (it is almost the same location). 

  16. Hello Chris, since you got the two smartphones on hands, could you tell me wich one have the better external speaker?
    HTC phones have a long history of very bad external smartphones and it sounds like HTC improved it on this one, could you just confirm it to me? That would be great.
    Thank you very much,
    Adrien

    • Sorry it was meant to be “very bad external speaker” and not smartphones! I actually had an HD2 and Diamond, i have always been reluctant to use the external speaker considering the sound and voice was barely usable (wich is a shame considering a 1 euro phone can do a lot better!).thanks

  17. For those looking to get this phone unlocked you can pre-order now on Amazon – http://amzn.to/jllNtO

  18. I’m finding it hard to decide as the galaxy s 2 is the better phone, but are the differences worth the price difference between the two, the only things I think I would notice the difference in is the internal storage and battery life. I am inclined to say no at the moment. on a 18 moth contract is it worth the extra 280 quid?

  19. I’m finding it hard to decide as the galaxy s 2 is the better phone, but are the differences worth the price difference between the two, the only things I think I would notice the difference in is the internal storage and battery life. I am inclined to say no at the moment. on a 18 moth contract is it worth the extra 280 quid?

  20. I don’t know how quadrant etc calculates score, but consider if it only calucates it in respect to fps, in that case, sice HTC has better resolution (35% more pixels) it should take 35% of the performance (or something like that) down.
    HTC S: 2245
    SGS2: 3504

    SGS2: 3504*0,65=2276.  Its roughly the same as the Sensation…!

      • I don’t know alot about this resolution stuff, but I’m pretty sure you can compare it to PC games.
        The higher resolution you run your games, the slower they will run. I think it’s the same with phones.

        • Quandrant’s cpu calculations have nothing to do with resolution. But is graphics benchmarks i am not too sure of. But i guess it pushes the same standard resolution on all phonesto standardize the test

        • Nah, several different sources confirm that the graphics tests in quadrant only run at Native resolution.

  21. I thought the HTC Sensation used a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260 not MSM8660 (The HTC EVO 3D uses a MSM8660 though). From what I’ve read there aren’t really any difference except for some subtle architectural tweaks that possibly allow for safer overclocking or something.

    Also the whole RAM thing is quite confusing from a glance.

    The Galaxy S II is said to have 1GB of RAM, however only 833MB is accessible to users (Android does not show RAM used by the OS). Of that 833MB, approximately 350-360MB is taken up at any one time by the UI ad background processes. This leaves around approximately 470-480MB for users to have fun with (Note that this is still quite a huge amount of spare RAM compared to any phone on the market).

    What I’ve seen from the HTC Sensation is a bit different. As stated it has 768MB of RAM, which decreases to around 558MB after the OS has its way, however an average of 375MB is taken up by the UI and background processes at any one time. Leaving around 180MB of free RAM for users to do what they want with. Although this is still a bit of RAM, I’ve actually seen more free RAM on a HTC Desire HD.

    For normal usage, users wont notice the difference. However, an Android/modding/customisation/game/application fan there is a chance that the amount of RAM for the HTC Sensation could lead to a bottleneck problem of sorts (My friend noticed that the whole advertisement that running the music player while browsing the web and doing something else [like downloading an app or something] with noticing any slow down, wasn’t actually the case, as some functionality began to show stuttering).

    Just a bit of information for those concerned with the whole RAM issue.

    (Please correct me if I am mistaken about anything, but from tests so far and from what I’ve seen from other users and reviews, this seems to be the case)

  22. I don’t know why these morons didn’t compare the g2x to this device sg2 is 800 dollars I’m not gonna spend that much on a stupid cell phone compare it to what brand its coming too like tmkbile devices its not rocket science ppl

  23. Wonderful phones.  I’ll stick with my Palm Centro with NO DATA plan…and use a DESKTOP computer when I want to surf the net.

    • So you feel proud to save 20 bucks a month to remain disconnected when you’re not near a computer?  I mean that’s fine if that’s what you want but you act like you have some sort of advantage because you don’t pay an extra 20 bucks a month to be able to do more than talk and text on your phone.

  24. HTC sensation has all the things which are needed to  be a best seller…good camera, sleek, stylish features, android smart phone…etc etc…its an awesome…

  25. may I know what is the difference between Vodafone sensation and
    T-mobile sensation? (other than the network locking) is it the same
    hardware with same features and band compatibilities?

    also, can
    someone answer me why mobile devices are hardware dependent? why can’t
    we run android on a “windows mobile hardware?” what is the limitation
    there?

    also, can HTC sense software component be used on another manufacturer? (eg: samsung?)

    also, can we upgrade latest android on on devices ourselves? if not, why?

    sorry I am a newb…please help me…

    •  It’s not just mobile devices that are hardware dependent.  Even personal computers.  I mean you can use programs like Bootcamp to install a version of Windows on a Mac but it has to meet certain requirements.  When software is developed it has certain hardware requirements in order to use it.  I can’t just pop my mac OS cd into a PC and just install.  I wish I could though but I can’t.  Just like when we update something it gives the minimum requirements.  And I am like you I wish we could install OS over different hardware but it’s been like that forever, not just with mobile devices.

    • People can install an OS on hardware it was not intended for, it just requires a lot of work. For example, the (Windows Mobile 6.5) HTC HD2 has had many different versions of Android ported on to it. The main problems are locked bootloaders (some phones won’t load any non-manufacturer approved firmware) and finding the right drivers to make it work.

      If someone goes to the effort of compiling the latest version of Android into a ROM that works on your phone, and your phone is rooted and has an unlocked bootloader, you can install the latest version of android on your phone.

  26. Grr I don’t know which one to choose, visually the GSII is ugly compared to the sensation and looks cheaper not cheap but cheaper. I am so confused, can anyone link me too the Galaxy S for under £500? Sim free of course. 

  27. Grr I don’t know which one to choose, visually the GSII is ugly compared to the sensation and looks cheaper not cheap but cheaper. I am so confused, can anyone link me too the Galaxy S for under £500? Sim free of course. 

  28. There are mistakes in your article: of course does the Sensation use a filesystem with journaling. Even the HTC Legend with its <200mb of internal memory used ext3 (which is a journaled filesystem) and modern roms like cyanogen format /system and /data ext4 (on the Legend)! There is no size requirement for that.

  29. Though HTC Sensation is undoubtedly a great phone…but when u compare it with Samsung Galaxy SII….man my vote goes for Samsung Galaxy SII…great phone with great features!!

  30. In video sensation vs galaxy s II you say that they boath have 1GHz of RAM and in the review you write that samsung has got mor RAM? Make up your mind.

    • You should probably do some googling to realize the difference between GHz and GB before you start complaning :-(

  31. In video sensation vs galaxy s II you say that they boath have 1GHz of RAM and in the review you write that samsung has got mor RAM? Make up your mind.

  32. Spectacular Phone!

    I am a long-term Blackberry user that uses his phone mostly for
    business but also for managing personal accounts. For several years, I
    have used Blackberry to handle my messaging demands including two (2)
    exchange accounts and four (4) personal accounts. I had been waiting to
    move to phone that could smartly handle these needs, and I have found
    it with the HTC Sensation. I bought this phone early and have been
    using it since 6/10/2011.

    Email / Exchange Capabilities

    HTC has customized the email application, and it is smooth,
    elegant, and fast. I had no problems configuring my Exchange, MSFT
    Live, and various POP accounts with the phone. The Sensation quickly
    synced all my accounts with ease. The Exchange integration is
    exceptional: you get push email, push calendar, and push contacts
    integration.

    HTC also features a flexible presentation model where it unifies
    your emails into a single box and color codes the email by account
    received. You can also use a dropdown menu and select to view a single
    mailbox at a time. This mail implementation is better than anything
    offer with the BB, and more robust than the messaging application on
    the iPhone.

    When you receive an email, you will get a notification through
    Android’s notification menu AND and LED indicator will flash. BB’s
    universal implementation of a notification light is a simple yet
    necessary function for me, and I am glad that HTC has decided to
    include a notification light. It is not as bright as the one found in
    my BB, but it does the job.

    I don’t use gmail, but interestingly, that is managed by a separate Google provided email program.

    Contacts Integration

    HTC has again included its Contact management application instead
    of the Android stock, and it is an elegant solution. One of the
    benefits of their application is that it will link duplicate entries
    into a unified contact account. So, if you have someone listed in your
    Exchange, POP, social networking address book, it will allow you to
    link these into a single contact entry to simplify your contact list.
    It’s a great feature and helps you organize everything.

    Push Calendar

    No issues with it. I believe that the included application looks great and has no problems syncing with Exchange.

    Build

    This phone has exceptional build quality. It is made of aluminum
    and plastic and feels great in your hands. Not only the phone
    comfortable to hold, but it feels heavy. I like a heavy phone: it
    speaks to the quality of the build materials and does not feel like it
    will break apart with use.

    The main navigation buttons are virtual, haptic buttons located at
    the bottom of the phone. The one issue with these virtual buttons, is
    that sometimes I accidentally trigger the “back” button when I intend
    to depress the space key. This is not a major issue, and one that with
    practice you begin to avoid.

    The power/wake up button is on the top of the phone. It is
    responsive and has proper travel and response. The only other physical
    buttons are the volume rocker on the left of the phone. The one thing I
    miss is a dedicated physical camera button. Instead, you have to
    trigger the application through the menu system and then use the
    virtual shutter button on the screen. Again, I wish there was a
    physical camera button, but it’s not a deal killer.

    Phone Audio

    Phone calls are loud and crisp, and the large ear grill allows you
    to hear calls very well. Callers commented that they had no problems
    hearing me as well. When this phone makes a call through Wifi, the call
    quality increases even more and the voice quality becomes even more
    outstanding.

    The speaker is on the bottom of the phone; so, if you turn the
    phone over, the volume picks up. My Blackberry has the advantage of
    having the speaker on the top of the phone; so, this phone flip is not
    necessary.

    Keyboard

    The other important departure from the Blackberry was the physical
    keyboard. I was very skeptical and had not been impressed by other
    Android based keyboard’s such as the one on the Galaxy S. HTC has
    implemented two custom input methods. Its keyboard substitute works
    very well and functions like the excellent keyboards found in Windows 7
    Phone phones. The large screen also minimizes errors. HTC has also
    implemented its own version of a Swipe keyboard. It works fine, but I
    prefer the HTC keyboard. Coming from the Blackberry physical keyboard,
    I am actually faster with the HTC virtual keyboard, which was my
    biggest surprise when using this phone!

    Android Wifi Calling

    I relied on Blackberry and T-Mobile’s UMA implementation. This
    allowed me to get perfect service from my home, receive signals at
    work, and make calls when traveling internationally. T-Mobile has
    integrated its version of UMA calling the HTC Sensation. It works just
    as well at the Blackberry’s UMA implementation. Once you active the
    feature, it signs-in seamlessly with WiFi networks without further
    intervention. This is such a huge feature that T-Mobile should
    aggressively advertise, since it allows you to place calls in locations
    where no phone can receive cellular signals.

    Conclusion

    In short, buy this phone. It’s fast, well-built and packed with a
    great package of software features that make it perfect for business
    and pleasure.

    *** P.S. IF you will buy this HTC Sensation 4G I suggest at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0053Z8XCO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=slashgear.com-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B0053Z8XCO

    • Hi Garrett… Im a long time BB user….I recently purchased the HTc sensation… interesting, but still finding my way around this device… Im still craving my BB…. I have not been able to connect to my business email… although its a government email and uses outlook web access….My bb configured it with ease….. I tried  different apps to accomplish this, but so far unsuccessful…Ill survive without it, since i can access email via the web….. any suggestions?

    • Hi Garrett… Im a long time BB user….I recently purchased the HTc sensation… interesting, but still finding my way around this device… Im still craving my BB…. I have not been able to connect to my business email… although its a government email and uses outlook web access….My bb configured it with ease….. I tried  different apps to accomplish this, but so far unsuccessful…Ill survive without it, since i can access email via the web….. any suggestions?

  33. You know what? Quadrant is bullsuit. Anyone remembers the days when a joker went to MWC and quadrant the display set of S2 there? Remember what he got? 1400+ for goodness sake… Why are you guys comparing quadrant scores? Who knows, maybe tomorrow quadrant will release an update that they claim “can access the power of the sensation more accurately”. Then, you get scores of 4000+ on the sensation. Quadrant is for losers.

  34. I’ve just bought a Sensation, and was asked whether I wanted the Taiwanese version, the European version or the Hong Kong version. (the wonders of living in Shanghai!)
    What’s the difference? Apparently, the Taiwanese version has a ‘better screen’ – and since it was just $5 more than the Hong Kong version, that’s the one I’m getting. Anyone got any ideas as to the possible differences?

  35. This phone really has some deal breaking issues. There are definately issues with the wifi and with the bluetooth.

    Phone #1:

    random reboots, Super short battery life, would not stay connected to wifi reliably, poor batter life and it died in less than 24 hours and could not be turned on again. The battery meter just kept dropping even though it was plugged in and the charger and cable were good.

    Phone #2:

    WIFI: While NOT holding the Sensation in my hnad….The signal is always about 10dBm below my laptop and iPhone when in the same location. Installing a wifi finder reveals that access points are present one moment and gone the next unless they have the strongest signal. The iPhone and the PC see 10+ access points and the Sensation can only see two of the three in my house. If you install a signal analyzer it reveals that the Sensation shows the signal varying wildly while the PC and iPhone show a steady signal.

    BLUETOOTH: While playing audio the signal fades and the music skips unless the Sensation is within 2 feet of my Motorol S9 headset. if I put it in a sweathshirt pocket I get skips. If I put the sensation on my pants pocket the audio cuts out 50% of the time.

    Other issues: short battery life, stalls, browser hangs, phone search results put web results at the top of the list and contacts and music at the bottom of the list off of the screen making the user think that it is not searching contacts (what happened to ranking the results and displaying the highest ranked and closest matched?), song somtimes changes when unlocking phone, VM notification still displayed when there are no messages, hard to sync music automatically and most third party sync software doesn’t sync play counts or ratings, bluethooth integration with built in music player is poor, you have to tell the music player to use bluetooth each time… even if the bluetooth headset isn’t already connected. Compared to the iPhone, the navigation is inconsistent. Sometimes you navigate back with the back button, sometimes it’s in the software.

    I think I’ll go back to the iPhone, it is not as flexible as the Android OS, but it executes it’s core functions flawlessy. The Android OS, or maybe the Sense overlay doesn’t seem ready for prime time.

    • Is the screen plastic or glass? Those convex sharply curved edges make me suspicious. I know how you feel in general though, I recently returned to iOS (had original iPhone and 3GS) when I swapped my Incredible 1 for an iPhone 4 a few months ago. What you lose in flexibility and customization, you gain double in just plain solid and consistent performance. And really, all that infinite customization did for me was make me constantly customize, lol. With my iPhone 4, I just use it and don’t have to micro manage everything. All power functions are on all the time (WiFi, BlueTooth, location) and I still get at least 2 full days, usually 25% into the 3rd day!

  36. This is NOT a unibody construction…the whole back pops off! Why did they cheap out??! Also, is that screen plastic?? The sharply convex curved edges to the screen make me suspicious it is plastic instead of glass. …??

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