Mobile Phones Guide

HTC Sensation review

HTC Sensation - The Sensational Android

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Overall rating 9/10
Improved HTC Sense 3.0 with enhanced lock screen
Smooth performance
Solid build quality
Affordable in its class
Low battery mileage
Lack of portability due to weight
Below average imaging quality
More Awards:
Best Value

Performance - Part II

Mobile Cinema Sensation

Similar to the Atrix, the Sensation moves into the qHD resolution realm, with 960 x 540 pixels being spread across its 4.3-inch S-LCD display. Coupled with SRS audio enhancement, the Sensation also comes with a 5.1 surround sound mode, which is only applicable when you plug in your earphones. When we ran a movie trailer with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, we were not prepared for the cinematic experience that came with it. The strong, powerful booms from the audio enhancement made a world of difference while we watched the movie clip.  Needless to say, the generous 4.3-inch display makes it easy on our eyes, and we are quite pleased with the details and colors from its 960 x 540 pixels resolution.

Armed with an 8-megapixel sensor and a pair of LED flash, the Sensation also comes with 1080p video recording capabilities. These imaging specifications are nothing short of impressive, but can it perform to our expectations? Our imaging tests will answer that question with the following test pictures.

On closer inspection, the resolution chart did not return results that impressed us. The final imaging results were average at best, with a decent amount of details and sharpness seen in the images. Color reproduction was mostly flat, lacking a strong vividness to its hues. At an 8-megapixel resolution, you might be adverse to a significant amount of noise found on the final image.

The final performance test we performed on the Sensation is the battery test. with a selected group of devices chosen based on their similarities across battery capacities, display sizes, resolution and processing power. Our testing methodology involves test video with a 480 x 800 pixels resolution looping under the following conditions:

  • Screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection active
  • Constant data stream via email and Twitter

To ascertain how well its dual-core processor will handle its power management and battery mileage, we compared other similar dual-core Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S II, Motorola Atrix and LG Optimus 2X.

Specifications/Device HTC Sensation Samsung Galaxy S II Motorola Atrix LG Optimus 2X
  • Dual-core 1.2GHz
  • Dual-core 1.2GHz
  • Dual-core 1GHz
  • Dual-core 1GHz
Display Size
  • 4.3-inch
  • 4.27-inch
  • 4.0-inch
  • 4.0-inch
Display Type
  • S-LCD
  • Super AMOLED Plus
Display Resolution
  • 540 x 960 pixels
  • 480 x 800 pixels
  • 540 x 960 pixels
  • 480 x 800 pixels
  • 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3 mm
  • 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm
  • 117.8 x 63.5 x 11 mm
  • 123.9 x 63.2 x 10.9 mm
  • 148g
  • 116g
  • 135g
  • 139g
  • 1520mAh
  • 1650mAh
  • 1930mAh
  • 1500mAh

After all the praises we've sung for the Sensation, this is the part where the HTC smartphone faltered. The combination of a dual-core processor and a 4.3-inch screen with a higher resolution put the Sensation's battery mileage at slightly less than four hours. The stark contrast between the Sensation and Galaxy S II is very obvious, with the latter clocking in with twice the numbers from the Sensation. A power efficient Super AMOLED Plus display, with a slightly higher battery capacity on the Galaxy S II, does make a whole lot of difference.

Though the Sensation and Motorola Atrix share the same screen resolution, we see a two-hour gap between both devices, with the Atrix taking the lead. While the most likely answer to the Atrix's higher battery life comes from its generous 1930mAh battery, a smaller screen size at 4.0-inches for the Atrix the NVIDIA Tegra 2 are also likely factors to consider. The same can be said for the LG Optimus 2X, which also utilizes the same NVIDIA processor. In short, against Samsung's Exynos' and NVIDIA's chipsets, the Qualcomm Snapdragon option could be a damper in your battery mileage.

Another obvious point to note is the Sensation's portability, given how its overall dimensions and weight are somewhat on the higher range. Coupled with 220 minutes of battery time clocked on it, the Sensation had the lowest portability index amongst the dual-core smartphone lineup, making it the least likely choice for someone who values a fine balance between mileage and ease of carrying.

For its real world usage, the Sensation was subjected to the usual calls, SMS, web browsing and apps loading on both the Wi-Fi and 3G networks. It managed to reflect our earlier numbers, with no more than a full working day (approximately 16 hours) before we depleted the charge.