SmartPhoneBlogging

smart thoughts on smart phones

Android Android Hardware Android reviews Featured

Review: HTC Sensation Hardware Impressions

Everybody has been waiting for HTC to release it’s first dual core CPU smartphone. While other manufacturers offer dual core devices for quite some time now, HTC hesitated to push the envelope on their phones hardware specs until now. The HTC Sensation is HTCs new flagship device which finally introduces a dual core CPU as well as HTC Sense 3.0 and a huge 4.3 inch screen. Vodafone was the first provider which offered the HTC Sensation in germany, and they kindly gave me a testdevice to play around with for some weeks.

The packaging is similar to most current smartphones, as you will get headphones, 8GB micro sd card, an usb cable and ac adaptor but no additional accessories. I would like to see manufacturers put some more stuff like pouches or desktop docks to their high end devices though, since these are premium products.

This is the second time i’m reviewing a device with an 4.3 inch screen. Some time ago i wrote an article about the HTC HD2 and while i was impressed by the slim casing i couldn’t see my self using such a big devices as my main phone. But the HTC Sensation is different. I always thought that 4 inch is the maximum size a phone display could have, while still being pocket friendly. Surprisingly HTC managed to make the HTC Sensation feel much smaller than it is, since this is really no comparison with the HTC HD2 which just felt too big.

Generally the HTC Sensation feels very solid and high quality. Nothing is loose and i especially love how the display is embedded into the casing. On the edges you have slight curves which keep the screen from getting scratched if you put the device upside down on a table. The qHD resolution is also an important addition, since WVGA can look a little bit grainy on 4.3 inch displays. Color reproduction on the slcd screen is bright and natural, but as all other current phones you will have trouble seeing everything in direct sunlight.

Samsung may offer a slimmer casing and less weight on their flagship devices like the Galaxy S 2, but since Samsung mainly uses plastic materials most of their phones just feel cheap even though they have great hardware specs. What i don’t understand is that HTC isn’t trying to create innovative hardware designs in the recent years. Nearly each of their smartphones will look mostly similar to the HTC Desire or Nexus One with some tweaks. I still think that i.e. the white HTC Hero sporting the unique look and teflon coating was something really special. It still looks cool now. While HTC also delivered with the Nexus One, the hardware design division didn’t introduce any daring concept after that. I know that HTC can be very creative, so hopefully we will see some new and unique hardware designs soon.

HTC decided to use capacitive buttons for Androids default menu items, and they work very good. I didn’t miss hardware buttons at all while using the HTC Sensation as my main device for one week. The bottom of the phone also has a button to unlock the backcover, which makes it very easy access the battery or micro sd card.

On the top you’ll find the power button as well as earphone plugs. There is also a camera on the front of the device for video calling.

Volume controls and a micro USB slot for charging and data transfer have been placed on the right side.

While the whole front has a pretty usual HTC design, the backside is a little bit more fancy with three different materials used to create a unique look.

The HTC Sensation is not as thin as the competitions flagships, nor is it as fast as i.e. the Galaxy S 2, but HTCs new phone provides other qualities instead. Even though it also has very solid hardware specs with a great 4.3 inch qHD screen, and a dual core CPU architecture with large amount of RAM. On Benchmark tests the Galaxy S was faster in nearly every aspect, but the HTC Sensation scores in areas like built quality and the best Android 3rd party custom UI called HTC Sense 3.0. Only because the Galaxy S 2 has somewhat better benchmark scores, it doesn’t mean that this is really noticeable during the daily usage. I found the HTC Sensation to be very fast generally and reliable, but there were some instances where HTC Sense would lock up for a few seconds and even have to restart every now an then. I don’t know what the reason for this was, because there weren’t many apps running at the same time so this is most probably a HTC Sense bug which can be fixed with an update. Other than those small issues HTC Sense 3.0 adds some real value to the Android experience, with great apps like the HTC Sense email client, contacts, new lockscreen functionality and browser enhancements to name a few. Multimedia functionality is also good since you have an 8MP camera which supports 1080p video capture. The HTC Sensation is a great flagship device with high-end specs and effective software additions, which should definitely be taken into consideration when looking for a new smartphone these days.

Next up is a HTC Sense 3.0 review in the coming days, so stay tuned…

HTC Sensation Hardware Specs

Operating system Android 2.3 with HTC Sense 3.0
CPU 1.2 GHz, dual core
RAM 768 MB
Internal Phone Storage 1 GB
Network specs UMTS/HSDPA, EDGE/GSM
Quad Band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
Display 4.3-inch qHD (540 X 960) touch screen
GPS Built-in GPS
Digital camera 8 megapixel camera with double LED flash, 1080p video capture, VGA front camera
Sensors Ambient light, accelerometer, proximity, gyro sensor, digital compass
Bluetooth Bluetooth® 3.0, A2DP, FTP und OPP (Object Push), PBAP, AVRCP, GAP, GOEP, HFP, HID, HSP, MAP, SPP, SDAP
Social Media Facebook for HTC Sense, Twitter for HTC Sense, Friend Stream, Photo/Video upload to Facebook, Twitter. YouTube, Flickr
Media formats supported Audio Formats: aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .wma (Windows Media Audio 9)
Video Formats: 3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .wmv (Windows Media Video 9), .avi (MP4 ASP and MP3), .xvid (MP4 ASP and MP3)
Internet 3G, GPRS, EDGE, WiFi (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n), WiFi Tethering (mobile hotspot)
Connector MicroUSB connector with USB 2.0
Headphone jack 3.5mm stereo
Multimedia Gallery, Music, FM Radio, Dolby Mobile and virtual SRS surround sound, DLNA support
Battery 1520 mAh, Standby WCDMA: up to 400 hours, Standby GSM: up to 420 hours
Dimensions Width: 65.4mm
Height: 126.1mm
Thickness: 11.3mm
Weight: 148 grams