HTC Sensation

HTC Sensation

The HTC Sensation is tipped to be one of 2010's best-sellers, thanks to its 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, 4.3-inch Super LCD touchscreen and HTC Sense 3.0 UI

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Editor's Review of the Sensation

Reviewed by on 13th April 2011
HTC sensation homescreen

The long-rumoured HTC Pyramid has finally been unmasked as the HTC Sensation, and takes over from the Desire HD as the company's Android flagship. We managed to get some hands-on time with the dual-core beast, to see if it lives up to our high expectations.

Design & Build

The HTC Sensation certainly packs a bulky specsheet, but despite its 4.3-inch screen, the same can't be said about the handset's size. Weighing in at just a shade under 150g, it's much lighter than its Desire HD cousin, and its rounded chassis and sculpted back panel make it weighted and natural to hold.

HTC Sensation iPhone 4 Comparison

iPhone 4 Comparison

The Sensation's 4.3-inch qHD (540 x 960) S-LCD display proved extremely impressive, and is a definite upgrade over the 800 x 480 Android standard, offering crystal clear detail and dynamic colours. When paired against the iPhone 4's 640 x 960 Retina Display, the Sensation proved on par, and possibly even better, wowing us with its 3D effects and jazzy live wallpapers.

While the handset may look fairly generic with its aluminum unibody casing and cinematic screen, the beveled, slightly concave glass of the Sensation's display gives the smartphone a more polished, high-end feel. It may be a subltle tweak, but this also means that when you're flipping the phone over to ignore a call, they'll be no nasty marks on the Gorilla Glass display.

Under the hood, the HTC Sensation packs a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, which as you'd expect, was snappy all round. Swiping through homescreens was notably responsive, although we did notice slighy lag when fiddling with those fancy new 3D animations. Still, multitasking didn't seem to slow things down, with our first impressions suggesting that this is a lightening fast smartphone.

OS & Interface

Running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), the HTC Sensation is the first of smartphone to arrive wearing HTC Sense 3.0, making it stand out from the likes of the Desire S and Desire HD.

HTC Sensation lock screen

HTC Sensation lock screen

The first thing we noticed was the re-jigged lock-screen, which is now more much more active and interactive. Much like the mid-range INQ Cloud Touch, you can set four applications to launch instantly by simply dragging them down to the lock circle at the bottom of the screen. There's more interactive widgets too, offering you the choice to dress the display with a photo slide show, live weather updates or your social network feeds. Take note, Apple.

Once we'd finished gawping over the jazzy new lock-screen, we got to grips with HTC's new homescreens. These have been given a lick of paint too, with the screens now rotating in a "3D" view. We also found the "pinch" feature pretty impressive, activating a 3D-animation showing you a preview of all 7 homescreens.

Multimedia & Storage

On its rear, the HTC Sensation sports an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, which is capable of shooting 1080p footage at 30 frames per second. We didn't get much time to play with the snapper, but photos we took managed to look extremely detailed, considering the poor lighting at the launch event, and the ability to instant take pictures, with zero delay, is certainly a selling point. Still, we were a little disappointed with the lack of dedicated camera key.

The rear-facing snapper is paired with 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, ideal for video calling or to use as a very expensive make-shift mirror.

HTC Watch

HTC Watch

One of the most exciting new additions found on the Sensation is the addition of HTC Watch, HTC's all-new on-demand movie rental service. Although HTC couldn't confirm figures, pricing seemed to be around 99p for rentals and £1.99 for purchases. There was a bundle of trailers pre-loaded on to the demo device, which looked fantastic on that 16:9 widescreen, despite HTC's choice for Super LCD rather than OLED tech.

Making this even more interesting is the addition of HDMI and DLNA connectivity, enabling you to rent a cheap film from your smartphone and fire it off to your 42-inch HDTV.

We also managed to sneakily download Angry Birds onto the Sensation, which looked, and played, incredibly well on huge-screened blower. Even those pesky ads look less-irritating on the 4.3-inch display.

Everything Else

HTC Sensation web browser

Web Browser

The HTC Sensation arrives with both HSDPA and WiFi connectivity, although due to the shoddy internet at the preview event in the Bloomsbury Ballroom, we struggled to test this thoroughly. Still, once eventually loaded, pages rendered well on the Sensation. Multitouch gestures were, as you would expect, extremely responsive, and the reflow functionality worked as well as ever.

While we weren't able to put the battery life to test, HTC claims that the Sensation's 1530mAh effort will allow for around 8 hours of talk time. Given the battery life of the Desire HD, for now, we're reserving judgment.

First thoughts

All in all, the HTC Sensation looks every part the flagship device we've been eagerly anticipating from HTC. While its generic design is nothing ground breaking, its speedy innards and qHD screen sets a whole new standard for HTC smartphones.

Keep your eyes peeled for our more in depth review once we get our hands on the final release version of the device.

User Reviews

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HTC Sensation Specifications

HTC Sensation


126.1mm x 65.4mm x 11.3mm


148 grams


Full capacitive touch screen

Type: Super LCD

Gorilla Glass

Size: 4.3 inches

Resolution: 540 x 960


Keyboard: On-screen

Operating System

Android 2.3.3

Interface: HTC Sense 3.0



Internal: 1GB

External: microSD up to 32GB

Included: 8GB microSD card


CPU: 1.2GHz Dual core

A-GPS with maps



Data Speed

Up to 14.4 Mbps download speed
Up to 5.76 Mbps upload speed

Data Protocols



Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n



Audio: 3.5mm stereo jack

Data: Standard microUSB

Quad Band

GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900



Bluetooth 3

A2DP for wireless stereo headsets



8.0 megapixel camera

Auto Focus and Dual LED Flash

1080p Video Recording

At 30 fps

Front facing camera with video calling



Social Networking Features

Twitter and Facebook Widgets

Email Access



Battery Capacity: 1530 mAh

Talk Time: 495 minutes

Standby Time: 400 hours



Radio: FM with RDS

Audio supported formats

Playback: AAC, AMR, OGG, M4A, MID, MP3, WAV, WMA

Recording: Supported

Video supported formats

Playback: 3GP, MP4, WMV, AVI, XVID, H.263, H.264

Recording: Supported

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