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HTC Sensation Review

By on June 20, 2011
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The HTC Sensation arrives to challenge the Samsung Galaxy S II.

Tags:
Good: Hi-res screen, great construction quality, Sense UI 3.0
Bad: A bit heavy, Camera is just ok
Price: AED 2,599
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

The center of attention on the HTC Sensation is the 4.3” screen with a qHD (540×960 pixels) resolution. This is the first Android phone that I have tested with such high resolution as most of them, including the Samsung Galaxy S II have a lower resolution of 800×480 pixels. The higher resolution screen on the Sensation gives it a higher pixel density than the Galaxy S II that not only makes things on screen crisper and more readable but also gives you more information to look at.

Sadly the SuperLCD technology used on the HTC Incredible isn’t as good as the Super AMOLED Plus screen on the Samsung Galaxy S II. This is most evident in the bright Dubai sun where the screen isn’t as readable as the Galaxy S II. I also found the colors on the Galaxy S II more lively than the HTC Sensation so watching videos and photos on the Samsung also proved to be a better experience. Simply put, the Sensation with it’s higher res screen is better at office work and browsing but the Galaxy S II has a better screen for multimedia and outdoor usage.

Where HTC wins is with their customized user interface. Although Samsung did a decent job upgrading their TouchWiz UI, it is still nowhere close to what HTC offers. The Sensation comes with v3.0 of the SenseUI which is also found on their Flyer Tablet. New to Sense are some widgets, the rotating home screen carousel and a totally new lock screen that gives you quick access to four applications. The user interface is best shown on video and the that is precisely what follows.

HTC does a pretty good job of utilizing the sensors on the device with real world interaction. For example, the phone rings louder when in your pocket but gets quieter when you pull it out. You can also flip the phone to make it silent . Sadly, Arabic was missing from the ROM present on my device but considering that HTC has made it available on their recent devices like the Desire S and Incredible S, I have no doubts that it will be appearing on the Sensation soon enough. What was a bit off-putting was that the review unit I received had the boot loader locked. HTC has said that they will release devices with an unlocked boot loader though I’m not sure if the Sensation would be one as HTC is still undecided about this in the region.

I mentioned the camera on the Sensation in the video above and below this paragraph you have a sample shot. The quality of the camera is just about ok with low light and flash- daytime outdoor pictures obviously look better. What is impressive though is video recording- the HTC Sensation is capable of recording videos at full 1080p resolution with decent quality and frame rates.

Last but certainly not the least, HTC uses a nice 1520mAh battery on the Sensation which provides enough juice for the device to last one full day and then some. During the five days I had with the device, I charged it three times and every single time it gave me almost a day and a half- very impressive for a device with such a big screen and high-end specs.

At AED 2,599, the Sensation is priced identical to the Samsung Galaxy S II and almost anyone wanting a super high-end Android based Smartphone is deciding between these two devices. So which one is better? There is no clear cut answer to that question. The Samsung Galaxy S II wins on speed and size while HTC has a much better user-interface, arguably the one thing that you will be spending most of your time on. And although the Samsung has a better Super AMOLED Plus display, the Sensation has a higher resolution.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either of these devices and I suggest you play with both before making your decision. If you still want me to pick one, it would be the Galaxy S II- because of it’s size, and the unlocked boot loader.

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About

Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

Comments
  • Colaxs

    hi Abbas

    nice review. it’s tough to choose, but the SAMOLED display does it for me :)

    One thing I want to know is, do you get access to the android market with the Sensation and the Galaxy SII? I know the market wasn’t loaded on the original galaxy, and only got the market on my motorola milestone with the Froyo update.. That’s why..

    • http://twitter.com/ajaffarali Abbas Jaffar Ali

      Glad you enjoyed the review. Android Market is available across all new handsets but is restricted to free apps only

  • Mansoor

    damn this is so hard to decide now between both phones.. i love the HTC UI, but have not tried Galaxy SII yet not hit the shelves yet.. lets see 

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  • Dxbdoctor

    Arabic support is the key for me. By the way, last time I checked Desire S did not have full Arabic support. It only displays disjointed Arabic letters.

    • http://twitter.com/ajaffarali Abbas Jaffar Ali

      Was your Desire S a regional Middle Eastern unit? I have Arabic working without any issues (reading and writing)

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