Better looking, better sounding and better performing.
Before I started writing this review, I checked out the date I published the original HTC Sensation review and it was just under four months back. At that time, there was plenty of excitement as the Sensation was going head-to-head with the Samsung Galaxy S II. In the end, I found the Galaxy S II to be slightly better as an overall Smartphone. Four months later, does the Sensation XE have what it takes to edge past the Samsung? Let’s find out.
(Click here for the unboxing video)
Honestly speaking, there are just four areas where the XL differs from the original Sensation. So instead of re-writing the review, I suggest you read the original and come back here to see if these four changes make any difference to the overall opinion of what was a pretty awesome device four months back.
The size, shape and weight of the Sensation XL is identical to the original Sensation, however, HTC has worked on the colors- starting with the body that is now quite a bit darker than the original. While that looks quite nice by itself, it’s the red accents that make the XL stand out from the rest of the Smartphones. The touch buttons at the bottom, the speaker grill on top and the ring around the camera on the back are painted in red that looks wicked to say the least.
Saying that the Sensation XE has gotten a processor upgrade isn’t technically correct. It has the identical dual core Qualcomm MSM 8260 Snapdragon found in the original except that it’s clocked higher at 1.5GHz. As per the specifications, the MSM 8260 can be used at speeds anywhere between 1.2GHz to 1.5GHz and HTC chose to go with the higher-end for the Sensation XE.
So, does the extra 300MHz make a difference? The original Sensation was no slouch but I must say that the occasional lag or so that I did experience with the original is nowhere to be seen in the Sensation XE. I can’t really say for sure if that is purely because of the increased hardware speed or software optimization that must have taken place as I don’t have the original Sensation anymore that I could have upgraded to the latest version of the software to compare. Whatever it is, it’s a good thing.
Using SunSpider, the Sensation XE completed the test in 3184ms which is a lot faster than the time it took the original Sensation to complete the test- 5253ms. I would like to point out that the original Sensation SHOULD have scored higher and maybe it was some kind of software optimization that was not in place earlier on. Regardless, the XE manages to zip pass the Samsung Galaxy S II that completed the test in 3416ms.
Along with the speedier processor, HTC has also upped the battery capacity on the Sensation XE. The original came with a 1520mAH while the new one has a 1730mAH battery- not the highest capacity battery we’ve seen on a phone (which has to the Motorola Atrix) but still pretty impressive. For me, the original Sensation’s battery life was good enough to last a day and not give a reason to complain but it’s always good to have some extra juice in case you forget to charge your device overnight.