HTC Sensation XE Mobile Phone Review

By on October 16, 2011
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Better looking, better sounding and better performing.

Good: Looks great, Fast performance, beats audio and headset
Bad: Camera not as impressive anymore, gets a little hot
Price: AED 2499
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.


Last and certainly not the least, the new Sensation XE takes advantage of the recent investment HTC made in the beats brand. Like it or not, we live in a society that is extremely driven by brand names and logos, and when it comes to audio, I think beats certainly has the lion’s share in the region. While there are better products out there, I cannot remember seeing anyone walking around with one but go to Dubal mall over the weekend and you’ll surely spot the b around a few people’s ears or neck.

So, does the inclusion of beats with the Sensation XE give it an edge? For the average Joe, it does. First of all, you have a decent set of earbuds in the packaging which are much better than the generic crap that most other handset manufacturers use- previous HTC handsets included. Then you have the beats profile that switches on as soon as you plug in any beats earphone/headphone. An HTC rep mentioned that the solution is a combination of hardware and software although I’m fairly certain that investing a few $ in a market app that lets you adjust equalizer settings on your phone will give you an almost similar output quality from any Android device.

But lets face it- the average user is not an audiophile (and neither am I) or one that downloads applications to adjust the equalizer and thus, at the point of sale, the HTC Sensation XE will always have the upper hand compared to the rest of the Smartphones- in terms of both sound quality and branding.


One of the things I noticed about the Sensation XE is that it gets a bit hot towards the bottom half if you are doing something intensive for a minute or more- like watching a video on the device. Also, Arabic was not setup on the device- although an HTC rep informed me that it should be coming up within a week. HTC has been pretty good about built-in Arabic support for devices sold in the Middle East so I wouldn’t worry about it. Last and probably the least, some of the original Sensation handsets suffered from a death grip if held in a twisted way that nobody holds a phone but looks like HTC has fixed that with the XE as I couldn’t get the signal to drop no matter how weirdly I held it.


So those are the four features that separate the original sensation from the XE. Honestly speaking, an enthusiast can easily overclock their Sensation to the same clock speeds as the XE and possibly higher, buy the higher capacity battery and invest in a better quality headset and software that lets you adjust the equalizer settings- bringing their original Sensation on par with the XE sans the looks. The Sensation XE is clearly not meant as an upgrade for the original Sensation owners which should hopefully not make current Sensation owners suffering from buyer’s remorse.

So lets look at where the original was lacking and as per my review, the Samsung Galaxy S II had a better screen, faster performance and a slimmer design. HTC hasn’t made any changes to the screen which is clearly still superior on the Galaxy S II. While the form factor of Sensation XE remains unchanged, I really liked the color change and thus find the XE as a better looking device. Lastly, the Sensation XE wins in CPU performance with its faster dual core CPU. There are a couple more things that HTC could have done to make the XE more lucrative- such as a better camera which is strictly average on the Sensation.

But there is a little bit more than that- the Sensation XE remains at the same price level as the original Sensation- AED 2,500. So, not only are you getting a faster and more refined Smartphone with a beats headset included but one that is upgradeable to Sense UI 3.5 which will supposedly be made available before the end of the year as per an HTC rep. That certainly tips the scale on HTC’s side.

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

  • DoorNextBoy

    A Windows 7.5 would have been nicer for this model.

    • Abbas Jaffar Ali

      Windows doesn’t take advantage of dual core CPUs which is probably why you dont see any manufacturer doing a dual core handset. The Sensation XL on the other hand is identical to the Titan

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