The Sensation found its way into our labs just three days post its launch, and after having used it we must say two things. One – it’s quite a device, and two we’re mildly disappointed that HTC choose to cut some corners.
The Sensation is a large phone, but feels smaller than the Galaxy S2 owing to smaller top and bottom bezels. It’s heavier and thicker than the S2 though and therefore bulkier, but feels sleeker than the HTC Desire HD. The display is too glossy for our liking, and reflects everything! It’s well built and has a thick, snug fit battery cover, but is not a unibody in the truest sense of the term. The Chrome mesh earpiece grille is reminiscent of the Desire HD, but shockingly, the front facing camera is set inside the metal bezel instead of being a flush fit – this looks cheap. There’s a slight gap between the metal bezel and the glass of the display – more tackiness, which is shocking for a flagship device. The four capacitive buttons beneath the display are sufficiently spaced and adequately backlit.
The Sense UI 3 is snappy, and apart from a fresh look, also has a number of useful additions such as the ‘quick settings” menu available when pulling down the notifications bar. The home screens also cycle through – useful for one-handed operation.
The higher display resolution (540 x 960 pixels) is very welcome – you can see more on the display at once, browsing and reading fine text appears aliased and not as crisp as on the Sensation. However, in terms of colour saturation and contrast, the Sensation’s display isn’t as good as the Incredible S’, and is way behind the S2’s display.
The keypad is really nice, and is at par with the Galaxy S2 – which is excellent for SMS junkies. The Sensation’s spacebar is uncomfortably close to the back key and this leads to typos.
Powered by a Qualcomm MSM8260, the Sensation is as fast as would be expected with a dual core 1.2 GHz CPU. We’d have loved an extra 512 MB of RAM or so, since there’s less headroom for multitasking than the Galaxy S2, which has 1GB of RAM. We should add that the Sensation didn’t slow down with even 5 or 6 apps open.
Other than the very sporadic niggle, the Sensation is fast through all its options and menus. We’d rate the S2 as being a little faster, but to be fair, the Sensation’s 3D interface is surely more taxing on the hardware. We noticed that web sites flip and reorient faster than on the Galaxy S2.
This phone doesn’t suffer from the death grip that is prevalent in some HTC phones. That being said, holding it around the top half causes the Wi-Fi signal to drop a bar. There also seems to be a slight issue with changes in vocal tones at times, especially when the phone is in areas of mediocre GSM signal coverage. Antenna quality is not the best, and we’d rate it as 10 to 15 per cent worse than the S2, which wasn’t perfect either. On-call, the earpiece is loud, as is the speaker, though it is tinny and distorts some voices.
The 8MP clicker is very similar to the one on the Desire HD. It produces good photos in bright light and falls flat indoors, just like other cell phone cameras. Video recording is not as good as on the S2 – the camera is slower, with more tag and visible grain. Battery life is approximately 15-20 percent worse is rather mediocre we feel.
The MRP of the Sensation is Rs 32,700, which is expensive compared to other HTC Android phones, but then you’re getting an extra processor, and with it (hopefully) some future-proofing. It’s a good device overall, but HTC has failed to address a couple of existing niggles, whilst introducing a couple of new ones.
Of the Galaxy S2 had this display resolution and interface, it’d be prefect, and we’d buy in a heartbeat. Conversely, if the Sensation had the S2’s display, its lightweight design and sleek profile, it would truly be a sensation, and win our unabashed adoration.
Platform: Android 2.3;
Display: 4.3-inch, S-LCD, 540 x 960 pixels;
SoC: Qualcomm MSM8260 1.2 GHz dual core; Adrenon 220 GPU; 768 MB RAM; 1 GB ROM; Battery: 1520 mAh;
Weight: 148 grams