Review: HTC Sensation

The folks at HTC named this smart phone just right. It overwhelms you with sensations of awe and excitement even before you hold it on your hands.

The HTC Sensation is the newest dual-core handset from the Taiwanese phone maker. This is the my first time to review an HTC smart phone, trying out the Sensation has convinced me as to why its manufacturer has earned great accolades and reviews both from tech pundits and followers.

Solid unibody design and feel

HTC SensationThe second you feel it in your grip, the Sensation tingles you with its sexy curves and sleek feel. It weighs light for a phone of its size. You can feel the phone’s center of gravity set low in your palm giving you the confidence to hold it in one hand.

Its face is almost covered by a single sheet of glass that is curved like a scallop, this design feature allows the phone to avoid getting scratches when put on a table face-down. Of course, that’s almost impossible to do with the Sensation because of its Gorilla glass. No physical buttons here, just touch-sensitive icons like in the Desire HD and S which gives you basic navigation like Home, Options, Back and Search.

Tough but crisp and vivid display

Tried scratching it with some coins and my set of keys and you could almost hear the the Sensation laughing at your pathetic attempt to scratch its glass panel.

That display panel is a huge 4.3 inches of Gorilla glass display with a resolution of 540×960. Unlocking the phone presents you with the home panel and already, you drool at the clarity and crispness of the display.

And this is the perfect platform to savor the HTC Sense 3.0 UI. A tightly-knit user interface layered on top of the Android 2.3 OS which continues the Sensation’s sexiness inside as you navigate through the apps installed.

Fast and smooth performance

Launching apps, switching in between, even the subtle animations when navigating the Sense is a breeze and seamless thanks to the 1.2Ghz dual-core Qualcomm MSM 8260 processor and the Adreno 220 GPU.

The only time when an app would slow down is when your mobile internet connection is also slow.

Amazing mobile internet exeperience

Using the HTC Sensation to go online is a great experience. The smoothness and quick response of the browser can only be spoiled if your mobile connection is slow or intermittent.

It comes with HTC’s own Facebook and Twitter application that is integrated with the HTC Sense 3.0. It mashes up your Gmail, Facebook and Twitter contacts into the phonebook for seamless connectivity with your friends.

Of course, you can still download and install the official Facebook and Twitter apps.

Smart Mobile Internet Speedtest

Smart's Mobile Internet connection was good enough for a smooth browsing experience while on the road

The HTC Sense comes into its own on the road where there’s no free Wi-Fi available. On my way to work, which is usually a two-hour ride along Emilio Aquinaldo Hi-way, I spend that time to check up on my Twitter stream, Gmail, Reader and post occasional rants on Facebook. I subscribed to Smart’s new volume-based mobile data plans and noticed that the connection was consistent and stable.

According to 3G Watchdog app, my average daily consumption was 20-30MB, making Smart’s volume-based data plans the most cost-efficient and practical way to go online if you’re on a budget.

But with the HTC Sense, you’d find it hard to resist streaming YouTube videos because that 4.3″ is just beckoning you to do it. So subscribing to an unlimited mobile data plan is a good way to go about it. Good thing Smart offers the HTC Sense for free on their Smart Unli Data Plan 3000 which includes free 240 texts and 300 minutes of free calls.

Taking photos with the HTC Sensation is such a treat. Its huge screen gives out very crisp previews of what the camera sees. Its controls are responsive and the auto-focus does a good job almost every time. Again, let the photos add more than a couple of thousand words to this post:

Taking videos with the Sensation is a fun experience that you can easily get addicted to. The full 1080p HD recording capability of the Sensation is first sampled on the large 4.3″ Super LCD screen which gives out crisp and well saturated images. Check out the video I shot yesterday when a bus driver screwed up and shut down traffic on Emilio Aguinaldo Hi-way last Friday:

Sound quality of the HTC Sensation is good enough for a decent listening experience. It comes with built-in SRS Wow effects that allows you to fine tune the output of the sound through equalizers when using headphones.

The best feature of the HTC Sensation in the sound department is its ability to output the audio to DLNA-capable audio systems like your HDTV or home theater system.

Some cons

The only complaint I have with the sound quality is that the HTC Desire S has a better-sounding output compared to the Sensation. Maybe it’s just me, but the Sensation’s audio output quality and volume is almost the same as that of my LG Optimus One, sans the SRS Wow effects, which I still found to be lacking.

Being new to HTC smart phones, I agree that the biggest weakness of the four review units I got is the battery life. The HTC Sensation is no execption. Regular use with the Wi-Fi turned on would just give you some 6-7 hours before the Sensation would ask for the charger to be connected. You can extend that by just using the 3G capabilities of the phone.

The verdict

Overall, its sleek and sexy design, its blazing fast responsiveness, HD capabilities and the HTC Sense 3.0 UI + Android 2.3 combo far outweigh the shortcomings of the HTC Sensation, making it one of the best smart phones available today.

It retails around 28k to 31k in stores but you can get it for free when your sign up for the Smart Unli Data Plan 3000.

6 Comments

    1. Hi Mel, basically with Smart’s Unli Data Plan 3000, you get unlimited mobile internet without having to subscribe to Smart’s unlimited surfing promos. All you have to do is pay the monthly cost of the plan which is technically Php3000.00, but I’m guessing your other usage like texting or calling to other networks and land lines will be billed on top of that amount.

      Reply

  1. Looking at the big picture, at the current state of smartphone products, I’m still not inclined to buy one even if I could easily afford one. The disadvantages of device convergence they warned us of long ago—when phones were only starting to develop colored screens and cameras and other bewildering features—are still true today. I still prefer to have separate, dedicated devices for the functions I need.

    But if you do want a smartphone today, HTC seems the way to go. Haha.

    Reply

    1. Good point. Though it really boils down to individual preferences. I used to strongly believe in the advantage of having separate devices for different functions like mp3 player for music, point and shoot for photos, then a cellphone. Then it became cumbersome to carry three devices wherever I go so opting for a camera-phone solved everything.

      Reply

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