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Review: HTC Sensation

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HTC has upped the ante with its latest smartphone – the Sensation – it’s new hero product with features and style to make users sit up and take notice.

Across the board the Android device has premium appointments – a 4.3-inch HD screen, 8 megapixel camera and full HD camcorder.

Available exclusively with Telstra, the HTC Sensation also scores points on the design front with an aluminium unibody and contoured glass.  

DESIGN

The HTC Sensation has a lot of features and needs a fair amount of room to fit them all in.

If you’re looking for a small, ultrathin smartphone –  the HTC is not for you.

The device lacks the svelte looks of its nearest rival the Samsung Galaxy S II – 11.3mm to Samsung’s 8.49mm.

The HTC Sensation is also heavier – 148g to Samsung’s 116g.

The HTC Sensation contains an aluminium unibody design

But that’s not to say the HTC Sensation doesn’t feel good in your hand. It has the familiar look that makes it a part of the HTC family of devices.

It has a quality feel and finish which some feel the Samsung Galaxy S II lacks.

It has the curved rear panel that’s reminiscent of the iPhone 3GS and glass that covers the screen gently curves upwards at the edges.

Apart from the aesthetics this glass curvature also keeps the screen’s surface from direct contact with a surface if it is ever placed face down.

Along the top edge is a 3.5mm headphone jack and lock key while the left side has a volume control and mini USB port which is used for charging and connecting.

The HTC Sensation can be customised to your needs

The most dazzling feature of the HTC Sensation is the 4.3-inch qHD screen which has a 540 x 960 resolution. Images, videos, web pages, apps and icons look quite impressive.

Underneath are the usual touch-sensitive versions of the home, menu, back and search keys.

On board is 1GB of memory with users able to extend the device’s capacity through the microSD card slot.

PERFORMANCE

The HTC Sensation is powered by a 1.2Ghz dual-core processor so users can expect a pretty zippy experience. It’s certainly fast enough to navigate the features and switch between apps with ease.

Once thing we like about HTC’s Android smartphones is the layer of extra software that nestles above it called HTC Sense.

The HTC Sensation has the latest version of HTC Sense which adds things like animated homescreen wallpapers and weather widgets.

Switching between the multiple screens HTC Sense offers a 3D rotating effect life your flipping through the different sides of an octagon.

To unlock the device users simply drag the ring at the bottom of the display to the centre of the screen.

The HTC Sensation has a dazzling qHD screen which makes web sites, pictures and movies look great

Another way to unlock is by dragging one of the often-used apps like phone, mail, camera or messages down inside the ring. This way the phone gets unlock and you’ve already opened up the app you want to use straight away.

A popular part of HTC Sense is FriendStream – which can combine your Twitter and Facebook feeds in one location.

Users can also incorporate their Facebook friends into their contact list and have their latest information and their last status update when they call you or you call them.

The HTC Sensation has a stunning screen which is a great place to watch your videos and pictures.

Speaking of pictures we were happy to find the Sensation’s camera is a step up from what we’ve regularly found HTC smartphones with improved colour, detail and sharpness.

On the video front the full high definition video is even better. Video we shot with the device looked excellent on the Sensation’s screen.

The HTC Sensation's new HTC Sense has animated screens and widgets including the weather

Sharing your videos on a TV via HDMI is now a possibility but it requires a special cable accessory as an added cost to make it happen.

One thing that does let the HTC Sensation down is the battery. Keep in mind this is a fairly large screen and a fast dual core processor it’s powering.

And being a smartphone we were hammering the device as not only our phone but also our computer, our web browser using wi-fi and 3G as well as our entertainer.

During our review we found the battery got us through a solid work day – but only just.

If we charged the device in the morning and had a long at work we had to make sure we had the charger was in our bag as well.

It was disappointing to see our review handset discharge fairly steadily even in stand-by mode.

CONCLUSION

The HTC Sensation is a top tier product that’s going to compete against the likes of the iPhone 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S II.

It certainly holds it own in most areas and even takes the lead in others.

A few minor, but forgivable, weaknesses brings the HTC Sensation down a peg or two from where it deserves to be but it is still one of the leading Android smartphones on the market.

HTC Sensation

Four stars (out of five)

Price: $792

www.htc.com