HTC Sensation Android phone

HTC Sensation review: A powerful beast wrapped in a sturdy, aluminium shell

Joining the Samsung Galaxy S II, the Motorola Atrix and the LG Optimus 2X, the latest dual-core powered Android smartphone is the HTC Sensation. The Sensation has a 4.3in qHD-resolution display, the latest version of HTC's Sense user interface, and a sturdy, aluminium unibody casing.

Read our detailed preview of the HTC Sensation and check out our HTC Sensation vs Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone showdown.

HTC Sensation: Unibody design

One of the highlights of the Sensation is HTC's unibody aluminium design, which has been used on a number of HTC's other Android phones including the original Desire, the Desire HD, the Legend and the recently launched Incredible S and Desire S phones. The HTC Sensation's unibody casing is constructed from a single piece of aluminium and it does feel very well put together. There are no noticeable creaks or rattles, and it feels like a product of quality craftsmanship.

The HTC Sensation's battery cover feels a little awkward to remove — taking it off feels as though you are snapping the phone into two separate pieces. The battery cover consists of almost the entire shell of the handset, with the screen and the body of the phone completing the shell. The actual phone and screen part itself is quite thin — it's almost exactly the same thickness as the Samsung Galaxy S II. The Sensation has a thicker design than most of its competitors, but the extra girth is a trade-off we think many users would be willing to make for the added durability of the unibody design. The impressive build quality really does make the HTC Sensation feel like a premium device should.

The HTC Sensation includes four touch-sensitive shortcut buttons below the display (home, menu, back, and search) and the keys are backlit and responsive. It's a shame there is no physical shutter button, as it's hard to keep the Sensation still when taking a photo with the on-screen shutter key.

HTC Sensation: qHD display

The HTC Sensation has a 4.3in super LCD (SLCD) display. The big draw card here is the resolution — the Sensation's 540x960-pixel resolution makes it a quarter HD (qHD) screen. In general, the higher the resolution the better, as it increases the pixels per inch on the display. The Sensation's qHD screen means you see more of a website at once, and it is great for video playback and mobile gaming.

In a side-by-side comparison, we immediately noticed that the HTC Sensation displays crisper text, and more natural looking colours than the Samsung Galaxy S II. The crisper text is most evident when zoomed out in a web page; it's here that the HTC Sensation really shines. However, its SLCD screen simply can't match the vibrancy, brightness, and viewing angles of the Galaxy S II's Super AMOLED Plus display. The Sensation is also hard to see in direct sunlight. It's a great screen in its own right, but it's beaten by the Galaxy S II.

The glossy surface of the HTC Sensation's display is something we don't like. The surface seems extra glossy but doesn't feel as smooth to slide your finger across as most other Android phones we've tested. On a positive note, we do like how the edges of the glass curve upward toward the edge of the screen — this means the screen doesn't actually come into contact with surfaces when the phone is placed face down on a desk or table.

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