HTC Sensation 4G It's always a delight to see innovation in the design realm, and the HTC Sensation 4G flaunts an unconventional back panel that sets the phone apart from the monotonous sea of black Android phones currently wading within the market. Three separate asymmetrical panels compose the back of the phone, including two textured strips and an aluminum center panel, reminding us of a MOMA sculpture. The entire back panel could also be removed, cradling the phone components and screen. Even the in-ear speaker is part of the back shell, and it lead to a seamless appearance.
Then there was the 4.3-inch qHD capacitive touchscreen with sloped borders for a sunken-in effect ultimately translating to more style. The science behind the contoured screen came down to ergonomics, whereas the finger did not feel the abrupt edge of the screen, but rather a friendly slope. The 960 x 540 screen resolution was beyond top-notch, proving itself perfect for gaming and movies, especially thanks to the 16 million-color spectrum. The Home, Menu, Back, and Search haptic feedback buttons were just as sensitive as the screen, which was whisper-responsive.
Despite the fancy screen and advanced aesthetics, the Sensation 4G only has 9GB of storage out of the box. That's an 8GB MicroSD card and 1GB of user-accessible internal memory. For the multimedia freak, the need to upgrade to a higher capacity card will be necessary. The Sensation 4G has an 8-megapixel main camera with 1080p HD video recording and auto/touch focus, as well as a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. The phone's battery pack is a 1520mAh type, and that just about rounds out HTC's top powerhouse. Take every advanced feature found on the top phones today, multiply them, and you have the Sensation 4G.
Software and Interface
Lurking inside the HTC Sensation 4G is a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor (1.2GHz at each core) with Adreno 220 GPU technology. The phone also has 768MB of RAM. In plain terms, the Sensation 4G is the most powerful production phone to date. It screamed through all of our tasks, especially coupled with T-Mobile's HSPA+ speeds. Bluetooth is 3.0, we get DLNA/UPnP, and an accelerometer for advanced gaming and graphics. Top that off with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and HTC's latest Sense 3.0 user interface, and the Sensation 4G was, in fact, truly sensational.
The combination of Gingerbread and HTC Sense 3.0 was beyond awesome, and certainly the greatest Android experience we've had on a phone. We're taking the software upgrades found on the Nexus S 4G and adding the interface enhancements showcased on the HTC Flyer both were devices that fared quite well in our labs. So, beginning with Android upgrades, we got a quicker overall browsing experience and heightened text highlight system that utilized a magnification box and bounding tabs.
But the HTC Sense upgrades stole the show. We've seen this on the HTC Flyer, but it was great to see it migrate to a phone. The HTC Sensation 4G's Lock screen had four customizable shortcuts that could be dragged into a "ring" for immediate access. If we want to unlock the phone normally, we just tossed the ring up into space and were greeted to a shiny new HTC Sense. It was obvious that widget refinement was a key element of 3.0's blueprints. Leap allowed us to pinch any Home screen down to a minimized view of all 7 Home screens for easy access. What made our experience even sweeter was the fact that the HTC Sensation was able to fly through actions and animations with ease. This truly is a Super Phone.
Aside from being beautiful, the Sensation 4G's Internet browser was not all that advanced. We also had a rapid double-tap-to-zoom capability and lightning quick Flash play. However, the browser only had an address bar and Refresh button while we were used to the Bookmarks button in its place. That's okay, because the phone's overall speed really made it fly above the rest.
Multimedia and Productivity
With its shiny new interface, HTC decided to show its widgets off. We'll start with the Watch widget, which took us to HTC's new Blockbuster-like movie streaming store that offered the ability to buy and download movies straight to the phone. Then we had the People widget, which displayed our favorite contacts for quick access. Add on the in-depth Calendar and Email widgets, and the Sensation modeled the Flyer without question. Oh, and the Gallery widget was super cool, but you'll just have to wait until the camera section. With its stellar qHD screen and lighting quick processing guts, it was no question that the Sensation 4G handled gaming with ease.
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