Appearance: A sensation, it is! The HTC Sensation smart phone impresses you at the look! At 148g and 4.3 inches, the gadget is incredibly small and fits snuggly into the curve of your palm. This has been achieved mainly by shrinking of the top and bottom bezels framing the screen from the HTC Incredible S, though the extra-large volume rocker and the micro-USB input stays intact on its left. The bottom of the phone is home to a microphone and a notch for opening up the back cover, the right side is left barren, and the top feature headphone jacks and the power button.
The HTC has also applied peculiar contouring to the edges of the glass screen that’s slightly higher than the rest of the display, with a tiny little slope lending the whole screen a subtle concavity. As a result, most of the glass never comes in contact with surfaces when the phone is laid face down, adding a smidgen extra protection to it.
The rear features an 8 megapixel autofocus camera that sits next to a dual LED flash and a single loudspeaker grille. A pair of soft-touch plastic inserts take up a third of the rear cover each, with the upper one protruding a little bit in front of the camera lens and LEDs, lending them an extra bit of protection.
A microSD card slot also lurks under the Sensation’s skin, and it’s filled by default with an 8GB unit, which augments the 1GB of onboard storage. It’s accessible without removing the battery from its silo.
As is true for all battery-powered devices, your time away from the wall plug with the Sensation will be determined by what you use the handset for. What really stands out about the Sensation is that it barely uses any strength when not in our hands and doing awesome, futuristic things. So, in casual use, it can easily go on for a few days without charging.
The Sensation flaunts a qHD 960 x 540 resolution screen that gives you the advantage of accessing a longer list, be it of your Gmail inbox or phone contacts. The camera and gallery apps also benefit from having more dots to display your compositions and resulting images.
The second big advantage of The Sensation is experienced in its video capability. With the qHD resolution you’ll be able to watch both contents you’ve downloaded and recorded yourself in full screen without resorting to any compromises such as zooming the picture in and cutting off the widest portions.
You can expect some great audio too with your earplugs. With SRS virtual surround sound enhancements plugged into the phone, there’s a notable sound enhancement by the widened sound stage.
Camera: The phone’s camera comes with an added feature called Instant Capture that minimizes the lag between telling the phone to snap a photo and the actual capture and it works pretty well. Also helpful is a little preview window in the bottom left corner (when the phone’s held in landscape mode), which shows the last photograph taken. The image quality is high too. Even with the company’s auto-enhance option is turned off, the camera software automatically chooses where to blur things out to deliver more visually appealing imagery at lower resolutions.
The LED flash is intelligently designed, and is bright enough to illuminate group portrait shots and yet subtle enough not to whitewash a subject that’s placed immediately in front of the camera lens.
Video recording on the Sensation is also very comfortable and effortless giving thirty frames of 1080p each second, showcasing excellent ability to keep up with motion. Sound is recorded in stereo, which is another commendable feature of the Sensation’s multimedia offering.
The Sensation runs on HTC’s Sense-tweaked Android 2.3.3. You can boost it up by overlaying custom app launchers or UI skins from the Android Market.
Sense 3.0: The phone offers a very dynamic and useful user interface The overhauled lockscreen offers four customizable app shortcuts, which can be dragged into a so-called activation ring and thereby unlock the phone straight into the app. Above the shortcuts, you can have some spectacularly animated weather animations signifying the current weather, or stock updates, or a floating array of your pictures, which too can be dragged into that ring for a closer look. Navigation between homescreens is executed with a three-dimensional animation, implying a carousel arrangement, and there are tons of little visual tweaks suggesting depth in, around, and behind UI elements.
HTC’s integration of a Quick Settings menu in the drop-down Android menu (it sits alongside the usual Notifications area) and the nice app switcher that appears when you hold down the Home button, is useful.
Performance: The handset’s biggest struggle is in finding things that can challenge it. Dragging the camera icon into the unlocking ring on the lockscreen and taking your first snapshot is a spectacularly quick affair. Google Maps and the web browser are super slick and flash videos embedded online load up as quickly on the Sensation as on any other smart phone.
HTC Watch, the company’s newly launched online movie store / rental kiosk, is available on the Sensation, having made its debut on the Flyer, which works on a progressive download basis. App launching too, is in general instantaneous.
Overall, the HTC Sensation appears to be an extremely accomplished device, with a true to it’s name design and impressive performance.
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