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printed September 1, 2014
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Review: HTC Sensation 4G

Form Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  2  

Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

Screen

The HTC's 4.3-inch piece of glass rates qHD resolution, which means it packs in 960 by 540 pixels. That's a lot of pixels. It looks truly fantastic. Even when held close to my eyes, I had a hard time picking out individual pixels. Text, icons, graphics all look smooth, clean, and crisp. Colors are bright and cheerful. As with most large displays, it isn't as amazing outside, but I found that the Sensation 4G was at least readable under a bright, sunny sky.

Signal

The Sensation 4G performed very well in signal tests. I took it for several drives about northern NJ and into New York City and found that it showed 3 or 4 bars most of the time. It dropped to 1 or 2 bars only when indoors, and particularly in large buildings. When outside, though, it always had a strong signal. In real-use terms, the Sensation 4G never missed a call, nor did it drop any. It also didn't show any problems connecting calls. The Sensation 4G's 4G data powers were solid. I hit max download speeds of 7.9Mbps and upload speeds of 2.1Mbps. Keep in mind, the Sensation 4G is limited to HSPA+ at 14.4Mbps and not T-Mobile's faster 21Mbps. Real-world performance was very good, with few hiccups or stalls slowing the Sensation 4G down.

Sound

Call quality was the first real disappointment I came across with the Sensation 4G. The earpiece produced plenty of volume, but calls had a persistent hiss and often voices came across as garbled. Call quality wasn't horrendous, but it wasn't good, either. As for the speakerphone, it is weak. It barely has the audio power of a pair of headphones. It almost sounded as though turning on the speakerphone only kicked the earpiece into maximum overdrive. Whatever HTC is doing with the speakerphone, it's not enough and it needs more power. Ditto for ringers and alert tones. Set to the maximum, they were barely audible in a room with screaming kids. They just aren't loud enough. The vibrate alert, however, is plenty strong.

Battery

The Sensation 4G did OK with respect to battery life. Most users will need to charge it every night. It made it through my standard "day" (7AM - 11PM) with no trouble at all, and most often had enough charge to last through the night. It was fully dead within 24 hours, though, so a nightly juicing is required. If you barely use the Sensation 4G, you might get more use out of it, but a phone like this is meant to be used.

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