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Hands-On: HTC Sensation 4G

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Apr 12, 2011, 8:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @zeman_e

Phone Scoop got to spend a few moments playing with HTC's new Sensation 4G smartphone. Here are our first impressions of the latest in innovation from HTC.

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The Sensation 4G from HTC is a very attractive phone, and the newest flagship Android device for the T-Mobile network. It features the latest and greatest of just about every feature you can think of.

Despite its massive 4.3-inch qHD display, the Sensation 4G is a slim and light phone. The tightly curved back surfaces and thinner profile make for a much more pleasant device to hold when compared to, say, the Thunderbolt for example. It really feels good to hold and use for such a big devices.

Sensation Hardware  

The materials aren't as awesome as I was expecting. Rather than the high-quality metals and plastics that HTC uses for its higher-end devices, the Sensation is made mostly of plastics. The battery cover is actually the entire back surface and edges of the device, and includes the antenna, which HTC says helped make the phone thinner and lighter.

The placement of the controls was fine. I had no problems finding and using the lock/power button, the volume toggle, and so on. The Android keys below the display are all capacitive rather than physical buttons. There is no dedicated camera key, which is a bit of a surprise to me.

The display, which looks bloody amazing, has 540 x 960 pixels. The pixel density is great, and the 4.3-inch Super LCD makes everything pop with clarity. Colors looked fantastic on the display, as did text and other screen elements. It was able to overcome a very bright, sun-filled room during out hands-on meeting. The display is curved ever so slightly along the outer edges until it meets the lip surrounding the display. HTC said that this curved design serves two purposes: first, to let users know their thumb is about to hit the edge of the phone; and two, to prevent the screen from being damaged when it is placed on a hard, flat surface.

As for the user interface, it runs the latest version of Sense from HTC. While most of the changes lay deep under the surface the best and most obvious is the new lock screed which accommodates several different shortcuts. When you press the lock button, it offers quicker access to user-defined information. For example, it can be set to display the current weather conditions, and, true to HTC form, the weather pages are animated and noisy. It can be set to show a montage of photos from the photo gallery. This is neat because the photos float past in the background, but also can be accessed by swiping back and forth — all without unlocking the phone.

The best variant of the new home screen, however, is the one which provides shortcuts to four different user-defined applications. Pressing the lock key wakes the screen, places those four apps near the botton of the screen, and a small circle below them. Choose the app you want to access, such as the phone, or camera, or music player, and drag it to the circle and it goes straight to that application. Neat!

New Sense Lock Screen  

The other most evident change is with the camera software. It is lightning quick. It focuses almost instantly, shoots the picture fast, and then gets right back to the viewfinder for faster photo shooting. This is a welcome change, as some of HTC's earlier Android handsets were sadly lacking in the camera speed department.

In all, the Sensation is a great addition to T-Mobile's line-up of super-slab Android smartphones.

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.


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Apr 12, 2011, 6:43 PM


Me like.

Too bad it's only going to work until ATT shuts off T-mobile's AWS ☹️

Apr 12, 2011, 1:03 PM

Where are the full specs?

Great features but why only 14 Mbps data speed?
I wonder if this is HTC's answer to LG's G2x.
This site has some specs from the press release.

I really wish this had pentaband 3G, then it would be a worthy investment for t-mobile customers since they could possibly get by with the merger without losing their 3gness.

http://gizmodo.co »...
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