HTC Sensation and HTC London Meetup thoughts
After plenty of speculation and anticipation we finally have official word of the HTC Sensation. (Talk about a mouthful of an intro.) I eagerly went along to the HTC Meetup in London; boy, do HTC know how to introduce a product in style. Check out the photos and videos from the event. Bollywood lovers should notice a nice surprise. Anyways, back to the Meetup…
From the queue when I arrived at the building, I really didn’t expect to get in. The line stretched quite a far distance, indeed. Thankfully, I was told the event catered for around 500 and so we all got in okay. Hands stamped.. time to get in!
We were greeted with nice lighting, music, food and HTC reps on entrance. I saw a couple of HTC dudes giving demos of the HTC Flyer tablet. I didn’t pay much attention to that to be honest. I’d come for a meatier dish.
I’ll admit to being a stock android fan, having not really used any UIs on top of android for any significant length, but I found a lot to like in Sense 3. To be honest, I’m not sure what is new and what’s been carried over from before, but it’s a solid phone to me.. if you can excuse the loading niggles.
Coming from a Nexus One, I can see that the build quality on this is solid. It’s a pleasure for the hands to rub up against. It comes up at 126.1mm x 65.4mm x 11.3mm. If you love big phones, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ll love it, as I did.
One thing I didn’t like was the lack of a trackball. Despite Android 2.3, Gingerbread, having a nice way to select specific text, I still like the option of keeping my fingers below the sleep. It’s something I will miss.
The display looked pretty standard to me; nothing really out of the ordinary. The 4.3inch Super-LCD screen looked good. The screen was adequately sharp at qHD (540×960). Colours seemed pretty decent but I’m pretty sure a Super AMOLED would have been better. With such a big screen though, battery life did seem an issue to me, more on this later.
In an era of multi gigabyte storage devices, I found the 1 GB on the Sensation to be unacceptable. I like to think of the future when I buy my devices so this is a concern to me. Sure, it’s fine now, but will that be good enough in the years to come?
The Samsung Galaxy S II has pretty similar internals and manages to get 16 GB space inside of it. Now if only it didn’t look as it does, I’d be set.
The demo units did come equipped with 8 GB memory cards, though. I assume these will also ship with the final units, so at least we will have a decent amount of space to save apps onto.
This is one place that caught my attention. The Sensation packs an 8 megapixel camera on the back and a VGA on the front. The front wasn’t the best (especially in the low light) and doesn’t need much talking about. The main camera, however, was much better. The speed of taking a picture is improved slightly and there are a lot of effects which you can apply.
What really got the seal of approval was for me was the 30fps 1080p video recording. When making much movement, to see how it would react to a fast moving environment, there was no jerkiness at all – smooth as butter! Colour me impressed!
HTC have also included the ability to trim videos right off the bat which is likely to make editing or uploading direct to YouTube much easier. Now you can get your cats up faster and at 1080p, they’ll look twice as cute (30 frames purrrr second).
Here we come to a problem. Although this baby has a dual core 1.2 GHz processor, I still found a significant loading delay in certain areas. Playing back a video recording after I’d just recorded it took a while, most likely because it was still saving it to the memory. I come back to my point about higher storage. Had this been on the much faster internal flash, that loading time would have come right down. Considering the premium price I’m likely to pay for this, I really would have expected 8 GB or maybe even 16 GB of memory to have been built in.
On two other occasions I also found a long loading time whilst starting certain applications. That, however, will most likely be fixed up before release though.
The rest of it, I’m pleased to announce, sped through like an overweight man working through a cake.
The specifications didn’t mention battery life at the time, but the website says it has a 1520mAh battery and has a talk time of up to 495 minutes. The HTC rep told me that the dual core processor doesn’t affect it adversely in any way and the battery life should be the same as the current 4.3in screen phones on the market (I think he was referring to the Desire HD/Thunderbolt).
Software (Sense 3.0)
The software was pretty nice. Scrolling was nice and smooth and apps opened speedily (as you would expect). It took a bit of adjusting having coming from stock android, but I’m sure it’ll work as well in the long term. If not, there’s always CyanogenMod (here’s hoping).
As for what’s new, like I said, I’m not sure having not used Sense before, I know that HTC have come up with a movie rental app. It still needs a bit of work though, as that was one of the places where there was a big lag.
The HTC guy told me that the software on the phone throughout is still to be finalised though, so many last minute tweaks are to be expected!
My thoughts of the Sensation may have seemed a little negative, but despite the little things I don’t like about it, I still think it’s a solid device. I’ve been due my upgrade since August of last year and I couldn’t really find anything to replace my Nexus One. It seems HTC has won my heart once again with the Sensation. I’m pretty confident I will be getting it for the next year and a half when it finally comes to T-Mobile UK.
It will initially be released exclusively on Vodafone in the second half of May and will come to the other networks a few weeks later. What do you think? Is it a keeper, or are you waiting for something else to come out?
About the author
Hello, I'm Ian (eye-an) I was born in Recife, Brazil and raised in the fridge tundra of Minneapolis, MN USA. I graduated from Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL with an AA in Audio Recording Production and Engineering. I love tech, always have since I was a little tot and what better way to know more then to tell everyone else about it also. So here is teknami (tech-nah-me) Tek for tech and nami is a derivative of namesake.