First off, this isn’t the HTC Sensation review — that’s coming in a few days once I’ve spent some more quality time with the device. For now I’m giving you my initial thoughts on what is to become HTC’s flagship device. Just like all phones it has its pros and cons, however: Sense UI is what really sets this device apart from all the other dual-cores currently on the market. So hit the break for my quick thoughts on what I think of the HTC Sensation so far.
Sense UI on the HTC Sensation is evidently all about flashy graphics and making everything look very appealing the user. Quite frankly, I hate it — I’m more all about just getting stuff done and not have graphics glowing or flying across the screen at me. HTC have put a tonne of work into Sense, just like they’ve done in the past, building on what they already have and making it far more resource intensive to attempt to hinder the Sensation’s performance. Considering there is a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU under the bonnet, it’s still quite jumpy when scrolling through the home screens and the app launcher.
We’ve always known Sense UI to be a more complete user interface (UI) in comparison to any other custom Android UI currently available. You’ve got tonnes of cool widgets that all look nice and do a great job at what they’re meant to do (show weather, texts, time, stocks, etc). Sense UI used to be what sucked me into HTC devices, now it’s kind of pushing me away; it’s all a bit too much.
I’ll get into more detail in the review, but for now: Sense UI is very resource intensive, has millions of shiny graphics that mimic 3D effects and is more user friendly for everyday consumers or first smartphone owners.
Update: My Sensation also suffers from the “death-grip” that’s hitting the blogosphere. Seems to almost completely kill wi-fi reception on my device.
The design.. Oh goodness me, the design! HTC needs to stop recreating the Nexus One. The Sensation doesn’t have to be as thick as it is, there’s plenty of bend in the back cover where there is empty space between it and the battery. That bend also makes it feel kind of cheap and it’s something that doesn’t happen on the SGSII. When you take off the back cover, it’s like you’re pulling the phone in half, the whole outer shell of the phone comes away from the front, this is mainly due to the unibody aluminium design to improve strength.
The qHD (960×540) Super LCD display is immaculate and blows the Atrix’s comparatively poor qHD display out of the water. Colours are far more vibrant on this display than they are on the Atrix though not as good as the SGSII, however the qHD resolution is a one-up over the WVGA (800×480) resolution of the Galaxy S II. Everything is very crisp thanks to those extra pixels and the display makes everything look like it has a little frost effect on it (seems the best way to describe it) which looks really nice also. So well done HTC on creating a great display, the glass atop of it though.. it’s annoying. The edges curve upwards for some reason, whether that’s to help the user feel where the edge of the screen is, I’m not too sure.
The camera appears to be doing a good job and the instant-shot feature is bliss. Just knowing you’ve taken the picture you saw when you pressed the shutter is what you need to have on a camera. Video recording also works well and I’ll have some sample video in the review.
You may think I’m being harsh to the Sensation; I’m not, I’m being hard on it because HTC don’t seem to want to innovate the design of their phones and their UI is chewing through battery and CPU like it’s going out of fashion.
Ed: What we would like to see HTC do is stop renovating – Sense UI smacks of this – and start innovating again. For so long trailblazers in the Android smartphone space, they’re now just keeping up…
I certainly don’t see this phone being good the savvy Android user, unless you’re going to root and ROM it when that becomes available in the future. The Sensation is absolutely geared towards the average consumer who likes flashy graphics and a spruced up spec sheet.