11 Comments

Summary:

After weeks of anticipation, the HTC Sensation arrives in T-Mobile stores on June 15 for $199 after rebate and with a contract. The dual-core handset boasts a large 960×540 display, 1080p video capture and the newest version of HTC Sense with a time-saving active lockscreen feature.

htc-sensation-4g-featured

T-Mobile’s next high-end Android smartphone, the HTC Sensation, arrives on June 15 for $199 after $50 mail-in rebate and two-year contract. The 4G device boasts a high-resolution screen and dual-core processor, in addition to 1080p video capture. The Sensation runs on Google Android 2.3 and includes access to HTC’s new media stores for music, video rentals or purchases. HTC boasts a progressive download solution for video, which provides near-instant playback of movies or television programs. Additional highlights of the handset include:

  • 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
  • 4.3-inch display with 960×540 (qHD) resolution
  • 8-megapixel rear camera with two LED flashes and capability to record 1080p video at 30 fps, front-facing camera for video chat
  • 768 MB of RAM, 4 GB internal storage, 8 GB microSD card included
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS,
  • Mobile broadband downloads up to 14.4 Mbps / uploads up to 5.76 Mbps
  • 1520 mAh battery
  • HTC’s Sense 3.0 user interface
  • 5″ x 2.6″ x 0.44″; weight of 5.2 ounces

Although T-Mobile has recently introduced a number of new and improved Android handsets, the Sensation is the most cutting-edge device when looking at overall capabilities and features. There are some aspects that may disappoint a few power users craving the best hardware and software, however: notably the HSPA+ radio, which is limited to 14.4 Mbps downloads. T-Mobile spent most of last year upgrading its data network to 21 Mbps theoretical speeds and introduced 42 Mbps capability in 55 markets earlier this month.

Since the phone runs Android 2.3.3 and not 2.3.4, the front-facing camera won’t be usable for Google Talk video chat out of the box, either. Instead, T-Mobile offers its own video chat service powered by Qik. Still, the mobile broadband speeds and overall capabilities of the HTC Sensation should be more than adequate for most. I’m looking to replace my aged Google Nexus One and the Sensation is among the top two or three contenders, mainly because of the hardware, but also because of HTC’s software. This promotional video shows off much of HTC’s new software on the Sensation:


HTC Sense 3.0 makes use of the Sensation’s lock screen, allowing for easily viewable data such as weather, and the ability to quickly launch apps with one swipe. I’m testing a tablet version of the feature on HTC’s Flyer and find it extremely valuable and a big time saver. The HTC Watch and Listen storefronts also bring more media options to the handset, although my preference is for Amazon’s music store, which is supported on a wider range of Android devices.

Although T-Mobile will carry the HTC Sensation in stores on June 15, the company says Walmart locations may have the device as early as June 12. I’m hoping to have a review unit in hand prior to both dates, so stay tuned for a detailed look at T-Mobile’s newest high-end handset.

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  1. Richard Garrett Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Definitely some impressive features and if it operates as smoothly as the video portrays it could be a worthy successor to the Nexus. Of course thats not the whole story — your decision I suspect will be as much about the network as the hardware. That, as they say, will be the rest of the story!

    1. Yup, although I’m currently a T-Mobile customer and happy with the network where I live and work, so I basically chose my network when I bought the Nexus One last January. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t switch providers, but I don’t have much incentive to at the moment. I’ll likely hold off on a decision until I can see the Samsung Galaxy S II, although I don’t know when that will be!

      1. Ah yes, your network is T-Mobile for now but sometime soon it will likely be AT&T. Will that make a difference in your decision? I know you had an iPhone, but I just can’t remember if you were enthusiastic about the network — will you use your past experience as an indicator of future results? In any event, I’m looking forward to Friday and hoping you’ll have it in time for MOTR!

        1. For now, I’m not basing any of my decisions on the upcoming AT&T / T-Mo deal; there are simply too many unknowns. When I had an iPhone on AT&T, the network was fine where I work and live. The only times I had issues was on business travel to our San Francisco office and at CES, where all of the networks are generally inundated. So I don’t mind going back to AT&T, although (again, in my coverage areas) T-Mobile currently provides a faster mobile broadband network. In any case, I’m hoping to have the Sensation in hand by Friday morning, so it would be in time for MoTR if the delivery service cooperates. :)

  2. Would you say that the phone is a must buy like the IPhone? I am a nexus one owner and it feel that it was a must buy.

    1. Jamie, we all have different needs of course, so what I buy or recommend may not be the best choice for you. Having said that, the Sensation has the potential to be one of the most powerful handsets for T-Mobile’s network yet — at least from what we can see so far. I just lined up a review unit for later this week, so I’ll have more to say soon. This handset, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S II are the top contenders to replace my Nexus One, for what that’s worth.

  3. Raymond Padilla Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Kevin, does the Flyer have HTC Trace? You wrote about it before and it has been touted as a Sense 3.0 feature, but the Euro reviews of the Sensation haven’t mentioned it. As a big Swype fan, it’s a pretty big deal to me.

    1. NM, just got the press release. The Sensation will have HTC Trace. Yay!

      1. Yup, the Sensation will have Trace. Hoping to try it out when the review unit arrives: scheduled for Friday.

  4. Raymond Padilla Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Kevin, you sure about the 4GB of internal storage? The press release says 1GB.

    1. Just checked my source and see the issue: according to HTC’s official product page, the device does have 4GB of internal storage. However, it says that only 1GB is user addressable, which is probably why the PR says 1 GB. Here’s the official product page specs: http://www.htc.com/us/products/sensation4g-tmobile#tech-specs

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