Jun 04 AT 1:34 PM Nick Gray 67 Comments

HTC Sensation 4G hands-on impressions and benchmark testing

We still have a few weeks to go before T-Mobile launches the HTC Sensation 4G here in the U.S. Market, but our friends at HTC were kind enough to send over a demo unit for us to play with. You probably have all the specs of the HTC Sensation memorized by now, but we’ll run through them one more time for those who many not be as obsessed with Android phones as we are.

The HTC Sensation 4G is the first phone in HTC’s lineup to feature Qualcomm’s new 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor. It also comes with a 4.3-inch qHD display (960 x 540 pixels), an 8 megapixel camera with dual-led flash capable of recording 1080p HD video, front-facing VGA camera for video chat, 768 MB of RAM, and a 1520 mAh batter all running on Android 2.3.3 with HTC Sense 3.0.

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Now that we have that out of the way, you’re probably wondering what the HTC Sensation 4G is really capable of. We’ve only had is for less than a day, but we immediately loaded up all our favorite 3D games from the Android Market. As expected, games like Gun Bros, Cordy, Angry Birds, Nova all played with buttery smoothness. We ran though a few benchmarks as well, but the numbers were not as impressive as we expected. We’re assuming the Sensation’s qHD display with 30% more pixels is the main culprit behind the low benchmark scores.

HTC Sense 3.0 is certainly a treat since Sense hasn’t really gotten any graphical updates in a while. In addition to new 3D graphics in the widgets and the phone’s fancy new unlock screen, the notifications bar has been modded to give you access to frequently used settings options. HTC has also includes HTC Watch for renting or buying TV shows and movies and HTC Listen which is very similar to the Amazon MP3 store.

The build quality of the HTC Sensation 4G is impeccable. Though HTC claims the Sensation features a uni-body aluminum casing, the implementation on this handset is different than what we have seen in the past. The shell of the phone is completely removable, exposing the battery, SIM and microSD card slots when it is detached from the handset. The 4.3-inch display is covered in contoured Gorilla Glass which keeps the screen touching flat surfaces when placed face-down.

We’ll be testing out the camera, battery life, and daily performance over the next weeks. If you have any questions about the HTC Sensation 4G, be sure to let us know in the comments.

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • http://Website Jerry

    I’m coming from nexus s ….how does the screen compare to super amoled? I’ve seen comparasons with super amoled plus

    • http://Website phil

      The screen is not nearly as beautiful in saturation or contrast but in sharp and crisp images it blows SamoLED+ out of the water.

  • http://Website Bruce

    Is the sensation an android phone worthy of re-upping with tmobile?

    • Nick Gray

      Depends on what you currently have. The Sensation 4G is the best phone on T-Mobile right now and will be for quite some time.

      • http://Website Bruce

        I have the vibrant now. I like it, but ready for a step up.

  • http://Website Frank

    Yeah I may have the G2x at a lower resolution (480×800) and 1ghz vs this 1.2ghz but this phone is weaksauce for 3D. Cmon son! I honestly expected much better results after all the hooplah & hype this phone has been receiving.

  • http://Website Brandon

    Is the bootloader locked?

    • http://Website Max


    • Nick Gray

      As of right now, the bootloader is locked. HTC may release an update to unlock it this summer.

  • http://Website odemata

    Well I just got the G2X so I don’t know about this one. I like stock plus with the Nexus 3 supposedly looming around I rather play the wait and see game on this. The Tegra chip does make a difference in game play

  • http://Website Jerry

    How does Nova run on it? Fits screen good?

    • http://Website Nick

      NOVA HD runs flawlessly on the Sensation 4G. I’ve downloaded nearly 2 dozen 3D games so far and have not run into any issues with any of them.

  • http://Website Pat

    Does the Sensation have a signed bootloader? That’s a deal breaker for me.

    • http://Website jerry

      Yes til update comes out for it soon

      • http://Website Dags

        I’m hopeful but that update may never come. HTC has promised nothing with regard to the Sensation.

        • http://keridel.blogspot.com keridel

          the european sensation already has the unlocking tool so the 4g should get it too.

  • http://Website Mocha K

    Well, does anyone know if the Galaxy S2 coming to T-Mobile? I want the Galaxy S2 but i’m not switching carriers for it.

    Also is the lag that bad on this phone?

    • http://Website Nick

      Not sure about what lag you are talking about. Everything on the Sensation 4G is super smooth.

      • http://Website Mocha K

        I’ve seen videos of the Galaxy S2 vs. the Sensation, and the Sensation seems to stutter a little but it might be just that handset.

  • http://Website Fireflybebop

    Does it run Netflix?

  • http://Website Richard Yarrell

    Teen-Mobile is terrible, get SPRINT and the new EVO!!!
    HTC sensation is sensational bland!
    But you stupid donkeys seem to like htc….

    • http://Website Martin

      HTC make the EVO phones ….

      • http://Website chris

        I got the chance to sample a demo of the sensation a few days ago at a t-mobile store. The phone is quite impressive. Hardware and software alike. Htc is all over this device with sense, but please dont let let that stop you from something phenominal. This an absolute ADULT piece of tech. Don’t listen to Dick Yarell.

    • krazytrixxxsta

      lmao…you basically calling yourself a stupid donkey since evo phones are made by htc.

      • http://Website F-Grid

        But the Evo is ahead of the Sensation, its the better phone. Some htc phones ae top notch, while some are average.

        • http://Website chris

          Some of the specs of the evo 3d are ahead of the Sensation, but i’m sure in real world usage they’re identical. Besides the whole 3d gimmick makes the back of phones look unattractive. Something which the Sensation is not.

    • http://Website snowbdr89

      dick u dont make any sense, stupid donkeys like htc? im pretty sure the new evo is htc moron!! and here is what you get with wimax http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08bLfNExQ6s

    • http://Website CactusCat

      Cmon Yarrell. You’re such a loser. You’ve got this idea that the world revolves around anything with the Evo name. I’m so glad you’re such a dedicated Sprint fanboy. Nothing wrong with that, but you called the people here “stupid donkeys for liking HTC”. Well guess what ding-dong. HTC makes the Evo too, so I guess that makes you a “stupid donkey” as well. Get a life dude. Make me happy. Put out some intelligent comments once in a while.

      • http://Website CactusCat

        I’m so sorry snowbdr88 or 89

    • http://Website ACR

      Richard, please never post again. Your posts are useless.

  • http://Website chris

    How does it compare physically to the HD2, since that is what I’ll be upgrading from?

    • http://Website Nick

      Compared to the HD2 (and all the other 4.3-inch screen phones from HTC) , the Sensation 4G is feels a lot smaller due to the handset’s reduced width.

  • http://Website chris

    How does it compare physically to the HD2, since that is what I’ll be upgrading from?

    • http://Website chris

      Chris it feels, if you can believe it, slightly slimmer than the HD2. I also own that phone as well. The difference is minimal, but the edges of the sensation is rounded and the back fits the hand better. It’s even more premium than the HD2. You must experience it for youself.

  • http://Website rocco76

    I currently have the Nexus 1, do you think its worth replacing my n1 for the SENSATION?

    • Erik

      I just traded off my Nexus one for the Sensation. It is the first phone that convinced me to retire my Nexus. That being said, my Sensation has it’s quircks. The biggest being that I can’t hold it in landscape mode without it dropping the wifi connection. Hopefully 2.3.4 also gets rid of the random reboots and mystery battery crashing up to 70% charge in less than 10 minutes.
      The screen is really good, getting used to Sense was not too bad, and it is really fast after the 2.3.4 update, but i still prefer stock Android overall.

      Kinda miss my nexus sometimes.

  • justreboot

    Those wondering a bit about the Sensation. I’m going into my second week having it and so far I have had very few issues. My speed tests come out around 6-7 Mbps. Quadrant is averaging in the 2000′s. My battery life is great. I took it off the charge today around 9:00 AM and spent some time playing N64 roms, pandora, navigation, text, email and using my camera. Around 8:30 PM I was at about 10% remaining. In my opinion not bad for a heavier day of usage on my part.

    Overall design is amazing. It has a premium feel and feels smaller than an HD7. I came from the Vibrant to the Sensation and I don’t miss my amoled screen too much as the qHD is looking really good. but the amoled screens still look better in my opinion.

    Games and apps open and play smooth as butter. Today I played Nova, Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time, Killer Instinct Gold, Mario 64 and all played with very little (if any) lag and barely skipping a beat.

    Netflix did play at first. I was soooo excited. Now all I get is a message popup that there is an update for Netflix and when I go to update it gives me a “not found” message.. I’ll probably try to find and install the updated .apk and let you know if it plays.

    If anyone has any questions, let know I’m more than willing to answer/test things for you.

  • http://Website Richard Yarrell…Awaiting my Evo 3d

    It’s really ashame that someone KEEPS POSTING AS ME have your fun. Everyone who really knows my posts already knows I hold htc/sprint/tmobile in the highest regard so the above posting is plain stupid from someone who has nothing better to do with there time. Clearly HTC has the best smartphones on the android/windows platforms and many people swear by htc and all there designs. Htc cares most about there customers out of any manufracturer so if you don’t have an htc made device in your hand then whatever your rocking with IS USELESS..

    • http://Website so…

      Doesn’t really matter if you are the real one……..still talks like a stupid donkey

    • http://Website Nick

      Since people seem to think it’s funny to post as you, you may want to add an image to your email profile (http://gravatar.com).

  • http://Website Raghav

    when you figure out, can you tell us how the battery life is?

    • http://Website Nick

      After a day and a half, I can say that battery life is decent. I’ve been downloading and testing out games and apps, but I was able to get 13 solid hours out of the Sensation yesterday. Now that I’m done configuring the phone and testing its performance, I should be able to get 14-16 hours out of this baby. I’ll be sure to let you guys know how battery life plays out over the next few days.

  • http://DroidNinja.com slayerXcore

    The bootloader is locked for now HTC will release a way to unlock it soon either with an OTA update or with ADB or something else

  • http://Website Tim H

    I’ve heard the G2X screen looks great even in direct sunlight.. I’m curious how this compares..

  • http://Website drone3

    Apparently a guy “rahan95″ received a demo htc sensation with root access. He is currently working with xda to extract all necessary data for the community.

  • http://Website stoj0021

    Are you able to make wifi calls with the sensation?

    • http://Website Nick

      Yes, T-Mobile’s WiFi calling features work great. I was a bit surprised when the Sensation automatically switched it on the first time I connected to my home WiFi network.

  • http://Website stoj0021

    Is the sensation capable of making wifi calls like other t-mobile phones?

  • http://Website splitzman2000

    have to say…by far the best phone i’ve ever had

  • http://Website snowbdr89

    Real yarrell or fake still idiots

  • http://punmobile.net punzz

    great phone, I wonder how much its price on retail
    man I want it, for my gaming live

  • http://Website Andrew

    really boring videos…this guy nick couldnt be less excited and more monotonous if he tried…i want taylor back!

  • http://Website Alankrut Patel

    I really want this phone, but am kind of scared due to the 1gb of internal memory.

    HTC and tmobile never really clarified on this matter.

    If you have it can you go to settings then sd/phone storage and tell me how much is there for phone storage.

    I would appreciate it, thanks

    • justreboot

      1GB internal, comes preloaded with 8GB sd card.

  • RonWeez

    i know that its been said that the Sensation is being released at Walmart on the 12th and tmobile on the 15th. is there any thing to prove this is true because tmobile says they have no date yet and the release date is speculated to be a week away. they should know by now

  • Grim Reeper S16

    isn’t the phone bit faster then the G2x since it has .2 more processing power?

  • Grim Reeper S16

    also, hey Nick Grey, can you tell me how to add a picture to my profile i can’t figure it out :(

    • http://Website Greg

      Please sign off of AOL.

  • http://Website drone3
  • http://Website Kev

    This article forgets to mention that the dual core snapdragon is a cortex a8 design, not the new cortex a9 design, this means the cpu isnt as fast nor efficient as the tegra2 and exynos proccessor, the only good thing about the snapdragon is the much improved adreno 220 gpu, this thing eats nvidia’s ulp for lunch and has better driver support than the mali 400mp.

  • http://kristsinferno.blogspot.com Black Kristos

    I can finally move on from the MT3G. Being an early adopter is painful sometimes.

  • http://Website boost

    does this comes with AT&T band (850/1900 3g) ?

  • fernando nascimento

    Hello good afternoon.

    I have an HTC Magic, I hope a lot of time for a real impressive phone from HTC, the HTC which appeared to Sensation, but I’m very reluctant for their performance, but mainly on the problem of microphones that gives a bad sound quality will be minimal breeze air or in noisy environments.

    I wonder if they are aware of this problem and are working on your resolution.

    Keep up the good work.

    • http://keridel.blogspot.com keridel

      hey there and welcome to the site.

      i have also noticed the problem with sound however the sensation is said to have two mics which are used to cancel out random noise the same way the nexus 1 did.

  • kwills88

    Considering i have a G1, getting any phone should be easy..but yet this feels like a life and death situation for me..I am about to cave in and stop waiting for the SGSII and just get this phone, but the fact that SGSII can play MKV.files and the battery life is great makes me cling onto the small hope of the SGSII coming to t-mo soon.

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