Review: HTC Sensation XL

By Branko Miletic

You could be forgiven for thinking that with all the kind words I have said over the years about HTC's phones, I must be working for the company or be on its payroll. Not true, however if they keep coming up with cutting-edge and fun smartphones like this HTC Sensation XL, that perception is only going to get reinforced.

For this phone, the HTC engineers have decided that size is everything – and as such have come up with a phone that has a 4.7-inch screen- meaning all those 4.3-inch smartphones out there, like your iPhone for example, look decidedly compact.

I also have to say that the Sensation XL is not your ordinary, average, garden variety phone. But it was never meant to be, since most smartphones don't also ship with a pair of Dr. Dre Beats Audio Solo headphones, worth about $300. This is not bad by any measure and when you plug the Dr. Dre's into the phone and pump up some music, the sound that comes out is nothing short of magnificent.

Admittedly, I’m no audiophile, and don't own a sound system worth more than the average family car, however I have spent some time testing earphones and the plugs with mobile phones, and nothing in the phone world – let me repeat – nothing comes close to the sound quality of this set up.

Even if you didn't want a smartphone and were in the market just for a mobile music device, I would recommend the HTC Sensation XL- the sound is that good.

With a wide-angle lens capable of snapping at 8-megapixels, it seems someone in the HTC R&D department really likes to use their phone for not only listening to their music collection, but for taking pictures. I took a couple of snaps of trees, cars and buildings, and the quality of the pictures was top notch.

The handset uses Android 2.3.5- which is also known as Gingerbread, and added to that the HTC Sense graphic user interface a very happy pairing indeed.

When I received the unit, it was signed up to Vodafone, which doesn't do HTC any favours. Regardless, at full charge, the standby time was about 8 days and the talk time, for a heavy user like myself, which also included to listening to music, was almost 2 full days. Not bad, considering I basically would not let the HTC Sensation XL have a rest at all and tried to use as many juice-sucking applications that I could find.

The other thing I liked about the unit was when you needed to read your email, or read an online book or web site, its enhanced size proved everything was clear and easy to see.

So along with all the apps, the Gingerbread OS and the easy to read screen size, the HTC Sensation XL really is a standout phone. Add to that the 162 gm weight, the 1.5 GHz Qualcomm processor and the microSD card expandable memory, this is a great little device.

Sure it has all the apps, and other Android bells and whistles like any HTC phone, but if you like your smartphone-based music, and use your device for taking lots of pictures and videos, you should at least give the HTC Sensation XL a try .

Pros: great sound; fast screen response; top camera
Cons: linked to Vodafone; only comes in white; a better battery would be good

4.5 Shacks Out Of 5



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