The HTC Sensation is something of a latecomer to the dual-core smartphone party but the wait has been worth it. Packing in a 1.2GHz processor, 8 megapixel camera, high-resolution screen, and a stunning design, it most definitely lives up to its name.
As ever with HTC, it's the design of the Sensation that first hits you. The curved edges to the glass front doesn't necessarily look better than a flat fronted phone but it does help the Sensation stand out. It's the back that is a true work of greatness, though. The tri-tone grey arrangement is a stunningly effective piece of subtle design. The top and bottom sections are patches of soft touch plastic while the stripe through the middle is part of the Aluminium frame that makes up the back. Breaking up the grey and black are little flashes of chrome or polished Aluminium just to give it that little sprinkling of bling.
This isn't a unibody design like the Desire S – the metal section frames the backplate and comes off whole. Nonetheless, it feels very solid and well put together. Underneath it you'll find slots for the SIM card and a microSD card, which will take cards up to 32GB and should be filled with an 8GB card when you buy the phone.
Thanks to its curved back and edges the Sensation feels very comfortable to hold, which is something that couldn't really be said of the Samsung Galaxy S II. This is despite it only being 1mm narrower than Samsung's handset. Indeed, this is otherwise quite a large phone with dimensions of 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3mm – it just hides it well.
All told, the HTC Sensation looks and feels smart, which really is all one can ask for in smartphone design. We're still not entirely convinced that all the metal actually makes HTC's devices any tougher than any rivals but they certainly give that impression.
Round the edges is the usual selection of features. Up top is a headphone jack, the left is home to the volume rocker and microUSB socket, the right is blank, while the bottom houses the little fingernail button for prizing the back off. On said back is the 8 megapixel camera with its twin LED flashes and stereo mics for video, along with the speaker and further mics for noise-cancelling in-call. As we've come to expect from HTC, the only omission is an HDMI socket.
Above the screen and to the right of the earpiece is the 1.3megapixel front facing camera while on the other side is a light sensor for optionally controlling the screen brightness. Nestled in behind the speaker grille is a little indicator LED for showing if you've got a message or if the device is charging – a nice touch.
Running below the screen are the four standard Android buttons, which are all touch sensitive. They're responsive and unlike some touch buttons we didn't find them ever getting in the way and resulting in accidental activation. The lack of physical buttons does mean you have to stretch to the top edge lock button to unlock the phone, though.