Our Score


User Score


  • Large, high resolution screen
  • Super fast dual-core processor
  • Good camera with bright LEDs
  • Beautiful chassis design


  • Poor battery life
  • Screen quality could be better

Review Price £479.99

Key Features: 1.2GHz dual core processor; Curved 4.3in screen; Android 2.3 Operating System; 8 megapixel camera with twin LEDs

Manufacturer: HTC

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.

HTC Sensation 5

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.

HTC Sensation 7

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.

HTC Sensation 8

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.

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April 14, 2011, 9:45 pm

Yay, comments are back :)

Liking the look of this phone, but I read elsewhere that Sense 3.0 won't be made available to earlier handsets? Apparently the single core hardware isn't up to it, but I find that hard to believe given how well SPB Shell 3D runs on these handsets.


April 15, 2011, 12:33 am

If I try to play the embedded YouTube vid I get 'This video is private'. Just me?


April 15, 2011, 1:20 am

Guys... it keeps on saying the youtube video is private??


April 15, 2011, 4:18 am

If, (as is strongly suspected), the iPhone 5 does not get released until Autumn / Christmas time, I can see Apple losing a lot of their customer base to HTC this summer. I have had various iPhones for 3 years now and am really impressed with Sense 3.0 and the hardware specs of the Sensation. I hope the UI is as intuitive as the promo clips portray because if so (and apart from the ridiculous names they give their phones), HTC has just won a soon to be ex-Apple customer this summer!

LED light FTW

April 15, 2011, 3:30 pm

Does this have an LED light?


April 18, 2011, 12:42 am

Need to fix the inverted comma's in the reviews... they seem fine in the comments...


April 18, 2011, 3:12 pm

Cheers guys, fixed now.


April 19, 2011, 12:55 am

This may be the first phone I've seen that actually looks worth upgrading to from a hardware perspective since getting my Desire over a year ago.

But I can't help thinking it'd still be better to wait until Ice Cream and iOS 5 hit before shelling out.

The Doctor

June 6, 2011, 8:39 pm

After having upgraded my personal phone to a Sensation from a Desire and being given a Galaxy 2S by my employer, it's been interesting to compare the two. Certainly, the Sensation can't match the contrast of the Galaxy's screen or its raw performance but, at the same time, the user experience of the Sensation is well ahead of the Galaxy. Maybe it's just a familiarity with Sense (my last two phones having been the Hero and the Desire) but it stills feels more intuitive and considered than Samsung's diabolical "TouchWiz" (God, I hate that name...)

The Sensation also feels much more substantial in the hand which is obviously a design decision since when removed from its shell, the HTC's innards are about the same thickness as the Samsung's.

Whichever one you pick, however, you'll still have something that is significantly faster and more versatile than an iPhone 4!


June 7, 2011, 7:51 pm

Re: Lack of HDMI, the MicroUSB Socket is an MHL (Mobile HighDefinition Link) socket. Get an adaptor and it'll convert the MicroUSB to HDMI! DONE! :)

Newer TV's will also even charge the phone off the HDMI!

Neil Richardson

June 7, 2011, 11:30 pm

Currently getting about a day and a half out of each charge and i'm going through the process of setting it up and loading it with apps. Battery life seems to get better as time goes. Currently using an app called Battery Indicator Pro. 28 hours since charged, 21% left.

Think the review might want to re-examine battery life after a few charge cycles.


June 8, 2011, 6:19 pm

You said is the video screen is superb and the view angles are good its produces good black levels, then why do you gave it a 7/10? i really don't get it

also the usability score need to be at least a 9 not an 8.

This is the best Smartphone on the market in my opinion, price is a bit high but why better than iphone 4 price.

this phone is at least 9/10. Lower than that is considered a biased review.


July 1, 2011, 11:54 pm

Stuffed between Samsung & Motorola the HTC does exactly what it was designed to do. Good review.... job well done!


August 2, 2011, 1:14 am

As an HTC Sensation owner, I will broadly agree with the review. One little omission though-downloaded music sound quality. I have a pair of £300+ Grado SR325i headphones and listened to some uncompressed WMA files. The result? STUNNING! Best I've ever heard from any portable device including iPods etc. And the inbuilt amp is powerful enough to drive those Grados without a problem. It would be nice if somebody could come up with an extended battery pack incorporating a headphone amp though-light the blue touch paper and stand well back!


August 5, 2011, 7:27 am

I have an iPhone as my personal phone & have just switched to a HTC Sensation from a Blackberry for my work really liking it so far (obviously anything is an improvement from the Blackberry!) battery life is a big downer tho! I look forward to learning more about this phone ,btw, there's also a fans site for the phone, take care.


October 30, 2013, 1:48 am

Been using tge sensation for 1.5 years and battery life is a big issue on it. When it was new it would last me 3/4 of a day witout charging but now it barely gives me 3 hours. Also disappointed in the browser it shuts down abnormally most of the time and every time i exit the browser the phone goes into a loop with the white HTC screen. Also each loop sucks up upto 10% of baterry life. It does have a great camera and music player . Overall i am quite disappointed and am contemplating switching to an iphone 5s.

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