The HTC Sensation XL pushes out 4.7-inches of glorious display to fill with your Android ambitions. It’s the latest flagship phone to launch from HTC, much rumoured and leaked, and now unleashed upon the world. It picks up much of what the HTC Titan set out on Windows Phone 7 and effectively gives you the Android equivalent, but with a few treats thrown in.
But does this phone bite off more than it can chew? Is it big and clever? We got the chance to spend some time with the phone prior to launch to bring you our first impressions.
Design and build
Let’s start with the design. HTC have stuck to their tried and tested approach of a machined aluminium back, with a bottom section finished in rubberised plastic to ensure plenty of reception. Like the HTC Sensation, the entire back comes away from the front, so effectively all the innards are attached to the back of that massive screen.
It feels solid in the hand. There are no plastic sections to creak as you manipulate it, there are no odd panels or coloured sections. It’s just big, clean and white. But it isn’t as attractive in design as the regular Sensation which by comparison looks more sophisticated with it’s speaker cutout and contoured screen edges.
The flat front of the screen gives you four touch controls across the bottom, home, menu, back and search. On the top you have the normal standby button and 3.5mm headphone jack, with volume controls on the side. A single Micro-USB is on the bottom edge – there is no HDMI out, as you might find on rival devices. Read more
The HTC Sensation XL now makes that three flagship Android handsets from the Taiwanese mobile makers. Peter Chou and his team have also once again team up with Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine to bring Beats Audio software and headphones to an HTC smartphone and that gives this package one hell of an extra shine, but is it quite shiny enough?
Lurking in the wings, as ever, is the current King of the Androids in the shape of the Samsung Galaxy S II begging the big question for any wouldbe buyer – just which one is the better phone? So, we’ve lined up these two smartphones’ spec sheets and worked it out on paper at least. It’s the HTC Sensation XL vs Samsung Galaxy S II.
- TIE: GALAXY S2 : 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.49mm, 117g
- TIE: SENSATION XL :132.5 x 70.7 x 9.9 mm, 163g
In terms of pure measurements, it’s the first round to the Samsung Galaxy S II. As ever, it’s all about how thin and how light a mobile phone is when it comes to something that’s going to be sitting in your pocket, weighing you down and interrupting the carefully tailored lines of your clothing. The SGS2 is a touch thinner and considerably lighter. The other possible disadvantage to the Sensation XL is that it’s physically bigger on the other dimensions as well, but that has its plus points later on, as we’ll see.
However, that said, we’re going to call the round a tie because, as far physical design goes, it’ll be the machined aluminium block of the Sensation XL that has the edge over the more plastic look and feel of the Galaxy S II for aesthetics and ergonomic pleasure. To be fair to the Samsung, though, that doesn’t mean that it comes across as low rent. It’s still a nice piece of kit to own. Just not as satisfying as all-metal handsets. Read more
We can’t think of technology much more stylish than the live tile interface of Windows Phone. No surprise then that uber minimal German designer Jil Sander has jumped on board the good ship Windows Phone 7.5 and launched a sleek little handset built by LG.
Sander is well known for her extremely simple and minimalist, almost Kraftwerk-like approach to fashion, not dissimilar really to the Windows Phone 7 UI.
She also has a signature blue stripe which she likes to slap on her designs, which is featured here in her Windows Phone handset.
The decision to include up-to-date specs like Mango and a decent 1GHz processor is unusual for “fashion phones”; previous companies like Prada have tended to go more for looks rather than cutting edge technology.
Windows Phone is nothing without a juicy sweet display for all that live tile excitement, which the Jil Sander phone appears to have. It boasts a 3.8-inch 800 x 480 display, which whilst not quite AMOLED or IPS is decent enough.
On the back is a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash and is capable of shooting 720p video. In the box you get a rather swish looking pouch for the handset as well as a “premium wired headset” with blue earbuds.
There is a bundled Jil Sander app included with the phone that allows you to do things like shop and locate stores as well as browse clothing collections.
The Jil Sander LG handset will go on sale in Germany, Austria, Italy, France and the UK from 7 October