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Hands on: HTC Sensation 4G..It's a nice handful
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Hands on: HTC Sensation 4G..It’s a nice handful

Out of the box the HTC Sensation is one nice looking smartphone, big screen flanked by a thin black bezel, nice rounded edges and I really like that you can see the buttons at the bottom even when the phone is off.

Turn it over and it is a design triumph..divided into three sections..matte black soft touch plastic top and bottom highlight a shiny black aluminum swoop in the middle.

The entire back comes off to access the battery, SIM card and SD card..the back assembly feels solid and well built.

Overall this is a sharp looking phone with a solid feel. It is a nice weight and feels good in the hand..with good design HTC has managed to make this big phone with a 4.3″ screen feel like a smaller phone.

Back to the front..turn on the power..the switch is on the top..where I like it to be and prepare to be impressed by the bright qHD 540×960 S LCD screen..looks great except in bright sunlight..I find a light colored wallpaper helps. You will immediately notice this phone is dressed up in HTC’s excellent UI, Sense version 3. This combined with the third generation 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, Adreno 220 GPU, Qualcomm MSM 8260 Snapdragon means navigation through the various screens is as smooth as silk.

The Sensation is the first HTC phone comes with the new Quick Access lock screen. You can either unlock the phone by moving the central ring at the bottom, or you can drag one of the app icons to the central ring to unlock and launch the app. I use it all the time when I check emails, or when I want to snap a quick photo.

It gets better: There are several lock screens available. Each include different types of data that shows up in the background (weather, stocks, messages etc…), but you can even choose which apps will appear in one of the 4 shortcuts available.

Then there is the virtual keyboard, a good layout on the large screen makes for comfortable, fast typing..the predictive text function is very good..but there is more. HTC has added a feature it calls Trace. Those of you familiar with the SWYPE keyboard app will recognize this feature. You type by dragging your finger across the keyboard from letter to letter..you can set the colour of the trace..I have it yellow. Once you get used to it you will be amazed at how quickly you can type this way.

Thanks to the fast processer, app loading including big games is fast. Game play is smooth and responsive..I tried several games and didn’t see any stuttering or lag.

The Sensation boasts a VGA quality front facing camera which provides decent performance for video calls but the power is in the primary camera. It is 8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED flash. It features Geo-tagging, touch-focus, image stabilization, face detection, instant capture. You will be amazed how quickly this camera takes pictures..HTC has worked very hard to almost eliminate shutter lag.. and the quality is very good under most lighting conditions.

This phone is no slouch with video either..The video below was shot at [email protected] with stereo sound recording. Quite frankly I can’t think of any reason to use 1080p..HD video looks really good at 720p and if you are going to share, the DVD quality default setting qHD looks very good and is light weight enough to upload to Facebook.

I real liked this phone..it is my new favourite and in my opinion the best of the current crop of so called Superphones. If you are looking for a big screen, full featured and solid phone that isn’t likely to break before you want to upgrade, the HTC Sensation 4G is the phone for you. Available  at Bell Mobility for $149.95 on a 3 year plan to 549.95 with no plan and at Virgin Mobile for $149.99 on SuperTab or $549.99 with no contract.

Bob Benedetti

Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal

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