The guys at HTC are trying to hit the jackpot with their new smartphones that are aimed at the music enthusiasts out there. The new HTC Sensation XL is now out in the wild, and today we’ll have it barking at Samsung’s Galaxy S3 door and see how it compares.
Beats audio sounds great I’ll give them that, but a phone is not all about sound, as a matter of fact, the sound is on the bottom of the list regarding importance, display, processing power and storage come first. Let’s see if I’m right or not.
Build and Design
The build of the HTC Sensation XL feels strong and sturdy, a little on the heavy side, weighing 162.5g. It has a semi-unibody structure with the aluminum back cover that can be removed. The design is good, but it doesn’t stand out in any way compared to the Galaxy S3 which has a pretty neat design.
The display on the Sensation XL is not one of its strong points, having a 4.7” S-LCD WVGA screen (199 ppi), and compared to the 4.8” Super AMOLED 720p HD display on the Galaxy S3 (306 ppi), well you’re better off. Not to mention the poor sunlight legibility and the lack of protection on HTC’s Sensation XL display which only adds to the disappointment.
We can’t whine about the performance on the HTC Sensation XL, as it performs very well in almost everything you throw at it, except Flash playback in HD where it does a miserable job. It has a 1.5 GHz Scorpion CPU which came as a big surprise for many, as we were expecting a Dual-Core on this device. It also packs and Adreno 205 GPU which helps along the way.
Again, the Sensation XL is inferior to the Samsung Galaxy S3, which has a Quad-Core 1.4 GHz Exynos CPU and the Mali-400MP GPU which scored higher in most of the benchmarks, if not all.
Well… don’t get me started here. The Sensation XL disappoints again with only 16 GB of non-expandable internal memory compared to the 16/32/64GB storage on the Galaxy S3 which can be expanded with a 64 GB microSD card. Now that’s a bummer.
Camera and Video
The camera on the HTC Sensation XL is decent with an 8MP sensor, but the problem is video recording which doesn’t shoot in full HD, it only records in 720p@30fps and it’s not even backed up by an image stabilization which could help a lot. One strong point on the camera would be the Slow Motion recording that shoots video in 2x WVGA. It also comes with a 1.3MP front facing camera, which is again inferior to the 1.9MP camera on the Galaxy S3 which has a bit of technology in it, the Smart Stay.
Samsung laughs in HTC’s face regarding the camera, because the Galaxy S3 takes gorgeous photos and records in 1080p@30fps.
HTC have tweaked the soft on the Sensation XL, showing more interest in sound experience. They’ve implemented a Beats Audio system on the device which doesn’t improve sound only for music, but for everything (video, games, apps). The HTC Sensation XL also comes with the Sense UI 3.5 which is pretty neat and works smooth.
Right out of the box, the HTC Sensation XL comes with the Android 2.3 Gingerbread firmware, but don’t be afraid, as you can update it to the latest ICS 4.
Samsung’s Galaxy S3 does better with its nature inspired TouchWiz UI 4.0 which is packed by lots of features and gestures that the Sensation XL could only dream of.
Regarding battery life, the Sensation XL doesn’t disappoint with its 1600 mAh battery, giving it up to 360h (2G)/460h (3G) of stand-by and up to 11h 50min (2G) / 6h 50min (3G) of talk time.
The 1.5GHz processor on the HTC Sensation XL doesn’t eat as much battery life as the Quad-Core 1.4 GHz Exynos CPU on the Samsung Galaxy S3, but luckily, the Samsung comes with a larger 2100 mAh battery which surprisingly does much better than the Sensation XL.
You can’t have these two devices in a dogfight because it wouldn’t be fair at all; the Samsung Galaxy S3 outsmarts and outperforms the HTC Sensation XL in everything it does. Long story made short, the Sensation XL ain’t worth the money it costs and the Beats Audio is not something that can get you excited enough to buy this handset.