HTC Sensation XL review

HTC's created a big Sensation with this 4.7-inch beast

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Unlike the HTC Sensation and Sensation XE, the HTC Sensation XL comes with the top-of-the-line HTC Sense 3.5 interface running on top Android 2.3. Its two Sensation brothers are stuck merely with Sense 3.0.

The changes are minimal in Sense 3.5, we must admit, but it's the little additions and tweaks that keep HTC ahead of the game as much as the big renovations.

HTC sensation xl

You still get the seven Home screens, for example, and these can be customised with a plethora of widgets, apps, shortcuts and more, but you can now also choose to have fewer than seven by pinching out into Leap View and dragging a screen to the bottom. You can't have more than seven, still, but it's nice to be able to streamline.

HTC sensation xl

HTC has been showing off a version of Sense 3.5 with the curved buttons as the bottom traded for two small, unobtrusive round buttons for opening your full apps list or bringing up the phone, but this hasn't made it into the Sensation XL – it's the old style here, which means it matches its Sensation brothers.

One minor but noticeable change on the HTC Sensation XL is that the default weather widget has been scaled back to something smaller than what HTC fans are used to. The old style is still there, though, hidden away in the Personalize menu.

Flicking between the Home screens is generally very smooth. We did find it a bit quirky with touch recognition here, though. We're confident it's not the touchscreen itself, because it's fine everywhere else, but seems to be the phone not quite keeping up with itself.

It's like it's so busy keeping the 3D transitions whizzy, it forgets to keep an eye on what your finger's doing. While scrolling from Home screen to Home screen, you can suddenly find that you've been kicked out to Leap View, or that it thinks you've flicked far further than you have, so it spins the Home screen wheel wildly while you watch helplessly.

Certainly, it doesn't happen 100 per cent of the time, but it's often enough to concern us – particularly since Sense is usually so good. Granted, if you tend to live in apps, you'll probably won't encounter it often at all, but those who live in their widgets will find that crops up surprisingly often.

The Lock screen features HTC's ring design for quick access to certain features. There are icons for Phone, Mail, Camera and Messages be default, and by dragging any of them down into the ring (which actually comes out to meet you halfway, which is a nice touch) you can unlock the phone straight to that app if you've got a notification for it that needs seeing to, or if you want to get snapping quickly. To just unlock the phone, you simply drag the ring up.

HTC sensation xl

Notifications are still rather limited in the lock screen, appearing only in the status bar at the top for the most part, but at least you can change what the four apps at the bottom are, if you're a Twitter fiend, for instance, or if you use the Gmail app instead of HTC's Mail app.

Notifications in the main haven't really changed. Pull down from the top to get the notifications tray with lists of what's come in, with a multitasking bar at the top (you can also access an app switcher by holding the Home button).

There's a tab here to switch to a panel that offers access to some quick settings, same as before, and music playback buttons also appear here when they're in use.

Tap the Apps button on the bottom ribbon from any Home screen to get to your full apps list, which is scrolled through in pages. The HTC Sensation XL comes with loads preloaded, and the Market isn't far away for topping up with even more.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyHSDPA, HSUPA, GPRS, EDGE
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilySensation XL
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedWCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100, GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Battery Talk Time11.80 Hour
Screen Size11.9 cm (4.7")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)162.5 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density199 ppi
Height132.5 mm
Width70.7 mm
Depth9.9 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time360 Hour
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameSensation XL Smartphone
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Product LineSensation XL
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Gyro Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number99HPJ001-00
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing InformationFeel every single beat

When it comes to doing music justice, you're way ahead of the crowd with the HTC Sensation XL with Beats Audio and its superb, in-box customized Beats headset. Now your audio experience sounds just like the artist intended. You'll also enjoy the large 4.7 inch screen and 9.9mm sleek premium design. And record amazing HD quality video to complement your audio experience with this incredible superphone. It's the BEST sound and sight you can get on any mobile device.

Instant capture camera

Remember that time you pressed the shutter button and had to wait while your camera phone finished taking the picture? With the instant capture camera, the moment you press the button is the same moment the photo is captured. Never let a great shot slip away.

Package Contents
  • Sensation XL Smartphone
  • Beats Headphones
  • Battery
  • USB Cable
  • Power Adapter
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Safety and Regulatory Guide
Limited Warranty1 Year