HTC Sensation review

HTC's dual-core wonder finally arrives - let battle commence!

The definitive HTC Sensation review
The definitive HTC Sensation review

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We've always been slightly confused by HTC phones when it comes to the battery life, as they seem to offer wildly different experiences depending on who is using them it seems.

HTC sensation review

The HTC Desire was fine for us when it came to lasting a day, but others found it would be dead by 7PM. The Desire HD was more universally panned for a poor battery, but still some chastised our verdict of it being unacceptable.

Well, it's going to happen again with the HTC Sensation, as the battery life, to us, seems woeful and not up to scratch. We're talking dead by 8PM with no push email, minimal Wi-Fi and about 30 mins of music and video at the most.

HTC sensation review

We've cycled it a few times to see if it can be improved, but the same things happens: it holds charge averagely well mostly, but then will get very warm and discharge at a rate of 10% per hour... which is a familiar scenario with the Desire HD.

We constantly kept the applications killed and the notifications to a minimum - but it seems only turning off the background synchronisation altogether helped the issue. And don't even think about hammering the camera in the middle of the day, or you'll be without a phone come the evening for sure.

HTC sensation review

That said, we're going to request another sample to test this out with, as it's probably the poorest experience we've had on an HTC device so far, so it's only fair we test to make sure it wasn't just a diff unit.

HTC sensation review

On the plus side, at least HTC has decided to break the 1500mAh barrier in terms of power unit: it's a whopping 20mAh more, although still miles and miles behind the power of the 1950mAh unit in the Motorola Atrix.

HTC sensation review

UPDATE: We've finally managed to get our hands on a new review model of the HTC Sensation, and the good news is the battery life is definitely improved.

It seems that a combination of data-hungry applications and a slightly dodgy model caused the odd readings from before, although we're not entirely convinced the above scenario isn't one power users will face, which is why we've left it in.

But in normal use, and by that we mean sending 42 texts, spending 49 mins on the phone, watching an hour and bit of video and using the music player constantly, plus a few minutes spent using GPS to track ourselves and browsing the internet for roughly 45 mins, the battery pretty much lasted the day, although it was often in the yellow zone come 11PM.

However, what was more impressive (and a relief) was the sleep state of the HTC Sensation. Where before the phone would get very hot and start spewing out battery life in our pocket for no reason, if you leave the phone locked up for around 10-15 minutes on our new model the power consumption dropped to almost nothing.

This is more what we expect from Android Gingerbread devices, as the intelligent power management kicks in to stop background applications updating pointlessly - so if you're a lighter user then you'll generally find at least 30% battery power left at the end of the day.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.