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HTC Sensation XE review

HTC handset gets rebooted with Ice Cream Sandwich

HTC Sensation XE
The definitive HTC Sensation XE review

Our Verdict

The HTC Sensation - a great phone that just got better. It's between this, the Galaxy S2 and iPhone 4S for the phone of moment.


  • Updated to Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Great screen
  • Contacts and social networking implementation is top-notch
  • Fantastic keyboard


  • Seven home screens not expandable
  • Autofocus can be erratic
  • Resizing video for MMS issue

The HTC Sensation XE built well on the success of the original Sensation, but since the launch of Ice Cream Sandwich toting handsets at MWC 2012 it is in need of an update to keep up with the pack.

HTC has done just that providing the Sensation XE with Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, coupled with its own Sense 3.6 overlay update. A new Sensation XE should now run Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box.

If you own a HTC Sensation XE currently running Android Gingerbread, the Ice Cream Sandwich update will be available in the near future.

HTC sensation xe ice cream sandwich review

If you do need to update over the air we suggest hooking yourself up to Wi-Fi to ensure a speedy download. All you need to do is to go to Settings > About Phone > Software Update and follow the on-screen instructions. In total it took us less than 30 minutes to download and install Ice Cream Sandwich on our Sensation XE.

HTC sensation xe ice cream sandwich review

Now the Sensation XE sports Ice Cream Sandwich it jumps in between the quad-core One X and the mid-range One S in HTC's line up.

HTC sensation xe ice cream sandwich review

The Sensation XE goes up against devices such as the iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S2 and Motorola Razr and can now be picked up for free on a £25 per month contract or £400 sim-free.

HTC sensation xe ice cream sandwich review

The Sensation XE is a good looking device with its black case and red and silver detailing. The premium feel is certainly present with the metal and rubber unibody case allowing the Sensation XE to sit comfortably in the hand and providing a sturdy build.

HTC sensation xe ice cream sandwich review

Due to the quality materials used by HTC on the Sensation XE's body, it weighs in at 151g – heavier than rivals such as the Galaxy S2 (116g) and iPhone 4S (139g), but it's not overbearing and reinforces the premium feel of the phone.

HTC sensation xe ice cream sandwich review

HTC has gone down the minimalist route with the Sensation XE with just two well placed and easy to hit physical buttons on the handset, a volume rocker on the left and a power/lock key on top, accompanied by a 3.5mm headphone jack.

HTC sensation xe ice cream sandwich review

There is a third button on the base of the HTC Sensation XE which allows you to slide off the solid unibody case – providing you access to the SIM and microSD slots as well as the 1730mAh battery.

HTC sensation xe ice cream sandwich review

You'll still find the punchy 1.5GHz dual-core processor under the hood, vivid 4.3-inch HD (540 x 960) display on the front and the Dr Dre-inspired Beats Audio technology to blast tunes down your ear canals.

HTC sensation xe ice cream sandwich review

Rather disappointingly for a high end phone the Sensation XE only provides 1GB of internal storage, but an 8GB microSD card is supplied in the box and it can support a card up to 32GB in size.

John McCann

Global Managing Editor

John got his first phone aged 12 and since then he's been fixated on all things mobile. Previously Phones Editor, John now looks after the day-to-day running of the site. When he's not got his head buried in mobile tech, you'll find John sitting behind the wheel in his regular TR Drives column.