Motorola Atrix vs. HTC Sensation: Smartphone showdown

Which is the better smartphone – Motorola's Atrix or HTC's Sensation?

2011 is set to be the year of the dual-core powered Android phone and two of the biggest in Australia are the Motorola Atrix and the upcoming HTC Sensation.

Read our comprehensive Motorola Atrix review and our HTC Sensation preview, and check out our roundup of the best upcoming smartphones in 2011.

Both of these Android phones have similar specifications — the Motorola Atrix has a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 4in qHD display, a 5-megapixel camera that records 720p HD video, and a fingerprint reader.

The HTC Sensation on the other hand has a slightly larger 4.3in display that also boasts a qHD resolution, but betters the Atrix's 5-megapixel camera with an 8-megapixel camera with dual LED flash that doubles as a 1080p HD video recorder. The Sensation also has a slightly faster 1.2GHz processor and features a unibody aluminium design.

So how does the Motorola Atrix compare against the HTC Sensation when it comes to specifications?

Motorola Atrix vs HTC Sensation: Specifications

Feature Motorola Atrix HTC Sensation Verdict?
Operating system (OS) Google Android 2.2 (Froyo) Google Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Draw
Display size 4in 4.3in HTC Sensation
Display technology Capacitive TFT Capacitive SLCD HTC Sensation
Display resolution 540x960 pixels (qHD) 540x960 pixels (qHD) Draw
Multitouch Yes Yes Draw
Camera 5 megapixels, LED flash, autofocus, geotagging, image stabilisation 8 megapixels, dual-LED flash, autofocus, geotagging, image stabilisation, face and detection, instant capture HTC Sensation
FM radio No Yes HTC Sensation
GPS Yes Yes Draw
Internal memory 16GB 1GB Motorola Atrix
Expandable memory microSD card slot microSD card slot Draw
Dimensions 117.8 x 63.5 x 11mm 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3mm HTC Sensation
Weight 135g 148g Motorola Atrix
Application store Google Android Market Google Android Market Draw
Processor ARM Cortex A9 dual-core (1GHz) Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core (1.2GHz) HTC Sensation
3G networks HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100 HSDPA 900/1900/2100 Motorola Atrix
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n Draw
Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP 3.0 with A2DP HTC Sensation
NFC (Near Field Communication) No No Draw
HDMI-out Yes Yes (via MHL) Draw
Quoted talk time Up to 9 hours Up to 6 hours 40 minutes Motorola Atrix
Quoted standby time Up to 250 hours Up to 400 hours HTC Sensation
Adobe Flash support Yes Yes Draw

Motorola Atrix vs HTC Sensation: Design

One of the most lauded features of the Sensation is HTC's unibody aluminium design, which has also been used on a number of HTC's other Android phones including the original Desire, the Desire HD, the Legend and the recently launched Incredible S. The HTC's unibody casing is constructed from a single piece of aluminium. If HTC's other Android phones are anything to go by, the Sensation will look and feel every bit a premium piece of industrial design, and the finish won't be easy to scratch or mark.

HTC Sensation The HTC Sensation Android phone uses a unibody aluminium design that is constructed from a single piece of aluminium.

Although the Motorola Atrix lacks the aluminium unibody design of the HTC Sensation, its plastic frame feels relatively well constructed, and also has an attractive carbon-like pattern printed onto the rear. The Motorola Atrix is less than 11mm thick, which is a nice surprise given it comes with a large 4in capacitive touchscreen.

The clear winner here is the HTC Sensation. In addition to boasting a larger display than the Atrix, HTC has also managed to wrap the phone in a unibody design, and aluminium beats plastic any day in our books.

Tags Motorolahtc sensationhtcGoogle Android phonesmobile phonessmartphonesmotorola atrix

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World




I am very curious, how much RAM does each phone come with, and what graphics hardware does each sport?



What no response from Ross Catanzariti?

Ross Catanzariti



Hi jivester,

RAM is 1GB for the Atrix, 768MB for the Sensation.

Atrix has an Ultra-low power (ULP) GeForce GPU, Sensation has a Adreno 220 GPU.



Jees jivester,

How about you give Ross a chance to respond! Then consider the time you posted your question.

In the most considerate way... your a DOOSH!!



I'm agreeing with jivester on this one, he gave him a full 22 hours to respond. That's unacceptable, i will not be buying either of these phones.



>>and aluminium beats metal any day ...
do you mean 'beats plastic'?

also, how do the GPUs compare (i wouldn't know ULP from Adreno to save my life)

Ross Catanzariti



Hi mcalex,

Sorry, that was a typo and has been corrected. Thanks.

atilla gurla





The Atrix's processor is wrong. Its Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core.



No, A9 is the newest generation of dual core ARM technology. It is better then the 1.2 ghz snapdragon processor up there that uses an older A8 ARM processor. So they are just wrong in the verdict.



motorola is smaller yet HTC wins the Dimensions?
motorola has better CPU yet HTC wins the Processor?



How does Atrix being smaller in all dimensions give the win to HTC?
Data crunching ability is not just a function of clock speed. The Tegra-2 chipset running at 1GHz can process more actual data throughput per second than the Snapdragon at 1.2GHz.
The Atrix has a Dual LED flash on the camera, not single as quoted here.
I have had an Atrix for several weeks and I reckon the fingerprint reader is not awkward at all, for me it's position is pretty much spot on the right place.
That said it amazes me the most critical thing has been missed in so many tests of phones and that is (drum roll) how does it behave as a phone. Yes Virginia there was a time a mobile phone was designed to make and get phone calls and real people used a camera to take photos and a walkman to listen to music but the phone was used to make phone calls. My Atrix has exceptional range and I have been able to use it in places that friends iPhones, HTC esires and Samsung Galaxys are flashing no signal. What use is an 8 megapixel camera in a phone if the phone is unusable as a phone in fringe reception areas? Atrix is first and foremost a telephone with the gizmos secondary and right now as a phone it is the best... period.



the atrix stand by time in 2G is up to 400 hrs and in 3G is up to 350 hrs where the HTC is up to 350 hrs in 2G and and 400 hrs in 3G to me this should be a draw



Thanks, this article has been very useful to me. I have an atrix and was being offered to change it to a sensation... not doing it. Atrix is the best phone I've ever had.



As these are primarily mobile phones, why is there no comparison made on call quality/reception? Anyone might think that FM radio or version of OS system is more important. I think we're losing the plot.

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