HTC Sensation XE Android phone
HTC Sensation XE review: The original HTC Sensation gets a splash of red paint and an endorsement from Dr.Dre
- Black and red colour is attractive
- Included urBeats in-ear headphones
- Unibody aluminium design
- Not as snappy as we'd have liked
- Very little improvements over original
- Exclusive to Vodafone
The HTC Sensation XE is by no means a bad Android phone, but none of its features blew us away. We love the red and black design and the urBeats headphones are a nice inclusion, but average battery life and less than stellar performance detract from its appeal. Ultimately, the HTC Sensation XE is a very good smartphone but not a great one.
Take the original HTC Sensation, add a splash of black and red paint and a Beats Audio logo and you end up with the HTC Sensation XE. Best described as a minor upgrade to its predecessor, the HTC Sensation XE represents decent value for money but doesn't manage to blow away the original model.
HTC Sensation XE: Design and display
The HTC Sensation XE is a near identical phone to the original Sensation. It has the same unibody chassis, an identical 4.3in qHD display and the same 8-megapixel camera. However, the HTC Sensation XE is black instead of silver and the touch-sensitive Android buttons now light up red instead of white. The Sensation XE has a Beats Audio logo emblazoned on the rear, while the edge of the camera lens and the grille covering the earpiece also get a splash of red paint.
The HTC Sensation XE's unibody casing is constructed from a single piece of aluminium. Though it feels well built, the rear battery case does creak when pressed towards the edges of the phone. The Sensation XE has a slightly thicker design than many of its competitors, but the extra girth is a trade-off we think many users would be willing to make for the added durability of an aluminium frame.
The HTC Sensation XE's 4.3in super LCD screen displays crisper text, and more natural looking colours than the However, the screen simply can't match the vibrancy, brightness and viewing angles of the Galaxy S II's Super AMOLED Plus display. The Sensation is also hard to see in direct sunlight and the extra glossy surface doesn't feel as smooth as we'd like.
We do like how the edges of the glass curve upward toward the edge of the screen. This means the screen doesn't actually come into contact with surfaces when the phone is placed face down on a desk or table, preventing everyday scratches and marks.
HTC Sensation XE: Beats Audio
The HTC Sensation XE is one of the first smartphones to feature Beats Audio qualities. It's a direct result of HTC's "strategic partnership" with the Beats By Dr. Dre audio company. When used with the included Beats headphones, HTC claims the Sensation XE uses a personalised sound profile that results in exceptional audio quality. The real value add here though isn't the Beats Audio profile: its the fact that the Sensation XE comes bundled with a version of the in-ear, urBeats headphones. These premium headphones match the black and red colour of the Sensation XE handset and are valued at $149 if they were purchased separately.
When combined with the Beats Audio sound profile, which does make a noticeable different on bass-heavy tracks, the Sensation XE is a good option for anyone who regularly listens to music on a mobile phone. Though not all music genres benefit from Beats Audio, we certainly noticed a big difference in music like rap, hip-hop and R&B.
There are two notable issues that detract from the Sensation XE's audio capabilities, though. The Beats Audio profile only works via the headphone jack and not the speakerphone, so the latter offers comparatively poor sound quality. Of more concern is that the Beats Audio sound profile can't be edited or adjusted in the form of EQ customisation. As an example, you can't adjust the bass or treble when listening with the Beats Audio profile: as the profile is bass-heavy, it sometimes sounds like overkill on various genres of music.
Next page: Software, performance and battery life
Join the PC World newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Surface Pro 4
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung unveils Bixby voice assistant for upcoming Galaxy S8
- BlackBerry readies a more secure version of the Samsung Galaxy S7
- Android device updates: Nougat rollout begins for the Moto Z Play
- ZTE pays US$892M settlement to US over illegal sales to Iran
- Google Assistant learns how to read texts as its prime-time rollout continues
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTSeeking all Java Developers!VIC
- FTSenior Java DeveloperQLD
- TPNode JS DeveloperNSW
- FTDatabase DeveloperQLD
- FTSenior Developer/DevOpsVIC
- TPSystems Analyst - WHS ImplementationNSW
- CCSenior Business AnalystSA
- FT.Net Solutions DeveloperSA
- FTField Services EngineerWA
- CCSenior Project Manager - Applications - Data ReportingNSW
- FTMarketing Specialist (B2B Sales)NSW
- FTFinancial AnalystNSW
- FTBusiness Development Manager -Wealth/Funds Management SoftwareVIC
- FTSolution Architect - StorageVIC
- FTInfrastructure ArchitectNSW
- FTL&D Manager, Transformation Program in Finance ServicesNSW
- CCProcurement OfficerQLD
- TPDeployment Support - NSWNSW
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistSA
- FTICT Account Manager / ICT Client Services ManagerQLD
- FTReporting Analyst - HR / PayrollNSW
- CCTSM SpecialistNSW
- FTLead Network Project ManagerNSW
- CCNetwork EngineersACT