HTC Sensation XE Android phone (preview)

HTC Sensation XE preview: The HTC Sensation XE promises to deliver superior audio quality thanks to built-in Beats Audio software

Described as a "mega-powerful, multimedia superphone", the HTC Sensation XE is an update to the existing HTC Sensation. It's the first smartphone in the world with integrated Beats Audio, which promises to deliver superior sound quality compared to competing smartphones.

HTC Sensation review
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We're not sure exactly what XE stands for (Xtra Edge?), but the basis of this new smartphone naturally comes from the original Sensation, a phone that was only released a short time ago. The Sensation XE features a near identical chassis, the same design and an identical screen as its predecessor. You get the same 4.3in qHD display, the same 8-megapixel camera and the same unibody aluminium design, though the touch-sensitive Android buttons now light up red instead of white, and the Beats Audio logo is emblazoned on the Sensation XE's battery cover. Both the edge of the camera lens and the grille covering the earpiece also get a coat of red paint.

The Sensation XE's upgraded audio quality is a direct result of HTC's strategic partnership with the Beats By Dr. Dre audio company. When used with the included Beats in-ear headphones, HTC claims the Sensation XE uses a personalised sound profile that will result in exceptional audio quality. The premium headphones include the Beats branding, signature red cord and come with in-line volume and playback controls.

The HTC Sensation XE also differs from its twin brother is under the hood. The XE has the same dual-core processor as the original Sensation but it's been overclocked to 1.5GHz (up from 1.2GHz). This means it should power along slightly quicker. It also gets a bigger batter — 1730mAh compared with 1520mAh. Though the jump in juice isn't likely to be huge, any improvement in battery life is a welcome one in our books. The Sensation XE also has 4GB of internal memory compared to the original's 1GB — however, only 1GB of it is user accessible.

One aspect of the HTC Sensation XE that hasn't changed is the 768MB of RAM. Considering HTC has upped the processor and the battery, we would have liked the XE to get a RAM boost to at least 1GB. While the original HTC Sensation was not a sluggish smartphone by any means, simple processes like swiping between home screens, zooming out to display a 'helicopter view' of current home screens, and swiping to open the lock screen would benefit from extra RAM.

The Sensation XE will be available from 9 November exclusively through Vodafone. It will be sold for $0 on Vodafone's $59 cap over 24 months.