Friday, June 24, 2011

HTC Sensation 4G Early Review

My employer (the Twilight Zone<tm>) made the decision to go from expensive and reliable (Verizon) to less expensive (T-Mobile).  This has caused some rumbling, as T-Mobile doesn't have the best reputation for coverage.  It will likely cause a lot more rumbling.

Some of the folks in my department went by a recommendation and opted for the HTG Sensation. 

I come from a different cell phone point-of-view.  My most recent phones were a Treo 650, Treo 700, and an original Droid.  I still fondly remember my Treos - they simply did what I wanted to, worked, and didn't give me a lot of grief.  I have little to no use for The Cloud, preferring instead to sync locally.  It's a privacy and security issue, which means it's pretty silly to use a Google (Android) phone, but here we are.  They're still the best phones for my money and purposes.

My Droid, like the phones before it, was getting long in the tooth and I was looking for a larger screen and faster processor.  Both criteria were met with the Sensation.

The screen appears to be one of the biggest and clearest available.  The default clock is so large, blind people and Space Station residents can read it.  The performance is beyond snappy, leaving the Droid in the dust (as well as the Samsung Galaxy).  It's even a hair faster (subjectively) than the Xoom I used for a while.

The phone isn't has heavy as the Droid.  I don't really care about weight so this is for reference.  Although it's lighter, it feels every bit as sturdy, although the rep cautioned me against driving nails with it (he also didn't know what ROOTING is, so I'm taking his advice with a grain of salt).  It fits nicely in the vertical pouch I used for the Droid, saving a few bucks.

Thus far there have been no coverage issues.  4G is very nice, where available.  The phone has wireless and wired tethering available, which is good, as the company paid for it.  The upgrade from the Droid was seemless, even though I'm not fond of storing data in The Cloud.

I have no serious gripes (yet, but it's early).  The volume available from the internal speaker isn't as loud as the Droid, which I liked.   Charging through a usb port took forever (the phone has a micro-usb connector).

Trying to use my own ringtones was a hemorrhoid.  I located where the ringtones were in the phone's directory hierarchy and attempted to copy mine there, which failed.  That aside, mine became available shortly after.  No idea how to make my notification tones work instead of the horrid existing ones but all things in time.

A token complaint is that I can't stand moving things into a circle to operate or answer the phone.  I will live.  A slightly more serious complaint is that I saw email sync even though I had all sync turned off.  This might be a result of some security software we use at work but I'm not sure.


Just for fun I tried out Slacker Radio.  I have had really poor luck with these kinds of services, where I select one or two artists I like and allow the service to recommend more.  How anybody gets from Jeff Beck to Joe Jackson, I'll never know (and I don't want to know).

So I typed in Jeff Beck and got a lot of suggestions, number one being Jeff Beck Radio.  As big a shock as that was, the next few artists out of the box were Gregg Allman, Little Feat, and Joe Walsh.  Boy, the quality of the algorithms must have gotten much better - I'm liking this.


I rooted my Droid and never looked back.  One of the happiest days with that phone was removing Facebook, Twitter, and the other detritus that Verizon shipped with it.  T-Mobile shipped its own stuff with the Sensation but none of it is a deal-breaker (nor is it removable without root).

Since I've had the phone for less than twenty-four hours at this point, I'll leave rooting for further consideration.


I try to minimize my visibility.  To their credit, HTC or T-Mobile put the tracking screen up front in the setup.  You might not call it the tracking screen but I do - the GPS and location services.  OFF, I say!

All in all, I like this phone.  I'm hoping for good clean fun until the next phone arrives.  Now if I could only remember which one that is and when...

[stay tuned for the Samsung Galaxy review]

1 comment:

  1. "How many bloody G's are there??" - Ozzy Osbourne