If from the name XL you thought that is a supersized phone literally, you almost got it right. The HTC Sensation XL offers a bigger 4.7 inch LCD screen as compared to its siblings from the HTC Sensation line. It however does have Beats Audio but takes a little downgrade in terms of hardware like a single core CPU and lower screen resolution. That should have managed to keep the price on a much more affordable region but is it going to be able to attract users with its huge screen? Read on to find out if it appeals to you.
Although the name suggests that it should be huge, much to the contrary, the phone only measure 5.2 x 2.78 x 0.39 inches thus actually making it thinner than its two siblings that were both 0.44 inch thick. In order to keep the phone at a reasonable size and still offer a huge screen, the HTC Sensation XL has a really narrow side bezel and the space above the screen is also very thin. Thanks to small design features such as these, the HTC Sensation XL fits well in your hand. However, we wouldn’t recommend operating this phone with just one hand unless there is nothing you would want to reach on about a quarter of the screen. The rounded corners as well as the tapered edges help give you a comfortable grip on the phone. The back of the phone is mostly made of aluminum plate which might sometimes be the reason for the phone to slip away. However, being aluminum comes with its own benefits as the phone’s weight is very evenly balanced thus keeping the phone from tipping over when you are operating it with one hand. Nevertheless, we would have still liked a quality soft touch plastic on the back like we had seen on the HTC Sensation XE.
Flip the phone and the two things that catch your attention on the back are the 8MP camera with dual LED flash – the same one in terms of numbers as we saw on the other phones in the HTC Sensation line – and the Beats logo. Speaking about the phone’s buttons, the power/lock button is located on the top while the volume rocker is on the right. Sadly though, we feel like you won’t be able to differentiate the keys from the chassis if you are not looking at them.
The HTC Sensation XL might only have a single core processor but its 1.5GHz Snapdragon S2 CPU is no slouch when it comes to performance. Yes you might realize some lag when trying to multi-task but otherwise it runs really smooth. The phone comes with 4GB of ROM for all your apps and also 8GB of internal memory. However, we are stopped at our tracks when we find that there’s no microSD slot for you to expand your memory. Nevertheless, there is an interim solution if you are willing to use Dropbox to keep an additional 5GB of stuff in cloud storage.
This phone ships with the latest HTC Sense 3.5 which runs atop the Android v2.3 Gingerbread. We are impressed as to how HTC has streamlined the HTC Sense so that it runs great even with the phone having a little less in terms of resources. Thanks to having the latest HTC Sense onboard, the HTC Sensation XL has a pretty good list of apps. We have the Notes app which is integrated to an online service called Evernote to provide you with one of the best note taking app we have seen so far. Tango – an app for video calling and IM – also comes together with the phone right out of the box. Tango allows you to stream video from your rear camera to your friends while you are on video with them which we find really cool. There is also the Dropbox app that we had mentioned earlier. It would definitely help give you more storage space if you are in desperate need of some. HTC Sense on this phone also comes with a separate Facebook chat app as well as Usage Monitor app. With Usage Monitor all the data on your mobile usage like talk time and messages sent and received are at your fingertips. About the UI itself, there are definitely some changes. For instance now you can dock icons to the side of the homescreen keeping the clock on the left as well.
Now to the main highlight of the phone, its 4.7 inch Super LCD screen. A huge screen is definitely something to like, but we are a little bit surprised why HTC decided to compromise on resolution as they only give 480 x 800 pixels for a mammoth screen like this one. This means having the smaller 4.3 inch screen on the HTC Sensation XE with a bigger resolution of 540 x 960 pixels sounds a lot better. Once you get over that however, HTC Sensation XL’s screen gives some good viewing angles plus amazing colors. Bring it out under the sunlight and you can still view the screen without much trouble.
The HTC Sensation XL gets a new camera app plus there are new features that were not found on the previous editions of the HTC Sensation like HDR and Panorama modes. Not only is there almost no wait time between photos, but the Panorama mode is probably the fastest among its rivals like Samsung and Sony Ericsson plus it’s really easy to use. However, the photos that we took with the 8MP shooter didn’t turn out very impressive. There were a few unfocused spots in the pictures and the color reproduction was also not up to standards. Photos also lack detail to a certain extent and noise is also evident in pictures. Indoors, the flash definitely helps but there is still quite a bit of noise. Video recording is done at 720p HD at a rate of 30fps but the videos lack detail and the microphones attract too much ambient noise.
When making calls, we could definitely hear what our friends are saying but sometimes it’s not very clear. However, they had no complains about how we sounded and that must be in part thanks to the noise cancelling microphones. The battery is not as big as the one on the HTC Sensation XE but the 1600mAH battery gives the HTC Sensation XL about a day or a little bit more without needing a recharge. This is great considering the larger screen.
Pros and Cons
The highlight of this phone has to be the mammoth 4.7 inch screen. It also sports the new HTC Sense 3.5 UI making the HTC Sensation XL look and work amazing even with a single-core CPU. It also comes with the iBeats headphones that we have come to love.
HTC disappointed us with the low resolution they decide to give this phone. Not having a memory card slot was also a downer. The camera should definitely have been better.
The HTC Sensation XL definitely has that large screen and could wow many. However with a drop in terms of hardware and still priced around the same region as phones with better specs, we would look at other phones before getting this one.