HTC Sensation XL review

Allen Phoenix
There’s no doubt that HTC is getting behind Beats Audio in a big way. This summer the manufacturer ponied up $300 million for a 51 percent stake in Beats, and since then it’s been quick to bring to market phones like the Sensation XE and Rezound, which include Beats earphones in the box and a Beats-optimized music player.

 

The latest phone to launch in Europe with Beats support is the Sensation XL. Originally unveiled at a glitzy event in London back in October, the 4.7-inch XL is pitched as the first European phone designed from the ground up around Beats Audio.

The Sensation XL isn’t a replacement for the original Sensation in the traditional sense. Instead, HTC seems to be positioning both devices alongside each other, with the XL geared towards big multimedia consumers rather than spec-obsessed enthusiasts. But with formidable (and technically superior) competition from Apple, Samsung, Motorola and others, does the Sensation XL do enough to stand out from the ever-growing high-end smartphone crowd? Read on to find out.

 


The Good

A well-built device with a bright, vivid screen and responsive, feature-filled software. Beats headphones and software optimizations make this a great phone for music on-the-go. HTC Sense 3.5 is faster and slicker than ever.

The Bad

Lack of expandable storage. Screen resolution is lower than much of the competition. Disappointing video camera performance. No Beats support for third-party music players.

Conclusion

The Sensation XL might not represent the complete package for smartphone enthusiasts, but it's hard to fault the device as a whole. HTC's Sense UI is better than ever, and the bundled Beats hardware is a huge step up from the bog-standard earphones provided with most phones.
 

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