• Pros:
  • Solid, tough built
  • Great, bright display
  • Snappy performance
  • Beats Audio integration
  • Cons:
  • No expandable memory
  • Battery life could be better

Big, as they say, has a whole lot going for it

The HTC Sensation XL bears little resemblance to the original Sensation, nor the previously reviewed HTC Sensation XE. While the XE is essentially the original Sensation tweaked up with Beat’s Audio, the XL walks its own path instead. It’s much less of the Sensation’s larger brother than it is a device of its own, and that’s why it’s the better phone. For everything it has and stands for, the HTC Sensation XL is one solid device that stands its own place.

We went on a lot about the Sensation XL’s size, and for good reason; this device sports one of the largest screens to grace HTC’s own library. The 4.7-inch touch screen meant the device itself is larger than life, but thankfully not as bulky as it sounds. In fact, the slim design makes it rather pocketable (if you’re willing to). It’s appropriately weighty, and the built is the same solid, tough engineering of HTC’s best.

The screen itself displays gorgeously, with bright and crisp images that make it a great mobile multimedia device (the Beats audio, which we’ll get to, only enhances the experience). It’s not the perfect screen, unfortunately, as it doesn’t perform as well under directly light. The screen may also prove to be its bane – the phone’s battery life drains out rather quickly, and probably due to it having to power the larger screen.

The Sensation XL interestingly opted for a 1.5GHz single core processor instead of maintaining the XE’s dual-core offering. While it may be a reason to raise eyebrows, the phone manages a snappy, smooth performance, and it’s well enough to power your multimedia needs. The Beats audio integration here is similar to the XE’s – you plug in the bundled Beats headphones (or any other one for that matter) and the Beats tuning software will optimise its performance. Sadly, the phone doesn’t support expandable memory by way of microSDs, so you’re stuck with the 13GB internal storage. A surprising choice for a multimedia-centric phone.

CHIP CONCLUDE : The HTC Sensation XL does a commendable job by being a device that stands out on its own. The large screen is an enjoyable thing, the Beats audio integration a welcoming addition and the phone’s snappy performance makes it a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

(previously published on issue February 2012)