The HTC Sensation XE is inspired by music. With the Beats by Dre emblem proudly presented on the rear cover, it’s obvious from the start that the XE is more than just another music phone. Set the XE’s music credentials to one side and you’re left with one of the most powerful mobile HTC has ever produced. A dual core 1.5GHZ chip put the XE’s power on par with the iPhone 4S and loaded with Android 2.3.4 (soon to be upgraded to version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich) the XE really does punch above it’s price.
Speaking of price, Sensation XE contract deals are nearly 20% cheaper than tariffs on the 16GB iPhone 4S and other than the inflated brand appeal of Apple, we’re really struggling to figure out why. Apart from Siri (who’s only helpful around 10% of the time anyway), it’s difficult to see why you wouldn’t at least consider the Sensation XE as on of the best alternatives to the 4S. £25 per month (after automatic cashback) will give you a contract with unlimited texts and around 500 any network minutes and that’s with no upfront handset cost ether. Compare Sensation XE contracts with the iPhone 4S and you might think twice about opting for the latter.
Compare HTC Sensation XE Contracts and Deals – At PhoneShop.co.uk we search through thousands of UK mobile deals to find the deal that’s right for you.
The big brother (and we mean that literally) to the Sensation XE is the Sensation XL. What the difference between the Sensation XE and the Sensation XL? Apart from being white, the XL sports an enormous 4.7 inch screen (unlike the XE’s 4.3 inches) but like the XE comes with beats audio technology built in. The Sensation XL’s screen is of a slightly lower resolution to the XE as size takes precedent over pixels. HTC Sensation XL contract deals are priced in th same region as the XE with £25 offer unlimited texts, 600 minutes and 250MB data.
Both the XE and XL are offered on contract from any network with T-Mobile an Orange offering the best deals with data included. 12 month contracts are available on both the Sensation XE and XL with the cheapest offers on either handset around £30 per month. Our advice is to buy on a 24 month plan and reap the rewards of a cheaper monthly cost.
Contracts with unlimited data are currently only being offered by Three. The best deals with inclusive data again are from Orange and T-Mobile who provide 500MB of data on a 24 month tariff for around £30 per month. How much data is enough? It depends on usage, but we’d advise casual users to go with at least 500MB as going above your allowance can be costly.
HTC Sensation XE Review
What do you give to the phone that has everything? If you’re HTC, a mobile phone manufacturer known for innovation, you give it some incredible sound technology to make it a serious portable music device. This is exactly what they’ve done with the HTC Sensation XE, which has all the enduringly popular features of the classic Sensation (some have even been upgraded, but we’ll get to that in a minute), plus the luxury audio experience provided by Beats Audio technology. HTC’s recent acquisition of around 50% of the Beats Electronics company has resulted in this shiny new addition to the smartphone world, and has music lovers and gadget heads buzzing. But does the phone live up to the hype? And does it spell the end of the mp3 player?
In answer to the first question, we think the XE represents a significant and impressive improvement in the sound quality of the Sensation. Armed with a pair of Beats headphones endorsed by Dr Dre no less (and provided in the box), you can make use of the Beats audio manipulation technology to provide a sharper yet bassier sound than one would expect from a phone. Cleverly, the Beats technology is triggered automatically whenever you plug in your Beats headphones. The increased bass will please many, although some might be put off by the slightly scuzzy vocals which result. There is always the option to turn this technology off and go with the Sensation’s perfectly respectable inbuilt audio package, although as Beats technology is the main selling point of the phone, it seems an unlikely scenario. Pleasingly for fans of the development, the Beats technology has been rolled out to video player to enhance your viewing experience too.
1GB available user memory is hardly enough to contain a substantial audio file collection, but luckily there’s space for a 32GB microSD card, so owners of this phone really can listen to much of their mp3 library on their Beats enhanced phone. This still doesn’t hold a candle to HTC’s other Beats-enhanced phone, the forthcoming Sensation XL, which will have a remarkable 16GB inbuilt storage capacity. Whether either phone is a viable replacement for the mp3 player is highly debatable, especially when you consider that mobile phone cameras haven’t made freestanding cameras redundant. The delicacy of smartphones like the XE means they might not be an ideal choice for runners and gym heads, or indeed anyone who lives in fear of scratching their screen, and listening to music will zap the battery rather fast. A hardy old mp3 player may be a better choice in many circumstances. However the phone will be a valued additional piece of kit to anyone who enjoys music on a frequent basis.
The HTC Sensation XL or ‘Runnymede’ as it was code named is likely to hit the public domain on the 6th October and should be in the hands of UK networks by late October.
Other upgrades to the Sensation model make the XE an attractive phone indeed. The already impressive dual core processor has expanded to an astonishing 1.5GHz, making the XE the slickest HTC operation yet. The XE can multitask without a hint of a shudder, and its apps spring to life with the speed of a tightly cranked wind-up toy. A bigger battery has been included to head off inevitable concerns about processors draining the power (it has grown slightly from 1520 mAh to 1730 mAh), but this merely offsets the increased processor rather than dramatically improving on the rather poor battery life of the Sensation. With the 3G turned on you can expect around 7 hours and 20 minutes of talk time before the phone pegs out, which is acceptable but not outstanding. You may still have to bring your charger with you if you’re out for long periods of time.
Physically, everything looks much the same on the XE as it does on the Sensation, although the icons on the handset have been picked out in red, making an attractive phone even more so. The reassuringly sturdy aluminium unibody also remains, and the whole thing looks luxe yet businesslike. Its gorgeous 4.3 inch touchscreen boasts a qHD 540 x 960 resolution, enough to satisfy even the most demanding smartphone aficionado. The high quality 8 megapixel camera now has instant capture technology, taking the picture at the instant you press the shutter, making this phone attractive to the casual photographer as well as musicos. Other strong features include autofocus, dual-LED flash, geo-tagging, face detection and image stabilisation. You can also capture videos of fairly average quality if you so wish.
Software development hasn’t been overlooked either. Sensation XE’s browser is frankly superb, with multi-window capabilities and an increased speed which may or may not be down to the phone’s enormous processing power. Up to the minute Flash support is included, so video playback becomes a smooth and bug-free experience for the most part. Even the lock screen has been revolutionised, so that you can see updates from your friends on your display while the phone is locked, and without pressing a single button. As an added bonus, the home screen of the phone is enabled for all kinds of fun widgets, and also reflects the weather conditions outside, a bit like the magic ceiling in Hogwarts. The ability to watch snowflakes flutter past on your home screen may not be of huge importance, but it’s enough to raise a smile in every big kid, and increase the highly intuitive feel of the phone. And of course, the same solid and reliable GPS which graced the Sensation is featured on the XE, allowing you to navigate unfamiliar locations with ease. All these great features run on the trusty Android Gingerbread platform, 2.3.4 version- an operating system shared by Samsung’s bestselling Galaxy S2. It proves itself more than up to the task with the Sensation XE too.
The XE won’t be available nationwide until early October, but all the indications are that it when it is it will fetch a price around the £500 mark, and getting one on contract may tie you into a £30 monthly deal for up to 24 months. Is it worth it? It is hard to fault the XE on any aspect of the user experience it provides, and the additional audio enhancement is both exciting and innovative. However, true music lovers may want to wait and plump for the forthcoming XL, which will contain far more memory for their library of music files. If rumours prove correct, a Samsung/Bose partnership is busily producing an audio-focused rival to the XE and XL, so HTC must continue to innovate if they wish to stay ahead of the game. Those not tempted by the audio enhancement of this phone will be equally happy with the original Sensation model, a popular and bestselling favourite in the smartphone market , or perhaps an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S2. The XE blazes a trail with its new audio features, but it cannot rest on its laurels, as it may yet find itself in a crowded market.