Superphones from 
HTC and Samsung

This week I will attempt a feat not accomplished before, to squeeze in two major products in this small space. I can do this because the HTC Sensation and Samsung Galaxy S II (GSII) are very much alike.

By Magnus Nystedt

Published: Sat 25 Jun 2011, 11:28 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:02 AM

These are the latest superphones to hit the market and you will understand why when we start looking at some of the specifications. Hint: these smartphones have more processing power than your computer had just a few years ago.

So what do they have in common? Both run Android 2.3, have 4.3-inch display (slight difference in resolutions though), 1.2GHz dual-core processors, 8-megapixel cameras that also record 1080 HD video, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, MicroSD card slot, and MicroUSB port.

The GSII has slightly less pixels than the Sensation but in practice it makes no difference. Outside in direct sunlight, the GSII is significantly more readable. One interesting detail is the Slight curve to the Sensation’s display. Around the edges the display curves out so the display itself is slightly recessed. This may help prevent scratches when it is put display down on a flat surface.

There’s 768MB RAM on the Sensation and 1GB in the GSII, which should mean better speed for the Samsung device which is also reflected in my speed tests. In real use, however, I don’t see much difference between the two. You may think what do these devices need all that speed for? Just flicking through the user interface the extra power is noticeable. Everything is simply silky smooth. Where the power is most noticeable is in browsing the web and obviously in processing HD video. Both devices manage not only playback of full HD video but recording it as well. However, I suspect we’ve yet to see the killer feature that will make full use of this raw power. Samsung provides either 16 or 32GB built-in storage while there’s 1GB on the Sensation; both have MicroSD card slot for further memory.

The back-facing cameras are both 8-megapixel and record full HD video, which is quite a feat for smartphones. On the front you will find a 0.3-megapixel (Sensation) and a 2-megapixel (GSII) camera for video calling. In the battle between the superphones, the GSII produces sharper photos with more detail and same is true for video, even though the difference there is less between the two devices. You would expect all this power and functionality to use a lot of battery power but both phones perform surprisingly well and in line with other higher-end smartphones. The Sensation gets the nod though for having better battery life.

Where the two phones differ most are in physical design and software.

In terms of physical design, there’s a lot to like about both but they take different approaches. The GSII is slightly smaller, lighter and slimmer; it’s rather square and have sharper angles. HTC, instead, has used the unibody aluminium design concept. Thus creating a Sensation that is a joy to hold, with smooth curves, but with slightly more thickness and weight. Personally, I like the Sensation better; the curves make it sit better in my hands and the aluminium just gives it a feeling of quality. That said, the thin profile and light weight of the GSII is also extremely attractive.

Since the two smartphones run the same version of Android the differentiating factor is the software that runs on top: HTC Sense on the Sensation and TouchWiz 4.0 on the Samsung. Both companies try to make Android a bit more integrated and user-friendly by adding a layer of software on top of what Google provides. To me, Sense adds a bit more value to the experience than TouchWiz, but it really comes down to details.

Which one should you pick?

It’s a tough call and basically comes down to personal preference: which one feels better to hold and do you like Sense or TouchWiz better. Even the price is the same at Dh 2,599. I like the aluminum body of the Sensation better but pressed for a decision, I’d go with the Galaxy S II because of it’s slimmer and lighter body and the better camera.

—, @mnystedt

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