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HTC Sensation - The Sensational Android
By Seow Tein Hee - 19 Jul 2011
Launch SRP: S$838

Performance - Part I


Unlike the recent Android devices from LG and Motorola that allied themselves with NVIDIA, HTC continues its long standing partnership with Qualcomm. As such, the Android 2.3 device is loaded with the latest Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon dual-core 1.2GHz processor, coupled with 1GB ROM and 768MB RAM. To translate the above specifications into something more tangible, we subjected the Sensation to the standard series of benchmarks on the Android platform.

  • The first benchmark is Quadrant, which measures the device's performance based on its CPU, I/O and GPU. Simply put, Quadrant is a benchmark that gives you a general idea of how your device performs against other Android devices.
  • The second benchmark is NeoCore, targeting the device's GPU performance. This is especially important for the Xperia Play and its role as a full-time Android gaming smartphone.

These benchmarks, as we've mentioned in our earlier reviews, are a rough gauge on the device's performance. Its usability varies according to user preference, but it does provide a median performance level. Our tests were conducted from a fresh reboot of the Sensation.

Comparisons are inevitable, and fortunately, there's sufficient dual-core smartphones in the market for us to see where the Sensation stands against the competition. This includes the earlier LG Optimus 2X and Motorola Atrix, with the Samsung Galaxy S II being the most recent of the lot.

Device HTC Sensation Samsung Galaxy S II Motorola Atrix LG Optimus 2X
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon
(Dual-core 1.2GHz)
ARM Cortex-A9 Exynos
(Dual-core 1.2GHz )
NVIDIA Tegra 2
(Dual-core 1GHz)
NVIDIA Tegra 2
(Dual-core 1GHz)
GPU Adreno 220 Mali-400MP ULP GeForce ULP GeForce
RAM 768MB 1GB 1GB 512MB
OS Google Android 2.3 Google Android 2.3 Google Android 2.2 Google Android 2.2

With a score of over 2000 on all four dual-core devices (considering how single-core variants manage only below this mark), the Quadrant benchmark did not deviate much from our expectations. Putting the Sensation against all three other devices gave us a clear indication - the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8260 chipset faltered against the likes of NVIDIA's Tegra 2 and Samsung's own Exynos chipset. With only 768MB of RAM available on the Sensation against the Galaxy S II's 1GB offering, it's not surprising to see a lower Quadrant score from the Sensation. But more than memory availability, it seems the processor's capability resulted in the score we're garnered.

Its NeoCore scores, however, is subjected to discussion. With the LG Optimus 2X being the only device breaking the 60FPS barrier, we wonder if the devices are capped at that particular frame rate. As mentioned, these numbers aren't an accurate depiction of the device's performance. Nonetheless, the Sensation's FPS score of 59.9, against earlier devices that went between the range of 20 to 40, shows a marked improvement in its GPU performance.

Ultimately, it's the user experience that matters. With a juiced up dual-core CPU and GPU installed on the Sensation, it's not surprising to see the graphics intensive Sense 3.0 UI running smoothly on the Sensation. There were no visible lags as we continuously scrolled through pages of apps and widgets.

Apps were loaded within a snap of the finger, which is a testament to the dual-core processor running the show. We spent a generous amount of time on games such as Angry Birds and Dungeon Defenders with numerous apps running in the background. Fortunately, the Sensation survived the ordeal without any apps crashing on us. Still, due caution still has to be taken to keep the amount of running apps low. But that is where the task manager comes in useful.

  • Design 8.5
  • Features 9
  • User-Friendliness 9
  • Performance 8
  • Value 9.5
The Good
Improved HTC Sense 3.0 with enhanced lock screen
Smooth performance
Solid build quality
Affordable in its class
The Bad
Low battery mileage
Lack of portability due to weight
Below average imaging quality
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