Product Listing

HTC Sensation XE - Rock to the Beat

By Wong Casandra - 17 Oct 2011
Launch SRP: S$868

Introduction, Design & Performance

Rocking to the Beat

We reviewed the HTC Sensation back in July this year; the smartphone was pretty impressive, scoring a high 9 on the HWZ scale for its overall performance. The smartphone was released while the industry was thrust into the thick of outfitting their phones with dual-core processors, with the HTC Sensation being the Taiwanese company's flagship 1.2GHz dual-core smartphone. What else does its similarly endowed sibling, the newly-released HTC Sensation XE with Beats Audio, have to bring to the plate? Read on to find out.

 HTC Sensation XE with Beats Audio

Key highlights of the HTC Sensation XE with Beats Audio

  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • Bundled HTC urBeats in-ear headphones by Dr Dre +
    Beats Audio Sound Profile
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core processor
  • 768 MB RAM
  • 4.3-inch S-LCD capacitive touchscreen / 540 x 960 pixels
  • 8-megapixel camera / autofocus, dual-LED flash
  • 1730 mAh battery
  • 151g

The smartphone is a result of a collaboration between HTC and Beats by Dr Dre.


Painting the Town Red

To differentiate it from its predecessor, the Sensation XE gets a splash of red to go along with its predominantly black body. And it works - the phone certainly comes across as funky and fashionable. Outwardly, that's the only cosmetic change that the Sensation XE gets but we aren't complaining either - the original Sensation is a sturdily-built smartphone with a good mixture of plastic and metal forming its chassis. Plus, it rests comfortably in our grip and features well-constructed buttons. This great all-round experience is also replicated with the newer Sensation XE. The only issue (and it isn't a big one either) we had with the phone was with removing the phone's back casing; let's just say we didn't exactly have an easy time with it. Either way, unless changing your SIM or microSD card is a personal daily ritual, you only have to go through this annoying experience once usually.

The speakers are rimmed with red grilles. We approve.

The touch controls are also tinted with red as opposed to white on the Sensation.

Like the Sensation, the Sensation XE is flanked at the back by a metal/plastic cover. The differences? The Beats Audio logo and red-rimmed lens.

The Sensation XE comes bundled with a custom-made HTC urBeats in-ear headphones by Dr Dre (with red wires of course) that comes with a remote control. On the whole, the gadget feels well-constructed save for the remote control; the latter looks and feels tacky and cheap.


Benchmarking the HTC Sensation XE

So what makes the HTC Sensation XE different? Hardware-wise, it comes with a faster and more powerful 1.5GHz dual-core processor. To give readers a gauge of what to expect in terms of performance, we have adopted a few benchmark tests specific to the Android platform.

Within this page, we'll be looking at two specific benchmarks, both of which are downloadable via the Android Market.

Quadrant: It 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.

NeoCore: It is targeted towards the device's GPU performance. This is especially important given how smartphones of today have evolved into an alternative, high-powered device that dabbles in heavy graphical interfaces and gaming.

Do note that the above two benchmarks are not absolute in measuring performance, but they give you a good rough estimate of where the device stands against the competition. Our tests were conducted on devices from a fresh reboot on their respective stock firmwares. To show how the HTC Sensation XE performed against similar smartphones, we compared its results against the following high-end Android devices - HTC Sensation, Samsung Galaxy S II and the Motorola Atrix.  

Device HTC Sensation XE HTC Sensation Samsung Galaxy S II Motorola Atrix
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon
MSM 8260
(Dual-core 1.5GHz)
Qualcomm Snapdragon
(Dual-core 1.2GHz)
ARM Cortex-A9 Exynos
(Dual-core 1.2GHz )
NVIDIA Tegra 2
(Dual-core 1GHz)
GPU Adreno 220 Adreno 220 Mali-400MP ULP GeForce
RAM 768MB 768MB 1GB 1GB
OS Google Android 2.3 Google Android 2.3 Google Android 2.3 Google Android 2.2


With a score of over 2000 on all four dual-core devices, the Quadrant benchmark results for the Sensation XE did not deviate much from our expectations. As mentioned in our HTC Sensation review, this comparison clearly shows that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8260 chipset faltered against the likes of NVIDIA's Tegra 2 and Samsung's own Exynos chipset. If you look at the charts above, you will see that there isn't much of an improvement in terms of performance in the Sensation XE as compared to the Sensation; scores in both tests are almost similar. 

That is not to say that the Sensation XE is not capable of crunching those intensive apps and its, ahem, graphics-intensive Sense 3.0 UI. With a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 768MB of RAM, the powerful smartphone ran apps, widgets and its UI smoothly without any visible lags. Apps loaded almost instantaneously; the Sensation XE survived lag-free even while playing intensive game apps with other apps running in the background. In essence, you will get a responsive phone with smooth transitions and enough horsepower for fluid multi-tasking.

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  • Design 8.5
  • Features 9
  • User-Friendliness 9
  • Performance 8.5
  • Value 9
The Good
Solid build quality and funky exterior
Bundled Audio Beats in-ears
Smooth performance
The Bad
Low battery mileage
Lack of portability due to weight
Average imaging quality
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