The Sensation has a unibody construction, meaning the frame is milled out of one solid piece of metal. You can see some machining marks inside the metal case from where no doubt CNC was used to remove material in the right places. As a result, the Sensation doesn’t have a battery cover that snaps onto the back so much as the phone itself snaps into one monolithic case. 

There’s a spring loaded button at the bottom of the Sensation which presses in, at which point the device releases and can be lifted slightly. A downward tug then pulls the Sensation out of its metal exoskeleton.

To reassemble the Sensation, the front speaker, camera, and LED all insert into a lip, and then press down. With the phone disassembled, you can get at the battery, SIM slot, and microSD card.

There's a bit of an opportunity for dirt to creep in here, but only when the phone is open like this. The only place that things are a bit sensitive are the top front where the front facing camera, speaker, and LED light sit - you can easily get dust in here that will affect the camera. 

While we're talking about the LED notifications light, I should note that it still is located behind the speaker grille, this time at the far right next to the camera. This was something a lot of people complained about on the Desire HD, and I can understand why - it simply isn't as visible this way because the grille is recessed. 

The back camera however remedies the problem we've talked about with a few other HTC devices that have snap on rear covers. There's no longer a removable plastic layer that's part of the battery cover on the Sensation, and as a result no opportunity for dust, grime, fingerprints to scatter light and create glare and haze. The circular camera cutout allows the module to stick through slightly. 

The volume buttons on the Sensation are thankfully very communicative and protrude enough to be located easily. I'm a bit less enthused with the power button, which is a bit small, and sits flush on our review unit. HTC also put the microUSB port on the bottom left side of the phone, another one of those love it or hate it things. 

I'm impressed with how well the Sensation sits inside this cage, it doesn't rattle or move around at all inside, which is quite a testament. The only evidence that the Sensation literally isn't one solid piece is a tiny gap at the top where the display meets the speaker grille. 

Of course the Sensation needs RF windows for antennas (this is a cell phone after all), so unfortunately the entire backside can’t be metal. Apple isn’t the only one getting creative with where it hides antennas, as HTC patterns them onto the back of the two discrete plastic parts inserted into the metal structure. This is very similar to how the HTC Thunderbolt uses its back case as an antenna, and likewise to how the Desire HD used its battery and SIM slot covers. 

With the Sensation removed from its exoskeleton, you can see the four separate gold antenna connectors which mate up with gold pins on the rear of the device. It doesn't affect the majority of smartphone shoppers, but HTC has also chosen to go with Torx #5 screws throughout the Sensation. I didn't take it apart, but just thought it worth mentioning for those of you interested in ease of disassembly.

We should also talk about the display on the Sensation, starting with the display's slightly concave lip. Curved glass seems to be a trend lately, and the Sensation does something unique on the Sensation that I wish everyone did. 

Instead of leaving the display completely a completely flat piece of glass, HTC created a top glass layer that is slightly curved at the edges, thus recessing the main display and interaction area by just shy of a millimeter. It's a very subtle concave structure. As a result, the display doesn't rest completely coplanar with flat surfaces when you placed face down, and is far less likely to get scratched. It’s just a small detail that shows HTC has been paying attention to the subtle things when it comes to designing its hardware.

Intro and Physical Overview Display: Super LCD and Performance


View All Comments

  • leexgx - Monday, July 4, 2011 - link

    but is not 800-900MB not enough space thought with an 8-16-32 SD card as well (i be hard pushed to use 800MB of internal storage) samsung need all that space as they have there own app store that has 3-4 games that use a lot of space, most other phones have 800-900Mb free space nowadays, i guessing most samsung phones do the 2gb/6gb split with 8gb internal space

    if you was talking about cheaper phones like the HTC desire or some random 1.6-2.1 OS phones with 500-800Mhz cpus (that are still been sold what's very lame as they are Crap) i would agree with you 110-50MB of space is not enough even with A2D (that's only on 2.2+ devices)

    i agree with the sound of the load speaker seem to be lacking on 2 HTC phones i have seen

    samsung need to fix there GPS issues there is Zero reason that GPS should be flaky at best (the jumping between to points every 1-2 seconds)

    i agree GPS should be tested and if the phone has less then 1gb internal storage it should be reported as it makes the phone have limited use
  • bubblesmoney - Monday, July 4, 2011 - link

    Having less internal memory on android phones is actually limitting the number of purchases on the android market. People like me would have probably bought almost all the games by gameloft and many other apps for work. But thats not possible now because of the crap apps 2internal memory policy on android and the equally crap stock app2sd move feature.

    The microsd cards are ok, but that does not replace the need for proper internal memory. I already have a couple of 4gb cards, a couple 16gb cards and a couple 32gb cards. Would have preffered a hot swappable card feature without needing to pull the batteries. But I guess the USB on the Go feature on the SGS2 is an alternative. My cards are mainly stuffed with office documents and presentations, teaching videos etc apart from a few songs. But still need good internal memory for apps (some games and other professional apps and loads of teaching apps for my child). Presently i am using one phone for me and another for apps for my child. If the internal memory was ok then i wouldnt need to keep switching between two phones depending on what app i want to use. Not everyone is interested in rooting and playing around with firmware. But the present internal memory hardware situation and crap app2sd stock situation doesnt leave one with much alternatives on android for people who need more internal memory.
  • ph00ny - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - link

    As for GPS, i've done multiple tests including a tunnel pass and they've been spot on. Walking sessions showed the exact side of the road that i was on (google maps showed accuracy of ~10m) and during the tunnel test, it was able to get gps signal as soon as i was out of the tunnel.
  • dtomilson - Sunday, July 3, 2011 - link

    Let's see some Mango chatter. Let's see a new and innovative mobile OS that has cool new features that no other OS does. Other blogs have raved about it, has Google paid you not to? Reply
  • kmmatney - Sunday, July 3, 2011 - link

    I'm still waiting for a good real-life battery assessment for a phone. How long does the battery last if the phone is sitting around doing nothing? Can I squeeze 2 days out of it if I forget my charger on a short business trip? How much charge does it lose sitting on a nightstand overnight? I'm a current iPhone 3GS user, and can get up to 3 days of battery out of my phone if I need to. I have no idea if I can do that just by reading this review. Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Monday, July 4, 2011 - link

    So, battery life assessments are really particular to the user and even down to what day it is. Let's cover your specific questions first.

    -Battery life sitting around doing nothing: Well, what good is the phone to you if you're not doing anything with it? And, what is nothing? If you mean screen off and not handled (as I'm guessing you mean, does that mean it's also not updating e-mail, and other apps? If you have absolutely no applications periodically pulling data and you leave any of these phones untouched until they die then they will last . . . a really long time.

    -2 days on a business trip: What do you do for a living? Again, if you don't have any apps downloading data periodically, you only ever use your phone as a phone and maybe a few e-mail sessions, then any of these phones should hopefully last that long.

    -Sitting on a night stand overnight: See the first answer.

    Don't look at these battery life measurements as an absolute, look at them as a guide. If you spend a lot of time downloading data on 3G, then make sure to get a phone that does really well in the 3G test. If 3G isn't your thing but you're on WiFi downloading data a lot, then grok the WiFi graph and pick something near the top. And if you're main use for the phone is voice calls, there's a great list of voice call data available to you. Not sure which you are? Well, it sounds like battery life is your bread and butter so just pick one from the top of the list and go for it. You've got at least two weeks to decide if it's for you and my experience is that the honeymoon period when people get new phones is about 5-7 days, at that point they'll either be happy or dragging their charger around with them.
  • zhongzyk - Monday, July 4, 2011 - link

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  • kaikaicc - Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - link

    hello,welcome to www. voguecatch us,there have more top goods,like hand bag,t shirt,sun glass and so on ,i hope everyone will like them,thanks
  • crb119 - Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - link

    so is this better than terms of software avilability...ahat about skype video????..... Reply
  • winst - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - link

    Why so much emphasis on phone features and such, but little or no information
    on the fundamentals , being able to make a decent phone call in various conditions ?

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