[ad] The service leader for Cloud is now in Australia. Secure, reliable cloud and managed hosting all backed by 24x7x365 Fanatical Support. Create your free account now.
Buy an Seagate Business Storage NAS for your chance to win a holiday
[ad] Purchase a selected Seagate Business Storage NAS to receive a $20 cash-back AND go into the draw to win a $1,000 Flight Centre voucher so you can holiday in the destination of your choice. T&Cs apply.
How mobile and social media affect your Customer Experience strategy
[ad] How will the adoption of mobile devices and social media affect your Customer Experience strategy? Are you reaching your organisation's customers through these touch points? Click here to download a whitepaper by Fifth Quadrant examining consumer and business attitudes to these new contact channels.
Great articles on other sites
- Turnbull to release NBN review next week
- Canberra blitzes states with NBN take-up rates
- War on whistleblowers from Abbott, Turnbull as ICJ case arrives
- Stockland tech revamp at centre of growth plans
- Clare warns of Gonski-like backflips on the NBN
- Victoria seeks early buy-in to avoid past disasters
- Vtalk bucks the China trend with plan for Aussie build
- Booksellers bristle at Amazon's arrival
- Australian customers upbeat on Dell going private
- FTTP NBN supporters lobby Turnbull
50 things top IT pros need to know
[ad] This 18 page TechRepublic whitepaper explores 10 things you should know to become an epic IT manager, 40 other essential tips to advance your IT career and practical guidance for starting an IT consulting business. Click here to access the whitepaper.
The new IT manager: Trends affecting IT in business
[ad] The tables have turned for IT managers. IT used to be able to dictate which computing assets would be used by employees and how they would be used. No longer. This free GigaOM Pro research paper (click here to download it) gives a solid, fact-based perspective on how IT consumerisation, mobile computing and cloud delivery trends are changing the paradigm.
Reviews - Written by Jenneth Orantia on Monday, November 21, 2011 10:09 - 3 Comments
HTC Sensation XE: Review
review It isn’t often we see the sequel of a phone released within a few months of the original. Come to think of it, we’re not sure it’s ever happened before. But that’s how quickly HTC is churning out smartphones these days. Not that it’s really a bad thing. The first HTC Sensation was a triumph of gorgeous hardware, intuitive software and cutting edge specs, and the XE picks up where it left off by adding a faster processor, bigger battery, and built-in Beats Audio technology. But just how much of an upgrade is it over the original Sensation – enough to make existing Sensation owners jealous? Read on to find out.
Nothing much has changed from the first Sensation. It’s the exact same design, down to the sleek unibody plastic and aluminium chassis, 4.3″ display, curved back and rounded corners. The only difference on the outside is a few colour changes. The casing’s now black with a brushed metal finish, the speaker grill, capacitive buttons and frame around the camera are red, and there’s a Beats Audio logo on the back.
The XE is also a few grams heavier (151g) to accommodate the bigger 1730mAh battery (the original Sensation has a 1520mAh battery), but otherwise, it feels just as good in the hand. Obviously it’s not as light as other recent ‘super-phones’ like the Samsung Galaxy S II and Motorola RAZR, but the extra weight gives it a reassuringly solid feel. Owners of the original Sensation should be pleased to learn that the XE’s larger battery fits like a glove in the older phone’s casing as well.
The Sensation XE has the same Qualcomm MSM8260 chipset as the first Sensation, only the dual-core CPU is clocked at a higher 1.5GHz speed, officially making it – on paper at least – the fastest Android phone for the moment. This is paired with the same 768MB RAM found on the first Sensation, along with the same 8-megapixel camera, tri-band 850/900/2100MHz 3G connectivity, 1GB of user-accessible storage (along with a bundled 8GB microSD card) and 4.3” 960 x 540 Super LCD screen.
But the main thing that separates the XE from the original Sensation is the inclusion of Beats Audio technology. Like its Sensation XL stablemate, the XE has a Beats Audio sound profile that’s specially tuned to match Beats By Dr Dre headphones. Alas, the XE doesn’t come with the excellent Beats By Dr Dre Solo headphones that the XL comes with – it’s lumped with the cheaper urBeats in-ear headphones. Still, they’re better quality than the usual fare, with a bright red cord, inline remote control and five sets of ear tips in different sizes.
Another area the XE lags behind the XL is in software. While the XL gets the benefit of bug fixes and performance tweaks found in Android 2.3.5 and HTC Sense 3.5, the XE uses the same Android 2.3.4 operating system and HTC Sense 3.0 as the first Sensation – a move that lets it down in the benchmarks, as you’ll see in the next section. If you aren’t yet familiar with HTC’s Sense software, it’s a graphical overlay that sits on top of Android that adds a few welcome tweaks like a customisable lockscreen, themeable interface, enhanced homescreen widgets and a modified launcher and notification window. It certainly puts a friendlier face on the Android interface that you can personalise more than any other phone, but it does drag on the system resources more than a vanilla Android build.
We never considered the original HTC Sensation to be a slow poke, and while there is a speed improvement on the newer XE, it’s really only something you’d notice by using both phones side by side. They’re equally swift at waking up from sleep and unlocking, and things like scrolling, swiping and pinching are equally responsive on both units. Where you see a small speed improvement is bringing up the apps launcher, which comes up a fraction of a second faster, and things like turning on the camera and launching third party apps happen a couple of seconds quicker on the XE. Using Facebook, for instance, the app launched and loaded the news feed in 4.55 seconds on the XE versus 5.91 seconds on the original Sensation.
But it still came off slower than the Motorola RAZR and Samsung Galaxy S II for the two systems benchmarks, despite having a faster clock speed. What’s even more surprising is that the single-core Sensation XL achieved a better GL Benchmark score than the Sensation XE, despite having the older Adreno 205 graphics, as well as a higher Rightware Browsermark score. We’re assuming this is because the XL has the newer -and less resource intensive – Sense 3.5 software and Android 2.3.5 operating system.
The bundled urBeats in-ear headphones produce the audio equivalent of what we’d expect from a $50 pair, which is to say they’re a little better than the usual bundled earphones, but not by much. We listened to the same music on the original HTC Sensation and HTC Sensation XE using the urBeats headphones, and the difference in bass response was very subtle – we had to play the same tracks two or three times to discern any difference, and even then you’ll only notice if you throw something really bass-heavy at it.
There are a couple of caveats worth noting with regards to Beats Audio: first, it only works for audio output through compatible headphones – the external speaker doesn’t get the same enhanced bass treatment, and produces the same typically tinny output that most smartphones have; and it only works in the Music app and when you play videos through the Gallery app, so if you play media through alternative music or video players, you won’t get the benefit of Beats Audio.
The XE’s bigger battery had it lasting roughly two hours longer than the original Sensation. In our case, which had Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Tweetdeck and Peep updates being pushed to the phone in the background, 10 calls of roughly a minute each, five text messages, two photos, an hour of music playback, 3G web browsing for an hour, Wi-Fi web browsing for an hour and a half, and checking email throughout the day, the Sensation XE lasted for 26 hours and 7 minutes.
HTC has made a great smartphone even better with the Sensation XE, but the improvements are minor. This is good news for owners of the original Sensation, leaving them with far less to envy in the newer model, although we can’t help feeling that HTC should’ve done more to differentiate the XE. Blessing it with the same updated software that’s found on the Sensation XL would’ve been a start, and giving it more than just 1GB of user-accessible internal storage and 768MB of RAM would’ve made more sense. Also on our wishlist would be better bundled headphones to take advantage of the Beats Audio technology and a more dramatic colour change – a bright red to match the headphones or pure white like the Sensation XL would be our top choices.
But this is all just nit-picking, and it shouldn’t take away from the fact that the Sensation XE is an excellent smartphone in its own right. It may not perform as well as some of the other top-shelf smartphones, but it makes up for it with a sexy design, slick (albeit slightly behind-the-times) software and decent battery life. It’s available exclusively from Vodafone for $0 upfront on the $59 Cap.
Jenneth Orantia turned her back on a lucrative career in law to pursue her unhealthy obsession with consumer technology. She’s known for having at least half a dozen of the latest gadgets on her person at a time, and once won a bottle of Dom Perignon for typing 78WPM on a Pocket PC with a stylus.
Image credit: HTC
Latest Delimiter 2.0 articles (subscriber content)
|Politicians from Australia’s major parties need to stop issuing ludicrous blanket pardons for the intelligence community’s ongoing misdemeanours and start applying a basic modicum of transparency and accountability to this important national security function.|
|The independent pro-fibre National Broadband Network movement is doing a far better job of promoting Labor’s Fibre to the Premises-based NBN policy than Labor itself. When is Labor going to wake from its slumber and start supporting this scrappy but energetic grassroots network of activists?|
|Ziggy Switkowski's first substantial public appearance since being appointed NBN Co chief executive has starkly demonstrated just how different he is from his predecessor, Mike Quigley, and just how strictly he will adhere to the guidelines which his patron, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has set for him.|
|Australian technology companies have been virtually absent from the the nation’s public stockmarket over the past decade as the stigma of the dot com bust took its toll on investor confidence. But a clutch of new listings planned for the closing months of 2013 shows renewed interest in the sector and that local entrepreneurs are smelling money in the air once again.|
|NBN Co’s Strategic Review process gives the company an unmissable opportunity to re-evaluate the early decision to deploy its FTTP network primarily through Telstra’s underground ducts. The company and its new Coalition masters must now seriously consider deploying more fibre aerially on power poles in an effort to speed up its rollout substantially.|
|That moment which many Australian technologists fervently hoped for but never expected to see has come to pass: Simon Hackett has been appointed to the board of the National Broadband Network Company. But what questions should the Internode founder be asking NBN Co’s executive management team? Here’s five ideas to start with.|
|The rapid replacement of respected NBN Co chief operating officer Ralph Steffens with a Telstra executive who appears less experienced with fibre rollouts but better politically connected represents a key signal that NBN Co’s senior executive hiring process has now become completely politicised and is no longer independent from the Federal Government.|
Enterprise IT, News - Dec 6, 2013 12:50 - 0 Comments
More In Enterprise IT
- Payroll disaster: Queensland sues IBM
- End of an era: Oracle Australia’s ‘safe hands’ leaves
- Qld launches whole of government IaaS panel
- Defence finally allows staff iPhones, iPads
- NSW Govt refreshes ICT Advisory Panel
News, Telecommunications - Dec 6, 2013 11:54 - 52 Comments
More In Telecommunications
- NBN Co internal FTTN analysis: Turnbull refuses to retract inaccurate claim
- Defying the Senate: Turnbull to release NBN Review by end of 2013
- Senate to force Turnbull to publish NBN Review
- Get on with FTTN job, Quigley tells NBN Co
- Senate circus shows politics has no place in NBN
More In Industry
- Xbox One goes off with a bang … but will the PS4 launch eclipse it?
- It’s not just Freelancer: Aussie tech IPOs are back in general
- Freelancer’s IPO: A billion reasons to care
- Australian retailers online: Late to the party and much to do
- DesignCrowd picks up another $3m
Digital Rights, News - Dec 5, 2013 14:08 - 24 Comments
More In Digital Rights
- Global privacy group files formal ASD complaint
- Labor open to surveillance discussion
- Snowden an “American traitor”, says Australia’s Attorney-General
- ASD goes rogue with Aussie metadata
- It’s live: Delimiter publishes AGD FoI mirror