Apple iPhone 4S vs. HTC Sensation – Smackdown!

by Jerry D on October 5, 2011

After taking on the top dogs in our Top 20 smartphones list, the Apple iPhone 4S now turns its attention to the good-looking HTC Sensation handset. We give each one a brightly coloured Pugil stick from an old episode of Gladiators and tell them to fight it out on two small platforms 20ft in the air. And just to make it interesting, we’ve taken away the crash mat…

XXXX versus graphic Apple iPhone 4S vs. HTC Sensation   Smackdown! XXXX

Round #1 – Connectivity:
The iPhone 4S is well-specced and includes 3G/HSDPA (14.4Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP connectivity. It’s also a dual-antenna/dual-mode handset, a ‘world phone’ able to operate on GSM and CDMA networks. The Sensation, meanwhile, boasts 3G/HSDPA (14.4Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP.

Score: +1 to iPhone 4S (1-0)

Round #2 – Size & Weight:
How pocket-friendly are our two phones? Good question. The iPhone 4S measures the same as the old iPhone 4 – 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm. While the sensational Sensation is 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3mm in comparison. As you can see, the Sensation is the bigger phone of the two. As for weight, the Apple iPhone 4S weighs 140g, while the Sensation is 148g.

Score: +1 to iPhone 4S (2-0)


Round #3 – Camera:
The iPhone 4S’s impressive 8.0 Megapixel camera features a full resolution of 3264 x 2448 plus features that include: tap to focus, an LED flash, geo-tagging and 1080p HD video recording with video image stabilization. It also features a second, front-facing camera for Skype and FaceTime. Or just taking vanity photos of yourself.

The Sensation also rocks an 8.0 Megapixel camera (with autofocus, touch focus, a dual LED flash, geotagging, face and smile detection, 1080p video capture) that equals the iPhone 4S. A second camera on the front can also be used for video calling and casual self-portraits.

Score: +1 to both phones (3-1)

Round #4 – Screen/keyboard:
The iPhone 4S features a 3.5-inch touch-sensitive Retina display with a resolution of 640 x 960 pixels. It’s still one of the highest resolution screens around with 614400 pixels in total. This gives it a rating of 329.714 pixels per inch (PPI).

rez comparison1 Apple iPhone 4S vs. HTC Sensation   Smackdown!

In comparison, the Sensation’s touch-sensitive S-LCD screen is 4.3 inches wide. We love the extra space and wish Apple had extended the screen on the 4S.

That said, the Sensation boasts a poorer screen resolution – 540 by 960 pixels. With 518400 pixels onscreen, the pixel density is 256.047 pixels per inch.

Score: +1 to both phones (4-2)

Round #5 – Processor:
As for processing grunt, the Sensation uses a Qualcomm MSM 8260 dual-core Snapdragon processor, rated at 1.2GHz. The iPhone 4S’s core is a 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 chip. Yes, the same chip that makes the iPad 2 such a speedy tablet.

Score: +1 to Sensation (4-3)

Round #6 – Software:
Apple’s newly minted iOS 5 software comes installed on the iPhone 4S, which introduces over 200 fresh features and UI improvements (so they say). The Sensation comes with Android 2.3, prettied up with HTC’s Sense UI (v3.0).

Score: +1 to both phones (5-4)

Round #7 – Applications:
Which OS has the biggest choice of downloadable applications? According to the latest numbers (see below), the iPhone 4S has the biggest app library.

Score: +1 to iPhone 4S (6-4)

Round #8 – Storage:
the iPhone 4S incorporates 32GB* versus the 9GB default capacity of the Sensation. There’s no expansion slot on the iPhone 4S, so the base memory can’t be extended. The 9GB storage capacity on HTC’s phone can be expanded to 33GB via the microSD slot.

*The iPhone 4S is also available in 16GB and 64GB models.

Score: +1 to both phones (7-5)

Round #9 – Battery life:
As an indication of battery life, Apple boasts 8.0 hours of talktime for its iPhone 4S, versus 8.3 hours for the Sensation. The standby times are 300 hours for the iPhone 4S and 350 hours for the Sensation. The points in this round are shared.

Score: +1 to both phones (8-6)


Note: The Standby time specification is an industry standard that is only intended to allow comparison of different mobile phones under the same circumstances. Power consumption in a standby state is strongly dependent on factors including: network, settings, location, movement, signal strength and cell traffic.

Round #10 – Extras:
The iPhone 4S also includes GPS/A-GPS, a digital compass, a 3-axis gyroscope, that dual GSM/CDMA connectivity we mentioned earlier, TV-out, iCloud and the Siri voice assistant. In comparison, the Sensation features GPS/A-GPS, a digital compass, g-sensor, Gorilla Glass display, TV-out, DLNA content streaming and a stereo FM radio.

Score: +1 to iPhone 4S (9-6)

BPF Verdict: The Apple iPhone 4S wins!

Boom! Another victory for the iPhone 4S. But hardly an emphatic one. Apple has only just done enough to keep it at the forefront of mobile technology. You can’t help feeling that newer phones with big HD displays, faster processors and sexier/thinner designs will soon beat this improved iPhone 4. Samsung Galaxy S3, we’re looking at you with expectations high…

See if these two phones make our Top 20 Best Smartphones list…

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