HTC Sensation vs. Apple iPhone 4 – Review

by Jerry D on July 22, 2011

Once upon a time the Apple iPhone 4 was the best smartphone on the block. But when you pit it against fitter, stronger and faster fighters like the HTC Sensation, its shortcomings become apparent. No dual-core processor, the same 3.5-inch display, no HDMI out…

Of course, the iPhone 4S/iPhone 5 (or whatever it’s going to be called) will undoubtedly bring Apple right back into the game. But for now, the HTC Sensation can walk into the ring with the iPhone and knock its lights out.

XXXX versus graphic HTC Sensation vs. Apple iPhone 4   Review XXXX

Round #1 – Connectivity:
The core connectivity options on the Sensation include 3G/HSDPA (14.4Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP. It also boasts 4G connectivity (OK, HSPA+) where available in the US. The iPhone 4 has 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi in its own connectivity package.

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

Round #2 – Size & Weight:
Browse the specs and the Sensation has dimensions of 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3mm; while the wildly popular and much-loved iPhone 4 is 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm. The Sensation is the tubbier handset of the two. The Sensation is also weightier than its opponent, weighing 148g. In contrast, the iPhone 4 weighs 137g.

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


Round #3 – Camera:
The Sensation’s 8.0 MP camera features autofocus, touch focus, a dual LED flash, geotagging, face and smile detection, 1080p video capture. For video calls, there’s also a front-facing camera.

With tap to focus, an LED flash, geo-tagging, VGA and HD video recording (720p), the iPhone 4′s 5.0 MP camera is good, but not that good. A extra camera on the front is designed for video calling and FaceTime.

Score: +1 to Sensation (2-2)

Round #4 – Screen/keyboard:
HTC has built the Sensation with a superb 4.3-inch touch-sensitive display. The S-LCD screen here has a qHD resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. With its 4.3-inch display and an overall pixel count of 518400, the Sensation has a pixels per inch rating of 256.047.

rez comparison1 HTC Sensation vs. Apple iPhone 4   Review

The 3.5-inch touch-sensitive LCD screen on the iPhone 4 is smaller. But the Retina Display’s resolution of 640 x 960 still beats the new screen on the Sensation. Do the math again and the pixels per inch (PPI) rating of Apple’s screen is a whopping 329.714. That’s still impressive. Overall, this round is a hard-fought draw.

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

Round #5 – Processor:
As for CPU performance, the iPhone 4 uses an ARM-based Apple A4 CPU, rated at 1GHz. It’s still speedy. But it’s eclipsed by the Sensation’s souped-up phone engine, which uses a 1.2GHz Qualcomm MSM8260 dual-core Snapdragon processor.

Score: +1 to Sensation (4-3)

Round #6 – Software:
The Sensation runs the latest build of Android (2.3), prettied up with HTC’s Sense UI (v3.0). The Apple iPhone 4, meanwhile, runs iOS4. It’s difficult to pull the two apart. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. So for the time being, we’re calling the result in a ‘best OS’ battle a tie.

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

Round #7 – Applications:
What about apps? How do the Sensation and iPhone 4 compare? In this case, if you want the smartphone with the biggest choice of apps, you’ll choose the iPhone 4 over the Sensation. See the stats from Distimo above.

Score: +1 to iPhone 4 (5-5)

Round #8 – Storage:
With 32GB of internal storage, the iPhone 4 has more space. The Sensation features 9GB in comparison, which breaks down into 1GB of internal memory and an 8GB microSD card. Swapping out the microSD card for a 32GB one will increase the maximum capacity to 33GB. Apple didn’t build an expansion slot into the iPhone 4, so 32GB is the maximum capacity.

Score: +1 to Sensation (6-5)

Round #9 – Battery life:
And now, a quick word about the battery life… HTC says that its Sensation can deliver 8.3 hours of talktime, while the iPhone 4 is rated at 7.0 hours. Standby time for both phones is quoted as 350 hours and 300 hours respectively The points in this round belong to the Sensation.

Score: +1 to Sensation (7-5)


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:
We’re into the final round and, if you’ve been following the scores, you’ll know that we already have our winner.

In terms of extra frills, the Sensation also includes GPS/A-GPS, a digital compass, handy g-sensor, toughened Gorilla Glass display, TV-out, DLNA content streaming and a stereo FM radio. In comparison, the iPhone 4 features GPS/A-GPS, a digital compass, a clever 3-axis gyroscope and a TV out.

Score: +1 to Sensation (8-5)

BPF Verdict: The HTC Sensation wins!

Why did the Sensation win? Easy. It has the highest-spec camera and the bigger of the two screens (although the resolution is still slightly lower). Crucially, it’s got a better battery life than the iPhone 4 and a dual-core processor that Apple’s phone can’t hope to catch.

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

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