HTC Sensation vs. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc – Review

by Jerry D on July 17, 2011

The mobile phone market is one of the fastest-moving technology markets there is. No sooner has the latest, greatest smartphone wowed the crowds than another one arrives to shove it rudely aside and take its place in the spotlight.

So if you thought that the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc was good, wait until you get a long, lingering look at the HTC Sensation. Sensation by name, sensational by nature…

XXXX versus graphic HTC Sensation vs. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc   Review XXXX

Round #1 – Connectivity:
The wireless options on the high-powered Sensation include 3G/HSDPA (14.4Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP. It also boasts HSPA+ connectivity where available. Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Arc, meanwhile, dishes up 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP.

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

Round #2 – Size & Weight:
Run the numbers on these two phones and the Sensation is a neat 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3mm handset. While Sony Ericsson’s phone is 125.0 x 63.0 x 8.7mm. As you can see, the Xperia Arc is the smaller phone. As for weightiness, the Sensation is heavier than the Xperia Arc, tipping the scales at 148g, compared to the Xperia Arc’s lightweight 117g.

Score: +1 to Xperia Arc (1-2)

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Round #3 – Camera:
HTC has opted for an 8.0 Megapixel camera in its super-phone, which boasts autofocus, touch focus, dual LED flash, geotagging, face/smile detection, plus 1080p video capture. It supports a max resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels and for video calling, you’ll find a second camera on the front face. Beat that it says the Arc…

The Xperia Arc also sports an 8.0 Megapixel snapper (with autofocus, an LED flash, image stabilization, geo-tagging, face and smile detection and 720p video capture). At first glance there’s no real difference in camera quality. But the Sensation’s dual flash and full HD video capture snags the point in this round.

Score: +1 to Sensation (2-2)

Round #4 – Screen/keyboard:
The Sensation features a touch-sensitive S-LCD display, 4.3 inches across with a quoted resolution of 540 x 960 pixels (aka qHD). Jamming 518400 pixels into this screen size gives the Sensation a pixel density of 256.047 pixels per inch (PPI). Now that is pretty good.

rez comparison1 HTC Sensation vs. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc   Review

In comparison, the Xperia Arc’s touch-sensitive LED-backlit LCD is 4.2 inches across. Its lowly 480 x 854 pixel resolution is no match for the HTC display. To prove it, the pixel density of 233.333 pixels per inch here is less than the 256.047 rating given to the Sensation.

Score: +1 to Sensation (3-2)

Round #5 – Processor:
In terms of performance, the Sensation’s chip is a 1.2GHz Qualcomm MSM 8260 dual-core Snapdragon, while the Xperia Arc uses a single-core Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon with Adreno 205 GPU processor, clocked at 1GHz. The Sensation has the speed advantage and is much better equipped to tackle demanding applications.

Score: +1 to Sensation (4-2)

Round #6 – Software:
HTC’s phone uses Android 2.3, laced with its HTC Sense UI (v3.0). Sony Ericsson has also loaded the Arc with Android 2.3, so there’s no real advantage to either handset.

Score: +1 to both phones (5-3)

Round #7 – Applications:
In this showdown, both combatants run Android 2.3 and have access to the same number of apps on the Android Market and elsewhere. So the points are shared again.

Score: +1 to both phones (6-4)

Round #8 – Storage:
Storage-wise, the Sensation provides more space out of the box with 9GB. This compares to the Xperia Arc’s 8GB. The Sensation also features a microSD slot to boost the storage to a roomier 33GB. The inclusion of a microSD expansion slot on the Xperia Arc bumps up the capacity to 32GB.

Score: +1 to Sensation (7-4)

Round #9 – Battery life:
How long will the battery last? HTC’s spec sheet lists 8.3 hours of talktime for its phone, compared to 7.0 hours for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. As for standby time, the phones can last for 350 hours and 400 hours respectively. The Xperia Arc finishes last here.

Score: +1 to Sensation (8-4)

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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 Sensation also includes GPS/A-GPS, a digital compass, g-sensor, tough-as-old-boots Gorilla Glass display, TV-out, DLNA content streaming and a stereo FM radio.

In comparison, the Xperia Arc features GPS/A-GPS, DLNA content sharing, Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine picture processing, a stereo FM radio with RDS, HDMI port, noise cancellation technology and a digital compass.

Score: +1 to both phones (9-5)

BPF Verdict: The HTC Sensation wins!

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

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