HTC Sensation XL review

Big Screen, big price tag and superb headphones
Photo of HTC Sensation XL

HTC has been pumping out the handsets recently, and the Sensation XL has a couple of things that make it a bit different. It has a vast screen, no memory expansion and Beats Audio.

I’ve seen that face before

  The HTC Sensation XL is a big handset with a large screen. The front is a nice shiny white, the backplate a good looking aluminium that’s somewhat slippery in the hand. You’re going to need big hands to reach right across the 4.7 inch screen, but in compensation its 480 x 800 pixels are sharp, bright and clear – perfect for video viewing and reading web pages.

It all looks rather familiar, though, and it is. The HTC Sensation XL is a very close relation to the Windows Phone toting HTC Titan with which it shares not only the basic chassis design but also a few specifications.

Power but problems

  Most significantly on the specifications sharing side of thing the HTC Sensation XL has no support for microSD cards. You are stuck with the internal memory, a very familiar (Titanesque) 16GB of it. Now, that might sound generous, but first consider that only 12.6GB is accessible. Then note that on such a large screened device video viewing is a real draw. Support for microSD would have allowed you to carry lots of video, but the relatively poor internal memory hampers that.

Finally add in musical ability, which we’ll come to, and the HTC Sensation XL screams out for media card expansion. The HTC Sensation XL is powered by a single core Qualcomm processor running at 1.5GHz and this is a bit of a reduction compared to the dual core processors found in both the original Sensation and the Sensation XE. But we didn’t feel let down. The processor has real oomph and we found it zipped along nicely. The 8 megapixel camera isn’t to be sniffed at, either and dual LED flashes help with low light shooting.

Sounds great

The HTC Sensation XL is equipped with Android 2.3 and HTC Sense 3.5. There are some nice tweaks to the latest incarnation of HTC Sense, such as letting you have between one and seven home pages. Dropbox is installed, and this could be a useful way of getting files onto the handset given that there’s no microSD card support.

That Beats Audio integration is a star of the show. Output through the handset speaker is good but not great. But the HTC Sensation XL comes with a set of Beats headphones in stunning red and the quality of sound they produce is really excellent. There are even inline controls for playback management and the middle button can redial the last call you made too.

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Company: HTC


Contact: 01202 552 936

  • Good screen; great headphones; fast processor
  • No memory expansion


It is hard not to like the HTC Sensation XL for its big bright screen, great music performance and fast processor. But it is big for the hand and pocket and the absence of microSD expansion is a crime.