HTC Sensation vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Flagship Superphone Fight!

May 11, 2011
52 6 28

    For the past several months, the Samsung Galaxy S II has held the performance crown of the smartphone world, reportedly beating the performance benchmarks of every phone in the world. HTC has had an answer for a few months, but has kept quite shy about it until recently. Their answer comes in the form of the HTC Sensation, which is looking to be an incredible device, with specs very similar to the Galaxy S II. Does it have it what it takes to dethrone the almighty Samsung Galaxy SII? Read on to find out more.

    Display:

    The HTC Sensation 4G features a 4.3-inch qHD display with 540 x 960 pixel resolution on an S-LCD capacitive touchscreen. While the resolution is high, and the colors are quite good, it simply does not compare to the incredible vibrancy, rich contrast, and general ‘wow factor’ of the Samsung Galaxy S2’s 480 x 800 pixel Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen. While the Galaxy S II’s display may be a lower resolution, there simply is no denying that it is the better display of the two, and arguably the best display on a mobile device in the world.

    Winner: Galaxy S II

    AMOLED Display technology on the lefts and right, with Super LCD in the middle

    Physical Size:

    The HTC Sensation has dimensions of 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3 mm and weighs in at a (relatively svelte) 148 g. Still, it would seem like the Sensation needs to go on a big diet to stand in the same crowd as the incredibly light Samsung Galaxy S2, which has dimensions of 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm, weighing in at an amazingly low 116 g.

    Winner: Samsung Galaxy S II


    Custom UI and Input

    Thankfully, both devices are going to receive the same quality Gorilla Glass display tech, and so will be incredibly hard to scratch. The HTC Sensation’s display is multi-touch capable, and of course, has an accelerometer sensor on board for UI auto-rotate, a proximity sensor for auto turn-off,a  gyro sensor and HTC Sense v3.0 UI. The Samsung Galaxy S2 features a Gorilla Glass display, TouchWiz 4.0 UI, multi-touch input method, accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate, touch-sensitive controls, proximity sensor for auto turn-off and Swype text input. It really boils down to user preference here, as some (maybe most) prefer HTC’s Sense UI, which has arguably become one of the best looking, and easiest to use on any Android device. Still, we have to say that we are impressed with the improvements that Samsung has made to its TouchWiz 4.0 UI. Really, it’s all up to you, boss.

    Winner: You

    HTC's Sense UI is considered by many to be the best looking in the industry, and has improved steadily over the years

    3G/4G Connectivity

    The HTC Sensation 4G will have support for HSDPA 14.4 Mbps and HSUPA 5.76 Mbps. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy S2 supports a higher standard of HSDPA 21 Mbps and HSUPA 5.76 Mbps.

    Memory:

    The HTC Sensation has 768 MB RAM and a 1 GB internal ROM (and potentially a 4GB variant, too) with support for microSD’s up to 32GB, with an 8 GB microSD included in the box. However, the Samsung Galaxy S II takes the show here, with a whopping 16 GB or 32 GB storage on board, 1 GB RAM and microSD up to 32 GB supported. It’s in the details people!

    Winner: Samsung Galaxy S II

    WLAN/Bluetooth/USB:

    The HTC Sensation 4G has a very comprehensive connectivity suite, with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot support (if carriers allow it), along with Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP and microUSB version 2.0 (MHL). On the other hand the Samsung Galaxy S2 has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot support along with Bluetooth version 3.0+HS and microUSB version 2.0 (MHL).

    Winner: Tie – both are remarkably well equipped and future proofed as much as possible.

    Samsung Galaxy S II's camera on the left, with the HTC Sensation's camera sample on the right

    Camera:

    The HTC Sensation has an 8-megapixel 3264×2448 pixels camera with autofocus, and a dual-LED flash for good night shots on the go. Further to this, it includes geo-tagging functionality, touch-focus (always a plus), image stabilization, face detection and instant capture features. The camera can capture videos 1080p at 30fps and has stereo sound recording feature and comes along with a secondary VGA camera.

    The Samsung Galaxy S2 has, much like the HTC Sensation,  an 8-megapixel 3264×2448 pixels camera with autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection and image stabilization features. It too can capture videos 1080p at 30fps and has a 2-megapixel secondary camera, which is of a higher resolution than the HTC Sensation.

    In our tests, we found that both cameras were excellent, and better than any of the others currently on the market. However, upon closer inspection in Photoshop. we did notice an interesting trend. The Samsung Galaxy S II’s camera is excellent at capturing greater dynamic range, and does a better job filling out the spectrum, so to speak. Still, the HTC Sensation has a dual LED flash, which could potentially make a difference for difficult to capture night time shots, so we have to rule this one as a very close tie, with the edge going to the Samsung Galaxy S II for its superior front facing camera.

    Winner: Tie

    Operating System:

    Both smartphones, as the most powerful flagships of 2011, will have the latest Android OS version 2.3 Gingerbread on board, so it’s a tie.

    Winner: Tie

    Processor:

    Preliminary benchmarks are showing us that the Samsung Galaxy S II is currently the most powerful superphone on the market with it’s dual 1.2Ghz SoC / Mali 400MP GPU combination. The Samsung Galaxy S2 was the clear leader in terms of CPU speed until the HTC Sensation 4G came along, and it’s looking to be the case still. The Galaxy S2 has dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 with a Mail-400MP GPU, Orion chipset processor, while HTC Sensation 4G has 1.2 GHz dual-core Adreno 220 GPU, Qualcomm MSM 8260 Snapdragon processor. Make no mistake folks – both of these devices are a huge leap over the flagship Android phones of last year, and will blow you away with their performance. Additionlly, the Samsung Galaxy S II is said to be quite easily rooted, and HTC has a great reputation in this regard too. We are confident that once these devices go on sale, and the development and modding communities have access to them, that their performance will only improve, which really is so much to look forward to!

    Winner: Samsung Galaxy S II

    Battery:

    HTC has developed a bit of a (negative) reputation on the battery side of things, and it’s not entirely their fault. 4G networks, like Verizon’s for example, are notoriously hard on battery life. HTC has always kept a strong commitment to producing cutting edge tech, and debuted one of the first 4G phones, the HTC Thunderbolt a few months back. Nevertheless, comparing the HTC Sensation to the Galaxy S II is a bit of a toss up. The battery found in HTC Sensation 4G is Li-Ion 1520 mAh battery, whereas Galaxy S II features a Li-Ion 1650 mAh battery. So basically, the Samsung Galaxy S II has a larger battery, and the power saving features of the Super AMOLED display, whereas the HTC Sensation has a smaller battery, and a (more) power hungry Super LCD 4.3 inch display to power. HTC has publicly stated that the Sensation 4G will have a stand by time of up to 350 hours, and talk time of up to 8 h 20 min. Samsung has been a bit more ambitious with the Galaxy S II, and has rated their premium iPhone killer to have a rated talk time of 9 hours with up to 576 hours of standby time. In our experience with the Galaxy S II, we found, that with moderate usage of GPS, web browsing, checking emails, and taking a good number of photos and videos per day allowed us to have nearly two full days without a charge, which certainly raises the bar for Smartphones.

    Winner: Samsung Galaxy S II

    HTC's new Sense UI is beautiful

    Other Things to Note:

    Their are obviously features common to both handsets, as they are identically equipped with Android 2.3 Both will obviously have support for SMS threaded view, MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, HTML browser, Stereo FM radio with RDS, A-GPS support, Java MIDP emulator, SNS integration, digital compass, Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Google Talk, TV-out via MHL A/V link, Picasa integration, organizer, voice memo-dial-commands and predictive text input. Wow, that’s a lot of stuff. Seeing that both have Android 2.3.3 on board, both will also be able to take advantage of their front facing cameras, and Google Talk, due to the recent implementation of video chat in Android.

    Another good thing to know about the Samsung Galaxy S2 is that it will have active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic, NFC support, MP4/DivX/XviD/WMV/H.264/H.263 player, MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3/FLAC player, image editor, viewer, and documents editor. The extra features found in HTC Sensation are MP3/AAC+/WAV/WMA player, XviD/MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV player and document viewer. Also, the Samsung Galaxy S II can play MKV files natively, at 1080p, and then stream them to any DLNA equipped HDTV. Very impressive!

    Release Dates:

    The latest news is suggesting that the Samsung Galaxy S II will be rolling out sometime around late may, and available on Verizon’s 4G network. The HTC Sensation is expected to arrive shortly thereafter, and be through T-Mobile sometime in June, in the US.

    Just look at it... Super AMOLED Plus

    Winner: Samsung Galaxy S II

    First off, I want to premise this by saying that I absolutely adore both superphones. The HTC Sensation is the most powerful phone ever made by HTC, next to the EVO 3D, and is truly a sight to see and use. Both phones have amazing cameras, massive, jaw-dropping displays, tons of power under the hood, and have a lot of great future features like DLNA, MHL (Mobile High Link Interface, HDMI charging, via future HDTV’s), and represent the best of the best in virtually every area that matters. Although it’s a matter of choice, we have to say that both overlays are impressive. Still, we can’t help but love the beauty of HTC’s Sense UI, as it really is the best. Certainly though, Samsung is no slouch in this area, and its TouchWiz 4.0 is quite good as well, just not as “pretty”. Either way, we’re all about having the best of the best, and at this stage in the game, it simply doesn’t get any better than the he Samsung Galaxy S II. With its Super AMOLED 4.27 inch display, 116 gram weight, 84 millimeter thinness, excellent battery life, ability to play native MKV’s uncompressed, and arguably (slightly) better camera, it simply comes out on top. Ultimately though, it’s all about the display. This is a display that, if you have never witnessed, will literally make you look down on every other phone in shame.

    Be sure to check out the videos below, and if you are interested in incredibly powerful superphones, check out our other Superphone Standoff: The Samsung Galaxy SII vs the HTC EVO 3D!

    We’ve also taken the liberty of comparing this year’s most powerful, most amazing Android phones in our totally up-to-date and comprehensive Superphone Comparison [Spreadsheet!]

    Here is a video of Samsung Galaxy S2:

     


    Which phone is better?

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    Comments

    • Daivik

      Hi, superb comparison by the way. Most somprehensivee and up to date. Just one thing though, the GSII has TouchWiz 4.0 on it .

    • Daivik

      *comprehensive

    • http://trueacu.com acupunc

      The winner definitely is the customer!

      I’m going with Sammy on this one. . . 1GB of internal storage just doesn’t cut it.

    • BobbyPhoenix

      Sorry if I missed it. I went over it a couple times, but where is the actual phone’s voice call quality review? It is a phone right? LOL I judge my next phone first and foremost by call quality, so having a review of it would help me. Thanks.

      • RR

        I have had the SGS2 for about a week now and I can vouch for the voice quality. It has noise cancellation mechanism which I presume would be in the Sensation as well. But on a comparision SGS2 will either tie or win.

      • Aleks

        I agree that review of a call quality should be on the top. I have Nexus One and one of the best features is noise cancelation feature. On many occasions the other side was able to hear my voice clearly while at the same time me being only a few meters from the train coming into the station!!!

        How many times you experienced that background noise is louder than callers voice.

        A microphone with noise cancelation is MUST.

    • Jason

      I agree with a previous comment, I’d like to know the call quality of each of these phones! Other than that, very comprehensive.

    • Darcy Alexander

      Hey guys, thanks for the kind words.

      @Daivik, you’re right, it is TouchWiz 4.0 – thanks for the tip.

      As for call quality, it’s too early to say. So hilarious I missed that! I’ll update this as soon as I can. Still, the call quality is generally based on the network the particular phone is on, so it’s too early to judge unfortunately. Using the Galaxy S II in London demonstrated superb clarity, and at HTC’s press event, they would not let us make calls with it, but i’ll keep you posted.

      You guys actually would use a superphone like this to…. gasp!…. make calls? I mean, they can do so much more!

    • Raptor007

      Galaxy S2 on Verizon in late May w/ 4G LTE, are you sure? If that is true then what was the reasoning behind the Droid Charge which is way behind in specs compared to the SGS2.

      If it is coming in late May that is great, I don’t have to jump carriers, if its not then AT&T here I come (and it has already hit the FCC for AT&T bands).

    • matt

      Where did you hear that this was coming to Verizon? I’ve been scouring the internet about releases on US carriers, and as far as I’ve seen, a CDMA version has not even hit the FCC yet?

      Just curious.

    • http://www.omeoo.com omeoomedia

      Nice review. Thanks.

    • http://folderoganizer.net Gain

      Great samsung phone this is and those features. Great.

    • Michael

      I want the design of the sensation with qHD and search button and then the rest of the specs of the S II and lastly the choice of having the pure Google experience.

      Guess I’ll just wait, hopefully the next nexus won’t be as disappointing as the current one!

    • http://www.iphonefamily.net iphonefamily

      Sprint is going to offer the same chip with the EVO 3D, but I’m wondering if they’ll be able to maintain the display quality along side with 3D.

    • Chandler Collins

      The Galaxy S II has Touchwiz 4.0. Not Touchwiz 3.0.

      • Darcy Alexander

        Fixed. Thanks!

    • http://memokitchen.com Glenn Santos

      10K views! Hope this post has helped a lot of you folks who are choosing between these two excellent phones! (btw, I was the 10k visitor… wonder if I have a prize? :D)

    • Unster

      One thing is for sure, the Iphone 4 gets kicked in the ass & flushed down a toilet!! :D

    • Hayganchetty

      Blackberry is gay!

    • Guest

      HTC is no where a winner?

    • Stan _ Lee

      What we should say is this. Android lovers you have winners right here!. Iphone lovers you only get 1 choice. Android offers many choices more flexibility, and the phone carriers do the rest. Win win win.

    • Sourabh Smarty

      i really adore s2 but i heard it is made of cheap plastic and even there is a lot of disturbances you hear when you are on call….and i guess with my rough use htc is better……

    • Giokobakhidze

      I have never had a galaxy but if you overclock sensation you can go as high as 1.7 processor speed. That is just crazy. I bet I can leave iphone 4.0 in the dust with my overclocked device.

    • Superem413

      Confused now have the ÂŁÂŁÂŁ. Do I choose the S3 Or wait for the S3 ? ummmm. Ps Flogged the Iphone4s t’was disappointing never trust certain advertisements> Go to the shop & look at them in defined detail.

      • Superem413

        Do I get the S2 or wait for the S3 I mean lol bloody keyboard!

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