Out of one party and into the other – HTC is showing off yet more hot gadgetry and we’re going hands-on with it. After yesterday’s Rhyme launch, today we’ll be playing with an even hotter piece of smartphone technology. The Sensation XE is not only the new HTC flagship, but its also the company’s first dip into the audiophile pool.

HTC Sensation XE
HTC Sensation XE
HTC Sensation XE official photos

The Sensation XE was officially announced a week ago and now we get a chance to play with it for the first time. Needless to say that we were pretty excited as it represents quite an improvement even over the already impressively specced Sensation. We are talking an even faster dual-core CPU (1.5GHz vs. 1.2GHz), an updated Sense UI (v3.5) and the addition of the highly regarded Beats audio to the mix here.

For starters, here’s a quick overview of the HTC Sensation XE key specs:

HTC Sensation XE at a glance:

  • General: GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, UMTS 900/2100 MHz, HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
  • Form factor: Touchscreen bar phone
  • Dimensions: 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3 mm, 151 g
  • Display: 4.3″ 16M-color qHD (540 x 960 pixels) S-LCD capacitive touchscreen; Gorilla glass
  • Platform: Dual-core 1.5 GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 220 GPU, Qualcomm MSM 8260 Snapdragon chipset
  • RAM: 768MB
  • OS: Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread)
  • Memory: 1 GB storage, microSD card slot (16GB in the box)
  • Camera: 8 megapixel auto-focus camera with face detection, touch focus and image stabilization; Full HD (1080p) video recording at 30fps, dual LED flash, VGA front facing camera
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 3.0+HS, standard microUSB port,

  • GPS receiver with A-GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, FM radio, TV-out (MHL)

  • Misc: Sense 3.5 UI, DivX/XviD codec support, Beats audio enhancements and headphones in the package, 1730mAh battery, built-in accelerometer, multi-touch input, proximity sensor, gyroscope sensor, ultra-fast boot times

Beats Audio is the result of HTC and Beats by Dr. Dre teaming up and will come in the form of special sound processing on the inside and a special Beats headset in the box.

HTC Sensation XE
HTC Sensation XE
HTC Sensation XE

HTC Sensation XE

The headset will be called YourBeats and they are a variation of iBeats (iBeats, YourBeats… yeah). They sport a full set of controls for the media player and the Beats functionality becomes active only when using the headset (sorry, loudspeaker).

And when we say the headset, we mean the headset – regular headsets will get some improvement over, say, using them on a non-Beats phone, but not as much as the YourBeats headset gets.

Once you plug in a YourBeats headset, a special icon pops up in the notification area with a button to disable Beats.

HTC Sensation XE

Beats has its reserved spot in the notification area

The Sensation XE being a music-oriented phone comes with a 16GB microSD card right out of the box – plenty of room for a respectable music collection.

But enough about the headset. Now head over to the next page for our hands-on impressions of the HTC Sensation XE itself.

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