HTC Sensation XL with Beats Audio: Hands-on, photos, video

The HTC Sensation XL is not available Stateside just yet, but we wanted to get our hands on this large new Android phone. It comes complete with a pair of Beats headphones along with an interesting Beats audio algorithm that activates when we plug the earbuds in.

SAN DIEGO--As the HTC Sensation XL is currently only available in Europe and Asia, we leapt at a chance to take a look at it here at CTIA in San Diego.

It does seem a lot like the Android version of the HTC Titan, with its large and imposing 4.7-inch WVGA LCD display. It feels rather big in small hands, but the payoff is that you get a very generous and colorful display for watching videos or surfing the Web. It has HTC's usual excellent design aesthetic, with a slim silhouette and comfortable feel. The one we handled was white all around with a bit of silver on the back.

The HTC Sensation XL with Beats Audio comes with a pair of Beats earbuds. It's only available in Europe and Asia at this time.
The HTC Sensation XL with Beats Audio comes with a pair of Beats earbuds. It's only available in Europe and Asia at this time. Nicole Lee/CNET

Features of the Sensation XL are impressive as well. It ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread with the HTC Sense 3.5 overlay, and is powered by a 1.5GHz single-core processor. You get 16GB of onboard storage, but it seems that it's not expandable, which seems odd to us. There's also an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture, and it features several cool camera features like an automatic panorama mode.

If you're a music fan, however, you're probably eyeing the pair of Beats headphones that come gratis with the phone. These ear buds are "URBeats" and are not the same sort you can get in the store -- they're designed to complement the Beats algorithm software in the phone. The ear buds themselves are well-designed, and they fit comfortably in our ear when we were playing around with them. The cool white and red color scheme doesn't hurt either. HTC says the headphones are worth about $100 all by their lonesome, so it'll be interesting to see how much the HTC Sensation XL gets priced.

To activate the Beats algorithm, simply plug in the Beats earbuds to the phone. Then play a song from the music player. You'll see the Beats logo pop up in the notification tray. From there you can either enable or disable the Beats software. When enabled, the audio sounds instantly louder, with a much deeper bass. Whether this is a good thing depends on your choice of music. For hip-hop and R&B, deep bass is a good thing. For classical music, maybe not. We don't consider ourselves huge audiophiles, and we appreciated the additional oomph the Beats audio software provided.

As U.S. consumers won't be able to get their hands on this just yet, check out our gallery for a closer look at the HTC Sensation XL with Beats Audio . Also be sure to read CNET UK's take on the phone .

 

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