Samsung’s new Galaxy Nexus takes on HTC’s revamped Sensation XE

We see how Samsung’s new Galaxy Nexus compares to HTC’s enhanced Sensation XE.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus – 135.5×67.9×8.9mm, 135g
HTC Sensation XE – 126.1×65.4×11.3mm, 151g
The Sensation XE is one of HTC’s more attractive looking handsets. It still has the company’s typical rounded-off design but thanks to its lengthy proportions and stylish red accents it ends up looking quite appealing. It is the bulkier handset of the two being 16g heavier and quite a bit thicker than its opponent.
Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus also benefits from an elongated design, it’s similarly curvy on the corners and quite often this can make a handset look peculiar.
The other distinguishing feature is its curved profile which means it sits in the hand quite comfortably and its remarkably thin at only 8.9mm.
As nice as the Sensation XE looks we think the Galaxy Nexus is the more elegant of the two.
Winner – Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Display: Both phone displays are on the larger side, which is always good news as far as we’re concerned. The Sensation XE has a 4.3-inch S-LCD capacitive touchscreen at a resolution of 540×960 pixels, giving a high pixel density of 256 pixels-per-inch (ppi).
Sony’s S-LCD technology is similar to Samsung’s Super Amoled in offering a more energy efficient and brighter display with richer colours.
The Sensation XE comes loaded with the HTC Sense user interface (UI) and supports multi-touch input, while an accelerometer and gyro sensor enable screen rotation.
The Galaxy Nexus’ screen is even bigger at 4.6-inches and has a very impressive resolution of 720×1280 pixels, as a result the pixel density is way above its rival at 316ppi.
Samsung is using its own Super Amoled HD screen tech, which has more or less the same positive properties as its competitors S-LCD display.
The capacitive touchscreen uses curved glass and has an oleophobic coating to repel fingerprints. It also supports multi-touch input. Accelerometer and gyro sensors complete the package.
Screen technology is the Galaxy Nexus’ trump card so it easily wins this round thanks to its large size display, high resolution and amazing pixel density.
Winner – Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Storage: Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus comes in two variants: 16GB or 32GB of in-built storage. In either case there’s 1GB of RAM to help keep things running smoothly.
Unfortunately there’s no card support on the Galaxy Nexus so if you’re looking to expand your storage you’ll be left wanting.
The Sensation XE has 4GB of onboard storage but only a mere 1GB of this is user accessible, but unlike its opponent it has full microSD card support up to 32GB.
At 768MB of RAM it has less than the Galaxy Nexus but should still provide an ample boost to the phone.
Technically, you can get more storage space on the Sensation XE thanks to its card slot, if you use a 32GB card added to the 1GB of onboard.
On the other hand, card storage is slightly slower to read.
Onboard storage is much more stable and a bit faster too and we’d be happier with more internal capacity, so our vote goes for the Galaxy Nexus. However, other users may have the opposite view.
Winner – Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Processor: HTC’s Sensation XE is a powerful specimen, running a dual core Qualcomm processor clocked at 1.5GHz on the MSM8260 Snapdragon chipset, backed up by an Adreno 220 graphics processing unit (GPU).
Considering it was supposed to be a flagship device the Galaxy Nexus’ processing power is a little disappointing.
The Galaxy Nexus uses an ARM Cortex-A9 1.2GHz dual core processor but the chipset and GPU aren’t quite as cutting edge with the TI OMAP 4460 chipset and a PowerVR SGX540 GPU.
It still has a reasonable amount of grunt, enough to allow it to sit comfortably towards the top of the pile as a ‘premium’ handset but it pales in comparison to the Sensation XE and other well equipped phones such as the Galaxy S2.
Winner – HTC Sensation XE
Operating System: These are both Android phones but where the Sensation XE runs 2.3 Gingerbread, the new Galaxy Nexus uses the latest build of Google’s operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich.
Gingerbread offers good performance, particularly on dual core devices such as the Sensation XE, but in terms of features it feels very much like the stepping stone to later versions of Android, Honeycomb 3.0 for tablets and now the new 4.0 for both tablets and phones, which the Galaxy Nexus runs.
One of our major gripes with Gingerbread was the native web browser, which although better than its predecessors in terms of smooth scrolling and pinch zoom, was still a little on the slow side and also lacked any kind of tabbed browsing.
Thankfully, Ice Cream Sandwich’s browser, along with the rest of the system, has brought across the improvements made in 3.0 Honeycomb for tablets.
A particular strength of the Android system across both versions is the multi-tasking, which is efficient, fluid and in the case of Ice Cream Sandwich easy-to-use thanks to some handy app-switching interface controls.
We are, of course, in favour of progress and Ice Cream Sandwich has made plenty of headway over Gingerbread, which by comparison is looking a little dated. Samsung wins this round.
Winner – Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Camera: Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus is surprisingly tame when it comes to the camera setup with a 5-megapixel primary at 2592×1936 pixels. Video calling is supported via the phone’s 1.3-megapixel secondary camera.
On the primary, video capture is 1080p HD quality. Features include LED flash, autofocus, touch focus, face detection and geo-tagging.
The HTC Sensation XE’s primary camera is rated at 8-megapixels and boasts a resolution of 3264×2448 pixels. It also sports a VGA secondary with video calling capability.
Video capture is at 1080p HD and records stereo sound. The phone’s primary camera features autofocus, touch focus, geo-tagging and dual LED flash as well as image stabilisation, face detection and instant capture.
HTC’s handset has a preferable camera setup on this occasion.
Winner – HTC Sensation XE
Final Thoughts: Although the Galaxy Nexus didn’t impress us as much as we’d hoped on launch, it still has a better operating system, a better display and a snazzier design.
Also it has a storage setup which we prefer.
However, in many other areas it feels a little lacking and the Sensation XE is generally more favourable thanks to a few key areas, most notably the processor.
The Sensation XE’s camera is also a strong point and the display, while not as good as the Galaxy Nexus’, is also excellent.


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