Samsung‘s Galaxy Note takes on HTC‘s Sensation XL

We compare a couple of giants this time round as the HTC Sensation XL squares up to Samsung’s new Galaxy Note.

Samsung Galaxy Note – 146.9x83x9.7mm,178g
HTC Sensation XL – 132.5×70.7×9.9mm, 162.5g
If you like small smartphones then you’re definitely out of luck here. These are both heavy hitters which are going to demand larger pockets than your average handset.
The Sensation XL is quite nice looking, although it’s typically curvy as HTC phones often are. It’s also very thin which lends it a sleek silhouette.
We like how the screen goes right out to the edges, the bezel is very narrow which is an attractive visual feature. Most of HTC’s marketing material shows the Sensation XL in white but we have to say it looks nicer in black in our view.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note is a much bigger beast than even the appropriately named Sensation XL, but despite its considerable girth we think it’s a remarkably elegant design.
Once again the display takes up an admirable proportion of the front panel which lends a premium appearance. It’s also quite minimalist thanks to its capacitive buttons and a discreet central home button.
The back panel is slightly curved and has a textured surface but apart from a neat and tidy camera lens it’s a stylishly uninterrupted expanse.
We have to side with the Galaxy Note on this one.
Winner – Samsung Galaxy Note

DisplayThe Sensation XL is one of the bigger smartphones on the market and has a correspondingly large display. It’s the same size as HTC’s big Windows Phone, the Titan, at 4.7-inches.
The Sensation XL uses an S-LCD capacitive touchscreen, produced by Sony, at a 480×800 pixel resolution, giving a pixel density of 199 pixels-per-inch (ppi).
Sony’s screen technology has the same benefits as Samsung’s Amoled displays, which means a brighter and more colourful picture is possible and all with less power than a conventional LCD.
The latest version of HTC’s Sense user interface (UI), version 3.5, is pre-loaded onto the phone and we’ve found it less demanding on processors than earlier builds. Combined with the accelerometer and gyro sensors it allows for screen rotation functionality.
The Sensation XL supports multi-touch input and features four capacitive buttons.
If you think the Sensation XL’s screen is big then brace yourself because the Samsung Galaxy Note really is in another league.
At 5.3-inches it is positively colossal in scale, but Samsung has still managed to stretch its Super Amoled capacitive touchscreen technology to the task.
This means you get all the power efficiency, colour and brightness perks as other Samsung devices, and in this case its HTC opponent, on one massive panel.
The display resolution is a suitably meaty 800×1280 pixels meaning it also packs a sky-high pixel density of 285ppi.
Imagine, videos, pictures and games on the Galaxy Note are quite crispy, to say the least.
The Galaxy Note’s display is also made from reinforced Gorilla Glass, so you don’t have to worry about it cracking any time soon. The usual gyroscope and accelerometer sensors are included and the phone supports multi-touch input.
Samsung’s smartphone and tablet crossbreed is loaded with a customised TouchWiz 4.0 UI. Normally we wouldn’t labour this too much, but in this case it really is relevant as Samsung has  tried to make the best use of such vast screen space.
The main way it achieves this is through some nifty interface configuration – certain apps, for example, have split screen modes and configurable windows.
The other way in which TouchWiz innovates on the Galaxy Note is through the ‘S Pen’ – a stylus that’s included with the phone. Stylus pens have a bit of a shaky history and the very mention often raises a few eyebrows.
Admittedly Samsung’s take is not perfect, but it is certainly the best stylus we’ve seen to date and more than usable as it stands currently.
Not everyone is going to like having a huge smartphone, but in this case they’re both quite big, and between the two we much prefer the Galaxy Note.
Winner – Samsung Galaxy Note

HTC’s device has 16GB of in-built storage and 768MB of RAM. It is lacking a card slot though so there’s no expandable storage via microSD.
Against this, Samsung’s Galaxy Note has both 16GB and 32GB variants and in either case you get 1GB of RAM to play with. It also has microSD support for up to 32GB and a 2GB card included with the standard package.
Quite an easy win for the Galaxy Note this time round.
Winner – Samsung Galaxy Note

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