HTC Sensation XE – D’ya Feel the Beats?

The HTC Sensation is already a familiar model in the smartphone market. The XE, on the other hand, has yet to prove itself. The first of its kind to bear the Beats logo, it takes advantage of the latest audio technology as well as a slew of other new features. Here we look at the addition of Beats audio processing, and ask whether it’s enough to compel smartphone owners to make the transition to HTC. Can the making of a mobile phone be determined by audio alone? No, is the simple answer, although thankfully the XE has a few other tricks up its sleeve that should make HTC Sensation XE deals even more popular than those for the original model.

As well as beats galore, you see, the XE is packing juice. The handset offers a 1730mAh power pack, truly outdoing the all-consuming battery of its predecessor. The battery is now powering a 1.5GHz dual core processor, to the extent that the previous Sensation’s stuttering internet is now fluid and speedy in comparison. In terms of design, the XE is an edgy little number. It bears the same shape and striped aluminium design as the original Sensation, but a darker chassis and red trim have given it a slight facelift. We’re not complaining; it looks pretty darn smart.

Nice as the aesthetics are, we must return to the beats and specifically to the sound system tailored by Dr Dre himself. Back in August, HTC decided to take a 51% stake in Beats Electronics, paying a reputed $300 million for the pleasure. All this to enhance the sound of a smartphone? Yep, that’s correct. As it would happen, you’ll need a pair of Beats ear buds to make the most of the new audio features, but these are conveniently bundled with the XE handset. Upon plugging your ear buds in, the Beats profile is automatically loaded up, with the relevant icon appearing in your notifications at the top of the screen. From here, you can adjust the sound enhancement to alter the overall sound quality and bass level. Just that, for $300 million? Wow. HTC better hope they can shift a lot of mobile phone contracts to recoup their investment.

The extent to which you’ll appreciate Beats really depends on your taste in music. The sounds are definitely improved, but the bass is altogether debatable. The audio is very – how to put this – vibrant. Expect a multitude of complaints from fellow commuters who take a dim view of your banging dubstep. Whether you’ll be able to hear those complaints with your super-cool and stylish Beats buds in remains to be seen. If you like to feel your music as much as hear it, you’ll love the low vibrations that emanate from the XE. Otherwise, you may find the dynamics to be subdued, with high frequency notes being lost amidst the grimy bass. Dr. Dre, prior to the phone’s launch, said: ‘For Beats…this represents a critical step in our continued mission to clean up the destruction of audio caused by the digital revolution; and reengineer how sound is delivered so that the consumer feels the music the way that the artist intended.’ By the sounds of it then, he’s a fan of the XE. Then again, if you were receiving a commission on every handset sold, you’d also be vociferously repping it to the world.

HTC bought a stake in Dre’s company because of the firm’s audio manipulation technology, and they’ve certainly marketed it as the feature that defines the new Sensation XE. It remains to be said though: do your favourite artists intend for you to burst your eardrums while listening to them? At a shade under £500, perhaps you’d be better jacking the phone altogether and acquiring a ghetto blaster instead. If you’re going to p*** off everyone on the bus, might as well do it in style.

HTC Pyramid Sensation Features Rumors

HTC’s batch of smartphones released at Mobile World Congress are not all that they have in store for 2011, with the Taiwanese company joining the dual core revolution in the form of the EVO 3D and Pyramid smartphones. While quite a bit of information has surfaced about the EVO 3D and its parallax barrier display, HTC are being more tight-lipped about the Pyramid. It is likely it will feature a similar set of specs to the EVO but without the 3D extras, and could possibly make its way to UK stores under the name of the HTC Sensation.

HTC’s first two dual core smartphones have already upped the ante by packing dual core 1.2GHz processors, already offering more speed than existing dual core handsets like the Motorola Atrix and LG Optimus 2X/T-Mobile G2x. Although still running on Android Gingerbread, the Pyramid/Sensation will have a little less memory to play around with with 768MB compared to the EVO’s 1GB.

The Pyramid Sensation is expected to feature a 4.3″ qHD screen with multitouch along with accelerometer and gyro sensor. Also on board is an 8 megapixel camera with 1080p video recording, dual LED flash and quite likely a fairly decent 1.3mp front facing camera too. The Sensation is also expected to come with HTC Sense 3.0 as its interface so we can expect some great features including good social networking support.

Although the Sensation is being touted as the name that this phone will be released under in the UK there is still no indication just yet as to whether it will be released elsewhere as the Pyramid or whether that is just a code name used during development. Either way the Sensation looks set to be one of the best Android phones in 2011 alongside the EVO 3D, and HTC are expected to release full details of the handset at an HTC event on 12th April.

HTC Flyer Tablet Launch In March?

We earlier heard that HTC could be launching a new tablet computer named HTC Scribe soon. This speculation came by way of a trademark application for ‘Scribe’ filed by the company where the product was explicitly described as a “tablet computer“. Now, if the latest rumors are anything to go by, HTC could be launching another tablet before Scribe reaches the market.

According to sources, HTC Flyer – an Android 2.3-based tablet should be launching in March of this year. The sources describe this tablet as simply a larger version of HTC Desire. Also, this device is expected to upgrade to Android 3.0 by June of this year. What’s interesting is that HTC is also expected to launch two other tablets during the same period. These tablets – possibly one of them could be Scribe – will launch directly over Android 3.0.

This could mean HTC is prepping at least three tablet computers that can launch by the summer of 2011. This is definitely an interesting rumor and something we will keep a tab on.

HTC EVO Shift 4G Specs Leaked On Wal-Mart Website

LetsTalk.com; a Wal-Mart partner has published complete specifications and features of the HTC EVO Shift 4G phone – whose details have remained only rumors until now. Interestingly, while this looks like the company published these details inadvertently, the EVO Shift page is yet to be pulled. HTC or Sprint is expected to unveil this new HTC EVO model with a physical keyboard on the sidelines of Consumer Electronics Show this week.

The EVO Shift 4G will be carried by Sprint and will come with a 3.7″ capacitive touchscreen display, Android 2.2 OS and up to 32GB of microSD expansion. Other details include an 8-megapixel camera and up to 312 minutes of talktime and support for 4G WiMax.

You can check out the complete details here (mirror). As always, do let us know your views on this upcoming HTC handset in the comments below.

HTC Sprint EVO Shift 4G

HTC Thunderbolt Features And Specs Revealed?

A German retailer has published the tech specs and features of the much anticipated HTC Thunderbolt. But before you go ahead and read them, do take this rumor with a pinch of salt. The features look too good and we are not sure if HTC can manage to put all of this together and sell for a price that is on par with the other offerings currently in the market.

So what are we expecting from the Thunderbolt? The device is expected to come with a 4.3″ display, a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm dual-core processor, an 8-Megapixel camera, a 5-Megapixel secondary camera, 1080p Full HD video recording and playback, 16GB internal memory that is expandable up to 128 GB and a 1800mAh battery. The device can supposedly run on GSM, LTE, 3G and EDGE networks and supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. And one more thing – this Gingerbread running device will also have a kickstand.

If this rumor is true and assuming the device will launch very soon, this can be one real top-notch phone for 2011. Anyway, for the moment, we will just wait and watch for some official word.

HTC Scribe Tablet To Take On Apple iPad

The beginning of 2010 saw people questioning the utility of a computer with a form factor like the iPad. Curiously despite a large number of people seeing no value in such a device, sales did pick up and today we have almost all the major tech giants building their own tablets to make their foray into this new space.

Now, according to a report on Bloomberg, Taiwanese company HTC has filed a trademark for a product called HTC Scribe which it explains is a “handheld wireless device, namely a tablet computer“. We do not have more information about this in terms of what this device could come with (specs) or the price and launch details.

However, with the Consumer Electronics Show scheduled for next week, we wonder if HTC would take the opportunity to unveil this new device to consumers. We will have to wait and see.

HTC EVO Shift 4G Price On Best Buy Revealed

There is no official word from HTC or Sprint as yet about this new variant of HTC EVO that is rumored to be launching soon. However, a snapshot of the Best Buy inventory system that has been leaked shows the pricing details of this new Android phone.

From what we see, the HTC EVO Shift 4G could be priced on contract at a price of $149.99. That’s when you sign up with the carrier for two years. If you do not like contracts, then you can get a SIM-free version at a price of $549.99.

HTC EVO Shift 4G is pretty similar to the HTC EVO that is made its debut back in June this year. One crucial difference will be the availability of a physical keyboard on this upcoming device – something that definitely has a market still. The pricing seems appropriate though other important details about this phone are still missing. We will post about them as soon as there is information.

HTC Merge Release Date Set For Today?

Today is the Droid Incredible relaunch party at Seattle when HTC and Verizon will get together for a “Cabaret party” that is mostly about, as you would guess, a new version of HTC Droid Incredible. But rumors are also doing the rounds that the two companies could use the occasion to officially launch the new HTC Merge.

HTC Merge is an Android phone with global network capabilities. That is, though it shall run on Verizon’s CDMA network, the phone will also come with a SIM card slot for GSM connectivity. Apart from this, the phone is expected to carry an 800MHz processor, a 1.3GB internal memory and 363MB RAM. But these are not official specifications and are from a test unit. So, the final specifications – that could probably be announced today – could be that of a much more powerful device.

What is your wishlist?

HTC Merge

HTC App Store For eBooks And Apps To Launch Soon?

HTC has grown to become one of the more popular handset manufacturers after Android grew into prominence. While the company is basically a handset manufacturer, HTC has also known to deal quite a bit with the software that runs on their devices. HTC handsets are well known for the trademark Sense UI that lace each of their phones despite the underlying platform. The company had recently even launched a web portal that would let users remotely control their mobile phones.

Now going a step ahead in this direction, the company is learned to be building a team that will launch an online app store shortly. The app store will presumably sell ebooks, applications and possibly other downloads that will be available universally across all HTC handsets.

This is definitely exciting news and although one may feel that the world does not need yet another app store, given the volume of HTC handsets already in the market today, the developer community may be looking forward to this new launch.

Android 2.2 Update For HTC Legend Soon

HTC Legend owners should soon get their dose of Android 2.2. HTC has confirmed this on the company’s Facebook page. While an exact date is still not revealed, HTC notes that the roll out will first happen with unbranded handsets while carrier-branded variants will take a little longer. On the Facebook page, a HTC representative has written,

“We have been working hard to find the most accurate information about how the update is progressing, and when it will be ready for all of you – thankfully, you won’t have to wait much longer! Below you’ll find all the information we can share right now.

The update has been progressing quite well, and in the coming weeks those with unbranded Legends should be receiving the update.”

The problem with carrier branded variants is apparently an approval that HTC must obtain from the carriers themselves before the roll-out can happen. That is expected to cause the extra delay. Nevertheless, if you own a Legend, you at least now know that you are not forgotten.