updated 07:50 am EDT, Wed September 14, 2011
HTC Sensation XE ready for iPhone 5
HTC unveiled a rare early revamp of a core smartphone on Wednesday in anticipation of a heated battle with the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S II LTE. The Sensation XE upgrades in raw speed, from a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon to 1.5GHz, bit is also the first phone to take advantage of the HTC stake in Beats Audio. Its software has been tuned to improve the audio experience, and it ships with a pair of custom-designed Beats in-ear headphones and microphone remote that automatically switch to a unique audio profile when plugged in.
One of the common criticisms of some larger Android phones, a short battery life, has been addressed with a larger-capacity 1,730mAh battery. HTC outfits it with an 8GB or 16GB microSDHC card to store extra music, and the phone now has both Verizon-style red accents and even red illumination for the Android navigation keys.
The 4.3-inch, 540x960 screen, eight-megapixel rear camera and front VGA camera remain intact, as do the use of Android 2.3 with HTC's custom Sense 3.0 interface.
The Sensation XE is getting a quick turnaround and will be in stores as soon as late this month for Asia and Europe. No US launch has been detailed so far, but it may get a direct relative in the Vigor rumored coming next month to Verizon.
HTC's reasons for the surprise upgrade haven't been given other than likely wanting to turn quick results from the Beats deal, but having an answer to Apple and Samsung for the fall may be vital. Most often, HTC has only updated a core smartphone once a year and has usually left fall introductions to less important models. As one of the faster growing smartphone developers, though, it has much to gain from upgrading one of its most important models just as competition heats up.