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Double Dilemma

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The age of the 'monster-phones' is here. Packed to the gills with large high-resolution displays and dual-core processors, the HTC Sensation and the Samsung Galaxy SII may not have been first off the blocks but they've certainly captured the public imagination the most I've seen in recent times. So much so that the question I've most heard from all of you is - which out of the two should I buy? There's only one way to find out - I pit them against each other in a battle to the finish! May the best dual-core monster-phone win!

 Touch-n-Feel: You're going to either love the SII or hate it. At 8.5mm and 116g, it is by far slimmer and lighter than the Sensation (11.3mm, 148g) but there is a tangible 'budget' feel to the flimsy plastic used in the SII. I personally prefer the heft and the plastic-aluminum unibody design of the Sensation, but this parameter, more than any other, is a matter of personal preference. Both come with Gorilla Glass for the front panel, so the touchscreens are built to take some wear and tear. 

User Interface: Both phones run Android 2.3.3 rather snappily, but each ships with a custom user interface layer, with the Sensation packing in the 3D Sense 3.0 overlay and the SII the TouchWiz 4.0 UI. To me, there is no doubt that Sense has been the UI of choice on Android phones, and this iteration makes it even better. No competition here. That said, the TouchWiz UI is marginally snappier on most occasions, but only to the most performance hungry folks out there. 

Display: While HTC may have packed in a qHD (960×540 pixel) resolution Super LCD display which allows for sharper display than the SII's Super AMOLED Plus (800x480 pixel) display, the SII's display blows you away with its color reproduction and brightness, even in the sunniest of conditions. The Super LCD isn't a pushover by any measure, but the SII's display is in a class of its own right now.

Media Playback: Both phones pack in the usual complement of media playback features - FM radio, varied music and video file format playback options, with the SII handling DivX file playback in addition to the regular Xvid/MP4/WMV files that the Sensation supports. But if I had to call one winner, it would be the SII - the media management and playback capabilities of the SII are a shade better than the Sensation, with slightly better movie format support and a better built-in media player. Music sounds a tad better too on the SII. Not to mention that drool-worthy display…

A Longer Life
Wasn't the purpose of buying a netbook to cut the cord from the desk? Leave the adapter behind with the Samsung's Solar-Powered Netbook, the NC215S. This sweet little number features bog-standard netbook specs but with a lid with solar cells built-in, which Samsung claims, should get you an hour of battery life for every two hours of charging time. 

Price: $399

Camera: An even fight here - both the phones pack in 8MP shooters, although specs wise you could favor the Sensation with a dual, rather than single, LED flash. Looking at the images, the SII's camera displays a knack for capturing greater dynamic range and more natural colors. Both cameras also record video in full-HD 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second, so really, there's very little to call here.

Storage: The Sensation features 768 MB RAM and a 1 GB internal phone storage with support for microSD cards up to 32GB (an 8 GB card is included in the box). Compare that with the 16 GB storage on board, 1 GB RAM and microSD expansion, and we have a clear winner in this category: the SII. 

Connectivity: Both phones are more than capably equipped on the connectivity front, with HDMI-output through the microUSB slot (no cable supplied though), Bluetooth 3.0 on board, and capability to stream media over the DLNA protocol to your HDTV. Where the SII nosed its way ahead was the inclusion of USB On The Go, where you can plug a USB stick into the phone using an adaptor (again, not supplied). (note: Some HTC Sensation units displayed a Wi-Fi reception issue if the top of the phone was covered by your hands. Caveat emptor.) 

Battery: Android phones are fast gaining notoriety as major battery guzzlers, and while both phones pack in capable batteries (a 1650 mAh battery in the SII vs the 1540mAh in the Sensation), they last just over a day of heavy email, Wi-Fi and some amount of media playback. I'd have to pick the SII for its higher battery rating, but when it comes down to it, both have to be charged at the end of a busy phone day. 

Pricing and Verdict: Priced more or less alike, there's little in this department to tell these two beauties apart. So which one will it be? While I personally prefer the user interface and the build on the HTC, one cannot deny that the SII edges ahead, if only by the slightest of margins, on account of the awesome display, storage and multimedia features. 

HTC Sensation
: 8/10
Price: Rs 32700

Samsung Galaxy SII
Rating: 8/10
Price: Rs 30,999

Searching For Love?

Click To View Enlarged ImageIf you looked past the din of the Google+ launch, you'd find a nice little service that Google quietly rolled out. Called WDYL (for What Do You Love), it presents the results of searches across 20 different Google products on one page. Type in any keyword for yourself and see the results - videos, books, alerts, discussions, news - all on one page.

Price: Free



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