The first thing you notice about the HTC Sensation XL is the size. The slimline beast of a phone is XL by name, XL by nature.
In fact, it's so large, this reviewer finds in hard to hold in one hand. Then again, I never could reach a whole octave on the piano.
The next thing you notice is that it is a good looking phone. As in, really really ridiculously good looking. Like, keep-a-photo-of-it-in-your-wallet good looking.
The huge screen has a slim white surround with subtle grey branding. The back is curved so it sits beautifully in the hand, and crafted from a single piece of engineered aluminium with a matte finish. Handsome.
The screen is a mobile gadget watcher's delight. Crystal clear, with bright, vivid colour, you'll hit play on Eat Pray love just to see the pixels dance. Of course, you can choose another film through the "watch" service that syncs with your iTunes library if you must.
Some minds might go to thinking "oh, but it's Android, it's operation is going to be i-r-r-i-t-a-t-i-n-g." But it's not. This OS, Android Gingerbread 2.3 with HTC Sense 3.5 is the most logical I've experienced on Android.
The apps are up front, or in easy-to-access menus. Navigation is all done by buttons on the body of the phone, so you don't get trapped like you can in other operating systems. I'd say that alone helps it pass the mum and dad test.
HTC make a big deal out of the audio capacity for this phone, especially when teamed with the Beats Audio headphones. The sound difference is noticeable compared to when using normal headphones. The bud earphones work best, but the larger headband headphones leak enough sound to rile a whole train carriage.
The 8 megapixel F 2.2 camera has loads of Instagram-style features if you're not one for photoshop.
Yes, phone calls and messages work a treat too, as is a basic requirement, and features a front-facing camera for Skype etc.
The HTC Sensation XL is a serious contender for best entertainment phone, or professional phone of the year.
4.7" touch screen
8 megapixel camera
The HTC Sensation XL is free on a £41 plan on Vodafone, or £499.95 outright from most networks.
Below: The XL next to the iPhone 4S
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