The iPhone 4S might look the same as the iPhone 4 but there are a host of improvements beneath that familiar exterior. If you’re wondering whether to upgrade or thinking of jumping ship to join the Android revolution then perhaps this comparison will help you make up your mind.
HTC is easily one of the top Android smartphone manufacturers and one of their best current devices on the platform is the HTC Sensation. It’s big, it’s powerful, but is it better than the iPhone 4S? We’ll compare the two smartphones in a number of categories so you can see exactly how they measure up.
Both smartphones have a candy bar form factor with a dominant touch screen but there is a major difference in size. The HTC Sensation measures 4.96 x 2.57 x 0.44 inches and weighs 5.22 ounces. The iPhone 4S measures 4.54 x 2.31 x 0.37 inches and weighs 4.94 ounces.
In terms of aesthetics it’s really a matter of personal taste but the iPhone 4S is definitely more minimalist in design. The HTC Sensation feels nicer in the hand, but both phones have a good build quality.
The trade-off is really between portability and comfort for holding and sliding in and out of your pocket and screen size. Obviously the HTC Sensation features a much bigger display at 4.3 inches compared to the 3.5 inch display on the iPhone 4S. We’ll take a closer look at that in the next section.
The HTC Sensation has a 4.3 inch S-LCD capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels and support for over 16 million colors. The pixel density is 256 pixels per inch.
The iPhone 4S has a 3.5 inch LCD capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 640 x 960 pixels and support for over 16 million colors. The pixel density is 326 pixels per inch.
Apple’s Retina display is definitely sharper and more vibrant, but it is also significantly smaller.
Speed and Storage
The HTC Sensation has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, Adreno 220 GPU, and Qualcomm MSM 8260 Snapdragon chipset. It has 768 MB of RAM.
The iPhone 4S is packing a 1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU, and the Apple A5 chipset. They haven’t confirmed this, but the iPhone 4S appears to have 512 MB of RAM.
The HTC Sensation does have better specs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will outperform the iPhone 4S. The graphics performance on the iPhone 4S is liable to be better but you’d expect the HTC Sensation to be faster for other tasks.
The HTC Sensation has a disappointing 1 GB of internal memory and you can expand it with a microSD card up to 32 GB.
The iPhone 4S comes in a choice of 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB varieties, but there is no option for further expansion with a memory card.
The HTC Sensation has an 8 MP camera that can record video at 1080p high definition resolution and 30 frames per second.
The iPhone 4S also has an 8 MP camera that can record video at 1080p high definition resolution and 30 frames per second.
Both have LED flash, geotagging and a range of other effects and tools. They also both have front-facing VGA cameras for video calls.
The camera specs are virtually identical and both devices have awesome photo taking and video capture capabilities.
OS, Network and Features
The HTC Sensation runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the iPhone 4S runs iOS 5. There isn’t time for a full platform battle here, but it would be fair to say that both operating systems are accessible and slick. Probably iOS is easier to get to grips with and slightly slicker, but Android offers more in terms of customization options. There are more apps and games on iOS, but a higher percentage of Android apps and games are free. Android also supports super-handy widgets.
Both smartphones have a ridiculously long list of features. They are both great for navigation, multimedia and messaging. When it comes to web browsing, the HTC Sensation supports Flash while the iPhone 4S doesn’t. Apple has made a big deal out of their new voice controlled assistant, Siri, but Android has supported voice controls for a long time already.
When it comes to network support, both phones are very similar once again. They both support HSDPA which AT&T calls 4G but neither supports 4G LTE which is what Verizon call 4G. LTE phones like the HTC Thunderbolt have much faster potential data download speeds. Since 4G is still fairly limited this won’t matter to most people, but as it grows there will be more demand for real 4G phones.
The HTC Sensation has a Li-Ion 1520 mAh battery and the iPhone 4S has a Li-Po 1420mAh battery. However, the Sensation has a bigger screen to power. You should get more standby time out of the HTC Sensation, but more talk time out of the iPhone 4S. It really depends on exactly how you use your phone.
The iPhone 4S is available from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. It will cost you $199 for the 16 GB, $299 for the 32 GB, and $399 for the 64 GB and you’ll have to sign up for a two year contract.
The HTC Sensation is exclusive to T-Mobile and you can get it for $199 on a two year contract.
So Which One Should I Buy?
It may sound like kind of a cop-out to say this, but both smartphones are awesome. Personally I’d rather have the HTC Sensation. The bigger screen and the Android platform are the winning factors for me. It is also significantly cheaper.
There’s no denying that iOS is the more mature platform and the gaming demo on the iPhone 4S is very impressive. It also looks like Siri will be slick and super-easy to use compared to the voice control option on the HTC Sensation. On the other hand, with Apple you are locked into a closed eco-system and you’ll have to pay for every service, app and game through them. With Android you have more choice, but it’s not quite as slick or intuitive.
The bottom line is that there’s very little the iPhone 4S can do that the HTC Sensation can’t and vice versa. Go and check them out in person and see which one you prefer. To be honest if you’re looking for a new smartphone right now and your need isn’t too pressing then I’d be tempted to wait a couple of months because the next wave of Android smartphones will really blow both of these options out of the water.