The HTC Sensation XE, which I reviewed some time ago, is the latest in the line of handsets to get Ice Cream Sandwich from HTC. It seems like it’s been a long time coming and the question I ask is, was it worth the wait?
The update for my XE came today at around 4pm and I have to say, I was uber excited about it as I has purposely left the handset on full stock and with no data on it at all just to see what the ICS update would bring to the table when it was ready. Note that when I post images the old screenshots from Android 2.3 will be on the left and 4.0 on the right.
The first thing I noticed was the file size of the update; at 282.88MB it was by no means light and without having WiFi it would have taken a massive dent out of those unlucky people who have just 500MB per month. Overall the download to install took about 20 minutes which does seem like a lot however it should be noted that this is a “radical system change” so it should take that long really.
So, now we have the “radical system change” and are finally, after months of waiting, running Android 4.0.3 and sporting the new Sense 4.0 update… what? It’s not 4.0? No that’s right, it’s the pretty poor baby sister – Sense 3.6.
The first thing I noticed was the lock screen, it simply hadn’t changed a bit… well, does switching the camera and messaging icons around count as a change?
Upon unlocking the screen the first thing I noticed was that the launcher was different, there was no longer the curved Sense style but rather a standard stock Android 2.3 looking launcher.
Next thing I looked at was the App Drawer, nothing had changed in there except we now had the new style for icons like Gmail, Talk, Internet and Messages. The two things that did stick out was that I still had the Android Market icon and that it hadn’t been replaced by Play Store, surely this was a basic update and the fact that they had switched the 4 box menu press layout to a single centred column with the same options.
Going back to the home screen and now looking at using the menu button. The old styled 6 box list of options was now replaced by a single columned list of Personalize, Wallpaper and Settings.
Pressing and holding your finger on a blank area of the home screen brought up the Personalize option which has changed quite a bit since Gingerbread (as seen below). There was now an option to rearrange the three tabs at the bottom by pressing and holding your finger on one of them. Personally I cant see the use for this given that there are only three options available.
Looking into the settings menu was my next stop, it has changed quite a bit however it still oozes Sense and not ICS (as seen below). The only thing that screams Android 4.0 is facial unlock from the settings menu.
Upon closer look at the device itself, a number of things have changed from the internals side of things. Compare the two screenshots below for a second.
As you can see, the main changes are, Total Memory Size and that the Open GL GPU version has been updated.
I thought upon seeing these that I would pay some more attention to the Antutu Benchmark test I had just ran to see if there were score differences from the first time I ran this on Android 2.3.4.
Now, I’m not sure if you have noticed this or not however it looks like the CPU has now been underclocked. Of course, this does not reflect anywhere else in the device as the Hardware Information screen shows 1.5GHz. So the question remains, why is the device running at a whole 0.4 GHz lower than when it was running Android 2.3?
I will of course be reaching out to HTC on this one for some answers.
The HTC Android 4.0.3 Update for the HTC Sensation XE has by no manner or means lived up to the expectations I had.
I can forgive the fact that there is no Sense 4.0 and almost forgive the fact that there is little to no Android 4.0 look or feel throughout however what I cannot forgive is purposefully clocking the CPU (if this is the case).
I am considerably underwhelmed by the update that would have been just as well being Android 2.3.6 than Android 4.0.3
I welcome any questions or thoughts you might have on this.