HTC Sensation 3G Performance on Telecom XT

, posted: 19-Jul-2011 09:00

One of the great features of having a Sensational Smartphone is having broadband on the go. Watching YouTube clips, browsing the web and downloading apps are a few of the activities that I regularly enjoy doing on my phone.  Having the HTC Sensation does not mean I expect that to change, only that I expect to wait less and do more.

On paper the HTC Sensation supports up to 14.4 Mbps over HSDPA. This is twice the potential of the Samsung Galaxy S which supports 7.2 Mbps over HSDPA. Although these paper specifications are just theoretical maximums you'd at expect to at least be in the ballpark, right? Well, really it all depends on a few things:

First, the most important thing is cell reception - being in a dead zone is going to kill any chance at speed. And second you need to be on a network that is not incredibly congested.  Thanks to Telecom XT network coverage around the Wellington region these are both covered fairly well. I have yet to find a dead spot and so far I haven't experienced any congestion.

Now, on to the semi-methodical testing!

Here I will use a few different methods to compare the 3G broadband usage speed between the HTC Sensation on Telecom XT network and the Samsung Galaxy S (SGS) on 2Degrees. In some cases I will throw in a comparison to a PC on an ADSL connection.  I will also declare a 'Winner' for each section which will exclude the results from the PC. I had full bars HSDPA on both devices when testing.


First up is the old favourite I think many ISPs prioritise traffic to make their bandwidth appear greater than it really is. It is still a useful tool for trying to reach the theoretical maximum speed of any connection.

HTC Sensation on Telecom XT:


Samsung Galaxy S on 2Degrees:


And just for fun I thought I would provide a comparison my PC on Slingshot ADSL2+:

Winner: The HTC Sensation provides the highest downstream and upstream bandwidth, however it does have higher latency than the SGS. I think the fast upstream is especially useful if you like to share photos frequently via email, twitter or Facebook. It might also pay to look at the other speed tests going back, as you will see the HTC Sensation provides more consistent speeds.

Large file test
At the suggestion of a Twitter follower I decided to test download of large files.

Apple iTunes installer (78,804 KB):

HTC Sensation on Telecom XT
Time: 2:02 (122 seconds)
Average speed: 646 kB/s = 5.17 Mbps

SGS on 2Degrees
Time: 3:58 (238 seconds)
Average speed: 331 kB/s = 2.65 Mbps

Home PC on Slingshot ADSL2+
Time: 50 seconds
Average speed: 1575 kB/s = 12.6 Mbps

Winner: HTC Sensation on Telecom XT which was 1.95X faster than the SGS on 2Degrees.

YouTube download via JetVD (The Temper Trap Fader High Quality MP4, 16,881 KB):

HTC Sensation on Telecom XT
Time: 41 seconds
Average speed: 400 kB/s = 3.2 Mbps

Samsung Galaxy S
Time: 2:31 (151 seconds)
Average speed: 111 kB/s = 0.895 Mbps

Winner: HTC Sensation on Telecom XT which was 3.57X faster than the SGS on 2Degrees

Webpage load times
I cleared the cache before performing these tests and the option "Enable Plugins" (e.g. Flash) was set to On Demand for both devices. Opera Mobile doesn't have a clear cache function that I can see so the load times are from after the page has been loaded in the stock browser first.

Winner: HTC Sensation on Telecom's XT which loaded pages in an average of 7.75s which was 1.8X faster than the SGS on 2Degrees which loaded pages in an average of 14s

So finally, It's pretty clear that not only is the HTC Sensation pretty fast on 3G, but Telecom's XT network is also holding its own. My testing should give you a fairly accurate idea of what to expect with the HTC Sensation on XT especially if you currently own a device similar to the SGS.

Unfortunately, I don't have an HTC Sensation on Vodafone or 2Degrees to give an 'apples to apples' comparison. I did however perform an ad-hoc comparison with Geekzone user Scoobydoo. He has an imported HTC Sensation on Vodafone. We both attempted to download the iTunes installation file over 3G and both of us are in Wellington region. It took me a hair under two minutes, while it took him almost tem minutes to complete the download.

As an aside to the whole speed testing thing: My workplace is incredibly terrible for 3G and my SGS connects using Edge speeds across most of the building. The lunch room is the worst place and I basically am unable to browse at all. Having the HTC Sensation has been a godsend, as not only it does have vastly better reception, but now I can actually use my phone at lunch!

About the author:

Nick Gough (Lokhor) is a Lower Hutt born and bred geek. He works at Environmental Science and Research and is on his way towards becoming a Business Analyst. He lives with his fiance who gracefully puts up with his geeky hobbies. He loves gadgets; playing with them, hacking them, breaking and fixing them - he loves it all. Ever since he was young he enjoyed building computers and over clocking them. His first real Smartphone was the i9000 Galaxy S which he has thoroughly enjoyed despite any apparent flaws. Nick also enjoys gaming on PC, console and Android device. You can follow Nick via his twitter account @lokhor or his blog:

Other related posts:
HTC Watch on HTC Sensation in New Zealand
HTC Sensation: The Story So Far
Testing mobile data speeds with HTC Sensation

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