Often when it comes to using a smartphone it's easy to forget that everything you use is essentially just another application. This means that the phone dialer is an app, the camera is an app, and even the contact list is an app. It just so happens that the HTC Sensation comes with a fairly impressive number of apps to meet your day to day needs. If you were a person accustomed to replacing stock applications with alternatives of your choice, you may overlook these and miss out on a huge amount of functionality.
An example easily missed functionality is in the People (read: Contacts) app where you can easily scroll through the letters to quickly find a particular contact in a large list of contacts. You first start scrolling then grab the scrollbar and you will find that the letters appear. I only found out about this because I spend thoroughly too much time geeking it up on forums.
One of the great things about HTC Sense is the way that many of the applications integrate with each other. For example, the People app can easily be opened from the dialer by pressing the menu key and then selecting People. You may then select a person and look at text messages, e-mail, Twitter updates, events, gallery items and call history relating to that person and yourself. If the contact is linked with Facebook you can even select the Facebook icon and post straight to their wall.
If you try out the HTC Sense Twitter client called Peep you will also find that it integrates with your contacts once they are linked. For example if you select the name of a contact that from my stream you can view all of their tweets and then by clicking their icon you get a selection of other ways to interact with that person.
This same integration is also present with the FriendStream app that aggregates Facebook and Twitter updates and has a very nice widget to scroll through your updates right from your home screen.
If you jump into the stock messaging app you'll find that it has the same context sensitive popup of actions available for a particular contact. One neat thing here is that if that person is a Google contact you can select Google Talk to chat with them. Unfortunately jumping straight to Facebook chat doesn't appear to be possible.
Clearly HTC has a strong focus on social networking with deep integration across the Sense UI. Even the Calendar ties in to Facebook and Google to show your friend's upcoming birthdays and any other Facebook events that you might be attending.
It's true that there are market applications that can replace most, if not all of the functionality of the stock HTC Sense applications. I would however advise you to give the stock applications a chance before making up your mind. HTC's solution is more cohesive, has a standard interface and has far more integration of applications and social networking than you would otherwise get.
If you already own an HTC Sensation, I encourage you to check out this functionality and use the Show Me application if you need guidance. For those who don't own this social connectivity powerhouse, it's available exclusively from Telecom New Zealand.
P.S. If you know any cool little tricks that might normally be overlooked post them in the comments below.
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: http://ndmgough.blogspot.com.
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