Sensation XL

Sony Xperia Ion vs HTC Sensation XL Mobiles Comparison

Sony Ericsson, which is well known for its Xperia devices, recently rebranded itself to Sony, due to changes in the partnerships recently and the Sony Xperia Ion was  announced in the Consumer Electronics Show this year at Las Vegas. Since then it has gathered a lot of interest amongst the public and has been positioned as one of the successors to the Sony Ericssion Xperia X10, which was one of the first Android devices couple of years back.

While the Sensation XL from HTC is a high-end Android phone from HTC, which comes with Beats Audio and a gorgeous  4.7 inch screen on it, positioned almost in the same price range as the Sony Xperia Ion and both the phones come with high multimedia features such as powerful cameras, dual core processors and such.

Note that the Xperia Ion is an AT&T only device. 

However, there are quite a few differences in both the phones which might influence your decision before making a purchase or helping your friend get a phone. In this post, we take a look at the detailed specs of both the phones and compare them side by side, in every category:

Table of Contents:

Sony Xperia Ion vs HTC Sensation XL

Form Factor

The Sony Xperia Ion is 133 x 68 x 10.8 mm, while the HTC Sensation XL is 132.5 x 70.7 x 9.9 mm. The Sony Xperia Ion weighs 144 grams while the HTC  Sensation XL is slightly heavier, at around 163 grams in its physical weight.

The standard four Android buttons are present on the HTC Sensation XL, as touch capacitive buttons in the bottom, just like usual Android phones and comes with a solid build quality that is tough on the exterior with a plastic back while the Sony Xperia Ion has a new kind of button setup in it.

The standard four Android buttons are present on the HTC Sensation XL, as touch capacitive buttons in the bottom, just like usual Android phones and comes with a solid build quality that is tough on the exterior with a plastic back while the Sony Xperia Ion also has the standard four button Android structure in its base.

The standard four-key setup as seen in all Android smartphones being present in both the smartphones is quite an advantage to get used to very quickly if you are an Android user already. Most of the Android smartphones except those from Samsung and Sony Ericsson follow this four-button setup on their smartphones.

Winner: Sony Xperia Ion ( Lighter in weight )


The Sony Xperia Ion has a similar LED backlit LCD screen, but larget in size ,of 4.5 inches and has a screen density of 323ppi while the Sensation XL comes with a S-LCD capacitive touchscreen of 4.7inches with a pixel density of 199ppi. The Xperia Ion has a maximum screen resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels while the HTC Sensation XL has a screen resolution of 480×800 pixels.

Both the phones support Multi-touch. The Sony Xperia Ion supports upto 4 fingers on the screen at a time, as quoted by Sony. We can see that more and more apps are coming with multitouch facilities these days and Android Ice Cream Sandwich also has gesture based controls leading to a high usage of multitouch on our phones.

There is an accelerometer and proximity sensor on both the cellphones as well, along with scratch resistant glass on both phones.

The Sony Xperia Ion is powered by a Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine and both the phones support upto 16M colors.

Winner : Sony Xperia Ion (More Powerful Screen)


The Xperia Ion from Sony has a 12MP camera while the HTC  Sensation XL has a 8MP Camera. It’s interesting to note that Sony, which has always had the edge in camera optics, has powered the Xperia Ion with quite a powerful camera unit while the HTC’s Sensation XL has yet another 8MP camera which has become very common nowadays.

There’s Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, 3D sweep panorama and image stabilization on the Xperia Ion while the HTC Sensation has Geo tagging, face detection and image stabilization as well. The Xperia Ion can take photos upto a resolution of 4000×3000 pixels while the HTC XL has a maximum resolution of 3264×2448 pixels. There is autofocus and LED Flash on both the devices as well, with a dual LED flash on the HTC Sensation XL.

While the Xperia Ion shoots video at 1080p Full HD resolution, we would expect the HTC Sensation XL to do the same too, like every other phone in its segment ( including its own younger brother, HTC Sensation XE ) it has to be noted that there is only 720p recording on the HTC Sensation XL. But HTC has packed a small new feature with the Sensation XL which might be pretty cool to use at times, slow motion recording at 2X speeds. Though it might not be useful at all in day to day use, HTC has tried to do something to the camera to give a little more to its users as they aren’t providing 1080p recording support.

Also note that there is a secondary camera on both the devices, of 1.3MP resolution in the Xperia Ion while the HTC Sensation XL also has a 1.3MP camera. This is used for normal camera purposes by various camera based apps or for video calling via Skype or the native Google Talk app for example.

This secondary camera, also shoots video at 720p HD at 30 frames per second in the Xperia Ion while the HTC Sensation XL shoots at just VGA  resolution in the front. Note that the Motorola Droid RAZR is one of the other few phones to have HD recording in the front facing camera feature.

Winner : Sony Xperia Ion beats HTC Sensation


The Sony Xperia Ion has 16GB of internal memory and is extendable as well, with support upto 32GB on microSD but the HTC Sensation XL has 16GB of internal memory and no memory slot for further expansion at all.

So that means that on HTC Sensation XL one could use a maximum of 16GB on the move and is handy as it comes with a microSD slot while on the Xperia Ion, one could use a maximum of 48GB on the move and is handy as it comes with a microSD slot as well, allowing portability and ease of transfer of data.

Winner: Sony Xperia Ion


[For AT&T Only]

The Sony Xperia Ion has bands, 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 on GSM and 850 / 1900 / 2100 bands on HSDPA, with a support of upto 21.1 Mbps on HSDPA and 5.8 Mbps on HSUPA and also support for LTE, Cat3 at 50 Mbps UL and 100 Mbps DL while the HTC  Sensation XL has GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 bands and HSDPA 850/900/2100 bands which gives maximum speeds upto 14.4Mbps on HSDPA and 5.76Mbps on HSUPA.

Both the phones have WiFi in them and support popular Wi-fi bands, compliant to the 802.11 standards. 802.11 b,g and n are supported and the WiFi Hotspot feature on them is also available on both the devices. To know how to enable Wifi Hotspot via tethering, follow these instructions here. Also, the Sony Xperia Ion has Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA capabilities.

GPS is available on both the phones and Bluetooth 2.1 is enabled on the Xperia Ion but the HTC Sensation XL comes with Bluetooth 3.0 support. There is EDR support with A2DP on both the phones.

The Sony Xperia Ion also has NFC on it. To know more about Near Field Communication, how to use it to transfer files and see what other devices currently have NFC, do check out here and here .

Both phones have Stereo FM radio with RDS.

Winner : Sony Xperia Ion

Operating System and UI:

Both the phones run on Android Gingerbread 2.3.4, one of the recent versions of Android from Google. Sony, still maintains the same user interface as Sony Ericsson, the TimeScape UI.

The Sensation XL comes with HTC’s own Sense UI, which is quite famous for its excellent gesture support and user friendly UI throughout the OS built by the HTC engineers over the Android layout.The HTC Sense is definitely fun to use and has lots of small add-ons everywhere with some user-intuitive gesture controls as well.

Sony’s TimeScape UI is known for its excellent Facebook integration over the phone’s User Interface, across apps and other small additions in places which make Android really fun to use. This version  Timescape is the latest one from Sony and it maintains the old features along with a few additions making the User Interface even more intuitive and fluid to use.

However, do not forget that Sony has confirmed that the Xperia Ion be receiving the Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0 update very soon, and also HTC has confirmed that the Sensation XL will be receiving the Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0 update soon which makes both these phones even more worth for the money as they will get the latest version of Android very soon.

Winner : HTC Sensation XL for Sense UI

Battery and Processor

The Xperia Ion has a 1900mAh battery under its hood while the HTC XE has a 1730mAh battery. The Xperia Ion has a talktime of  10 hours on 2G and 4 hours on 3G and 400 hours of standby time on 2G and 350 hours of standby time on 3G  HTC Sensation XL on 2G, has a talktime of upto 11 h 50 min and 360hours of standby time and upto 7 hours of talktime and 460 hours of standby time on 3G.

On the Xperia Ion, there is a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor powered by a Adreno 220 GPU and supported by the Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon chipset while the HTC Sensation XL has a 1.5 GHz single core processor powered by a Adreno 220 GPU and supported by the Qualcomm MSM 8260 Snapdragon chipset.

Winner : HTC Sensation XL

Beats by Dr.Dre

The HTC Sensation XL comes with audio from Beats by Dr. Dre, one of the most premium companies specializing in Audio technology in the world. The HTC Sensation XL comes with Beats Audio™ inbox with custom made Beats headsets, engineered to deliver extraordinary sound. Their software is also specially tuned software and the user interface is tweaked to deliver the best mobile audio experience. Also, HTC has got Beats to make a custom earphone for the Sensation XL, which comes in the box as well. The headset has music control buttons on it as well.


Looking at just the specifications, the Sony Xperia Ion outperforms the HTC Sensation XL in quite a few aspects, the main notable one being Full HD video recording if you are a multimedia/camera user. However if you use your smartphone more for entertainment purposes then the HTC Sensation XL will make a good buy as it comes with Beats audio driver and Beats earphones. Also, the Sense UI is really fun to use and comes with a lot of small additions throughout the User Interface making it really smooth to use. So if you’re looking for a fun and entertainment filled experience from your smartphone, think no further than the HTC Sensation XL.

Also, HTC seems to have cut the Sensation XL on a lot of features. The smaller version of the Sensation XL is the Sensation XE and comes with a 4.3 inch screen. On the Sensation XE, there is a dual core processor, ability to record video at 1080p and a much powerful battery. It’s very awkward especially knowing HTC has reduced the battery capacity on a more costlier and higher end phone, along with cutting down some other important features like Full HD 1080 recording.

The Sony Xperia Ion would be the best buy for your money at the moment considering the features it offers and its current availability status while the HTC Sensation XL also sports a  slim body design and a pretty good User Interface to go around with.

We would totally recommend the Sony Xperia Ion over the HTC Sensation XL considering the extra set of features it offers, a more handy screen size etc. But if you love large screens and are an audiophile, don’t look beyond the HTC Sensation XL.

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