Jun 082011
 

(I also wrote about the Galaxy S3 vs the One X here, though everything I posted here is still relevant, but perhaps much more so with the S3/One X!)

One of the first things (the second, to be precise) I look for in the specs of smartphone when I want to decide on the best performing device is RAM memory, both total and ideally how much is available to the user after a soft reset.

Having enough RAM is the difference between a pleasurable user experience and an exercise in frustration: I would much rather have a phone with a somewhat slower CPU than a RAM-starved device (and I know that from my personal experience). Given this fact alone, and when you take into account the RAM specs for the Galaxy S2 and the Sensation, 1GB vs. 768MB respectively, the decision is obvious, even more so given some reports that Sense 3.0 on the Sensation uses up half the RAM on the phone! Yet most people only look at the CPU when they compare two phones for performance, seemingly unaware of the significant slowdowns that occur when the OS has to start closing down apps in the background and then run the garbage collector due to lack of RAM memory, or worse, completely reload the apps.

So in the case of the Galaxy S2 and the Sensation, comparing CPUs is virtually pointless as far as day-to-day performance and usage is concerned. Any bottlenecks will much sooner be a result the amount of RAM available. And with the Galaxy’s RAM you can also be much more certain that your phone will be able to run future versions of Android, as it invariably grows and requires more demanding hardware (look no further than the HTC Desire and Gingerbread-update debacle, where HTC claimed that the Desire does not have the required hardware to run Gingerbread well).

Add to that the superior battery life on the Galaxy S2 and there is nothing to think about, really. And no, not even the Sensation’s qHD display nor HTC’s Watch video streaming service can make up for this.

In all, the Galaxy S2 is almost the perfect phone right now as far as the hardware goes (the only thing I would *desperately* add is a notification light!), and the other manufacturers should take note.



UPDATE:
I had heard about the so-called “death grip” on the Sensation but since I had not seen any evidence of it I did not include it. But then I came across this where you will be able to see it firsthand; if you still were not convinced that the Galaxy is the right choice then you should be after watching that video.



UPDATE 2:
I now have an SG2, coming from an iPhone 4 – i.e. I absolutely meant it when I said that the SG2 is the better phone compared to the HTC Sensation, and that it is the best phone currently on the market.

  13 Responses to “Samsung Galaxy S2 vs. HTC Sensation: an easy decision”

  1. Wow! Simple yet direct to the point. You made it easy for us too! Thanks for this

    • Thanks ariel! It really is simple in this case!

      I updated the post with a link that displays the Sensation’s “death grip” – that really should kill (small pun intended) any interest in the Sensation.

  2. Wow! Another fan of the Galaxy!

    How much do Samsung pays you?

    I mean, for F sake, a phone is designed to give and receive PHONE calls, isn’t it? Any extra perk is welcome, but how in the world would I prefer the 1GB memory to the 768mb one for a freaking phone???

    I am a graphic designer and don’t need (and can’t anyway) work on a 560×960 pixels POS smartphone…

    Chill down mate

    • You’re the one cussing and accusing me of being paid by Samsung (I wish!), and you’re telling me to chill??

      No, neither the Galaxy nor the Sensation are designed, in any shape or form, around phone calls being the primary function – if that’s your main usage then get yourself a basic Nokia phone, preferably one with a BW display to get the maximum battery life.

      But if you want to use your smartphone for what it was designed, then you will absolutely want that extra RAM memory.
      You also need to think ahead: we’ll soon get ICS, which will likely be accompanied by an overall increase in RAM usage, which means that the Galaxy, with its higher RAM, is in a better position than the Sensation to run ICS without any hiccups.

      • Before I bought my Sensation, I first took time to compare them IRL. The Sensation was far better to use, took better photos (better contrast and two LED flashes) and you couldn’t really tell the 232 MB of RAM more on the Galaxy. Yes, the Galaxy runs a tiny bit smoother, but the interface is awful. I have ICS on my phone, and I can say that it runs even better than the previous version of Android and Sense UI. Sense 3.0 was the best UI, and with the ICS update, it’s even better. Now, the display. There’s a huge debate over which display is better, and most people say it’s the Galaxy S2′s because S.AMOLED+ sounds cool. As I said before, I had a month to take both phones in my hands and compare them. I admit, the S2′s blacks are blacker, but what most people don’t think about are whites. The Sensation’s whites were a lot whiter, while on the GS2 they had a weird blue-ish tint, and were darker. With better whites, the Sensation is a far better phone for outdoor use. Both phones are awesome, but the Sensation brought more trust into me than the S2. What I really regret is that 1 month later the Sensation XE came out, smashing down every phone on the market, and for almost the same price as my phone. By the way, Samsung has to work their arses off to beat the One X and the Sensation XE with their next phone :) Not to mention that HTC have some new phone concepts in mind :)

        • Fair enough, good points about the display differences :)
          Though I honestly think the Galaxy SIII will still edge out the One X; Samsung has so much riding on their next Galaxy, coming from the rave reviews of the SII and what with the hype the the SIII has already stirred up, that I can’t see how they can afford to not deliver 100%

          But then again, look at the iPhone 4S….

          • Yeah, I am looking forward to the next Galaxy. And for the iPhones, I’ve really lost hope about their future. They used to be great phones, always bringing out the newest technologies, but now they’re far behind Android phones. iOS has never changed, except that camera button on the lockscreen… You cannot customize it much, and there are no widgets or any visual elements at all. I have to admit though, iOS is maybe the smoothest UI out there…

            • iOS is without a doubt the smoothest and the most stable OS right now (WP7 might actually rival iOS in terms of smoothness and stability, but the OS is so crippled/limited that that hardly is an accomplishment, so it is a moot point…); right now I’m using a jailbroken 4S (yes, I’m aware of that the 4S is on my “What’s not”-list) along with my Galaxy S2, and the 4S is virtually rock solid even jailbroken, even more so than my non-rooted S2, and that’s worth a lot in my book…

  3. Great review. Very helpful. I dnt understand why assholes like harryposter get so wound up over it and need to leave useless remarks

  4. i have both phones, Sense is heavy but really fun and nice to use. Touchwiz is just really really bad and buggy. i like Sense’s exchange email client better and find the overall phone quality to be better. I think Gingerbread manages apps well enough that the ram difference is not noticeable. ICS also does not seem to be more resource hungry than Gingerbread so i think the htc is futureproof. But geez both these phones are amazing, really comes down to personal preference.

    • Given how “heavy” Sense is, I still think they should have put in 1GB of RAM in the Sensation. But that’s kind of moot now, what with the HTC One being out and all :)

  5. [...] Back when I compared the Galaxy S2 with the HTC Sensation I argued that the Sensation’s less RAM, coupled with the Sense bloat, was a reason enough to not buy [...]

  6. [...] short answer: given that HTC came up short, again, with the RAM in their latest flagship device, the Galaxy S3 is the obvious and easy choice this [...]