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HTC Sensation: Tips and tricks

HTC’s new flagship phone wowed us with its solid unibody frame and curved Gorilla Glass screen. It’s not just a pretty face though, with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, and an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording full HD video.

Behind its vital statistics, there’s also HTC’s lauded Sense overlay, which adds some very swish features and widgets to the standard Android experience. Here’s some of the best features we’ve found so far.

Use your picture gallery as a slide-show wallpaper

Press the personalise button in the bottom right corner of the homescreen, go to wallpaper then choose slideshow. You can specify albums or even pick your own selection of photos and other saved images stored on your phone.

Your wallpaper will now change after a few seconds, showing a different gallery offering. You can do the same with the screenlock… screen. Again, pop into the personalise menu to set it up.

Smart Dial phone number timesaver

Like predictive text from yesteryear, you can quickly filter to phone numbers by typing onto the touchscreen. phonepad. For example, “Mat” is “628”.

Secret Debug screen

Dial *#*#4636#*#* through the phone button, and a hidden screen. On the Sensation, this includes phone information on your signal strength and network availability. There’s also battery info, WiFi details, and perhaps most interestingly, stats on how long you’ve used your apps – and how many times you’ve used them.

Nuanced notifications panels

Slide your finger down from the top of the screen to bring down the Android notification panel. HTC has made several changes to the typical stock Android panel, with shortcuts to recent apps, and a quick settings tab allowing you to turn on (and off) WiFi , BlueTooth, GPS and more.

Looking for a task manager in the middle of the app? Hold the home button, and a window will appear for simple app switching.

A world of widgets

HTC have packaged in a load of extra widgets to decorate that expansive Sensation homescreen. Though several are just the same widget, redesigned, it’s worth adding the likes of the iconic weather clock widget. The Friend Stream widget is also a good choose for keeping up-to-date with all your friends and family, tieing together Facebook, Twitter and more.

Free international offline maps

Whilst Google Maps offers some offline map access, use HTC’s built-in Locations app, and you can download whole country maps (including the humble UK) for free, and access them at any time.

Be warned, they‘re huge files, so it’s best to download them over WiFi, and keep the phone plugged-in to charge.

There’s also direction functions, but you’ll have to pay for some extra sat-nav functions.

Shortcut to web history

On the Sensation’s internet browser, hold the back button whilst browsing and you’ll be able to view the entire internet history, classified into days, weeks and months.

You can also pinch whilst browsing to view all your web tabs at once, and switch between them.

Sensational spin

More an addictive time-sink than a feature, quickly swipe your finger across the homescreens. Do it fast enough and your homescreens will spin around like a carousel, smoothly switching from the far right to far left screen. you can also pinch from the main screen to view the all the homescreen pages at once.

Noisy weather: How to turn off the sound effects

You may have noticed when you first got your hands on the Sensation that unlocking the screen would be followed by a shiny weather animation, and a very uneasy noise.

Sinister sunshine ambience, thunder claps and temperamental wind effects; they’re all pretty off-putting if you’re not expecting them, and the first bit of customisation we did was search out how to turn them off.

Go to Personalise, then wallpapers, live wallpapers, and select weather, preview it, and go into settings. Unticking the sound effects here will also cover the weather widget.

Lock screen love

Got to Personalise, then Lock screen, and aside from the ability to customise the lockscreen shortcuts, you can also choose to add a social network feed, weather, stock updates or photos straight to the screen.

Also one final piece of Easter egg goodness; check the Friend Stream preview for the lockscreen, and you’ll find Jill Valentine (of Resident Evil fame) in full view; her status update briefly covering her own adventures in Resident Evil: Nemesis. We hope this won’t result in legal struggles between Capcom and HTC…


Any cool HTC Sensation hidden features we missed? Let us know in the comments and we’ll check them out.


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