It's not easy being a T-Mobile US customer when you've got two flagship Android phones to choose from. Both the T-Mobile LG G2x and the HTC Sensation 4G are ready for some early summer fun and they share the same $199 price tag with a 2 year contract. The G2x came out in April and the Sensation will be available June 15, so they're fresh new phones. Are you trying to decide between the two? Perhaps we can help.
OS: The LG G2x runs Android OS 2.2 Froyo, and it's vanilla Android without UI customizations. The HTC Sensation 4G runs Android OS 2.3.3 Gingerbread, which is the latest, greatest OS version for Android phones. Though LG promises an upgrade to 2.3 in the future, today the Sensation wins. In terms of software customizations, or lack thereof, it's a hard call. Power users seem to gravitate to vanilla Android since many manufacturers' customizations don't quite fit their needs. HTC Sense, especially version 3.0 on the Sensation is the most well received and we confess to really enjoy it. Novice users gravitate to Sense because it makes setting up social networking, weather and other staples of our digital existence easier. Personally, I prefer Sense 3.0 over vanilla Android, though I do also enjoy plain Jane Android. TIE
Display: Everybody brings something to the table: the LG G2x has a 4" IPS display running at 800 x 480 resolution (the standard resolution for higher end Android phones and even mid-tier phones these days). We all know and love IPS displays thanks to Apple who uses them on their iPad and iPad 2. Though HTC goes with a more normal Super LCD, that display is 4.3" and it runs at an even higher 960 x 540 resolution. Sweet! It's a pretty sharp display too, and the higher resolution is an excellent match for the larger display. HTC SENSATION 4G WINS
Design: HTC is a master of ergonomics and quality design in their higher end smartphones, and the Sensation 4G is the culmination of their years of hardware design development. It's not flashy and Leica-ish like the iPhone 4, but it looks elegant, expensive and feels absolutely awesome in hand even though it's a large phone. The G2x is an attractive phone that looks like a quality piece, and were it not for the Sensation 4G, it would be the at the top. But it's nearly as large as the Sensation despite having a smaller 4" display, and doesn't have the perfect curves that make the Sensation feel so darned good in hand. Nor is it a unibody aluminum design like the Sensation. HTC SENSATION 4G WINS
Calling and Data Speeds: The LG G2x has HSPA 14.4Mbps as does the Sensation 4G. That doesn't mean you'll get 14.4Mbps down for data transfer speeds because the network load and reception are the limiting factors (even with 21 Mbps phones like the Samsung Galaxy S 4G). Thus we're seeing similar speeds using the Speedtest.net app. That said, with a weaker signal, the LG gets better numbers than the Sensation 4G and with a strong signal the HTC gets slightly higher numbers than the LG.
Calling on both is a pleasant experience with the G2x offering a louder earpiece (not by a wide margin) and the Sensation 4G having superior noise canceling. The LG has a better speakerphone. TIE
CPU Performance: This one is a little tricky because the 1.2 GHz dual core Snapdragon is so new that we're not sure all benchmarks are fully cognizant of the chipset and because we think Qualcomm and HTC might be able to tweak the firmware to get better numbers. As it stands, the LG G2x with its rather standard and capable Tegra 2 dual core 1GHz CPU wins more of the many different benchmark tests we threw at both phones (browser rendering tests, Quadrant, Linpack and more). You also get Adobe Flash hardware acceleration with the Tegra 2 and NVIDIA's Tegra 2 gaming initiative that is bringing some really nice 3D games to Tegra 2 Android smartphones and tablets. Qualcomm says they're working on their own version for games, but until we see it, we'd go with the LG if 3D serious gaming is your thing. Other than 3D game selection and Flash acceleration, we have to admit that both phones are so fast it's nearly impossible to find any app or task that slows these phones down. In day to day use, they're both awesome. T-MOBILE LG G2x WINS
Battery Life: Wow, the Sensation 4G is the proverbial Energizer bunny. It's hard to kill this thing in normal use. Perhaps HTC went with power conservation over raw CPU performance, and I'm not complaining. Though they have nearly identical capacity Lithium Ion batteries, the HTC outlasts the LG by 20% in our tests. HTC SENSATION 4G WINS
Camera: Both phones have an 8 megapixel main autofocus camera that can shoot 1080p video. Though HTC's cameras have improved quite a bit over the years, the Sensation tends to take overly contrasty shots unless a scene is very evenly lit. That means shadows turn to black holes and highlights, although better preserved than shadows, can suffer whiteout. We found that photos from the LG were more natural with balanced exposure. The tables turn for video capture, and our LG had too much contrast as well as noise and blockiness. The HTC might not compete with Nokia's top N series imaging phones, but it took better video than the LG. TIE (LG for photos, HTC for video)
Well, it's a very close race, isn't it? I'm not going to declare one a winner in this smackdown, though I admit the HTC Sensation 4G is my personal pick (that doesn't mean I wouldn't be thrilled to carry the G2x!). HTC is a little like Apple: they understand that design, quality materials and a friendly user experience can trump specs and features by appealing to our emotional side. That's not to say that the Sensation 4G is lacking in the feature department, but the LG G2x scores on specs with its IPS display, Tegra 2 CPU and full HSPA+ 4G.
Objectively, they each have their strengths, and you know which features are most important to you. We hope the smackdown sections covered your areas of importance and help you decide on the best phone for you.