By Patrick Avenell

The long wait for HTC followers is finally over, with the Sensation handset today available exclusively through Telstra. Through the first half of 2011, as HTC launched its Incredible S, Desire S, Wildfire S, ChaCha and Salsa devices, the most common feedback received was ‘when is the Sensation coming out?’. The answer, finally, is right now.

So why the anticipation? The Sensation is a true multimedia handset. Its 4.3-inch qHD touchscreen (540×960) takes up nearly the entire front fascia of the handset, providing users with as good a widescreen video experience possible on a smartphone. To maximise this experience, the Sensation has SRS virtual surround sound and DLNA to push content to compatible TVs. This playback functionality is supported by some of the best specified content creation tools: an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus and dual LED flash and Full HD video recording.

The power to make this media functionality seamless is provided by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2GHz dual core processor, running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) overlayed with HTC Sense. As this is a Telstra exclusive handset, the Sensation also includes a raft of Telstra properties out of the box, such as Foxtel, Whereis Mapping, BigPond connectivity and the TelstraOne app (which is unmetered through Telstra).

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At 148 grams, the Sensation is slightly heavier than the competing Galaxy S II and iPhone 4 handsets. This is due to the brushed aluminium construction, which gives the phone a strong, robust feel in the hand. The dimensions are 126.1mm x 65.4mm x 11.3mm, making it noticeably less wide than the Galaxy S II but 2mm thicker than the iPhone 4.

The Sensation has a microUSB port for data transfer and charging, a 3.5mm headphone jack, MicroSD  card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB on top of the inbuilt 1GB, with an 8GB card supplied) and an internal GPS antenna. The battery time is quoted by HTC as up to 420 minutes talk time, variable depending on usage.

The HTC Sensation is available today from Telstra on Freedom Connect plans, including $0 upfront with a $79 per month plan over 24 months (minimum cost is $1,896). Business customers can purchase the phone for $13 per month on $59 monthly plan over 24 months (minimum cost is $1,728).

The Sensation can be purchased outright for RRP $792.

The new HTC Sensation.