HTC Sensation Review Vs Samsung Galaxy S II: Video playback shootout

While I work feverishly on the next substantial part of the Sensation Vs SGSII review, covering mostly media aspects,  I thought I would post up a little primer looking at the video playback capabilities of each phone.

I know that sounds pretty straightforward, but I’ve managed to complicate it a little bit, so  I should probably do a little explaining beforehand.

You will no doubt have seen the reviews on both these phones at the major tech sites, and you probably noticed that they gave both phones solid passes where video playback was concerned, particularly the SGSII. In fact some sites claimed they played anything the reviewers threw at it.

With that expectation in the minds of buyers, some purchasers found the reality a little disappointing. Lots of people found that their files did not in fact play, particularly HD files, or that subtitles did not work as advertised, or that there was no audio where the files used audio codecs like DTS/vorbis/AC3. With that in mind I went out to find sample videos encompassing a wide variety of codecs, bitrates, and subtitle types. With the help of Xero Xenith at XDA-developers, and MobileTopia7 from Mobile-Review, I was able to obtain a good set of sample clips to throw at my devices including all sorts of things like VP6, VP6 alpha, and H263 Sorenson encoded videos. I’ll be using these as a standard testing set on all devices from now on, so if you think I’ve missed a vital codec for your use please send me a sample that I can add to the test in the future (obviously the sample should not have swearing/violence/nudity etc, and should not be a full movie).

In the spirit of full disclosure I’ve taken the liberty of using Media Info to export all the properties of the test videos, you can download the text file with this information here . I’ve also summarised the findings in an excel sheet here . I didn’t actually show it in the video, but both phones can also play VP6 Alpha encoded video (bitrate 1700kbps).

Now all thats out of the way, here is the video:


  1. Murray says

    I should also point out something about the position of the two phones in the video – initially I had the Sensation on top, but the viewing angle made viewing difficult, so I swapped the SGSII to the top because its viewing angles are as good as it gets.

  2. says

    Hi Amit, the Sensation definitly has a 1.2GHz dual core processor, not 528MHz. What makes you think that?

    • Murray says

      Amit the Sensation you had sounds faulty I’m afraid. Like any handset it has its short comings, but the things you are describing are rather bizarre.

      • says

        Yea Amit, as Murray has said it looks like you may have had a faulty HTC Sensation handset, you certainly shouldn’t be experiencing the kind of slow downs described in your post.

    • says


      Seems like you have had some bad luck with the Sensation. All the UK stock we have sold has had relatively few issues (there are always a few) and we certainly have not experienced this. I (Jon) am using one now and it runs perfectly. Hopefully your experience won’t put you off HTC products.

  3. Murray says

    Ah yes, now that I see that comment in context it makes perfect sense (not Sense).