The HTC Sensation XE has just been announced by the Taiwanese company and we’ve already had the chance to get our hands all over it, at a showcase for Carphone Warehouse.

The new flagship HTC handset comes rocking Beats Audio and an upgraded processor. The onboard processor is now a dual core 1.5GHz model and an HTC agent told us the RAM had been increased to 1GB as well, although it's listed as 768MB on HTC's website.

In the hand the new Android smartphone is essentially the same design as the existing Sensation. You get those slick lines and the huge screen that contours slightly at the edges.

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However, few subtle changes will make it clear to your friends that you have the latest and greatest phone from HTC.

There are red flashes of detailing on the front: the speaker grill is now red and the backlit control buttons ranging across the bottom of the 4.3-inch display are also red. Flip the phone over and the three-tone back of the original Sensation is now two tones and, of course, there is the iconic Beats logo emblazoned on the back.

Fire the Sensation XE up and it is very much HTC Sense as normal. The phone is running Android 2.3.4 and comes with Sense 3.0, but there have been some software tweaks to accommodate Dr Dre's musical aptitude.

Plug in the headphones and when you head into the Sound Enhancer section you’ll find the option to enable or disable Beats Audio. Enabling fires up a Beats icon in the notification bar too, with the option to turn off the enhancement on the fly.

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You probably won’t choose to however, as in our tests we found the HTC Sensation XE to sound fantastic. Of course, you’re not just left hanging with regular HTC headphones as you get a set of iBeats in the box, making this an exciting package for the music fan.

The battery has also been upgraded, so the handset promises longer life than before, which to be fair, was never the phone’s strongest feature. 

Whether the performance is much different to its forebear is difficult to gauge from a brief play; however, for those who have recently got themselves an HTC Sensation, you now have something else to crave.

Of course we'll be giving the phone a thorough work through when we get it in for a full review. In the meantime, why not read our HTC Sensation review?