So there are three phones left in my bowl.
1. Samsung Galaxy SII
2. Samsung Galaxy Nexus
3. HTC Sensation XE
I undertook some closer research, read articles on Chip.de, Cnet, and connect Magazine/Website and followed some general discussions with videos, articles and Twitter.
- The Galaxy SII is already half a year old but it was leading the phone tables for a very long time. This must speak for its quality
- The Nexus really scores with its features, the biggest screen of those three and the cool curved style.
- The XE is actually the most attractive because of its Beats Audio sound profile as music capabilities was one of my top priorities.
Closer look at the Sensation XE: The resolution is slightly better than the SII but not as good as the Nexus (Amoled wins in any case, though). Other downsides here: it's memory is only 4 GB big and despite the 16GB SD-Card that comes with it, I prefer the included 16 GB in case I need to top up later. Quite likely with those awesome cameras. (http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/mobile-phones/htc-sensation-xe-with-beats-audio-review-50005202/)
Everyone thinks the Nexus is a good deal. Best resolution of them all, the notification LED is nice. Slight problem for me is that they marked down the quality of the appearance. The Galaxy SII did a much better job there and it's also lighter than the new one. Surprisingly the Amoled technology is not "as" good as the SII's - either you get clear Amoled or dotted HD - strange. Also, the SII's CPU is the same; I would have expected more here. More tiny downsides: no USB function, no SD-slot. (http://www.connect.de/ratgeber/kampf-um-die-smartphone-krone-1218095,287.html)
It's a shame the Nexus doesn't completely convince me. The XE seems like a really good deal but the Galaxy SII so far is exactly in the middle of both phones. Tests in Connect show top web capabilities, memory is huge, sound is amazing and battery life top range. The only downside: it's older, CPU not as strong as the XE's and it doesn't have an HD screen.
I need to think about this some more, also drawing on other people's comments.