HTC Titan Review

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Windows Phone 7 has proven that it has staying power, now a year after the first wave of devices. With the release of Mango, also known as Windows Phone 7.5, we’re seeing a new wave of hardware to usher in larger screens, faster processors, and better cameras. One such new device is the HTC Titan, a phone that packs a huge 4.7″ display with an upgraded Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, bringing the clock speed to 1.5GHz–the fastest currently available with Windows Phone 7. Is the Titan the best Windows Phone 7 yet? Read our full review to find out!

BOX CONTENTS



The HTC Titan ships with its 1600mAh battery, headphones, and a wall charger.

HARDWARE



The HTC Titan packs a single-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255T CPU which has a max clock speed of 1.5GHz. Microsoft says dual-core support for Windows Phone 7 is coming in the future. Like all other WP7 devices, the Titan has 512MB of RAM. The screen is WVGA 800×480 resolution on a 4.7″ Super LCD panel, granting it a relatively low pixel density of 198ppi. There is no expandable storage, but you’ll get 16GB of space built-in. The camera on the rear shoots photos at 8MP and can record 720p HD video, while the camera on the front takes photos at 1.3MP. It’s a GSM 850/900/1800/1900 phone with UMTS 850/900/2100. Because of the 850 UMTS band, the phone works great on AT&T in the US, even though this particular model is intended for the UK and Europe. With the HTC Titan you’ll also get DLNA support, aGPS, Bluetooth 2.1, and WiFi b/g/n. Powering everything is a 1600mAh battery.

front


The Titan looks much like any other HTC handset, except that it appears more commanding thanks to the nearly edge-to-edge 4.7″ display. Despite the larger the screen size, the device is a mere 1-2mm wider and taller when compared to the typical smartphone with a 4.3″ display.

glass


What’s interesting about the glass on the front of the Titan is that it protrudes slightly above the casing of the phone. This makes for a bit of a ledge that extends all around the device. This protrusion adds to the predominance of the screen, almost as HTC wanted to extend the display slight forward in an inviting kind of way.

top


The Titan is one of the first Windows Phone 7 devices with a front-facing camera. In this case, it’s 1.3MP. Microsoft will be supporting video chat in the near future with the release of an app to facilitate platform-to-platform video chat. As of this writing, it wasn’t yet available.

buttons


Towards the bottom of the screen we have the obligatory capactive Windows Phone buttons.

side


At 9.9mm in depth, the Titan is relatively slender. As you can see from this profile shot, HTC designed the phone such that the immediate edge is much thinner than the entire profile of the device. This grants the illusion of thinness when you hold the device in your hand.

camera


Here’s a look at the 8MP camera with dual LED flash, next to the particularly loud and crisp speaker. On the top you can see the 3.5mm headphone jack, which resides next to the power/standby button. The backing here is real metal, and has a similar look and feel to the HTC Desire HD.

bottom


There’s the new square Windows Phone logo!

backopen


Like the HTC Sensation, the backing of the Titan wraps around the entire device and comes off in one piece. Back here we can see the SIM card slot, but no expandable microSD storage.

hand2


In-hand, the Titan is heavier than your average phone, but not by much at 160grams.

SOFTWARE



The Titan, like all Windows Phone 7 devices, feels fast. The added power afforded by the 1.5GHz CPU makes the Titan extra snappy when it comes time to watch video, play games, and especially browse the web. In our test against the Galaxy S II, the Titan easily kept up when browsing the web, and in the case of pinching-to-zoom, plus panning around the page, the Titan was much smoother than the Galaxy S II. That’s pretty impressive.

As with other HTC Windows Phones, you can access HTC-specific apps through the Marketplace via a special link. From there you can download the following HTC apps:

– HTC Hub: grants you access to stocks, weather, and news

– Photo Enhancer: lets you add various filters onto your phone’s photos

– Locations: saves your favorite locations with pictures, notes, and geo-coordinates

– Notes: a notes-taking app

– Connected Media: for DLNA streaming

– Converter: shows you real-time currency conversions

– HTC YouTube: an improved YouTube experience over the default Windows Phone YouTube app

And of course with the Titan you get all of the new features of Mango such as fast-app switching, improved email, the IE9 browser, new APIs for apps, and much more. Be sure you check out our full review of Windows Phone 7.5 Mango.



The Titan also includes internet sharing. In our tests, it worked generally well, but didn’t push through a connection as fast as found with iOS and Android internet sharing applications.

CAMERA



One of the best features of the camera app is the panorama mode, which makes it super fast and easy to stitch three shots together.





HTC touts the prowess of the Titan’s camera, thanks to the f2.2 lens which is supposed to provide great low-light shooting. In our tests, low-light shots came out lacking accurate color and clarity. We also weren’t impressed with the close up shots we attempted with the Titan.



The HTC Titan records video at 720p, and can also do stereo recording. As with the still shots, the Titan didn’t record video so well in low-light situations. Colors were lacking, and the camera had trouble with focusing.

CALL QUALITY/NETWORK SPEED

We tested the HTC Sensation over AT&T, even though this particular version of the device isn’t intended for the AT&T network. Despite this, we experienced fantastic call quality, no dropped calls, and healthy data speeds over HSDPA. At best we clocked 3.1mbps down and 1.1mbps up. On average, down speeds were around 1.5mbps down, and 1.1mbps up.

BATTERY LIFE

With heavy use, the Titan lasted over a day before needing a charge. More specifically, the phone would register about 35% remaining battery after a typical 14-hour day. High marks for battery life!

PURCHASING AND AVAILABILITY

The Titan is coming to AT&T, but until then, you can buy it from Clove for £415, which is about $650.

PROS

+ Excellent web browsing performance

+ Preloaded with Mango

+ Huge screen is great for viewing photos, video

+ Excellent battery life

+ Solid build quality with use of glass and metal

+ Speaker is loud and crisp

CONS

– Camera is mediocre

– Doesn’t ship with any video-chat apps

– No kickstand

REVIEW CONCLUSION

It’s always easy to review a Windows Phone 7 device; you know what to expect in terms of software (thanks to the extremely limited freedom OEMs have when customizing the software), so it comes down to hardware and finding a form factor that works for you.

For those looking for a smartphone that can handle web browsing and gaming with ease, plus can show off photos and video on a glorious 4.7″ display, the HTC Titan is a fantastic choice. It’s just too bad the camera under-performs.

We rate the HTC Titan a 4/5.

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About The Author
Brandon Miniman
Brandon is a graduate from the Villanova School of Business, located near Philadelphia, PA. He's been a technology writer since 2002, and, in 2005, became Editor-in-Chief of Pocketnow, a then Windows Mobile-focused website. He has since helped to transition Pocketnow into a top-tier smartphone and tablet publication. He's so obsessed with technology that he once entered a candle store and asked if they had a "new electronics" scent. They didn't.