AT&T HTC Titan Review
Usually a phone’s name does not have much relation to the device itself, but this is not the case with the HTC Titan. The Titan is a behemoth with a 4.7-inch screen and a strong metal chassis build. The Titan is the only Mango device of the three announced by AT&T to have not yet been released(The Samsung Focus and Focus Flash were both released today). The question is, does Windows Phone Mango run welll on this large of a screen? With a large display comes high resolution and low battery life? Find out in the full review below.
The Titan’s large gorilla glass screen and matte finish go quite well together. I personally don’t like a ton of company branding on smartphones and the Titan is very discrete with the HTC and Windows Phone logo both chrome-free. There is no doubt that the Titan is a large phone with its dimensions at 131.5 x 70.7 x 9.9 mm and 160g. It felt a little big in my hands and it was slightly crammed when I wore jeans which do not have as baggy as pockets as regular shorts or pants. On the top edge of the device you will find a power/sleep button on the right and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left. The right side includes a volume rocker and a dedicated camera button below it. The left side includes your micro usb charge/sync port. The bottom includes your three touch buttons which are the usual back, home, and search. On the back is a 8 megapixel camera with dual-LED flash and a 1.3 megapixel camera in the front.
Under the hood is a 1.5 GHz single-core processor, which is 50 percent faster than the HTC’s previous HD7 on AT&T, 512 MB of RAM, and 16GB of onboard storage(only 12.63GB of it is actually usable). It is quite disappointing that Microsoft still has yet to include expandable memory into any of its devices. This will definitely annoy those who love to load their devices up with tons of photos, videos, and music. Connectivity wise, the Titan features UMTS/HSPA (up to 14.4Mbps downloads and 5.76Mbps uploads depending on the Network), WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR. Also included in the Titan are the GPS, gyroscope, G-sensor, digital compass, proximity and ambient light. The Titan lacks a NFC chip(since there is no support for it in Mango) and a FM radio.
Under the Gorilla Glass is a 4.7-inch Super LCD display. This is the largest screen on any Windows Phone device on the market. The display is bright, has good viewing angles, and the colors look vibrant. The downfall of having a large display on a Windows Phone is the resolution. Since Windows Phone only supports WVGA resolution, you’ll only be getting 800 x 480 resolution on all different screen sizes.
The Titan does a decent job even with the lack of pixels. Some of the font was a little fuzzy around the edges, but that was really the only noticeable issue with the screen. What annoyed me the most was the wasted potential of the huge display of the Titan. Everything was stretched to fit rather than actually getting more space for viewing emails, home screen tiles, or app graphics.
The HTC Titan comes pre-loaded with Windows Phone Mango, Microsoft’s latest mobile OS. There’s not much we can talk about OS wise since Windows Phone is pretty locked down customization wise. The most OEMS or carriers can do for setting themselves apart is with the Hub and a few particular apps for that company.
With the Titan, HTC included their own HTC Hub and a few apps exclusive to HTC devices. The HTC Hub is the one place on your phone where you can check weather, news, stocks, and app suggestions. The Weather looks great as always on HTC with some nice animations. HTC has also included the following apps on the Titan: the Photo Enhancer, Connected Media, Locations, Notes, Flashlight, and HTC Watch.
The Windows Phone Market is lacking compared to that of the Android Marketplace and the iOS App Store. Facebook and Twitter both have their own official apps which will please some, but you won’t be doing much game playing unless you enjoy the Xbox Live arcade games or will always be satisfied by Fruit Ninja or Angry Birds. If you are a heavy Google user, you’ll be disappointed by the lack of a Google Apps including Gtalk, Gmail(no dedicated app, only support), Google+, Google Maps, and others. I was particularly disappointed in the lack of a Skype app yet since Microsoft purchased them recently and there is other way to video chat on Windows Phones.
Syncing the Titan with my Macbook was very easy thanks to the Windows Phone 7 Connector. It easily uploaded all of my photos and videos I took and made it easy to sync all of my music, videos, calendar, and photos. Android phones do not have a dedicated desktop client yet, so its nice to see Microsoft making it easier to sync your content.
The 1.5 GHz processor allows for smooth performance. Menus and lists scrolled lag-free and pinching images was slick. Apps and Web Pages also loaded relatively quickly. Mango also added its own software performance improvements which paired along with the 1.5 GHz processor made it difficult to find anything that the device couldn’t handle. Microsoft was confident that their single core devices were as fast as other dual-core devices. This statement is true with the HTC Titan.
The Titan has a great 8 megapixel camera with a BSI Sensor, f2.2 wide-angle lens, and dual-LED flash. The dedicated camera button is pretty nice. The camera app features two different types of shots: Panorama and Burst. The Panorama allows you to take a picture of something too big to fit for your camera. It takes multiple pictures across the whole object and then pieces them into one photo. Burst Mode fires off multiple photos quickly in succession and you pick the best. Face Detection is also included and you can focus by tapping on the screen. If you press halfway on the camera button you it will focus and if you press fully then it will take the shot. It works out pretty well.
The resulting photo is rich in color and clear. The Titan takes pictures quickly after you press the camera button and Windows Phone Mango will slide the photo to the left so all you need to do is drag to the right if you want to see the previous picture you just took. The Titan takes its best shots in the daytime, which is the case with most smartphones. The BSI sensor did a decent job in situations with low light. The LED flash is very bright and can sometimes overpower the photo.
The front-facing camera is 1.3 megapixels and is better suited to video calls, although there is not yet a native video chatting client available for Windows Phone. Hopefully, Skype will soon become available since it is owned by Microsoft.
Video recording is limited to 720p due to the hardware restrictions of the Titan. If it was dual-core it would be able to support 1080p HD recording. The Titan’s extra weight allows it to be more stable in one’s hands while recording. Two new options are available as well: stereo audio recording and continuous focus. You can also now save settings. Nonetheless video recording is still solid on the Titan. Video recording is also better in day time. The LED flash can be used, but it makes the video blurry occasionally.
Phone calls were clear and solid. The earpiece got up to a very nice volume level and I never had trouble hearing the person on the other end of the call. The speakerphone was incredibly loud and sacrificed clarity for volume. I wasn’t getting as strong as Wi-Fi signal as I was on other devices such as my Motorola Atrix, but it had no problem maintaing the connection.
The Titan is powered by a 1,600 mAh battery. HTC claims as much as 410 minutes of 3G talktime(710 minutes GSM) and up to 460 hours 3G standby (up to 360 hours GSM) on a single charge. We expected the Titan to run out of battery before the end of the day due to the large screen size and powerful processor, but it managed to make it through the whole day and some of the next even with push email, internet use, camera use, and listening to music.
The HTC Titan goes against what you would expect. It has a very large display, but has the same resolution of the smallest Windows Phone on the market. You would also expect poor battery life with such a large screen and powerful processor, but it lasted longer than a day on a single charge. There’s not much customization besides HTC’s Hub and selected apps, but it’s nice to see a consistent UI experience and not an intrusive OS skin which many OEMs pre-install on Android devices.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketplace is still no where near the Android Marketplace or iTunes App Store, which can be a turn-off if you are a heavy app user. The Titan may be too big for some people who have smaller hands or don’t enjoy lugging around such a big device in their pocket.
Those who are looking for the biggest screen possible or just have big hands, the Titan will be a great phone for you. It has an awesome sturdy build and even though the screen resolution doesn’t compare to that of the iPhone 4S or Galaxy Nexus, it still works out well for the Titan. The camera app is definitely one of HTC’s best. The rest is really up to your opinion on Windows Phone Mango versus Android or iOS. It was almost as if Mango was meant to run on this big of a screen. Microsoft is definitely committed to this OS and was very quick about updating all of its devices to Mango. The Titan is definitely one of the top Windows Phone Mango devices available. It is currently available unlocked on Amazon and will be available on AT&T at some point this fall.