HTC Titan II

Let’s talk about why:
§  Loving the hardware quality and design
§  Windows Phone is smooth as butter
§  The camera is excellent
§  Pixel density is awful
§  It’s pretty thick
§  Battery life didn’t satisfy me
The Titan II lives up to these expectations. Even with the lower from metal on the original Titan to plastic on the second-gen version, the phone still feels great in the hand. It’s well balanced, has a nice soft-touch finish to it, and has just sufficient heft to feel like a piece of gadgetry and not a toy. On the other hand, this phone is a bit thick for my taste. I’ve seen HTC put out equally solid and thin phones, like the HTC One S, but the Titan II is simply too fat to hang around with the cool kids.

Unluckily, the Titan II doesn’t have any external memory. You can pop off a little panel on the back to access the SIM, but there’s no slot for microSD storage and no access to the battery. The 16-megapixel rear camera is square in the middle of the back of the phone, in usual HTC fashion, with a small amplifier grill to its left. The volume rocker and a shutter button are on the right, and microUSB is on the bottom of the left edge.
Luckily, the Windows Phone Photo Enhancer app works to balance out the lack of Instagram, another crowd pleaser. It basically offers up filters for your pictures and other little editing tools to make sure each image looks special and unique. The filters aren’t quite as awesome as Instagram’s, but it’ll positively do as an alternative until the day that slow-moving Instagram heads over to Windows Phone.
Past that there isn’t a whole lot that’s different from the standard Windows Phone 7.5 OS, but the fine news is that Windows Phone is good enough on its own.
One of the most be notable and attractive features of the Titan II is its 16-megapixel camera, fully equipped with an f/2.6, 28mm lens, backside-illuminated sensor and dual LED flash. It’s a mouthful, but it’s a wonderful camera for a phone. The pictures are great, though I’m not sure color reproduction is perfectly on point. I find my iPhone to take rather “cold” pics, but it would seem as though the Titan II leans on the furnace side.

If you’ve been stoked about the Titan II, you may be a bit upset starting right now.

The Titan II isn’t offering HTC’s very best display tech, as its an S-LCD, but it is one of HTC’s largest displays, at 4.7-inches. That’s actually fine. I’m impressed with the fact that the massive display is still comfortable in the hand and I can wrap that thumb around and do just about anything with one hand, despite the phone’s unbecoming stoutness.

To be clear, pixel density is far more important than resolution or size alone, as it measures where these two dimensions meet. A 800×480 resolution will look far better on a 4-inch screen than it will on a 4.7-inch screen, simply because the pixel density is much better. On the Titan II, the screen might be big, but it’s far from beautiful.

It’s silly to measure the Titan II against the iPhone or Android phones based on the fact that they’re entirely different platforms, at least when we’re doing official benchmark testing. But I will say that AT&T’s 4G LTE network left me pleased, at least here in NYC. I had no trouble whatsoever placing calls and sending messages, and web browsing was especially snappy (thanks in large part to WP’s IE9 browser).
On the other hand, I’m not too happy with the Titan II battery life. HTC’s One S kicked ass in the battery life department, yet an LTE radio paired with a 4.7-inch display makes for a hard task for that little battery.


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