HTC Titan II Review


Before the Lumia 900 there was the Titan. It was a beast of a phone, the likes of which Windows Phone users had never seen. They liked the giant phone, and it sold well. So when it came time for HTC to create a successor they clearly employed the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach, and added in a few goodies. Is it enough for the Titan II to be a worthy sequel to the original? Let’s find out.

Hardware & Design

The Titan II is a perfect example of the famous “HTC build quality.” When you feel the phone in your hand you know you are holding a premium product. Some people might consider the Titan II to be thick, but with such a large screen size the thickness makes it easier to hold. There is a curved lip on the bottom face that adds a touch of class, and it provides a nice feel when you press the capacitive buttons.

The display is 4.7” Super LCD at 480×800 resolution. That’s going to be too big for some people, there is no getting around that. Even for me, at 6’4”, it’s on the large side. The resolution is definitely low compared to other high end devices on the market, but I honestly didn’t have any issues with it. If you’re coming from a device with an HD screen you will notice it.

The wake/power button placement is awkward. With devices this large power buttons really need to be on the side. Not only is the power button hard to reach with one hand, but it’s also recessed so much that it can be hard to find when you feel around with your finger.

Camera

The camera is the main event of the Titan II. HTC has equipped this beast with a 16MP camera with autofocus, dual LED flash, and 28mm wide angle lens. HTC has also made some customizations with the camera software. It has an “intelligent auto” setting like you might find on a digital camera, and also burst and panorama modes.

The camera performed generally okay. We compared the photos taken with the Titan II against a HTC Trophy (5MP) and a Sony Cyber-shot (16.2MP). The Titan II fell somewhere in between. Photos taken with the Titan II appear over saturated in well lit conditions. In low light conditions the Titan II had a hard time focusing which resulted in blurry photos. The 720p video is adequate, but it’s nothing to write home about.

The burst and panorama modes work very well. Burst mode can only be accessed from the settings, which is a little bummer. We would prefer holding down the shutter key to just automatically initiate burst mode. Panorama works differently than most cameras. It guides you to three spots across your scene and takes a photo at each one, then stitches them together. It actually works very well.

One other thing to note is the camera itself sticks out a little on the back. It made me feel like I was scratching the lens every time I set the phone down.

Titan II vs. a digital camera and Sample 720p videos

Software

The Titan II runs Windows Phone 7.5. There are no surprises when it comes to Windows Phone. It’s the exact same OS many of you already use. There are few quirks, however.

There is some lag in the keyboard. On the first key press there is a slight delay on the letter showing up in the text box, and the key pop-up never appears. This only happens when accessing the keyboard after opening a fresh app. I didn’t see this mentioned in other reviews, so it could be isolated to the device I received.

Performance & LTE

The Titan II is equipped with a 1.5GHz Qualcomm S2 processor. Games played very smoothly without any lag, and apps opened about as quickly as Windows Phone allows. Battery life was about average. I had no trouble making it through a normal day, but you’ll need to charge every night.

I was lucky enough to be near one of the few cities in the Michigan/Ohio area that has AT&T LTE, and boy was I impressed. In order to get an accurate speed test I tethered the Titan II to a Samsung Galaxy Tab with the SpeedTest.net app. We averaged about 10mbps down, and 9mbps up. Loading up a Netflix video was almost instantaneous, and simple OS tasks like updating the People Hub was a breeze.

When the Titan II wasn’t enjoying LTE my experience was drastically worse. I found the bars to be utterly useless. At times when the phone showed 5 bars of “4G” I couldn’t get anything to load. It was so bad that the entire phone seemed to bog down, but when I restarted the phone everything was magically faster. Annoying to say the least.

Verdict

The Titan II is a worthy successor to the popular original. The enormous stature of the phone will appeal to some, but be a turn-off to others. The best thing about the Titan II is the camera. It’s better than most smartphone cameras on the market, and certainly the best Windows Phone camera you can buy. The one problem the Titan II has is the Lumia 900. Both phones have similar specs, but the Lumia 900 is $100 cheaper. If a big screen and a good camera is what you need the Titan II is an excellent device.


  • Awesome review. Looks like WP users have a hard choice ahead of them if they are in the market for new phones right now.

  • They grow up so fast :)

  • Byron

    I don’t think your keyboard lag is isolated. I just picked up an HTC Titan II yesterday and found your review by searching for the keyboard lag issue. Kind of annoying.