The HTC Titan is the big one in the Taiwanese firm’s latest batch of upgraded Windows 7.5 handsets.
That’s literally big with a huge 4.7in screen, not to mention its 8 megapixel camera and the very latest version of the Windows Phone operating system.
Design and build
Just because it has a big screen, HTC doesn’t see the need for the Titan to be big in all directions. Yes, it measures a hefty 132x71mm in front, but it’s relatively slim at 10mm deep and after some serious working out in the lab it’s managed to keep its weight down to a perfectly reasonable 119g.
On the sides are a microUSB power/sync slot, volume rocker and camera shutter button, while on top is a power/sleep button and 3.5mm headphone jack.
There’s always potential with a big screen, but the Titan doesn’t quite match up to the best it could be. The resolution of 800x480 pixels is less than you’ll find on some of the smaller high-end screens (HTC’s Sensation XE for instance, crams 960x540 pixels into 4.3in) and spread across 4.7in it’s merely good when it could have been great.
Interface and OS
Windows impressed just about everyone when it reinvented its aging operating system with Windows Phone 7. This time round, the new 7.5 Mango version of the OS is more of an evolution than a revolution, offering multiple tweaks and fixes (Microsoft claims there have been 500 changes) but no all-over reworking.
New features include greater support for multi-tasking, and a long press on the back button pulls up a carousel showing all the apps you’re currently using. There’s also a new power-saving feature that that automatically shuts down battery-bashing apps like push email and Wi-Fi when your juice is running low.
The tiles which populate the homepage now offer more advanced options and more of them are active, rather than just the animated pictures of the original contacts tile. Now you can organise your contacts into different groups and give each its own tile. When you receive an update (Facebook and Twitter are both incorporated into the OS) from any of those contacts, the tile will alert you.
Since Microsoft’s strict rules on the implementation of WinPho means that HTC can’t give the OS the kind of makeover its Sense UI does for Android, the HTC Hub pulls together a few bespoke apps to enhance the HTC experience. So you get a version of its lovely weather widget as well as stock news, an equalizer for your music and HTC Watch, which allows you to download and view a variety of new and classic films.
The 8 megapixel camera is one of HTC’s better examples but in truth that’s not really saying a great deal, since although they’re usually competent, the quality of the pictures often pales in comparison with rivals.
It comes with a bright dual LED flash, an F2.2 lens and a BSI sensor which apparently helps it to take better pics in low light. It also has auto focus, multi-shot, face detection and panorama mode.
That’s a nice set of specs but while it’s capable of some okay pics in good light, it’s still too subject to blur for fast moving snaps, and less than excellent lighting tends to throw up more noise than it really should. It can record video at up to 720p HD resolution though, which is always welcome.
Apps and browser
The Android browser is fast using 3G or Wi-Fi connection to the web and displays pages well though there’s no support for Flash video.
The Android Market has many treats in store business and fun and again that big screen comes up trumps for gamers as well as movie fans.
Media and connectivity
Movies of course look terrific on that big screen, and even if it’s not super-sharp like Samsung’s Super AMOLED devices, its sheer size drags you in and immerses you in the action. You can view them in their natural resolution and for once you may not be tempted to stretch them to fit the screen, though the option’s there if you prefer.
Performance and battery life
Despite the large, bright screen, the single-core 1.5GHz processor supported by 512MB of RAM didn’t have any problems coping. In fact it coped extremely well, and in common with most WinPho handsets proved extremely nippy when skipping between apps, even with a several running at once.
As usual with WinPho, there’s no option to expand the 16GB of onboard memory via microSD card and despite some noises from Microsoft that it’s expecting this to change in the future, there’s still no clear indication of when that might happen.
The large 1600mAh battery did its duty but not a great deal else, delivering a bit over a day of fairly heavy use.
- Massive touchscreen
- 8 megapixel camera
- Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
- Screen could be sharper
- No expandable memory
- Browser doesn't support Flash
Verdict: The sheer size of the screen means the HTC Titan is a pocketful and more, though it’s slim and lightweight enough so that it doesn’t feel like the brick it appears to be from the front. The big screen is good for movies and browsing but if the pixel count had been higher it could have been really outstanding.
More info: HTC Titan spec