Review: The giant HTC TITAN Windows Phone 7.5 device

By Tom Warren, on 10th Oct 11 11:45 am with 51 Comments

HTC TITAN Windows Phone 7.5 handset

HTC’s new giant TITAN device will wow you the first time you lay your eyes on it. The TITAN is aptly named thanks to its massive 4.7-inch 800×480 SLCD display. The screen size and quality is hard to describe in words or pictures, it has to be seen to be believed. The TITAN is not designed to be a cross between a phone and tablet but the 4.7-inch display is a huge screen for a smart phone. The screen is the biggest talking point of the device but does it spoil the overall experience or compliment it? Read on to find out.

Hardware

HTC has taken its unibody design and implemented this with the TITAN. The device uses a contoured design to make it feel great in the hand alongside the 4.7-inch display. The results are impressive. The TITAN feels well made and yet manages to stay fairly thin and lightweight at 9.9mm and 160 grams (5.6 ounces) respectively. The dimensions are not far away from Apple’s iPhone 4S device, at 9.3mm thickness and 140 grams (4.9 ounces) in weight. The TITAN feels good in the hand and does not feel heavy despite its large screen. One handed operation can be challenging at times due to the screen size but overall it’s not a regular issue.

Pretty in green - HTC TITAN

HTC has also included a more powerful 1.5GHz processor and 8 megapixel camera with F2.2 lens, dual LED flash, and BSI sensor (for better low-light captures). The rear camera takes some stunning photographs and clear 720p HD video (see below). The TITAN is also one of the first Windows Phone 7.5 devices to feature a front facing 1.3 megapixel camera and gyroscope support. The support will allow location and mapping applications to better calculate where your device is located. The forward facing camera will allow third-party developers to create a wide range of video calling applications for Windows Phone.

Windows Phone 7.5 improvements

Windows Phone 7.5 is greatly improved and fits perfectly with the TITAN. HTC supports the latest features of the new operating system, including the new Internet Sharing feature. TITAN users can simply transform their device into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot that will provide the phones data connection to up to 5 wireless devices. The new gyro support allows third-party developers to take advantage of new capabilities in Windows Phone 7.5 to offer better mapping and location support. The TITAN also features support for Visual Voicemail inside of 7.5, although this is largely dependent on mobile operators. HTC has also opted to feature its attentive phone software, these include:

  • Quiet ring on pickup – Reduce ring volume when you move the phone
  • Pocket mode – Increase ring volume while in pocket or bag
  • Flip for speaker – Turn over the phone to activate the speaker during calls
  • Flip to mute ringer – Turn over the phone to silence the ringer during an incoming call

These simple improvements alongside some other software tweaks make HTC’s offering a joy to use. HTC has also included its connected media, Flashlight, Hub, Watch, Locations and Photo Enhancer applications. HTC users also have the option of downloading their own YouTube app which provides quick and easy access to search and sign-in to YouTube. Overall the software shipped alongside Windows Phone 7.5 is impressive compared to some other manufacturers. HTC clearly understands what Windows Phone users need from their default experience.

Camera

HTC TITAN face tracking

Perhaps the most impressive part of HTC’s TITAN package is the 8 megapixel camera. The TITAN’s camera ships with a F2.2 lens, dual LED flash, and BSI sensor (for better low-light captures). The results are extremely impressive for what’s essential a camera phone. The TITAN will record 720p video with ease and shoot in a variety of camera modes. HTC supports Panorama Shot and Burst Shots modes within  the camera application. The Panorama Shot mode lets Windows Phone users easily create a panoramic shot using the inbuilt camera application. The Panorama Shot mode is easy to control and the controls track user movement and stitch each image into the final result. The Burst Shots mode is another useful improvement that allows users to take a number of images in rapid succession. The feature is useful for capturing movement in photos or events that require multiple versions of essentially the same photo.

HTC has kept the auto focus features of its Windows Phone devices. A half press of the camera button will allow users to auto-focus in on objects in view. Microsoft’s own Windows Phone 7.5 improvements also allow users to tap to auto-focus and take a picture instead of using the dedicated hardware button. The zoom also appears to be more effective than previous HTC devices and produces a clearer image. The TITAN also features the ability to change white balance, brightness, contract, saturation and sharpness of images. Advanced photographers can also play around with the ISO settings of the camera to improve their images, the TITAN offers ISO settings from 100 through to 800.

HTC TITAN

The TITAN also sports a forward facing 1.3 megapixel camera. It’s one of the first Windows Phone 7.5 devices to feature a front facing camera. Unfortunately there’s no applications that support the feature at the time of writing. The Tango video calling service is due to go live on Windows Phone shortly and Microsoft is expected to offer its Skype for Windows Phone application in the coming weeks. Both are expected to support the forward-facing camera support in Windows Phone 7.5.

Another new feature of HTC’s TITAN device is the ability to track faces with the camera. The face tracking picks up multiple individuals in a shot and will focus on the most prominent one. The software detects the faces in the frame and balances exposure for the final image. The tracking works by bringing up a white box around each face, the most prominent face will be detected and highlighted with a green box. If you’re shooting just a single person then the box will change from white to green once it’s focused (see image above), allowing you to capture the best portrait images.

The results of the HTC TITAN camera can be found below using default settings on the image side and 720p for video capture.

HTC TITAN image sample - click to see original

Performance and battery life

The performance of the TITAN is outstanding. Windows Phone fly’s through the interface, powered by a 1.5GHz CPU. It’s clear that Windows Phone doesn’t need the extra CPU for most tasks but you soon begin to notice the speed after a few hours of using the TITAN. We tested a number of applications and games and the majority performed identical to a Samsung Focus or exceeded the load times of the Focus. You can see further examples in the video overview below.

One of the biggest worries of a 4.7-inch device is battery life. I’m pleased to report that the battery life of the HTC TITAN is not hindered because of the big screen. Battery use appears to be consistent to that of the Samsung Focus and HTC Trophy devices. I have been using the TITAN as my primary device for around 7 days and although it usually requires a charge every day, the device lasts a full day out and about using GPS, phone calls and a range of apps with the HSPA data connection. The battery saver section of Windows Phone indicates that the estimated time remaining is 22 hours after a full charge of the TITAN. The time varies throughout the day based on how often you use the device so this value can increase and decrease over a days usage. Microsoft’s new battery saver feature of Windows Phone 7.5 will also shut down apps from running in the background to help preserve the battery. The option can be enabled when the battery is low or at any point during normal use.

HTC TITAN

WP Bench results, lower ms on CPU/Data tests better. Higher F/s on GPU tests better:

HTC TITAN:

CPU – 13,919 ms
Data – 20,469 ms
GPU – 1234 frames, avg: 41 F/s

HTC Trophy:

CPU – 20,807 ms
Data – 28,903 ms
GPU – 571 frames, avg: 19 F/s

Samsung Focus:

CPU – 20,617ms
Data – 20,722ms
GPU –  571 frames, avg: 19 F/s

HTC TITAN vs HTC 7 Trophy

Overview and conclusion

Overall the HTC TITAN is the best Windows Phone 7.5 on the market right now. The striking 4.7-inch display, raw power and capable 8 megapixel camera make it an impressive offering for loyal and new Windows Phone fans. The display could be challenging for those who are used to a smaller device but after a few hours usage it’s hard to turn back to a small screen. The onscreen keyboard feels bigger and in turn makes it easier to type. The device feels faster and Windows Phone pops from hub to hub thanks to an improved 1.5GHz processor. HTC’s camera puts it on par with Apple’s new iPhone 4S lens, the only tangible difference is the lack of 1080p video recording.

The HTC TITAN feels like the new HTC HD2. In fact it could well be the new HD2 in more ways than one. HTC announced the Sensation XL last week and the device is identical to the TITAN apart from its beats support and increase in physical RAM. If there was ever a Windows Phone device that has the potential to run Android then the TITAN is just that. It’s not clear whether this type of functionality could be made available unofficially but with both devices on the market running rival operating systems, you feel it’s only a matter of time before the enterprising crew over at XDA-developers wave their magic wands.

If you’re in the market for a “mans” Windows Phone then the HTC TITAN has you covered. Samsung and Nokia both have new Windows Phone 7.5 devices on the horizon but I suspect neither of them will compete with the screen size of HTC’s giant. HTC has created a marvelous Windows Phone device with the TITAN, one that will intrigue those without it and please those with it. If you want the ultimate Windows Phone right now, there’s nothing better than the TITAN.

  • Anonymous

    Is the screen of equal/better quality compared with other existing Windows Phones? Pixel density etc…

    • http://twitter.com/JohnnyWestlake Johnny Westlake

      It’s the same resolution, so the lowest pixel density of any Windows Phone device. However,
      thanks to the great font smoothing you don’t really see any of the pixels. However, everything is really big :P

    • Anonymous

      Maybe I’ll wait and see what the Samsung Focus S is going to be like :D

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      Yup everything is rather big, the benefits are a really nice sized keyboard on screen. It’s hard to go back to typing on a smaller screen. I used an iPhone 4 the other day and it took me a few minutes to adjust back.

    • Anonymous

      How does it look on the start screen? Doesn’t the huge tiles feel a bit silly? 

    • Anonymous

      You should try watching live tv on it (Sky news, for instance), just beautiful!

    • Ion

      Benefits? I disagree. Maybe it looks nice to you because it so eyecatching. But we all know it isn’t and that it is a placebo effect created by the illusion that is simply bigger…

      I’m waiting for the Samsung Focus S, a phone with a truly good screen.

  • http://techin5.com Jubbin Grewal @Techin5.com

    Looks like a good phone, yet I’ll hold out till I see what Nokia has.

  • http://twitter.com/mdtauk martin anderson

    Tom in your opinion how does the SLCD display compare to the Samsung Super AMOLED display.  Last year when I was deciding on which Windows Phone to choose, I picked the Omnia 7 over the HD7 because of the screen, and what I perceived as faster loading.

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

       I prefer it to be honest but I’m not sure if this is because of the size. The colours seem better on the TITAN and everything isn’t “too bright” if that makes sense.

    • Anonymous

      Yep, wholeheartedly agree! There’s just something different about this ‘new’ SLCD that, whilst not as ‘contrasty’ as Samsungs S-Amoled tech, no longer ‘suffers’ for it in direct comparisons!

    • Joe05

      Good Review Tom, though this thing is just to big to be practical.  This guys says it best: http://dcurt.is/2011/10/03/3-point-5-inches/

    • Predictabletroll

      Right. And if Apple had come out with it you’d have said it was “magic” and “innovative”.

    • http://profiles.google.com/jimmy101albright James Albright

      I have an iphone 3gs right now and one of the main reasons I was looking forward to the much rumored ‘iPhone 5′ was a larger screen. Looking to get into WP7 and the Titan’s large screen is EXACTLY what I want.

    • Anonymous

      If anything, I think their ‘new’ SLCD tech works, as it provides a nice vibrant display with just the right amount of contrast. Compared directly to Amoled/S-Amoled it looks good and vibrant, and not like a ‘lost cousin’, as compared to its previous screens that just ended up looking washed out!

  • http://twitter.com/electronicpunk Patrick

    Beardyman ;D

  • http://twitter.com/Nelus08 Jay

    Looks like the best WP device at the moment. The screen looks better than the Mozart/Trophy from what i have seen in comparisons. 

    • http://twitter.com/JohnnyWestlake Johnny Westlake

      Colours on the Mozart are slightly more vibrant than the Titan (they’re both SLCD though unlike the Trophy). The Titan however also has a brighter screen so it could fair better in sunlight, unfortunately I couldn’t say for certain as I haven’t seen any sunlight to make an opinion on it.

    • http://twitter.com/Nelus08 Jay

      Brighter would be a big plus for me. Struggle outdoors with the Mozart when its sunny. I take it u have the Titan. How are you finding it? I dont think i can wait until the Samsung/Nokia WP phones. Sold the Mozart last week and on dumb phone until then 

    • http://twitter.com/JohnnyWestlake Johnny Westlake

      I wrote about my opinions on the Titan here – http://www.neowin.net/forum/topic/1030657-a-quick-review-of-the-htc-titan-x310e/

      Frankly, I’d wait for the Samsung Focus S – If I could get a full refund on this I would. Not that I don’t like the phone, but if it’s a choice between this an the Focus S, the Samsung gets it.

    • Anonymous

      It’s quite visible in direct sunlight.

  • Jinge

    Power on the side… Not good for (nonexistent) standardized docks… 

  • http://twitter.com/UberGeekGirl Jessica DeVita

    I love my Windows Phone 7, and have had Mango for a few months now on the HTC Trophy. I don’t “love” the HTC hardware, it’s awkward to hold, difficult to see in the sunlight and the camera is horrific. Hardware however, has been the Achilles heel IMHO. I personally look forward to what Nokia will do with this platform. Could be a great combo. While the Titan looks amazing, it is certainly a “Man Phone”. I’d like to see a manufacturer work with the ladies to make a device designed for my smaller hands.

    • http://twitter.com/efjay01 Ef Jay

      Sounds like the Nokia Sea Ray/Sabre will suit you, obviously great camera, smaller but still good quality screen, and possibly multiple colors to choose from. Hoping for Nokia to really bring something outstanding as well.

    • Anonymous

      You probably should have gotten the Mozart as your first then. I like my ‘mans’ phones, but even I was was impressed when I held my sisters Mozart; it was very well designed!

  • Guest

    Hi guys,

    sorry for offtopic.

    i wonder where is the jump list?
    Since the release of WP7 i haven’t seen the promised jumplist on any device?

    I’m on android atm, so i cant test it myself
    But waiting for Nokia WP7 Device ….

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

      Jumplist is only available if you have more then 45 apps. :)

    • Anonymous

      Jump list works great, although there’s a nice (unobtrusive) animation to the scrolling that is nice to behold.

    • Anonymous

      It comes as the list gets large, I reckon it’s around 25 apps.

    • Entegy

      45

  • http://twitter.com/SimonKarlskov Simon Karlskov

    I know it’s not directly comparable.. But still, how does it stack up against the HTC Radar?

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      Haven’t played with a Radar for long enough yet but this is a different class of device. Hope to have a review unit shortly though :)

    • http://twitter.com/SimonKarlskov Simon Karlskov

      Ah ok, thanks for the reply though :)
      -Looking forward to seeing the review on the radar then, since in my opinoin the lower pricepoint makes it interesting as an alternative (and the fact that it is available now unlike the Nokia phones and the Samsung Omnia W).

  • Anonymous

    You should REALLY use SUBTITLES.. Your MURMURing doesn’t help, AT ALL…

  • http://www.facebook.com/petrovsky Kirill Petrovsky

    The main problem with the SLCD are the blacks. Mozart is quite bright in the dark.

  • Anonymous

    I would be nice to see this up against the Samsung Focus S.

  • Anonymous

    I have the sensation 4G and it also has the unibody design it is absolutely awesome.

  • Anonymous

    Reviews on the Windows Phone 7 forum indicate that you can easily see the pixels, jagged lines and curves on the letters. FAIL.

    • Anonymous

      links pls.

    • Entegy

      The “official” Windows Phone 7 forum has no mention of the Titan, except for one guy asking on how to connect it to his PC. What forum are you referring to?

    • SigMan

      ArrowSmith why don’t you go play with the other iTurds and stop trolling with your anti MSFT BS.

  • http://www.ardentra.com Ardentra

    Tom does this have expandable SD memory storage under the battery cover?

  • tammy

    I’m guess Titan is the only HTC device with all those camera settings? Since my camera settings on the Surround hasn’t changed since day 1 even with Mango.

  • Ep121

    One word: Amazing,  my mate got it from UK, it’s really great

  • Advchild

    did i missed something? the titan has a  lot more settings than my trohpy got?

  • Anonymous

    when the hell can I buy this in the US? Getting antsy here…

  • Gr8nico

    I just got my HTC TITAN and I must say that after using HD7 I didn’t believe that I could get any better device. But TITAN is completely different league. Screen resolution is amazing and size of it is just prefer! Internet browsing is a total pleasure. The phone is so customer friendly. I couldn’t ask for a better Windows device. Really looking forward for Tango and Skype programs releases to use video calling. I have switched from iPhone using since the first phone up to iPhone4. And having each model and getting bored of the same IOS i must say that WP is the best choice i could make. Soooo worth recommending!

  • Gr8nico

    If I’m being honest I really looked forward to cooperation Nokia/Windows. But their new device does not look attractive at all (in my opinion).  I guess we have to wait for a Nokia phone with Windows OS that really stands out. That’s being said, I have big hopes for those two companies working together. In my eyes HTC TITAN is rather outstanding. RADAR is a compact version of the device and the price difference comes with a bit lower specs.