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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
WP Bench results, lower ms on CPU/Data tests better. Higher F/s on GPU tests better:
CPU – 13,919 ms
Data – 20,469 ms
GPU – 1234 frames, avg: 41 F/s
CPU – 20,807 ms
Data – 28,903 ms
GPU – 571 frames, avg: 19 F/s
CPU – 20,617ms
Data – 20,722ms
GPU – 571 frames, avg: 19 F/s
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.