Can a phone ever truly offer the quality of a point-and-shoot? The HTC Titan II ($199.99) takes its best shot with a 16-megapixel camera, the highest resolution available on any smartphone in the U.S. This Windows Phone for AT&T isn't a slacker when it comes to other features, either. It delivers 4G LTE speeds, a huge 4.7-inch WVGA display and Microsoft's slick OS. But are these features enough to trump the $99 Nokia Lumia 900?
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Designoriginal Titan but curves up slightly at the bottom for improved grip and a more elegant silhouette. With a 5.1 x 2.8 x 0.4-inch design, the smartphone definitely makes its presence known in your pocket or bag--and it tipped our scales at an equally substantial 6 ounces. That's heftier than the Nokia Lumia 900 (5.6 ounces; 5 x 2.7 x 0.45 inches), which has a smaller 4.3-inch screen.
Some may prefer the Titan II's metal chassis, but we like the Lumia 900's bright cyan color option--it definitely stands out more than the subdued Titan II.
Below the display are the three standard Windows Phone buttons: Back, Start and Search. A speaker and the Titan II's front-facing camera sit above the display, while a volume rocker and camera button rest on the right. You'll find the microUSB port on the left side and the headphone jack and power button on the top. The phone's other main attraction, the 16-MP camera, is on the back next to a speaker.
However, we slightly preferred the AMOLED ClearBlack display on the Lumia 900; when playing the trailer for "The Avengers" side by side, the Lumia 900's screen showed truer blacks and more vivid oranges and reds. Viewing angles were wider, too.
The Titan II delivered satisfyingly loud audio, but audiophiles will find the sound too tinny. When we streamed "Love Long Distance" by the Gossip, the vocals we know and love sounded warped.
Software and User Interface
Swiping right reveals the apps page, which displays all your apps in alphabetical order. As we've said before, it would be nice if we could organize apps into folders, but Windows Phone 7.5 doesn't offer this functionality. What you can do is pin apps, websites and other content to the Start screen and then move the tiles around as you see fit.
See our full review of Windows Phone 7.5 for more details.
On the WP Bench test, which measures CPU, memory and storage and GPU performance, the Titan II notched 97.5, which is actually a tad lower than the original Titan's score (98.5) but higher than the Lumia 900's (89). It's also above the smartphone average (91). When we put the HTC Titan II through its paces in Benchmark Free, it scored 39.5, the same as the Lumia 900.
Web Browsing and Data
However, the Titan II rendered full Web pages quickly: The mobile versions of the New York Times and CNN loaded in just 1.5 and 1.3 seconds, respectively, and our own Laptopmag.com took 8.2 seconds. Suffice it to say, you won't be tapping your feet impatiently waiting for pages to load.
We like the History page, which displays your recent tracks on Slacker and videos you've shot with your phone's camcorder. Of course, you can also download media from your PC.
Camera and Camcorder
Boasting a 16-MP sensor and dual LED flash, the Titan II's camera is clearly the phone's major selling point, and it more than impresses. In a shootout with the Nokia Lumia 900, which has an 8-MP camera, the HTC Titan II delivered more-accurate colors and fewer artifacts when zoomed in. The Titan II also did a better job of focusing the photo, though in some instances (such as when trying to capture a photo on the sly), we found that the camera couldn't pinpoint where to focus and required us to specify an area with our finger on the touch screen.
Shots of blooming orchid trees against a bright blue sky delivered the rich colors and crisp leaves we saw in real life. Indoors, tones were more muted and gave most photos a yellowish cast, but the results were still better than what you'll get with other smartphones. There was a delay of about two seconds between shots, but if you need to catch action without delay, you can enable the Burst mode for continuous shooting.
Unlike the rear camera, the Titan II's 1.3-MP front-facing cam is standard smartphone fare. On a test Tango video call over 4G, our caller appeared pixelated, though the quality was about on par with the Nokia Lumia 900's camera.
HTC includes some very useful settings to take advantage of its camera. HTC's Photo Enhancer app is fun, offering Instagram-style filters such as High Contrast and Vintage. Other camera features include face detection and smile capturing, along with controls for brightness, contrast, white balance and ISO.
If you're content to keep the camera settings on Auto and just want to add some pizazz to your photos, Panorama mode stitches together multiple images you take by panning in one direction. We really liked this feature, and it worked very well provided we took the time to align our images correctly.
Let's not forget that 720p camcorder. On our tests, it captured indoor and outdoor action well. A sample video of cars whooshing down Manhattan's Eighth Avenue was clear and accurate, without excessive blurring or jerkiness.
Call Quality and Battery Life
On our test calls with the Titan II, people on the other line sounded loud and clear. Callers did note that we came through a bit fuzzy, though they could still catch all of our words.
We all know that LTE and battery life are bitter enemies, but the HTC Titan II won't have you reaching for a power source come lunch time. HTC rates the phone for 4.3 hours of talk time and about 12 days of standby. Our fully charged Titan II got through an eight-hour workday before we needed to recharge its 1730mAH battery. We will update this review with the results of our LAPTOP Battery Test.
VerdictHTC One X line or the ability to shoot photos while you capture video. In addition, the Titan II's 4G LTE speeds aren't the best we've seen, and some people may not like its large and heavy design. Overall, the Titan II takes better photos than the Nokia Lumia 900 and gives Microsoft's OS a bigger and brighter canvas, but you'll have to really want the camera to pay the $100 premium.
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|Form Factor||Candybar Touchscreen|
|Operating System||Windows Phone 7.5|
|CPU||1.5-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S2|
|Memory Expansion Type|
|Display (main)||4.7 inches, 800 x 480 (WVGA)|
|Front Camera Resolution||1.3MP|
|Talk / Standby Time||4.3 hours/12.2 days|
|Size||5.2 x 2.7 x 0.5 inches|
|SAR Rating (Head)|
|SAR Rating (Body)|