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March 14, 2012

HTC Titan Review

Though not yet official launched or released in the Philippines, the HTC Titan has already attracted a lot of attention from local consumers, especially WP7 fans, despite the fact that this is already the nth Windows Phone HTC introduced to the market. Read our full review of the HTC Titan after the jump.

Before we proceed with the review, you may want to read through the unboxing and specs part of the phone here.

And, to give you a better perspective of how HTC has developed its WP7 line-up in the last two years, we also recommend reading up on the HTC HD7 review here and the LG Optimus 7 here.

Now that you’ve seen some of the things that this phone has to offer, you may be thinking that this just a black (Carbon Gray to be exact) version of HTC Sensation XL with Dolby Mobile for audio software and running on Windows Phone 7.5. Let me share some facts about the phone that may help explain why the Titan is how it is.

The TITANs came first.

We all know that HTC Sensation XE and XL was a huge hit for some because of its design and specs. But what we may not know is that the HTC Titan was announced and made available in the western countries even before XE and XL.

It is possible that these three units were all developed at the same time but Titan was released earlier to test the waters and to cater to a more specific market.

Target Market.

The target market dictates what the phone will look like and what specs will be in it. This is crucial to the success of any smartphones (or anything for that matter). Specs may be similar for Sensation XL and Titan but another thing that sets them apart is their target market. Because of its design and features, the XE and XL caters to youth and the young at heart. While the HTC Titan’s simple build caters to a group of people that prefers sense over style.

There are a lot of things to be considered when dealing with this topic, but for the sake of comparison between the two (XL and Titan), I’ll sum it up in to three: Design, Audio Software and OS.

• Design
The design of the HTC Titan tells it all. “Simple, yet elegant”. A design aimed towards the “professionals” market. This market prefers sense than style. Which explains why the Titan doesn’t have the flashy accents or design of the XE and XL that I think is a hit for teens.

• Audio Software
Dolby has been providing excellent quality sound output for ages and has established a reputable name in the audio industry. It only makes sense to use it on a phone that caters to early adult to adult and to put Beats in XE and XL because of its popularity in the youth.

• Mobile OS
Unlike Titan’s target market, the XL caters to people who love to tinker with their devices. This is I think the reason why HTC decided to put Windows Phone for Titan and Android for XE and XL. I am not saying that WP7.5 will not give early adults the freedom to personalize their phone or that Android is not geared for productivity. But there are just some things that are better done with Mango and there are more personalization (wider range of app) that is available on Android.

New features of WP7.5 Mango over WP7. Microsoft has added some much-needed features and functionalities on the WP Mango update. These include support for multi-tasking of third party apps, integration of Twitter and access to the Windows Live Skydrive through your Windows Live ID. There’s WiFi-tethering as well.

The Body.
Now that we have a better understanding of the HTC Titan, let’s get into the details of the phone.

The uni-body build of the HTC Titan gives it a sturdy and sophisticated look. From the name itself, the phone is quite a handful for most users with a 131.5 x 70.7mm body and weighs a hefty 160 grams. With its sheer size, the phone is incredibly slim which is only at 9.9mm.

As mentioned earlier the phone boasts a huge 4.7” Super LCD screen. But on the down side, the screen only has a resolution of 480×800 and pixel density of 199ppi. This is a bit low considering the size of the Titan’s screen. Technicality aside, the phone’s display isn’t as bad as on paper. The colors are rich and visibility is not an issue most of the time.

The back of the handset is mostly black (where the 8MP, dual-LED flash and speaker are) with a carbon-gray accent at the top part where the power button and the 3.5mm jack is located and at the bottom part where the Windows Phone logo is. At the front, above the screen is the HTC logo. To the logo’s left is the notification LED light, to its right is the 1.3MP front-facing camera and above it is the speaker.

At the bottom of the screen are three buttons; Back, Home and Search. The volume rocker and the physical camera button are located at the right side of the phone (if the phone is held upright and facing the screen). The micro-USB port is located at the left side of the phone. At the bottom of the handset is where the casing latch and a set of pin holes are found.

There are 8 pinholes on the HTC Titan that I assume serves different purposes. 6 are located at the back portion of the phone and the other 2 is situated at top and at the bottom of the phone. All of these holes have their own corresponding gold-plated contact points located in the cover of the Titan. I am personally not sure what those holes are for. Some say that these holes are for Microphone, RF Antenna and for resetting the phone. Given that this statement is true, it’s good to know which one is which (please feel free to comment on this).

Camera.

The HTC Titan’s camera is really good compared to other HTC handsets that we’ve seen in the past. The phone is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera with f/2.2 lens and a BSI Sensor that shoots high-resolution images even in low-light conditions. These, coupled with a variety of tweaks in the camera settings to suit your current lighting condition can produce high quality picture in a jiffy.

And to top it all up, HTC also thrown in a native photo editing software called HTC Photo Enhancer that enables users to edit and enhance their pictures using the Titan. Here are some sample photos taken using the HTC Titan (see full gallery here).

Video Recording.

Due to the phone’s hardware limitations, the HTC Titan can only record 720p videos. But had the phone been built with two cores, I suppose it can also do 1080p. The Titan shoots good quality video as shown in the sample below.

Sound Output.

As mentioned earlier, HTC’s move to put Dolby instead of Beats for the Titan’s sound is a marketing strategy for their target consumer. But I must say that this decision really paid off as proven by the pretty decent audio output of the HTC Titan. The sound of the voice of the person I was talking to was clear either on the earpiece or on the loudspeaker. With a headphones attached, the phone delivered a good sound quality. The sound is not too distorted even at peak volume.

As an added feature, the phone is also equipped with the SRS sound enhancer that makes the sound richer and more detailed compared to its usual sound output. If you’re still not satisfied with what you’re hearing, there are also pre-set equalizer settings that you can use to match the song that you’re listening to.

But while the listening experience through a headphone or an external speaker is quite pleasant, the same cannot be said with the phone’s speaker. The quality of the sound isn’t that bad even at the loudest volume (which by the way is loud compared with other handsets). The only issue that I have is the lack of thump of the bass. I really have to listen closely to be able to hear any sign of bass in a song. I tried different songs while tweaking some settings but to no avail.

Still, I think that the Titan produces a good quality sound output that gives you a run for your money. Nothing very surprising, just what you can typically expect from an HTC smartphone. Unless you intend to use the HTC Titan for playing songs through its speaker, I don’t think that the lack of bass isn’t going to be that big of a deal.

Note: There were some reports about the SRS Sound Enhancer eating some resources that results into some lag while playing games and may affect the results of the performance test.

Software.

The handset is powered by Windows Phone 7.5 or Mango which I personally think complements the over-all design of the HTC Titan. It’s simple yet elegant. The UI doesn’t differ much from the other devices that have the same OS. But makes the HTC Titan stand out from the rest is the integration of native HTC apps (Photo enhancer, Hub, Connected Media, just to name a few) and other minor tweaks such as Attentive Phone. These features makes the phone more equipped to handle your daily phone needs while ensuring that there’s a little extra something to keep you informed and entertained at the flick of a finger.

The virtual keyboard of the phone is just like what we’d expect from a gigantic phone. It is well-spaced and very responsive meaning we made less typing mistakes. I got so comfortable using it that some parts of this review were written using this handset. Same is also true with the dialer which took almost three-of the screen.

Performance.

On paper, the specs of the HTC Titan may not be as stunning as it was when it was announced last year. Standards has been set and broken in the span of 6 months. Despite of this, the phone is very responsive and has shown almost little but tolerable lags. Multitasking was almost flawless and switching from different apps is relatively smooth. But to have better idea of how the phone really performs, I’ve done some series of tests. The apps that I used for this test were Benchmark and WP Bench. Results are shown below.

• Benchmark

The Benchmark App resembles the Windows Experience Index in terms of scoring with 7.9 as the highest score.The HTC Titan fared well on this app. It scored an average of 6.8 based on CPU integer test, CPU Float, Memory, Storage Read and Storage Write. But because of the app being fairly new, there aren’t too many phones to compare your results with. I also wished that GPU test will be included in the future updates of this app. Here’s some screenshot of the test and comparison.

• WP Bench
What I like about this app is that this is more comprehensive in terms of the test that it can do to a WP Phone. The HTC Titan also fared well on the WP Bench test. It scored an outstanding 94.27 out of 100.00. Apart from the CPU, Storage and GPU test, the WP Bench can also test the phone’s display quality and its battery. The app also show case a wider range of test results from different WP Phones. Here’s some screenshot of the test and device comparison.

Battery.

Any battery will be put to the test by merely lighting up a 4.7” Super LCD screen. Thrown in some apps in the background, network connectivity and browsing through pictures and you’ll surely have to recharge your phone sooner than you expect. That’s why the HTC packed this monster with a 1600mAh Lithium-Ion battery under the hood to make sure that users spends more time enjoying the phone than charging it.

On top of that, Mango is smart enough to conserve some of your phone’s precious battery resources (Especially when most needed) by shutting down background in apps in low battery situation at your command. I was able to get a day’s worth of juice with the Titan. The usage comprises of 3G connectivity, active Facebook, Twitter and email app running in the background, occasional games, web browsing and sending a couple of text messages. Here’s a screen shot of the how the battery fared after a day’s worth of usage.

What’s hot and what’s not.

Pros:
• Huge screen
• Excellent camera (one of the best in any HTC handset we’ve tried)
• Sturdy Build and Elegant Design
• Mango operated
• Dolby Surround w/ SRS Sound Enhancer
• Integration of native HTC Apps and tweaks to Mango
• Very good battery life

Cons:
• Absence of Gorilla glass (Vulnerable to scratches)
• Low screen resolution and pixel density for a huge screen
• Low storage capacity (16gb)
• NO SD Card slot to compensate for the low storage capacity
• Single core processor (limits the video recording to 720p)
• No Mass Storage Capability
• Data management (ONLY through Zune)
• No File sharing over Bluetooth.
• Apps availability on Marketplace

HTC Titan X310e specs:
4.7″ Super LCD display @ 480×800 pixels
1.5GHz Scorpion processor (Snapdragon S2)
Adreno 205 GPU
Qualcomm MSM8255 chipset
16GB internal storage
512MB RAM
HSDPA 14.4Mbps, HSUPA 5.76Mbps
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/, DLNA
Bluetooth 2.1 w/ A2DP
microUSB 2.0 port
8MP autofocus camera w/ LED flash
720p video recording
1.3MP front-facing camera
FM radio tuner
Dolby Mobile and SRS
GPS w/ aGPS support
Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
Li-Ion 1600mAh battery

Summary

The HTC Titan is, in every sense, a high-end utilitarian smartphone intended for those who’re not in need of a flashy looking phone with massive amount of storage that has all sorts of unwanted apps. As I’ve said earlier, the hardware component of this handset isn’t as outstanding as it was when it was first announced. Since then, there were numerous handsets that were released in the market that have the same, if not better, specs as the Titan.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to what capabilities matters to you the most. If you’re looking for a mid-range to high-end, sophisticated looking smartphone with an ample size screen and powered by Windows Phone OS, then this is the right phone for you. If you prefer sense over style, you won’t go wrong with the HTC Titan.

While the handset is not officially released in the Philippines, it is already being sold in some local stores with a street price of Php25,600 (you can check it here). We are hoping that the price will eventually rationalize once HTC Philippines finally launches the handset in the country.

Disclosure: Widget City provided for this review unit. They are also a display banner advertiser on this site.


18 Responses to “HTC Titan Review”

  1. paolo
    Twitter: OdeiraOloap
    says:

    Now I do not know which new Windows Phone phone to buy.

    THIS, the HTC Titan? For 25,600?

    Or the Nokia Lumia 800 (which some phone shop at SM Megamall is selling for 25,000) ? (Robinson’s Manila has one for 18,000)

    Or should I just get a “pre-loved” (read: second-hand) Samsung Galaxy S2 for 17-19,000?

    Help? :(

  2. Carl Bytes says:

    @Paolo, if you want a bigger screen but less portable and money is not a problem, choose Titan.
    If you want portability and on a budget, choose HTC Radar.

    The advantage of Lumia 800 over Radar is 1.4ghz vs 1ghz processor. The advantage of Radar over Lumia 800 is price (around 15t).

  3. thejorlanb says:

    Go for the Lumia.

  4. Christine says:

    Wow… i like this phone sooo much…

  5. Christine says:

    Same here christine…

  6. عکس says:

    so nice phone

    tanksss

  7. Projectors says:

    yeah.. so nice mobile. features are outstanding. I like the HTC best of all mobiles..

  8. SpiderWak says:

    no Gorilla glass.. this is a deal breaker for me..

  9. Jaci says:

    Hi! I got mine last January this year from the US, im selling it for 13k complete with box and all. If interested do give me a text or call 09178159090 thanks :)

  10. jhonny_carl says:

    hi, i have read in some forums about muffled voice when making calls, hows the call quality of the unit you tested? also problems in wifi connectivity. hope you can shed light on these issues. i’m planning to buy this phone.

    thanks.

  11. yolie says:

    my phone titan was lost last week Tuesday July 24,i forgot when i went to the wash room…its not yet released here in Philippines,Baguio… but it was blocked already because i went to NTC to help me…so those who want to buy that phone titan like my p[hone checked first maybe it was my phone that was blocked already.

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  16. free ps4 says:

    Awesome! Its in fact awesome article, I have got much clear idea about
    from this piece of writing.

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This article was written by Ronnie Bulaong, a special features contributor and correspondent for YugaTech. Follow him on Twitter @turonbulaong.

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