HTC Titan review: Huge is the new big

GSMArena team, 14 November 2011.
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Retail box

The massive HTC Titan leaves almost no room for accessories in the box. You can rest assured though that the essentials are covered. A set of earphones, a USB cable and a detachable charger head are in the bundle. The usual leaflets are there too and that's it. Being a Windows Phone device it doesn't come with expandable storage, so no memory card in the package.

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The HTC Titan retail box

360-degree spin

When it comes to sheer size the Titan lives up to its name. At131.5 x 70.7 x 9.9 mm it's an impressive slab, bordering on scary. We should note though that it's not much bigger than the 4.3" HTC HD7. At 160g, its actually two grams lighter than the predecessor (162 g). The sub-centimeter slimness and good use of space around the display make it reasonably comfortable to handle.

Design and build quality

The 4.7" S-LCD screen is the reason we're careful with the adjectives describing the HTC Titan. It's not as frighteningly big as you might have imagined. We can't really see it as the ladies' favorite but we have to acknowledge the market's been steadily moving towards bigger screens.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
HTC Titan 0.26 233 891 0.56567 1007
HTC Sensation 0.21 173 809 0.61 438 720
Motorola Atrix 4G 0.48 314 652 0.60 598 991
LG Optimus 2X 0.23 228 982 0.35 347 1001
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc 0.03 34 1078 0.33 394 1207
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II 0 231 0 362
HTC Incredible S 0.18 162 908 0.31 275 880
Apple iPhone 4 0.14 189 1341 0.39 483 1242

The Titan feels nice to the touch. The styling is sober, consciously stripped of embellishments. The phone has the typically solid HTC build. Its nearly all-screen up front and almost no bezel.

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The HTC Titan is well built and reasonably comfortable to hold

Compared to phones like the Galaxy S II, there's nothing out of the ordinary about the Titan. Placed side by side with an HTC Radar, it really looks a lot bigger but then again the difference in screen estate says it all: the Radar has a 3.7" display.

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A 4.7" screen makes for a big phone

The S-LCD capacitive unit of the HTC Titan has WVGA resolution and not qHD, which has been something of a favorite for HTC lately. We're guessing it's because WP7 isn't very flexible with different resolutions.

To put things into perspective, the HTC Sensation XE's 4.3" touchscreen has a pixel density of 256ppi, while the Titan manages only 199ppi. And while we were largely unimpressed with the Sensation XE, the Titan is quite a disappointment.

Yes, the screen size is quite a stretch for the resolution. This is most embarrassingly visible in the web browser, where text is as good as impossible to read at max zoom-out. On the 5" HD screen of the Samsung Galaxy Note this not a problem at all. Text is even smaller but absolutely legible on the sharp screen.

Compared to the preceding HTC HD7, one fault the engineers did well to address was the low response time of the screen, which caused an unpleasant ghosting effect when scrolling listed menus.

Above the HTC Titan's screen there's a secondary 1.3 MP video-call camera, a proximity sensor and an ambient light sensor. Three haptic-enabled capacitive touch controls are placed below the 4.7"display. The Back, Home and Search keys are well-spaced and nicely backlit in white.

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Above and under the display

The right side of the HTC Titan is where the volume rocker and camera button are. The shutterkey is rather thin but with very distinct half press. Pressing and holding the key will unlock the phone and launch the camera right out of the pocket.

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Shutter key and volume rocker on the left

The only thing on the right is the MicroUSB port. It's too close to the bottom and the cable will be getting in the way if you need to use the device while charging or during a PC connection.

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The right side: microUSBport only

The top of the HTC Titan features the 3.5 mm audio jack, a secondary microphone for active noise cancellation and the power/lock button. Perhaps it would have been better if HTC had borrowed one from Samsung's book and placed the button on the sideof the phone. It's just that, given the handset's size, most people will have trouble comfortably pressing the lock key in single-hand use.

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The top of the HTC Titan

At the bottom of the Titan there's the primary microphone and the battery cover latch.

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The bottom

The back of the Titan features the 8 MP camera lens and dual LED flash combo. There's also a loudspeaker grill and a Windows Phone logo at the bottom.

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On the back of the HTC Titan

Pressing the battery cover latch causes the screen and phone innards to pop out. Effectively, the battery cover wraps the phone's body in. This solution helps avoid wobbles and squeaks but doesn't quite qualify as a unibody. We have a full-sized battery cover and a phone that divides into two equally sized parts. For a real unibody, you need to check out the HTC Radar.

Anyway, what's more important is that inside you'll find a 1600 Li-Ion battery and the SIM card compartment.

The battery life is a mixed bag and it can't be just the screen taking its toll. The HTC Sensation XE - for a fairly recent reference - does way better even though its 1730mAh battery needs to power a screen that's richer in pixels.

We got about a day's worth out of the Titan before it needed a refill. We did quite a lot of browsing over Wi-Fi, a couple of hours of exploring the different apps, listening to music and watching videos. We did take a lot of pictures too - the Titan took part in our 8 MP shootout. You could probably squeeze about a day and a half out of the Titan but youd need to turn down the screen brightness and probably stop some apps from running in the background.

HTC Titan
Removing the battery cover

The Titan boasts the biggest screen HTC have put on a phone yet - and it's one of the thinnest WP 7 handsets too. By no means small, the HTC Titan uses space well and allows reasonably comfortable handling. We like the phone's solid feel and quality build.

Most tasks are better performed on a screen this size: from typing, to web browsing to watching videos. However, thedisplay could've certainly used a higher resolution.

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The HTC Titan held in hand

It's time to move on to the Windows Phone Mango inside the Titan.The updated software is a strong pint in favor of the second generation WP 7 phones. HTC may not have the liberty of modifying the user interface as heavily as they do in Android, but they've snuck in some of their Sense UI niceties nonetheless.

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