HTC Titan II review: Wrath of the Titan

GSMArena team, 26 April 2012.
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A basic retail package

Inside the AT&T branded retail box of the HTC Titan II, you will find a charger, a microUSB cable, and the usual set of booklets.

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The retail package

Given the $199.99 retail price of the handset, a pair of headphones would have certainly been a welcome sight in the box. Unfortunately, you should budget some extra cash for those. Unfortunately, this is the case for all recent US smartphones we review.

Design and build quality

The design of the HTC Titan II is hardly revolutionary. Heck, we even have a hard time calling it evolutionary, as the handset is difficult to tell apart from the original Titan, which launched back in October. All in all, the smartphone looks like a typical HTC from 2011. We believe that had HTC spent more time making the Titan II look different than its predecessor, there would have been a lot more buzz surrounding it. A design language similar to the Android powered One Series would have been welcome.

The HTC Titan II is available only in a grey color scheme. It incorporates several shades of the color with the back of the device going from dark to light gray from top to bottom.

Build quality, just like the design, is typical for HTC. The Titan II is extremely well put together. The body is metal clad, with only a couple of small areas, covered in rubbery plastic. Even the pickiest among the potential users won't find something to frown about in this department.

The HTC Titan II is big, and has the measures to prove it. They are 132 x 69 x 13mm. The increased thickness in comparison to the original is due to the newly added camera sensor.

Quite surprisingly however, the sequel has managed to lose weight, despite growing in size, and packing better hardware than the first HTC Titan. The newcomer weighs the highly acceptable for a device of such proportions, 147 grams. That's less than the Nokia Lumia 900, for example.

The 4.7" Super LCD screen of the Titan II is a rather familiar sight. The Microsoft mandated, WVGA resolution means that potential users will have to make do with a rather paltry pixel density of 199ppi. Thankfully however, due to the non-PenTile nature of the Titan II's display, it packs 3 subpixels for every pixel of its resolution, thus looking a lot better in person than you would expect.

It's also got great sunlight visibility - a fact, which we noticed the very first time we played with an early pre-production unit of the handset during CES in Las Vegas.

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The display looks better in person than on paper

Above the screen, you will find the earpiece, the ambient light and proximity sensors, as well as the front-facing camera unit. A notification light resides there too. Below the screen is where the typical touch-sensitive Windows Phone buttons reside. There is a slight curve, which actually eases their one-handed operation.

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The view above and below the display

There is nothing but a microUSB port, which is also used for charging, on the left side. On the right, you will find the volume rocker and the dedicated camera button. Both feel pleasantly solid, and have a nice texture.

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The microUSB port on the left the volume rocker and camera button on the right

The power/lock key, the 3.5mm audio jack, and a secondary microphone keep each other company on top of the HTC Titan II. There is nothing but a mouthpiece at the bottom.

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The view on top the mouthpiece at the bottom

The back of the HTC Titan II is where things get very busy. At the top, you will see the giant 16MP sensor with its dual-LED flash. The loudspeaker grille is right beside it, too. At the bottom, you will see a small removable cover for the SIM compartment.

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The view on the back the SIM card slot is under a small cover

The HTC Titan II has followed the increasingly popular trend of featuring non-removable batteries in the latest smartphones. The handset's 1730mAh unit achieved the rather disappointing endurance rating of 23. This means that you will need to recharge your Titan II every 23 hours if you use it for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback every day.

Quite frankly, we were surprised to find a battery this small in a phone this large. The combination of a non-AMOLED screen and LTE connectivity was simply too much for the unit to handle. We definitely advise you to have a charger on you at all times.

Naturally, we have a full battery test under way, so expect the full scoop once we wrap it up.

Handling the HTC Titan II is surprisingly easy, despite its monstrous proportions. The tiny chin below the screen, while looking cool, helps a lot with one handed use. The metal and plastic used in the device's construction feel grippy, so accidental drops are not likely.

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Handling the HTC Titan II feels great

So, to cap it all up - the HTC Titan looks a bit dull, but is (unsurprisingly) very solidly put together. Measures are ok to live with, while the imposing screen is a victim of Windows Phone limits in resolution. The battery did a decent job in keeping the device running with LTE on and all.

Following next is a closer look at the Mango side of the smartphone. HTC has put a few special touches to Windows Phone 7.5, so read on to find out about them.

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