HTC Titan 4G review: HTC Titan 4G

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Slick, simple user experience. Huge, clear display. 16-megapixel camera. Internet-sharing feature.

The Bad Lacks a customisable interface. Media file recognition could be expanded. Non-user-replaceable battery and memory. Internet Explorer browser still needs work.

The Bottom Line The Titan 4G lives up to its name in many respects, and offers the same clean, fast Windows Phone experience we've become accustomed to. It's also held back by the same Windows woes.

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Design

HTC is taking the Titan to where no Windows Phone has gone before. With a 4.7-inch LCD display, the Titan lives up to its name, with heavyweight proportions to match its epic title. It's not just the size of its screen, though; the Titan 4G handset is a monster, compared with its Android-based stable mates, the One X and One XL . Though it shares a similar height and width, the Titan is thicker and feels heavier than the One-Series phones.

Also, like the Androids, the Titan 4G features a non-user-replaceable battery and no micro-SD card slot to expand its 16GB of internal storage; the latter being a restriction of the Windows Phone OS, and not a decision made by HTC. This storage is shared between system apps, too, so the user gets just under 12GB for saving personal data, music and app downloads. You can sync photos and documents to Microsoft's SkyDrive service, and retrieve them quickly when you want them, but cloud storage is still far less popular than having on-board memory.

Under the trap door: only the micro SIM is user accessible.
(Credit: CBSi)

The handset's 4.7-inch display is a highlight, with plenty of screen real estate for web browsing, emailing and gaming. HTC chooses a Super LCD panel for this display, which offers nice, warm colours and good viewing angles. It is substantially lower resolution than the same-sized screen on the One X — again, a limitation of Windows Phone — but this hasn't bothered us too much, thanks to the clean user interface design of the operating system.

Compared to

HTC Titan 4G
800x480 pixels
Nokia Lumia 900
800x480 pixels
Samsung Galaxy S2 4G
800x480 pixels
Apple iPhone 4S
960x640 pixels
4.7-inch Super LCD
800x480 pixels
4.3-inch AMOLED
800x480 pixels
4.5-inch AMOLED
800x480 pixels
3.5-inch IPS LCD
960x640 pixels
1.5GHz processor 1.4GHz processor 1.5GHz dual-core processor 1GHz dual-core processor
Windows Phone 7.5 Windows Phone 7.5 Android 2.3 iOS 5.1
16GB storage 16GB storage 16GB storage plus microSD expansion 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage options
16-megapixel
Dual-LED flash
8-megapixel
LED flash
8-megapixel
LED flash
8-megapixel
LED flash

User experience and performance

If you've seen any of the recent Nokia Windows Phone releases, then you've seen the Titan 4G, for all intents and purposes. Microsoft maintains a tight leash on OEMs developing Windows Phone products, and, as such, there is limited variation between them. This doesn't us offer us a lot to write about without repetition, but it is a good approach in many respects. The Windows Phone system offers an often flawless experience, with slick, fast navigation and zippy application load times. Multitasking is top notch, and the system offers excellent email and contacts management with deep Facebook integration.

HTC does offer a few unique tweaks to the platform, where it can. This is the first HTC Windows Phone to include the HTC Watch movie-streaming app, for example. Watch has been on Android phones for some time, and it offers a movie-rental service for those who want to watch the latest releases on their smartphone. It is also the first Windows Phone handset we've seen to offer an internet sharing feature, which lets you create a Wi-Fi hotspot to share your 3G or 4G data with up to five other devices simultaneously. Apparently, the Nokia 900 will also feature this service, but the Titan 4G still takes the ribbon for first.

It's lucky that the Titan features internet sharing, too; otherwise, the inclusion of 4G data speeds would have been somewhat wasted. This is the first 4G Windows Phone, and, with the way the system is designed, there is very little use for fast data speeds in everyday use. Microsoft's Windows Phone team has done a fine job of building apps with low data-usage requirements, so it is difficult to see how much this phone benefits from the extra speed. The Internet Explorer web browser is a good example of an app built with speed in mind — but, to achieve this, Microsoft has avoided many of the web standards that make the internet interesting to look at. By default, it diverts to mobile versions of pages where possible, it doesn't support Flash content and it has limited success in loading JavaScript elements. For example, if you visit m.cnet.com on an Android phone or the iPhone, you'll find a colourful page with a large image carousel that you can scroll through horizontally with a swiping gesture. But on the Titan 4G, this page is translated into a list of text hyperlinks.

Camera

With our attention being drawn to the large, beautiful screen and 4G speeds, it is easy to overlook the fact that the Titan 4G also represents another smartphone milestone. For this release, HTC has employed a 16-megapixel image sensor in-camera — the first smartphone image sensor of this size to be commercially released. HTC matches this sensor with a dual-LED flash set-up, plus the standard camera software found in Windows Phone.

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Where to Buy

HTC Titan 4G

Part Number: CNETHTC Titan 4G

Typical Price: $888.00

See manufacturer website for availability.