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HTC Titan II drops jaws with 16MP camera, 4.7-in screen

Just how impressive is that 16-megapixel camera on the U.S.' first-announced LTE Windows Phone? Pretty darn good.

Now playing: Watch this: HTC Titan II does not disappoint (hands on)

LAS VEGAS--HTC should be feeling pretty proud of itself right about now.

This morning at CES, the smartphone maker managed to bag two U.S. firsts. Not only was its Titan II the first to announce the world's first 4G LTE Windows Phone, but it also contains the highest-megapixel smartphone camera we've heard of stateside, a 16-megapixel whopper.

Just after the smartphone was announced today, I got a chance to get eye-to-eye with the Titan II. At first blush, it looks nearly identical to the original Titan, which is new to the scene in its own right. There are some subtle differences, you may call them, but I find them improvements.

For instance, instead of a hard plastic backing, the Titan II is covered everywhere with a soft-touch finish of a lighter gray, and there's some pocked texturing over the battery cover at the base of the phone's back. Overall, it's a lot more comfortable in the hand.

The phone still has its hungry-man build and its 4.7-inch Super LCD display, which nicely showcases the clean, simple Windows Phone interface. There's a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front as well.

It's the back of the phone that's the most thrilling: a 16-megapixel camera that has the capability to beat the pants off every other high-end 8-megapixel camera out there (the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ion that was announced today has a 12-megapixel camera, FYI.)

The HTC Titan II took this really impressive shot.
The HTC Titan II took this impressive outdoor shot, which has been cropped, but not resized. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

I took a few minutes to see how well the camera actually performed. There was an abundance of natural light, so I wasn't able to stress test the Titan II in low-lighting situations or night shots. The photos that I did take were very impressive indeed, with accurate focus and sharp edges throughout. There were some weird lighting gradients with the front-facing camera, but so far the 16-megapixel camera is truly a winner.

In addition to the camera boost, the Titan II has a larger battery, now 1,730mAh, up from 1,650mAh on the original Titan. This is one handset I can't wait to try out in the real world, whenever that is. Unfortunately, AT&T and HTC are still mum on pricing and availability.

Catch all of CNET's CES coverage here.