Today I went back again to AT&T store to find out whether I could upgrade my Focus to either Focus S or HTC Titan. While I was there I had an opportunity to study both Focus S and Titan extensively. Thanks to our local AT&T Store representatives to let me play with those. HTC Titan in the display is the real device and will be going on sale in the next few days.
Here is my take on HTC Titan. The quality of HTC Titan is drastically improved over its predecessor model HTC HD7 or HTC HD7s. HD7 series feel like a plastic, but HTC changed this and made the phone simply superb with HTC Titan. It shows the commitment of HTC towards Windows Phone 7. The build quality, camera quality are simply superb with Titan. The only con I see in Titan is Super LCD. This is not as good as Samsung’s Super AMOLED Plus featured in Focus S. The issue is only with small print, that might not look good on bigger screen and some of the characters are not as crisp as they are on Samsung Focus S. Some of the colors, especially the darker colors, don’t look good on Super LCD when compared to Super AMOLED Plus.
I tried the basic functionality of phone – communications – phone, call quality, and texting. These are simply superb. The quality of the phone communications are improved and much better than HD7, Surround etc. HTC Windows Phones of yesteryear.
The Windows Phone 7 app ecosystem is growing day by day even though it had stalled for few days before the release of Mango, but it again picked up the pace. Zune Services, Xbox integration and Microsoft Office integration are still great. Interestingly I have seen Internet Sharing (default turned off) and SIM Applications (empty list) in the settings and other additional settings you would see are “camera modes” , “hearing aids” and “sound enhancer”. If you enable camera modes, you can set the panoramic shots and burst mode shots directly from camera app. And if you enable hearing aids, that will increase the in-call volume and sound enhancer will allow you to adjust sound for music and video playback.
Windows Phone 7 is really good in combining the email inboxes and linking contacts. You feel fluidity in touch response. System is optimized for performance that includes touch response. I have felt more comfortable responding to emails on this bigger screen.
Camera quality is not bad and is improved a lot. But I found the camera quality on HTC Titan is much better than Focus S. Interestingly I have seen this as reverse in the case of original Focus and HD7.
Phone reception, and call quality – 5 out of 5. I tried both earphone and speaker phone. The other person could hear clearly even if I speak softly and in a low voice. I could hear the same from a soft and low voice person. I give 5 out 5 for this.
Strength of the OS – 4.5 out of 5. Coming from Windows Mobile family and as an IT professional I still think the modern OSes lack Windows Mobile power. This includes Windows Phone 7 too. Windows Mobile is all about freedom and power and modern OSes like iOS, WP7 are controlled freedom and reduced power. That is my opinion. We could debate for days on this topic.
Display size – 4.5 out of 5. I felt reading and replying to emails is super easy with bigger screen with 800×480 Super LCD display and it’s definitely the quality we expect from HTC Super LCD, even though some of the font sizes are not that crispy when compared with Samsung Super AMOLED Plus, and that is expected at that size of display. 4.7” display is good and I wish HTC would bring out a Windows Phone 7 identical to its yesteryears Windows Mobile phone, aka HTC Advantage. That works like a pocket tablet.
Processor – 5 out of 5. The processor is clocked at 1.5GHz, Qualcomm Snapdragon, better than Microsoft suggested ratings. Yes, I agree Windows Phone 7 Operating System is fine tuned and doesn’t require dual core. This processor exceeds Microsoft set limit and that’s why I give 5 out of 5.
Battery life – 3.0 out of 5. HTC should have gone for better battery at least 1850 mAH, instead of 1650 mAH. But this is much better than Samsung Focus S battery.The claimed batter life is at 6 hours of talk time with 3G data and 460 hours of standby, but I seriously doubt that and I have read some reviews that battery gets discharged pretty fast once you start playing games or playing music. Of course iPhone 4S also has similar issues, but I still feel HTC should have gone for better battery given the fact that good number of Windows Phone 7 users play Xbox Games and enjoy Zune Services and also the bigger display consumes more power.
Ease of use – 5 out of 5. Windows Phone 7 with its Live Tiles is one of the best User Experience delivered from the powerhouse of Microsoft. Every Windows Phone 7 use this power and the credibility goes to Microsoft.
Form factor and weight – 4 out of 5. Even though it is bigger phone, I have felt it is lighter than HTC HD7. And the phone didn’t feel like plastic. HTC didn’t compromise on the quality of the packing, once I get hands on Nokia Lumia I will revise this, until then I mark it as good. The quality of external case didn’t feel like plastic. I feel HD7 as plastic and the case is finish not great when compared to HTC EVO 4G or 3D. But Titan’s case finish is superb and HTC engineering showed their talent in that.
Media Support – 5 out of 5. Phone is powered by Zune. Quality of Zune Service is awesome and better than iTunes in variety of areas. Microsoft is tying up with providers for the content regularly and I see it gets improved over the time definitely.
Longevity – 4 out of 5. I haven’t seen any newer phones until WP7 got a major refresh, Mango, after its original release last year. I foresee the same for the next year unless Nokia releases new WP7 phones regularly over the next 12 months. That puts pressure on other OEMs like HTC and Samsung and they will release newer models very quarter like they are doing for Android. Until then I think HTC Titan remains the premium model of WP7 from HTC. I see the path similar to iPhones release, which is in fact good for a lot of consumers who change phones as soon as newer model gets released.
Camera – 4.5 out of 5. With 8 megapixel rear camera with dual LED flash and capable of HD video with f/2.2 lens, Titan is one replacement for your Point and Shoot cameras. The Front Facing Camera is at 1.3 MP and it is great for video chatting. Now Microsoft has to release Skype for WP7 until then Tango comes to rescue.The camera is decent and I take out 0.5 out of it because of lack of optical zoom. The phone makers can easily put optical zoom to these lenses.
LTE and 4G – 4 out of 5. Here in my area we are still at HSPA+ and we would be getting LTE pretty soon. None of the current WP7 phones are LTE supported and there is word in the wild that Nokia would be releasing LTE WP7 phones on AT&T early next year. If that comes out to be true, then I see newer WP7 phones with LTE support from Samsung and HTC . I read some reviews that HSPA+ speeds on Focus S and Titan are good and comparable to Androids on AT&T network.
Memory and Storage – 3.5 out of 5. The phone comes with 512 MB of RAM and16 GB (only 12.48 GB will be available for user) of internal storage. Even though Focus S and HTC Titan are configured at 16 GB, the storage that is available for the user is higher in Focus S, which is 13.70 vs. Titan’s 12.48 GB. Now that is interesting. I take out 1.5 from possible 5 points for this because there is no other higher configured Titan like Titan with 32 GB internal storage and also the user allowed storage is little less than Focus S.
Connectivity – 4.5 out of 5. With Bluetooth® 2.1, Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, micro-USB (5-pin micro-USB 2.0), it should be really good. Though I haven’t tested any of these specs. I also haven’t tested the DLNA capabilities of the phone. I take out 0.5 from this because it doesn’t support latest Bluetooth® 3.0.
EcoSystem – 4.5 out of 5. Windows Phone 7 doesn’t allow you to side-load the apps. You have to jailbreak the phone using Chevron WP7 and thus you could load HomeBrew apps. And the current collection of Apps is 40,000+ and most of them have better quality than Android counterparts. The guidance and the strict reinforcement of guidelines when approving apps brings out good quality in the apps and Microsoft marketplace is similar to Apple AppStore Walled garden. When it comes to games, there is good number of quality Xbox games and that number is growing. I take out 0.5 from the possible 5 points because of limited number of apps when compared to iOS or Android. Of course both are matured platforms and I hope with the developer ecosystem that Microsoft has, and growing interest from developers to develop for WP7, I see this gets matured over the time.
Overall I give 4.5 out of 5 for this phone.
Dictionary.com defines titan as a “person or thing of enormous size, strength, power, influence, etc.” HTC Titan is titan of current smartphones. HTC Titan lives up to its name, and AT&T by bringing two premier Windows Phone 7 to its network proved it as premier partner and committed to the platform.