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Fly Or Die: HTC Titan II

Screen shot 2012-05-01 at 10.57.26 AM

The HTC Titan II is a symbol for an excellent partnership. I love HTC hardware and I love Windows Phone. It should be a match made in heaven, but unfortunately it’s not.

John and I sat down in the studio yesterday with the giant 4.7-inch hunk of glass and plastic, and we came away with pretty negative sentiments toward the device.

John thinks it’s too big, which seems to be his usual complaint these days.

My argument is a bit more geeky. To start, the Titan II is made of soft-touch plastic, rather than the aluminum unibody frame we saw on the original Titan. This is actually not that big of a deal. Sure, I’d prefer aluminum, but HTC always finds a way to make sure its hardware feels premium, so that’s no biggie.

What I’m really perturbed by is the way that Windows Phone and HTC came together. First of all, Windows Phone requires its partners to build hardware with a 480×800 resolution. On the 4.3-inch Lumia 900, this is tolerable. On a 4.7-inch display like the Titan II, it’s not.

HTC busted out one of the first-ever double-digit MP phone cameras, at 16-megapixels. This is wonderful, and the camera works just fine, but I never found myself snapping a pic and saying, “Whoa!”. I had expected the doubling of our standard 8-megapixels to be immediately noticeable, but it wasn’t. Images didn’t look any crisper, and while the phone did a tad better in low-light settings, it simply didn’t live up to my expectations.

In short, we both give the Titan II a die.

Look for a full review later this week.

Fly Or Die: HTC Titan II

HTC Titan II Review: Initial Impressions (Hands-On Photos)


The Titan II is yet another success for the hardware team over at HTC. It feels excellent in the hand, even if it’s huge, has a nice balanced weight to it, and the little chin at the bottom gives it some extra pizazz when lined up against other designs on store shelves. It calls to me.

But there are a few issues, as is the case with most any phone. The first, and most important one, is the screen size vs. resolution. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Microsoft, please push out Apollo so that your hardware partners aren’t stuck slapping a 480×800 WP build onto a massive display.

The Titan II has a 4.7-inch screen. It’s too big for my taste, but somehow the hardware and the design — namely the barely-there bezel around the screen — leaves the phone feeling comfortable in the hand. This is a first for me in terms of feeling comfortable with a phone sporting a display larger than 4.3-inches.

Unfortunately, Windows Phone 7.5 requires a 480×800 resolution, leaving the Titan II with just a 199ppi. This simply isn’t good enough. Anyone who’s used a phone released within the last year will instantly notice the pixelation, especially considering that the white-on-black text of Windows Phone only makes the low resolution more obvious.

On the other hand, the Titan II is ushering us into the world of double-digit MP camera phones, with a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera. I’m already a fan of the Windows Phone camera app, and adding a “better” sensor to the mix only helps. Of course, megapixels don’t mean much at a certain point, but in terms of basic use I think this thing takes rather beautiful images, and that’s all you can ask for anyways.

Again, I love the hardware. The back panel has a nice soft-touch finish that doesn’t soak up prints like most phones, and the front of the phone is all screen, just like it should be.

I’d like to see some expandable memory here as well as the option to remove the battery, but unfortunately HTC left that optionality out. I’ve only had a day or so with the phone but Windows Phone is just as snappy as usual on this guy, and of course connectivity to AT&T’s 4G LTE network only scoots that along.

I’ll hit you guys with a head-to-head soon, followed shortly thereafter with a full review.

HTC Titan II Review: Initial Impressions (Hands-On Photos)

T-Mobile Spots HTC Radar 4G On Horizon, Set For Holiday Launch


Looks like the HD7 won’t be the only Windows Phone on T-Mobile’s shelves for much longer. Right on the heels of yesterday big smartphone announcement, T-Mobile has pulled back the curtains on the newest Windows Phone in their lineup: the HTC Radar 4G.

The Radar was one of two Windows Phones revealed at IFA by HTC, and while AT&T made sure to snag the big boy, the Radar is no slouch. It sports a rather handsome white aluminum body, while a 3.8-inch LCD display running at 800×480 graces the Radar’s front.

Meanwhile, you’ll find 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running the show, and a 5 MP camera planted firmly on the phone’s rear end to round out the package.

Sure, the specs aren’t exactly mindblowing, but they place the Radar far above T-Mobile’s original Windows Phone efforts. The HTC HD7 was essentially a slightly-tweaked HD2, meaning that Windows Phone left the gate at Bellevue saddled with dated hardware.

Given the timing of the announcement, it should come as no surprise that the Radar runs Redmond’s long-awaited Mango version of WP7. While we’re on the subject of timing, T-Mobile is keeping quiet on the Radar 4G’s release date, but they’re quick to assure readers that it’ll be in stores in time for a holiday rush.

T-Mobile Spots HTC Radar 4G On Horizon, Set For Holiday Launch