HTC beats Nokia in the camera game with the Titan II (review & gallery)

The Nokia Lumia 900 seems to be getting all the attention, but HTC also launched their new Titan II and after using both I personally prefer the HTC Titan II.

I took a look at the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T at the beginning of the month and think it is a great Windows Phone, especially for just $100. However, after testing out the HTC Titan II (available for $199.99) for the last week I think I would choose this phone over the Lumia for a couple reasons. You can check out my image gallery for some photos of the Titan II and continue reading below for more of my thoughts on the Titan II.


Image Gallery: Check out some photos of the HTC Titan II on AT&T.
Image Gallery: Titan II retail box
Image Gallery: Back of Titan II in hand

In the box and first impressions

The HTC Titan II comes in a standard AT&T orange box with a USB cable and USB charger plug. You will also find a colorful, helpful Quick Start Guide that should be great for new Windows Phone owners.

I saw the HTC Titan II briefly at CES in January, but it is different when you get one to use outside of the shiny show floor. I was immediately impressed by the solid construction of the Titan II. I never noticed the back slick gradient color scheme before, but now see it is similar to what HTC did with the HTC One S and it adds a classy look to the back. I also LOVE the curved glass chin at the bottom of the display and it is touches like this that make the device stand out from other black slab phones.

Specifications

Specifications for the HTC Titan II include the following:
  • 4.7 inch WVGA 480x800 pixels resolution Super LCD with Corning Gorilla Glass
  • 1.5GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 single core processor
  • Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
  • Support for AT&T LTE and HSPA+ networks
  • 16GB internal memory, no microSD slot
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 16 megapixel camera with f/2.2 aperature and dual LED
  • 1.3 megapixel front facing camera
  • Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, and compass
  • Dual mic with noise cancellation
  • 1730mAh battery, non-replaceable
  • Dimensions: 5.12 x 2.76 x 0.39 inches and 5.2 ounces

You all know that current Windows Phone devices don't push the limits on specifications, but they don't need to because Microsoft did such a good job optimizing the operating system. The camera is quite good, phone quality is great, and everything zips along just fine.

Walk around the hardware

The front of the HTC Titan II is dominated by the 4.7 inch Gorilla Glass Super LCD and it looks great. The icons are a bit too big though and 4.3 inches would have been just fine. As I stated earlier, I love the cool curved glass at the bottom of the display where the three capacitive Windows Phone buttons can be found. You will find the headset speaker, indicator light, and front facing camera above the display.

The camera button and long volume button are found on the right side. The microUSB port is on the left side with the 3.5mm headset jack and power button on the top. The camera is centered on the upper back with dual LED flash lights to the right of the camera. The upper back is dark gray with the gradient color in the center section. There is a textured small piece at the bottom of the back that is removable so you can access the full size SIM card slot.

The Titan II is actually a bit lighter than the Lumia 900 and it is a big device. That said, at 6 feet, 1 inch, and 250 pounds, it fits well in my hand and size wasn't an issue. I love the rock solid feel of the Titan II and the curved glass at the bottom just gives it that extra touch.

Walk through the software

The HTC Titan II runs the latest version of Windows Phone 7.5 and is pretty much like every other Windows Phone. HTC does include their HTC Hub utility, Photo Enhancer, HTC Flashlight, the attentive phone utiltiies, extra camera utilities (discussed below), and access to an HTC Apps section of the Marketplace.

In typcial AT&T fashion, you will find several apps loaded by default. Thankfully, you can uninstall all of these on the Windows Phone platform. The included apps and utilities are AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T Navigator, AT&T Radio, AT&T U-verse Mobile, YPmobile, and myAT&T.

Why the HTC Titan II over the Lumia 900?

I thought the Nokia Lumia 900 with 8 megapixel camera and Carl Zeiss optics would blow away all the other Windows Phone devices, but sadly it just doesn't impress me that much. I know megapixels really don't define the camera, but when combined with a decent aperature and optics the HTC Titan II beats the Lumia 900 in the camera game.

It is not just the camera on the Titan II that impresses, but the camera software enhancements that HTC provides help push it past the Lumia 900. You will find panorama mode, burst mode, many different scene choices, red eye reduction, image stabilization, and more.

I prefer HTC Windows Phones because they provide enhanced utilities that make the phone much more usable. If you go to Settings>Attentive Phone you will find the following options:

  • Quiet ring on pickup
  • Pocket mode: Increases the ring in your pocket or bag
  • Flip for speaker
  • Flip to mute ringer

You will also find sound enhancements for SRS and equalizer mode when using headphones.Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive are nice apps on the Lumia 900 that help set it apart, but I do like the attentive phone utilities and HTC flashlight. WPCentral has an excellent comparison between these two new Windows Phones and they also came down to giving a nod to the HTC Titan II.

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