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Friday | June 22, 2018
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HTC Titan Windows Phone Review

HTC Titan Windows Phone Review

HTC Titan X310e Windows Phone Review

User Experience

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It is fair to say that for my own use I am a fan of Mac OS, open source software and to a certain extent Android so going into this review the use of Windows as the OS was one which could have been an issue. Having used Windows Phone 7.5 those fears were completely forgotten as it was an exquisite dream of intuitive romp through a phone that seemed to be tailored to the way I want it to work… I was a bit taken a back.

That said, there are a few minor issues so let’s get them out of the way first. Firstly, Flash is not supported and there is no haptic feedback on the keyboard. There are also some minor tweaks which would benefit usability, for example we would find ourselves online and notice that the Back button takes us back to the home screen rather than to the previous page which seems the most intuitive action/result. Occasionally we would try to connect to the Marketplace only to get an error number despite a strong Wi-Fi signal.

So back to the positives, we are big fans of the dynamic tile interface it is completely different to any Android experience both in terms of appearance and in terms of customisation which goes as far as changing background colour from black to white or the tile colour and adding our own tiles. Additionally they are live dynamic so, in theory, continuously update with relevant information as it comes in.

Apps are all located in a vertical start menu, which is brought up when we tap the arrow on the top right of the screen and the list is in alphabetical order.

Looking to the hardware the Titans’ screen is massive. While it is fair to say that with a pixel density of less than 200ppi the display it is noticeably worse than the Galaxy S 2 general phone use isn’t affected by this and in fact the large display improved the experience providing us with a spacious layout. The OS is bold white text on black (or vice versa) with a strong bold colour for the tiles and app icons. This bright and simple layout also negated the comparative low resolution of the screen. On the other hand, resolution isn’t everything and the Titan’s Super LCD has a brightness and colour saturation that remains consistent even from extreme angles and photos and video come across absolutely fine. The big screen also lends itself well to browsing the internet, which is done using Internet Explorer, optimised Windows Phone 7 version that seems devoid of bugs.

The large screen lends itself particularly well of typing (on a very accurate QWERTY board) which makes it very easy to setup and use our email and to create texts, search the internet and update our status. Email and messaging are accessed through a separate tile. Messages are listed through conversations, with replies indented to help us see which the most recent message is and we have full support for Windows Live Messenger in there too.

The search engine facilitating our requests is Bing, it cannot be changed but can be accessed from anywhere in the HTC Titan’s system by just tapping the Search button and we can of course access Google through Internet Explorer.

Within Bing we can search by typing, using voice provided by Microsoft TellMe which we tried with mixed results or by scanning QR Tags or barcodes. Our search results are returned to us in three tabs, web, local and images. The results are not displayed as a Bing web page but as part of the HTC Titan’s interface.

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Moving on to the cameras; the Titan comes equipped with a front facing 1.3.MP camera, intended for video calls and self-portraits, the results are as always for this technology not up to the standard of rear cameras and so best suited to basic video calling (when support for Skype is added). The rear facing camera is has 8 MP to utilise and it is a fast and smooth experience with a dedicated camera button which is tactile and responsive and allows us to easily use auto focus. Auto focus can also be used by touching the screen. Overall image quality is excellent, producing sharp and clear images.

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The camera interface is uncluttered with buttons enabling us to switch to front-facing mode or video, zoom and get into the menu camera setting. Once we explore the camera setting we discover a plethora of options. We can take panoramic shots and burst shot, change the scene modes from Auto to one of seven other choices, add one of 4 effects, change resolution, white balance, brightness, contrast, saturation, ISO level, face detection, metering and flicker adjustment. All these setting are easily accessed, clear and straight forward. It should also be noted that as well as the camera settings, the Titan has a pre-loaded app that allows us to add a wide variety of visual after effects to our saved snap shots.

The HTC Titan boasts of being able to shoot video in 720HD, and it does the job really well. The video setting menu also has a lot of options – video resolution, effects and stereo recording to continuous focus, metering mode and even flicker adjustment. Footage comes out clear and looks great even when shot at VGA. Overall the Titan has the best camera software we have seen yet.

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Once we have taken our snaps or filmed our home movie we come to the issue of storage. While we do have over 12GB of available the fact that we have no option to expand this may be an issue for some. Aside from this the Titan handles media really well. It’s all packaged with Zune, so the first time we connected the phone to a PC we were prompted to download the Zune client. This was an easy process with no issues and Zune offers the option to sync with our PC, update the phone to the latest OS and purchase new content.

Overall Zune is a pleasure to use, our only criticism is that as a first time user it took us a while to get orientated with the set up and everything has to be synced with Zune so we don’t have the ability to go into the phone ‘s folders and drag and drop. We miss this functionality.

Playing media on the Titan is as flawless an experience as we have experienced, music playback was decent, and the Titian supports m4a, m4b ,mp3 and of course WMA. Video is a nice experience on the larger screen and the Titan easily played our test video, putting aside the screen resolutions, it offered smooth playback and rich visuals. When it comes to looking at your own pictures on the HTC Titan, the gallery app is an easy to use and the picture can also be widened through Zune when the phone is synced.

Moving on from the excellent all-round media playback to the general performance of the Titan. The bottom line is that the Titan has a single core CPU and ½ a gig of RAM so on paper we would expect it to feel slow, particularly in comparison to high end Android devices. The reality is that the Titan is extremely responsive and the only thing we missed due to the lack of dual-core wizardry is 1080p video recording.

With the single core websites rendered quickly, apps opened and closed without delay and the voice recognition feature of Bing processed our bizarrely accented form of English efficiently.

The single core hardware also seems to have a positive effect on battery life, despite the extra-large display. One full charge got us through a full day of moderate used with plenty of juice to spare; in fact we would say that with low use the battery will give us two full days use without a top up which isn’t common on today’s devices.

Looking next to the phone functionality we found that calls sounded crisp when we were making and receiving them. Additionally we had no issues dialling manually or selecting our contacts though the Contacts app gave us a bit of an issue, not because it didn’t work but because the approach taken by Windows is so unlike what we are used to that it took some time to get round to their way of thinking. A contact here is called People and contains two sub-sections called What’s New? and All. What’s New? is where all of our social feeds are aggregated and fed directly into the phone’s operating system. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and more are accounted for.

When we swipe across to All we find that this is where the address book lives. This enables us to contact people through the call, text, email or the social network of our choice. We can create not only new contacts but also groups. This allows us to follow what’s happening with a smaller group of contacts, it aggregates all of their news, photos and feeds and enables us to send a group message to them. As with most aspects of the Titan, we are able to a shortcut tile on the home screen to the group.

Setting up contacts takes a matter of seconds once we were signed in with a Live ID. A Live account is not compulsory but it does help. We were able to also link up our Google address book in the same way we can on HTC Android devices and once we grasped the concept we found it to be intuitive.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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