The HTC Titan offers an 8-megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash. Although there are 12-megapixel cameras out there, this spec equals the current top camera phones - the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S and iPhone 4S.
It's a tough crowd to be a part of, but the HTC Titan performs very well. In good lighting, sharpness is good. There's significant evidence of processing designed to make photos "pop" that little bit more, while tiny detail is fringed a little by the effects of sharpening and JPEG compression, but quality is nonetheless more than acceptable. Colour is perhaps a little too vibrant but not to the point where shots don't look lifelike. This phone can just about produce shots worth printing out, not just leaving to rot on Facebook's servers.
In lower light conditions, images predictably become a lot noisier, but the vibrancy is still there. As you can see from this street scene (well, car park scene), colours retain potency even as the sun disappears. The HTC Titan has over-egged the colour at but, but not disastrously so - this was taken a sunset, not night time, so the sky should be blue, not black.
Weird light effect aside, it handles low-light conditions OK
Just as important as image quality, when considering a smartphone camera, is how easy it take quick, in-focus snaps. The HTC Titan excels here. Just a single tap on your subject sets the white balance, exposure compensation, attains a good focus and takes a snap. The whole process takes around a second - which feels very quick - and the focusing system is very reliable. We only took one real stinker of a photo in our time with the Titan.
The maximum resolution for video is 720p, which is unremarkable when the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy Nexus can grab full HD 1080p clips, but it does have continuous focusing and stereo audio. The former is arguably more important than 1080p capture, making this a versatile little video device.
Control over camera settings when capturing stills is pretty good too. There are the usual array of scene modes and effects, plus panorama, face detection and burst modes, and settings for white balance, brightness, contrast, saturation, metering, sharpness and - the stand-out - ISO (with 100, 200, 400, 800 and Auto options). For all the sample shots above, these were set to either Normal or Auto, as available.
Within the Titan's settings menu, you can set the phone to upload any pictures you take to the SkyDrive "cloud". However, this significantly degrades quality, in order to cut down the file size for easier transfer. There's no way to change this so full-res photos are uploaded. Pesky Windows Phone 7.5 (and 7) also shrinks your photos down when you try and email them, making - you guessed it - Zune software sync the only way to get full-res photos off your phone. If, like us, you want to see what the 8-megapixel sensor is really capable of, this quickly becomes a royal pain.
Using the HTC Titan as a portable video player or MP3 player is similarly afflicted. Transferring any files requires the Zune software. If you can find it within yourself to embrace the Zune software as your main music and movies organiser, you'll be laughing - it even lets you sync over Wi-Fi - but we imagine many of you who have been using the same music software suite for years won't make the transition joyfully. If you already use the Zune software, do give us a shout in the comments. In our mind's eye there are not more than ten of you out there.
If you want to be the Titan's lover, you gotta get with its friend, Zune
Give in and make the leap, and you'll find the HTC Titan an enjoyable media partner. Its interface for music and video is just as swish as the rest of Windows Phone 7.5, and the 16GB of internal memory is enough for around 150 albums or 10 movies. Codec support is thoroughly unimpressive, though, so if you have anything bordering on an esoteric music or film collection - file format wise - you'll have to convert. In fact, virtually the vast majority of videos downloaded from the net will need to be converted. And that's no fun.