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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. HTC Titan 1

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.

Titan samplesTitan samples 3

Titan samples 2

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.

Titan samples 1

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.

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September 2, 2011, 10:05 pm

I expect MS to give financial incentives to app developers to create cross platform apps. That should open app stores to real competition and grow the WP userbase


September 3, 2011, 5:49 am

@Dave Gilbert: The two reasons you've given against choosing this handset - the OS and the utilitarian design - are exactly the two I'd look for when buying a phone. The sheer clarity and cohesiveness of WP7 are qualities that even iOS can't manage let alone the afterthought that is Android. The application market is constantly growing and with quality submissions. I have an Android tablet (Nook Colour) and visiting the app store feels similar to shopping in a pound shop - mountains of tat hiding the odd gem.

David Gilbert

September 3, 2011, 6:20 pm

Point taken, but it was not the OS itself I have an issue with, more the lack of support given by developers, a similar problem facing the Android tablet market. I think that WP7 is indeed a powerful OS, but like MeeGo could disappear due to lack of support, which would be sad as diversity if always good.
By the way, I completely agree regarding the Android app store, it's like shopping in the discount bin of a bargain basement shop.


September 3, 2011, 11:03 pm

The support while no where near the level of even Android is gradually growing. I was pleasantly surprised to find 'International Snooker' a wonderfully realistic game and a personal favourite of mine having already been ported from over from iOS and Android. You have to remember that Microsoft has a lot riding on WP7 and few would bet against it pulling it off. Meego sadly took too long to enter the market and lacks the devotion from it's parents Nokia and Intel to really make even a late effort. All being said who really what the future really holds.


October 21, 2011, 5:25 am

The Apps are just too expensive to consider buying a windows phone. Don't care why, it just makes WP7 a big no no.

Greg Shewan

October 21, 2011, 12:17 pm

I disagree about the screen size issue, I think these powerful smartphones are content driven and anything under 4 inches is just underselling the entire point of owning one. However the phones themselves could use a bezel trim, with that accomplished I think we could see significantly smaller phones with large screens.

Case in point: the Galaxy Nexus. It is about the same size as the SGSII but has a screen with a .35 inches larger diagonal. If WP7 and iOS ditched hardware controls like Meego and ICS then this would be possible. Only a thin strip would be needed for the earpiece, sensors and camera. On my SGS the top and bottom of the bezel are almost 15mm when they could be as small as 4-5mm, perhaps even smaller if Samsung could make the branding smaller.

Martin Daler

October 21, 2011, 1:18 pm

The huge screen seems like a waste of space, literally. It is just a regular 3.7" screen stretched out to 4.7". Had they instead kept the same pixel density and added more pixels, that would have been a benefit. But to simply make a 3.7" screen take up more space, why? When I could achieve the exact same benefit simply by holding a 3.7" screen a bit closer to my face?

We don't want 'bigger' screens for the extra space they take up, we actually want more screen.


October 21, 2011, 2:16 pm

Andrew (The reviewer), you say the multi-tasking is a bit meh as the app is restarted when you tap on it again. Well it also did this on the iPhone when it was first introduced. Apps have to be modified to work properly with multi-tasking just like the iPhone.

Luan Bach

October 21, 2011, 2:46 pm

They'll get lots of cross platforms apps as soon as they let people develop in C++

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