The HTC Titan’s 4.7in screen is both a strength and a weakness. It helps it stand out against other smartphones, but is – in our opinion – a bit too big. That leap from 4.3in to 4.7in tips oversized comfort into something else. Like that crucial divide between being “a bit cuddly” and “clinically obese”.
It may be natural step beyond the HTC HD7’s 4.3-incher, but we’d like to call time out to say that is enough is enough – this madness needs to stop. Pushing at the divide between smartphones and tablets is a curious obsession of manufacturers like HTC and Samsung, because they can’t really get over that one stays in your pocket and one stays in your bag. Make sure you have big hands before considering buying. We’ve just measured ours – anything much less than 19cm from wrist to fingertip is a no-go, folks. Get those rulers out.
The quality of the display is good. The HTC Titan uses an S-LCD panel, which is what HTC switched to after supplies (and presumably the cost) of AMOLED panels became prohibitive in 2010. It does a good job too, offering vivid colour, decent contrast and excellent maximum brightness. Performance isn’t as flawless as an AMOLED panel, though.
In dark conditions, that it uses a standard backlight becomes clear, with plenty of luminescence – with an AMOLED blacks stay black whether you’re in a dark or light environment. There’s also a tiny bit of blue hue to the screen when viewed at an angle. Altogether, though, it’s a good panel.
However, the screen resolution isn’t too hot. It has 800×480 pixels to work with, which isn’t much for such a large screen. 384,000 pixels may sound like a lot, but it’s a paltry figure compared with the 921,600 pixels of the Samsung Galaxy Prime, which has a similar-size 4.65in screen. This probably isn’t HTC’s fault, as every Windows Phone 7 device so far hasn’t strayed beyond 854×480 resolution – and Microsoft has pretty strict hardware guidelines.
The low-ish DPI screen makes zoomed-out text look blocky
Does it scupper the phone in real-life usage? For the most part, no. The Windows UI has been so carefully honed that the relatively-lowly 198dpi pixel density doesn’t look at all blocky apart from when you skip to the web browser. Zoom out and text starts to looks a little blocky – with a higher pixel density screen the text would remain sharp – reducing the browsing bonuses of the larger display.
The browser software is great. We recommend avoiding Internet Explorer on a desktop computer, but it does the job admirably on a smartphone. The web address bar is down the bottom, so you don’t have to stretch to reach the top of the screen to tap in a web address – important in a phone so big. Windows Phone 7.5’s fab virtual keyboard makes typing away very accurate too, although as the Titan is so wide, two-handed typing is recommended in both landscape and portrait orientations.
Once again, our quibbles boil down to one main thing – the HTC Titan is just a bit too big.