4G connectivity has been the elephant in the room for Windows Phone fanciers up until this point. Some debating whether to jump on board with the OS have shyed away, despite some enticing handsets and rapidly improving ecosystem.
With the HTC Titan 2 and the Nokia Lumia 900, both announced at this month's CES expo in Las Vegas, the dilemma is over. Super-fast mobile internet speeds, the latest version of Windows Phone and a typically beastly HTC handset. What's not to love?
Naturally, with no 4G internet in sight for us residing in Blighty until approximately 2178, the HTC Titan 2 is likely to be a US-only release, so we'll have to make do with the existing HTC Titan but we still had an intimate hands-on with the device at CES..
HTC Titan 2: Build
Like its predecessor, the Titan 2 comes with a jeans pocket stretching 4.7-inch LCD screen, which makes the device pretty hard to ignore. HTC helped to pioneer the 4-inch plus era with Android phones and it looks like it is trying to do the same for Windows Phone. With Microsoft Office mobile and Xbox LIVE on board it certainly makes sense to rock a larger screen.
The device itself now features a front-facing camera for those silky-smooth 4G video calls, while the massive 16-megapixel sensor (complete with dual flash) adorns the rear of the device. HTC has developed a new camera interface it hopes will replace your point and shoot camera, but more on that later.
In terms of the build, HTC has incorporated that trademark chin on this newer iteration of the device meaning it juts out slightly at the bottom, like a smartphone version of Sylvester Stallone. The device is slightly thicker to account for the 4G chip, but at 9.9mm thin it just about scrapes under that seemingly all-important sub-10mm barrier.
Under the hood there's a 1.5GHz chip, a la the original and 16GB of internal storage so in that respect it's a somewhat modest upgrade. No dual-core goodness to speak of here, although the battery capacity has risen from 1600mAh to 1730mAh to try and account for that power-sucking 4G connectivity.
HTC Titan 2: Features
The headlines here are obvious: 4G LTE internet, exclusively on the AT&T network, Windows Phone Mango and the 16-megapixel camera tech. Let's start with the latter.
HTC has seemingly put a lot of work into upping its game on this side of its devices in recent years following some shockers on a host of devices at the height of the company's popularity. Here we have a 16-megapixel sensor, which is the largest currently on the market. However, we've been burned before. Promises of more megapixels doesn't mean good pictures and HTC knows this.
The dual-flash equipped lens also features an apeture of F2.8 which means we should be able to get some better low-light shots for a change. There's also a new camera user interface which has appeared on some of HTC's more recent stateside handsets, bringing more shooting options into play. The feature-rich camera also boasts a "backlit illuminated sensor."
For videophiles, however, there's no 1080p shooting on-board, as on the Apple iPhone 4S, but you'll be able to grab some 720p footage.
Beyond the camera HTC has done its best to differentiate itself from other Windows Phones, by bringing some aspects of its popular HTC Sense UI from Android phones. The company is limited in just how much it can do with the rigid WP ecosystem, but we were walked through a neat weather app and there's plenty more HTC specific apps available on the Marketplace.
HTC Titan 2: Screen
We've already established that the Titan 2 lives up to its name with the impressive 4.7-inch "super" LCD screen, which boasts a familiar resolution of 800 x 480. It hasn't changed from the original, but there were no complaints then and their are none now. The displays on HTC's flagship phones are a notch below Apple's Retina Display and the Super AMOLED effort on the Samsung Galaxy S2, but still pretty decent.
HTC Titan 2: Performance
There are presently a grand total of zero dual-core Windows Phones and there are none in sight until the back-end of 2012. The best we can do at the moment is this 1.5GHz Snapdragon S2 chip, to keep things ticking along nicely. During our brief test we experienced no lag, while videos and pictures rendered quickly.
HTC Titan 2: Verdict
The new generation Titan delivers on three key points. It brings Mango into the mix, along with the long-awaited 4G connectivity and a much improved camera. The screen is big and bold and perfectly suits the expansive Windows Phone OS, while the build-quality is what we've come to expect from HTC devices
HTC Titan 2 availability: This device is an exclusive of US network AT&T and is unlikely to see the light of day on UK shores. Release is scheduled for "the coming months."
HTC Titan 2 price: TBC