Is It Your Type?
HTC updates last year's Titan with a fresh design, LTE, and other under-the-hood goodies. With the latest version of Windows Phone in tow, the Titan II is a big phone that should be big on performance.
The Titan II isn't all that much different from the Titan, though it definitely has its own character. The basics are the same: it's big, heavy, and one serious-looking smartphone. Where the original Titan stuck with the design themes used by HTC throughout 2010 and 2011, the Titan II changes up the appearance just enough so that it blends in better with HTC's newer "One" series of devices.
It uses gray, metallic-colored materials with black glass and a few silver accents thrown in for good measure. The result is a straight-laced, conservative appearance that would be at home in the boardroom. Returning a bit to HTC tradition, the Titan II (T2) has a very slight chin at the bottom. It's not as pronounced as the HTC One V's chin, but it's there all the same.
Given the size of the T2, it's a tough phone to wrap your hand fully around. There's a large bulge on the back surface, encompassing the top one-third of the phone. This is where the camera module and speaker for the speakerphone are located. It adds girth to an already-big device. The materials have a decent feel to them, and a soft-touch finish of sorts. The finish gives the T2 a bit of grip, but not enough that you can't easily slide the T2 into your pocket.
The T2's display is surrounded by a lot more bezel than I care to see on any device. The earpiece is a thin slit that it squished between the bezel and the top edge of the phone. The three Windows Phone control buttons are capacitive and built into the display's glass panel. Oddly, pressing directly on the arrow of the back key didn't send the T2 back a screen. Instead, the sensitive spot was a few millimeters above the arrow. Perhaps the arrow wasn't painted in the right spot?
The microUSB port is on the left edge of the T2. There's no hatch or cover for it, so it’s always easy to get to. The volume toggle and dedicated camera button are both on the right edge. The volume toggle is a thin sliver, but thanks to its texture and shape it stands out nicely and is easy to find. I wish travel and feedback were better. For whatever reason, HTC has trouble designing a great volume toggle. The dedicated camera button has the same texture and design idea behind it, so it, too, is a cinch to find with your thumb. It’s a two-stage button, and has excellent travel and feedback.
The T2, like the Nokia Lumia 900, runs the latest version of Windows Phone 7.5. On the surface, it doesn't behave any differently than Windows Phone 7.0 or 7.1. As far as modern smartphones go, Windows Phone is about as simple as it gets with respect to the user interface and it offers most of the coveted features.
The lock screen offers up notifications for items such as missed calls or messages. They will appear along the bottom of the screen. Slide the screen up to unlock it. As I've noted in other reviews of WP7 devices, the notifications are limited to providing an unread count, but don't offer previews of text messages or missed calls. The only lock screen shortcut available is to the camera, which you can reach by long-pressing the camera button.
There is but one home screen panel, though it is infinitely long. Home screen elements are arranged in vertical columns made of squares and rectangles. There are no widgets, but some of the squares/rectangles -- or Live Tiles in Microsoft parlance -- have live, updating information, such as the weather report. You can arrange these tiles however you wish, and add or delete them. The one neat thing about them is you can pin really specific things to the home screen, such as a particular email folder, or pictures posted by Aunt Tilly.