Titan, It's a ballistic missile and one of Saturn's moons. The word also plays a huge role in Greek mythology and in normal use refers to something of enormous power and influence. So it's understandable, then, why HTC seems to prefer it as a name for its phones. So much so, in fact, that the release of the LTE-enabled Titan II on AT&T actually marks not the second, but fourth iteration of the name: if you recall, the company once released two Windows Mobile devices called the TyTn.
It's amazing to witness the contrast in design philosophy between HTC's Windows Phones and its latest generation of Android devices (i.e., the One series). While one feels fresh, experimental, the other hearkens back to some of the Taiwanese company's older handsets. And it shouldn't be that difficult to figure out which one is which.
We suppose it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. After all, HTC likely views its Android phones as its cash cow, which is why it's invested so heavily in the success of the One X, the One S and their respective variants. The Titan II, on the other hand, doesn't appear to have received quite the same level of tender lovin' care from HTC (or AT&T, for that matter).
Of course, launch details have absolutely zilch to do with how the phone's features or performance, but we mention it to highlight one important aspect of the business: with the exception of Nokia, phone manufacturers aren't betting on Windows Phone handsets as a major source of revenue. And perhaps they won't be until the next generation of devices arrive on the scene, bearing Windows Phone 8 (Apollo). But because of this, these phones aren't given the same VIP treatment as their Android brethren.
Stepping off of our soapbox, let's dive into the ins and outs of the Titan II. It sensibly adds to the spec sheet of its predecessor in a few critical areas, such as connectivity, camera optics and battery life. Unfortunately, improvements like these never seem to have a flattering effect on the weight and size of a device. The phone measures 10.2mm (0.4 inches) at its thinnest point, 0.3mm thicker than the last-gen model. As for its thickest spot -- the hump that makes room for that larger camera sensor -- we pulled out a ruler and estimated it to be around 13mm (0.5 inches), and that doesn't even include the fact that the camera protrudes about a millimeter beyond the frame. If you believe the OG Titan's 9.9mm thickness was borderline acceptable, a 30 percent increase in thickness could be tough to swallow. The phone also tips the scales at 6.1 ounces (173g), a rather significant change from the first version's 5.64 ounces. Purchasing this phone will most certainly be a matter of compromise: it's thicker and heavier than the original (and in our opinion, its design is a touch uglier as well), but in return you're getting a larger battery, LTE connectivity and a 16-megapixel sensor instead of an 8-megapixel one.
You heard it right: newer design doesn't always equate to better. The older Titan is sleeker, thinner, lighter and more elegant, while its sequel just feels more awkward and chunky in comparison. Despite its bulkier frame, the Titan II is still relatively easy to hold, especially if you're blessed with larger hands. It's still not as comfortable in our palms as the One X with its curvaceous, slightly thinner build, but at least the concave back is coated in soft-touch plastic that offers a degree of extra tactility. Still, where the One X was doable for smaller paws, this particular phone may be just a little too unwieldy for anyone with petite hands to fully appreciate it.
Quickly glancing at the front of the Titan II, you might not see much of a difference between this and the last-gen Titan: they sport the same display, along with three capacitive buttons and a front-facing camera with an Inspire 4G-style recessed speaker grille up top. Look closer, though, and you'll see the glass curves up slightly once it reaches the navigation keys at the bottom, forming a small chin.
The micro-USB charging port still sits by its lonesome on the left side of the phone, while a volume rocker and two-stage camera shutter button play together on the opposite end.
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