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Old 11-27-2011, 12:55 PM
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Talking My HTC Titan Review

So a few weeks ago I was in San Diego on vacation and took a stroll into the AT&T store to look at the Focus S and the Titan. As soon as I picked it up, I fell in love with the Titan. Everything about it was rock solid, and I really wanted it bad!

Unfortunately, being a Sprint customer, I walked out of the store because of my contract. $200 for early termination + $200 phone + more expensive AT&T plan = Unaffordable Option. I was quite upset.

When I got home I was on WPCentral.com and discovered that Amazon Wireless was having their Penny-Pincher sale, so I signed in and there it was... HTC Titan for $.01!! I pulled the trigger, because the math made sense. The saved $200 on the phone pays for my contract termination at Sprint, and the AT&T plan is only $5/month more than Sprint. Phone ordered... BUT, it was on backorder, so I had to wait for it.

Well, here it is 3 weeks later, and it's finally in my hands at last! I unboxed it last night, activated it (I transferred my Sprint number), and I was up an running in about 15 minutes... sort of, more on that in a moment.

So here I am... an AT&T customer for the first time in over a decade. I'm not thrilled about that, but the phone is too awesome to pass up considering that Sprint probably won't have any new phone options available until at least spring and there's no guarantee the new phone(s) will be better than the Arrive.

Amazon Wireless Experience
First of all, I want to point out that Amazon Wireless is hands-down the best wireless shopping experience I've ever had. I was able to quickly and easily pick a phone, choose my service plan options, and submit the order with no issues. The only frustration was the fact that the phone was on backorder so long, and that's more of an AT&T supply chain issue. Clearly they underestimate the interest in this phone.

When the phone arrived last night, I was able to follow the instructions and get activated within a few minutes. The only hitch was porting my number... outbound calls were working fine, but incoming were still going to the Arrive. But they said it could take up to 3 hours to complete, so no problem... I waited until this morning. Same thing. I called Amazon Wireless Support, and they were able to fix it within 10 minutes. As it turns out, my Sprint account had a security option on it to prevent porting (oops, my bad), and it needed an extra verification to complete. Problem solved. No calls to Sprint. No calls to AT&T. Done in 10 minutes, and the lady I spoke with was incredibly friendly!

AT&T Experience
10 years ago, I left AT&T (a land line service) swearing I would NEVER be a customer again after a billing fiasco and poor customer service. Since then, at work I've inevitably had to deal with them in some capacity, and every day the reaffirm my hatred of the company. However, with Verizon clearly indicating their lack of interest in Windows Phone and Sprint not acting on or announcing plans either, that only left me with AT&T as a viable option. So I'm not thrilled about it, but I don't know... maybe it will work out.

The first thing I noticed on the TITAN is that it claims I'm in a 4G coverage area at home (with 3/5 bars no less). Now, I'm not stupid... I know HSPA+ (or whatever the hell the acronym is) isn't true 4G, and on top of that there's reports that AT&T is purposely throttling the 4G speeds for Windows Phones, but I do have to admit that my data connection with dramatically better than my Sprint data connection. My work pages loaded (side-by-side) in a fraction of the time taken on Sprint. Also, my Sprint phones have never seen 3 bars of signal at home in the 4 years I've had their service. So far so good!

Call quality on the TITAN is really good too... at least, so far. When I called Amazon Wireless Support, they sounded very clear to me and there were no gaps or garbled sounds or snaps, crackles, or pops. I'm actually looking forward to taking it into work today to see how signal is there.

In Post 2 (below), I'll begin my write-up of the Titan itself...
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Last edited by GoodThings2Life; 12-10-2011 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:56 PM
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Re: My HTC Titan Review

HTC TITAN -- The Hardware
The phone itself is enormous, let there be no doubt about that. If you want a big screen, here's your winner.

The phone is also very thin, which I think is necessary to compensate for the width of the phone. It helps balance things out when you're holding it in your hand. Now I confess, I'm always a two-handed user... holding any phone in my left hand and operating with my right hand. I suppose someone with a large hand could be comfortable with thumbing through with one hand, but I don't think most users of the Titan are going to be doing that.

Now, you might read this and think I'm being negative. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, because it's not... I just want your expectations to be right. If you're not looking for a enormous screen, the Focus Flash or the Focus S might be better suited for you. As I told a friend last night, "This is a man's phone!"

I'm gonna level with you though... I love this phone already!

The processor isn't dual-core, and I know Android-lovers are quick to harp on this fact, but the speed increase of the Titan's processor is perfect for Windows Phone. The phone boots in about 10 seconds, and apps load instantly for the built-in features, and I think the slowest-loading app I have is Fruit Ninja which loads in about 2.5-3 seconds. The animations and transitions are smooth and quick.

There is a front-facing camera, and I'll be honest it's probably not something I'll use until Skype or Windows Live Messenger video chat capabilities are included. I tried Tango, but I just don't like it, and I'm concerned about its privacy issues. I do, however, know a few people that will appreciate having a "mirror" option on the big screen.

The 8MP camera is pretty spectacular! I'm really impressed by it... or maybe the Arrive's was that bad by comparison, lol. Either way, the Titan takes great pictures, even in a low-light situation. HTC added burst mode and panoramic mode options as well, and I really think the panoramic mode is neat. It sets a line-level across the screen, and if you follow it, it will auto-snap the next shot when properly aligned.

The sound quality in calls has been much better than my Arrive. I'm not sure if it's the hardware or the network, but either way I can't complain. The only thing I recommend - for now - is disabling the SRS Enhancements. Apparently it has been linked to a graphics driver bug that causes brief lags in operation. Personally, I've always thought the feature was a gimmick anyway. The speaker phone mode is pretty decent too... although I wouldn't use it for music playback very often... stick to good headphones for that. Oh, and by the way, the microphones are finally not in a location that you're going to cover them when talking (partly because you'll find it awkward to hold the phone any other way than by the sides).

My data connection has been quick and steady, and I have no complaints. As I said before, I find the 4G claim a bit "cute" since I know better, but the performance is faster than I had with Sprint, so I'll take what I can get.

All in all, I only have one complaint about the hardware... the physical buttons for power, volume, and the camera. They're nearly flush against the body of the phone, and I find it difficult to find them without looking at the phone. This will be annoying when I'm driving or in a dark room trying to operate it. I shouldn't complain, since the Arrive had the opposite problem and I was constantly bumping the volume switch by accident, but I'd rather have a compromise of not-flush buttons that are harder to press.


HTC TITAN -- The Software
I have to give AT&T some credit, they don't clutter up the Titan with a lot of crap pre-loaded. There are a handful of AT&T apps that are probably useful for some people, and the YPMobile (Yellow Pages) app, but they're all uninstallable if you so choose (and yes, I chose to uninstall them). They didn't load up NASCAR and NFL apps or a lot of games and trials and nonsense on the way Android does. I'm actually happy about this, and I love being able to long-press and uninstall them.

Windows Phone 7.5 Mango is preloaded on the phone, of course, and as I said before it really FLIES on the Titan. The only delays are the ones I create when I don't know what I want to do, lol. The functionality of the OS has greatly improved, and I'm not finding myself wanting on the Titan. In fact, I've only installed a handful of apps (Amazon Mobile, Flashlight, Garmin StreetPilot, IMDb, Metrotube, Remote Desktop, WeatherLive, and WPCentral... plus a handful of games). Obviously, everyone's needs and usage is different though. My advice is to search for your app needs on the Marketplace if you're switching platforms.

I've said for a long time now that Zune is vastly superior to iTunes, and I firmly believe that. iTunes may have some exclusives on content at times, but I've rarely looked for something on Zune and not found it. I do wish that either Zune or SkyDrive would synchronize text messages (I think Zune Social hub would make a great integration point there), but it's not a showstopper.

I also believe that Bing Maps, while better in operation than Google, still needs to update the application to allow true turn-by-turn navigation instructions without interaction. That's a limit of the Bing Maps API though, not the phone or app itself. I downloaded Garmin StreetPilot to replace Bing Maps for now.

The camera app is quick and easy to use, and I like the ability to set tap-for-capture as on or off. I HATE having it enabled, because I find the button press better at helping me hold the phone steady, but it's a nice option for those who want it.

Overall, I've said it before, and I'm saying it now... Windows Phone has the best UI and interaction of any platform I've used (and I've used them all). Where the iPhone is like Windows 3.1 Program Manager (rows and columns of icon apps in folders), Android is more like a Windows XP desktop (still the icons, but at least you can setup widgets and customize the experience). Windows Phone, however, focuses less on the apps and more on the content and the actions taken. What do you want to do? I want to check Facebook. OK, let's check out our people hub... and while we're at it, we'll let you interact with them in more ways than just Facebook. It's a very useful paradigm shift in usability, and Microsoft, I believe, is getting this right.
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Last edited by GoodThings2Life; 12-11-2011 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:04 PM
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Re: My HTC Titan Review

Look forward to reading this. I would've tried to get out of the contract for free if I were u. The network has just been too shitty recently.but once sprint realizes that people are leaving over WP they will step it up. Currently sprint is the carrier that seems to care the least for WP (even VZ was at Nokia world and making offers for an LTE Nokia WP)
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:13 PM
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Re: My HTC Titan Review

My story is the same as yours. My etf was only 150$ however. I have been w/Sprint since '99. Really didn't want to leave but for the same price I'll still be paying the same bill, have expanded coverage when I'm outside of the city, and most importantly have a better future selection of WP phones in the future. I don't see Sprint getting anything together soon. The WinMo days are gone. Time to move forward.
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:19 PM
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IF i were to get a wp7 device it would be the titan for sure.
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:18 PM
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Re: My HTC Titan Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric12341 View Post
Look forward to reading this. I would've tried to get out of the contract for free if I were u. The network has just been too shitty recently.but once sprint realizes that people are leaving over WP they will step it up. Currently sprint is the carrier that seems to care the least for WP (even VZ was at Nokia world and making offers for an LTE Nokia WP)
Oh, yes, I still might try that too... I haven't even talked to anyone at Sprint yet. However, I'm porting my existing Sprint number over to AT&T, so I didn't want to cancel preemptively and lose service before the Titan arrives.

But you're right. I am leaving over a lack of good phone options and lousy signal outside my home area. As I said, I was in San Diego all week and had AWFUL service. Would often bounce between GREAT to roaming to nothing.
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Old 11-29-2011, 01:08 PM
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Can't really knock em for selections on wp7 devices tho when gsm carriers kinda get their picks of the litters 1st and I'm not saying sprint has great service because I have to use a stupid air wave in my home but when u think about it none of em is really better then the other in that department since I know people that go thru at&t ,tmo and Verizon that complain daily about services and issues anyways good read so far and thanks for being honest

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Old 11-29-2011, 02:03 PM
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Congrats GoodThings2Life, I was VERY tempted to do the same....!
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:47 PM
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Re: My HTC Titan Review

I would love to get the Titan, but around here AT&T is horrible. But...it would almost be worth it.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:19 PM
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Re: My HTC Titan Review

@GoodThings2Life just got my confirmation and mine should be here tomorrow. Hopefully your delivery estimate will be closer to the 5th rather than the 15th.
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