HTC Titan hands-on
HTC Radar hands-on
We ought to clarify that the software on both new devices was pre-release and still had bugs to be ironed out, so we can only focus on the hardware here. Head over to our Mango preview if you want a better idea of the update has in store, but for now the Titan's colossal figure gives us plenty to talk about.
For a start, the question must arise as to whether 4.7-inches is too big for a smartphone. That's an easy one to answer: the Titan feels just fine in the hand and not too bad in the pocket either, thanks to its 9.9mm (0.39-inch) profile and reasonable 160g (5.6-ounce) weight. Even the 70.7mm width and 131.5mm height don't seem too problematic, unless you're a member of the skinny jeans brigade or your pockets suffer from diagonal phone syndrome -- you know, where it just won't sit right and the corners jut out everywhere. It's also worth pointing out that this phone is not the biggest we've seen (the Acer Iconia Smart is 4.8 inches, for example), and judging from the just-announced Samsung Galaxy Note (which is admittedly not a phone), manufacturers are banking on this big-but-skinny form factor becoming all the rage.
More importantly, the Windows Phone OS and its vertically-scrolling live tiles are particularly well suited to a greater screen acreage: almost every bit of it is put to good use, but Microsoft's minimalist design stops it from feeling overcrowded. The WP onscreen keyboard also comes to life at this size, turning what was already one of the best typing experiences around into something even more special.
There is one major let-down however: the screen is just 800x480, which is lower than the Iconia Smart and the same resolution as the Radar's screen. We have to admit, we didn't notice a great deal of pixellation on the SLCD panel, which was generally sharp, bright and had great viewing angles. That said, HTC is a plain cheap skate for boosting size so massively without adding a single pixel -- unless it's somehow the fault of Windows Phone OS requirements, although the HTC execs we spoke didn't provide any such justification.
We're almost prepared to forgive this, however, thanks to the Titan's build quality. The black-painted metal unibody case feels fantastic, with just a small bit of plastic at the bottom to allow the aerial to do its job. The way the case peels off to reveal the core of the device is also distinctly pleasurable. The only weakness we spotted with the build was the paint job: we saw a device that had been used by an HTC person as their regular phone and the paint had chipped off at the corners to reveal the aluminum glistening underneath.
Update: the HTC rep in the Radar video above says there's no Twitter integration in the People Hub on WP7 Mango, but there is. Hey, we're only human.
Where the Titan stomps, the Radar merely beeps. It doesn't strike us as a bad phone by any means, but there just isn't a great deal to say about it. The 10.9mm thickness is adequate, while the 137g weight, 61.5mm width and 120.5mm height are all par for the course. Below is the grey Radar side-by-side with the older Trophy on the left.
Like the Titan, the 28mm rear camera claims an f2.2 maximum aperture along with a back-lit sensor to aid low-light performance and there's also an LED flash and 720p video recording -- but we can't judge it until we get some proper review time. It's too late in the game to get excited about the front-facing camera, which Windows Phone ought to have supported from the get-go. Making the camera VGA was a miserly decision in any case. Some people will also be put off by the lack of a removable battery and the grey variant's dull coloring -- the white version actually looked a lot more lively, if that's your thing. Ultimately, one of the best aspects of this camera is the fact that it's designed to work with the latest and greatest version of WP7 -- an update that we expect will do a lot to improve the appeal of Microsoft's mobile OS.
One last tidbit before we go: both the Radar and the Titan will have optional dock accessories, which will help them to function as alarm clocks while they're charging overnight.