The HTC Titan 2: A Closer Look at a Windows Phone With an Amazing Camera

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At the AT&T Developer Summit on Monday, CEO Ralph De la Vega announced a slew of new phones including the HTC Titan 2, the first LTE Windows Phone. While LTE 4G is exciting and all, I was more interested in the Titan 2’s 16-megapixel camera. I got to spend some time with the Titan 2 and talked to HTC’s communication team about its development.

In the last year, HTC has stepped up its game in the camera department. First, there was the T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide, which wowed us with its excellent image quality, intuitive camera interface and wide variety of advanced shooting features. HTC followed up with another camera-centric phone for T-Mobile, the HTC Amaze, which added the BurstShot and a few extra shooting modes. HTC extended this to its Windows Phones, starting with the HTC Titan and following up with the HTC Titan 2.

According to Jeff Gordon, the online communications manager for HTC, the company wanted to find a way to differentiate itself in the Windows Phone world. Microsoft doesn’t allow overlays (like HTC Sense) and requires certain hardware specs and features. The one area where there is some flexibility, however, is the camera and camera user interface.

The 16-megapixel camera has a F2.6 aperture, which is ideal for shooting in low light environments. It also has a backlit illuminated sensor. The camcorder can shoot up to 720p resolution video. Since the Titan 2 has a single core processor, it can’t support 1080p HD video capture.

Like the Amaze and myTouch 4G Slide, the Titan 2 has a slew of shooting modes and advanced features. You get a couple of hip-looking filters (like a built-in Hipstamatic app), panorama mode, BurstMode (for taking multiple shots in succession), an image stabilizer and flicker adjustment. There are also white balance, saturation, contrast and sharpness controls. HTC has gone above and beyond any camera I’ve seen in terms of shooting modes. Candle Light, Backlight Portrait, Night Portrait, Beach and Text are just a few of the shooting modes. There are also quite a few camcorder modes like Vintage Warm (sepia-toned), Vintage Cold (like an old black and white movie), Overexposed and Blue Tint. The camera interface is also clean and easy to navigate.

I snapped a few photos inside the convention center to see what the Titan 2 could do. I was impressed with how clear and sharp my photos looked on the display. I can’t wait to test out more of these advanced features and try the Titan 2’s camera out in more interesting environments.

Design-wise, the Titan 2 looks a lot like the original Titan but it slightly thicker (0.01 inches to be exact) due to the LTE chip. It has the same 4.7-inch display, which feels a bit oversized to me but that’s just because my hands are small. It doesn’t feel too awkward in hand, however, because the phone is so slim.

Battery life is always a concern for me with LTE phones (and especially camera-centric phones) so I was relived to hear that HTC increased size of the battery from the originals 1600 mAh to 1730 mAH.

This has been an exciting show for Microsoft’s mobile operating system with the announcements of both the Titan 2 and the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T’s LTE 4G network. Finally, Windows Phone is getting enticing hardware--and its about darn time.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out PCWorld's complete coverage of CES 2012.

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