We've joked that the HTC Titan II is "that other Windows Phone" that launched on April 8 on ATT. Well, let's call it April 9 since the carrier's own corporate stores were closed for the Easter holiday on the 8 th, making it one big but bungled launch. Jokes aside, though the Titan II didn't enjoy the same immense marketing campaign as the Lumia 900, it's nonetheless a top Windows Phone 7.5 smartphone. It features top build quality, good voice, a huge 4.7" display and a crazy 16MP camera. Were it not for the Lumia 900, this would probably be the top dog Windows Phone. Unless you're understandably and hopelessly sold on a vivacious cyan Lumia, or perhaps the stunning white Lumia 900 that's coming April 22, the decision isn't easy. So let's smack these two phones down.
Build Quality and Design
The HTC Titan II has an elegant and understated unibody design. It is metal under that pleasant soft touch finish or plastic? HTC tells us it's aluminum with plastic over the antenna area. It's good looking, strong and put together perfectly. HTC gets extra points for the curved chin and curved glass that grace the bottom end of the phone: it looks simply awesome. They also get kudos for making a 4.7" phone that's about the same size as the 4.3" Lumia 900 and 4.5" Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket.
These days, in a sea of look-alike smartphones, you've got to stand out. Even it's a really lovely same old design, it won't beat something that looks like nothing else, is beautiful and expensive looking. Look at the iPhone: much of it's appeal is that stunning and high quality look. Nokia really exercised their considerable Scandinavian design skills here. The Lumia 900 looks like nothing else, except its little sister the Nokia Lumia 800. The polycarbonate design has really captured the hearts and wallets of consumers. Offering it in cyan is brilliant, and the white is fetching too. And for those who like a quieter way to show off those unusual curves and petable surfaces, there's matte black.
Winner: Nokia Lumia 900
We've got two solid ways to attack display technology here. HTC, long a specialist in super-sized displays, went with the same 4.7" Super LCD used on the first Titan. It's a very good display with accurate and natural colors. Viewing angles are pretty good. Web pages don't need zooming and videos look great on the big screen. Heck, the Titan II is about the same size as the Lumia 900, so why not go with the one that has the larger display?
If there's anything more popular than Instagram, it's AMOLED and Super AMOLED displays. The better-than-life colors and supreme contrast have helped move Samsung to the top of the smartphone food chain for sales. And Nokia's ClearBlack AMOLED display is even more pleasing that Samsung phones with that tech. Colors are super-saturated by the color balance is natural. Blacks are inky and make the blacks on the Titan II look like dark gray. Since both phones run at the same 800 x 480 resolution, the Lumia 900's display looks sharper since the pixels are packed into a smaller area.
Winner: Nokia Lumia 900. But I understand that bigger is better for some of you, and you might prefer the Titan II.
Slaughter. Though pixel counts aren't everything, HTC actually puts them to very good use for photos. The Titan II takes the best shots we've ever seen on the US camera phone. Better than the iPhone 4S, better than the Galaxy S II and better than the Lumia 900. In fact, it's just about as good as my not cheap 16MP Lumix point and shoot other than the absence of hardware zoom. The Titan II takes excellent macro shots with good depth of field (background blur), manages bright scenes without ugly whiteout and is good in low light thanks to its backside illuminated sensor. The only place the Titan II and Lumia 900 are on even footing is video. Both shoot 720p video and the Titan II's isn't any better than the Lumia's.
Winner: HTC Titan II
Both run on the same Snapdragon S2 CPU with Adreno 205 graphics , 512 megs of RAM and 16 gigs of storage. The Titan II is 1.5GHz while the Nokia is 1.4GHz--a difference you'll never notice.
Calling and Data
We got slightly faster download speeds on the HTC Titan II in our LTE 4G tests. We're talking 17 vs. 19Mbps down, so it's not a huge difference. Both have the mobile hotspot feature so you can use the phone as a wireless high speed model for your laptop or tablet. Note that you must get AT&T's 5 gig, $50/month data plan to use this feature (ouch).
The phones have similar reception (yes, HTC has improved) and both have good call quality. The Nokia Lumia 900 has a louder earpiece (really loud for a cell phone), while the HTC has unusually loud outgoing call volume with good noise reduction.
Both phones' batteries are sealed inside, the their capacity is similar: 1730 mAh for the HTC Titan II and 1830 mAh for the Nokia Lumia 900. HTC claims a modest 4 hours of talk time while Nokia claims 7 hours. For those of us who don't spend hours on the phone each day, and instead use our phones for a few short calls, web browsing, email, taking photos, listening to music and watching a few YouTube videos, battery life isn't that far apart with LTE in use. But the Nokia does last an hour to two hours longer in the same usage scenario, and it charges more quickly.
Winner: Nokia Lumia 900
The Lumia 900 sells for just $99 with contract vs. $199 for the HTC Titan II. If you're buying retail without a contract or upgrade, the Lumia is $449 and the Titan II is $549. We don't recommend you make your buying decision based on $100 for the phone. You'll be saddled with a contract that will cost you much more than that, and you have to live with an like your phone for up to 2 years. But on sheer cost basis, Nokia wins.
Winner: Nokia Lumia 900
And here's our Nokia Lumia 900 vs. HTC Titan II Comparison Smackdown Video: