Name: HTC Titan II

Carrier: AT&T

Price: $200 (w/two-year contract)

The Back Story:  It was at CES 2012 where HTC unveiled the Titan II, the successor to the first Windows Phone 7 handset and the first phone with LTE connectivity to run Microsoft's mobile OS. Joining the Nokia Lumia 900 as part of AT&T's next-generation of WP7 devices, it would seem the pressure's on both manufacturers to prove Microsoft’s smartphone division can compete with Apple and Google's mobile platforms. HTC welcomes the challenge and is coming hard out the gate with the first-ever 16MP camera phone.

With a fast 4G connection, the new Mango OS, great call quality, and the most powerful shooter ever featured in a smartphone (for now), HTC’s handset seems destined for big things. But with the company already setting the mobile tone with its critically praised Android One series and the Lumia 900 gaining heavy momentum going into the summer: Can the Titan II standout amongst AT&T’s other Goliaths?

Dope

Most megapixels ever in a camera: As we witnessed with the One X and its game-changing ImageSense camera technology, HTC has its radar locked on the mobile photography market. Now the company is introducing the first-ever 16MP phone. Sporting a hi-res sensor and the biggest lens of any phone on the market, the Titan II serves well as a point-and-shoot alternative that snaps crisp and detailed photos. You’ll discover a handful of aperture settings and different shooting options such as Panoramic Mode and Instagram-like filters to enhance the photog experience. It’s always a plus having a dedicated shutter button, plus it automatically triggers the camera's auto focus when pressing the button half way. Easily one of top camera phones available in the US.

• Reliable 4G coverage: LTE service was one of the major hallmarks missing from the previous WP7 lineup, but HTC and Ma Bell finally released a handset that delivers notable data speeds. Downloads clocked in at 14Mbps and downloads estimated at 2.2Mbps, which measured close to our Galaxy Note readings in the Tri-State area. We noticed 4G coverage was better on HTC’s handset, pulling strong signal reception throughout New York City and rarely stepping into 3G mode.

• Great processing and call performance: Microsoft’s mobile OS continues to grow on us, primarily because of its attractive set-up and dynamic functionality. Even with a second-gen 1.5GHz Qualcomm CPU under the hood, the phone handles commands and multitasking at the same degree as any premium dual-core handset. Media playback and games ran without any stutter present. Microsoft Office files loaded quick, too. Call quality was just as impressive with the Titan II producing clear and loud vocals. We paired the phone with a Bluetooth headset and garnered similar results.

• Built for multimedia: From its amazing camera to the Xbox Live integration, HTC’s giant caters to the media-centric. The 4.7-inch Super LCD panel is huge enough to enjoy videos or stream content from the HTC Watch hub. Gamers can rack up Live achievements on the go and download thousands of apps from Windows Marketplace. As with most WP7 devices, the Titan II supports the Zune desktop software, making music transfers a cinch for all Windows users.

• Solid battery life: Some praise the intuitive OS for working hand-in-hand with the processor to conserve energy, but it’s the non-removable 1,730mAh battery that deserves the credit. The handset is capable of pulling an all-day-er on moderate use. When you take multimedia use, web surfing, and gaming into consideration expect an estimated 8 to 10 hours.  

Nope

• Same real estate as original: HTC's stuck working around Microsoft’s mandated WP7 hardware requirements. Hence its decision to reassign the same CPU and 480x800 display found in the first model.

• Disappointing video recording: The potent shooter doesn’t support 1080p HD, picks up heavy wind noises, and struggles with close ups when recording 720p clips. In short, stick to snapping photos.

 Huge dimensions and price tag: At 5.18 ounces and 5.2 inches tall, the Titan II embodies its moniker. The price point is another issue. Seeing how the Lumia 900 is priced at $100 less, offers the same OS features, and comes LTE-enabled, HTC should consider a markdown to help push these off the shelves.

Final Say: The Titan II gets props for welcoming a few firsts to the mobile game, by that we mean its monstrous 16MP camera and LTE coverage for the Windows Phone platform. Images look great and the different shooting modes are sweet additions to the shooter. Pictures are slightly better on the Titan II, but we give the overall camera experience to the One X for its amazing technological advancements. A true shutterbug will appreciate the phone nonetheless. The LTE service surprised us the most, dishing out fast data speeds that compliment Microsoft’s smooth and speedy interface. Call quality is also stellar. However, poor video recording and second-gen specs could shift subscribers towards a more inexpensive option that offers identical performance (Lumia 900). But if multimedia and photography is your forte, the Titan II fits the frame.