HTC Titan II vs. Nokia Lumia 900, it really goes beyond hardware

I feel obligated to offer this from the onset: The HTC Titan II and Nokia Lumia 900 are both excellent Windows Phones. There's really not a bad choice between the two. One may suit your tastes better than the other but that doesn't make the one not chosen a bad Windows Phone. Having gotten that out of the way, when the two phones hit the market I found the Titan II more appealing. The larger screen and better camera gave the phone an edge over the Lumia 900. Both screens are high quality but for me, the Titan II appeared more natural and it was easier to view outdoors.

But that initial preference was based on hardware alone. After a few months on the market, a feature beyond the nuts and bolts of these two Windows Phones began to take shape making things a little more difficult to choose between the two. That feature is manufacture support.

Shortly after the Lumia 900 release Nokia set an example of product-support that should be the model for others to follow. There was a bug that dropped data connectivity on a few devices and instead of white washing things, Nokia recognized the problem and distributed a fix within a week of the Lumia 900's release. On top of quickly responding to the problem, Nokia compensated customers for their trouble with a $100 credit.

From there, Nokia has offered exclusive apps for the Lumia line and undertook a massive media campaign that includes the Smartphone Beta Test commercials and product placement in a bazillion television shows. These efforts don't necessarily make the Lumia 900 a better phone but  it does make the Lumia series a bit more appealing and may create a balance for the Lumia 900's shortcomings.  Consumers may tolerate a marginal camera if they have a handful of exclusive apps to enjoy.

Some people complain about all the attention and coverage the Nokia Lumia line receives. It's not that anyone is playing favorites but rather it's Nokia promoting their Windows Phone lineup to the front of the pack. Our site will gladly report on promotional events from HTC, Samsung or any other Windows Phone manufacturer but other companies aren't putting out the same effort as Nokia. These efforts have placed the Lumia 900 as the unofficial flag bearer for Windows Phone. A position that any other Windows Phone manufacturer could have easily attained or shared had they put forth a similar effort.

I can not think of a single HTC Titan II commercial, product placement or exclusive content from third party developers. HTC Locations had potential but then HTC started charging for the navigation service which took the winds out of its sails. HTC's focus is clearly with Android and that's fine but we can't help but feel HTC has missed a great opportunity with Windows Phones.

How much more appealing would the Titan II have been if it had Beats Audio or an exclusive version of Angry Birds Space (or any other popular game)? How much better would sales be if the Titan II was featured in a commercial or used in a television episode or music video? The Titan II is a quality Windows Phone but in this competitive industry, it can't sell itself.

So which is the better Windows Phone? On hardware alone I still have to give the nod to the HTC Titan II. The camera is better and I like the larger screen. However, taking product support into consideration and the Lumia 900 gets the endorsement. There is plenty of room for improvement on the Lumia 900 (better camera, annoying rattle with the vibrate alert, etc.) but the amount of exposure, exclusive apps, and support Nokia brings to the table makes the Lumia 900 a more attractive option.

HTC may end up surprising us with a fantastic, ground breaking, jaw dropping Windows Phone 8 device that is supported and marketed at the level Nokia has set with the Lumia line. Then again, Samsung may step up and do the same. I still have my reservations on the Lumia 900 hardware but knowing the Microsoft's OS is backed by a company that has taken an "all in" approach to Windows Phone seems to make up for things.

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • No doubt that HTC titan 2 is a beast.. I have the titan 1 as well but the problem with HTC phones is you can't tell the difference people think when they see thr phone is like ANDROID...the LUMIA even with all the rattle and camera problem its just different from them all.. Amoled,cbd,multiple colors, you can't beat that,plus the apps and support.. When you see a lumia,you know it's not ANDROID, and that's the most important thing to me..
  • i have to agree the most important thing to me besides the windows phone os is how to add flare to the already mesmorizing software and no one has done it better than nokia i understand that the 800 and 900 are just recycled n9 designs but the n9 design was not hugely adopted as far as i can tell and that makes the design still original in and of itself but htc and samsung are taking designs that have been hugely adopted thus making the phones seem outdated and old looking IMO< if i could id get an 800 in black just because to me the phones are deserving of that attention and thats why i went with the 900 its an eye catcher the bugs are not that big of an issue to me and people know im using a windows phone because they recognize it as one :D
  • Not a fan of the Lumia's design tbh, I find there's a lot of wasted space taken up by it that could be taken away to make it smaller and compact.
  • I completely agree.  It seems like Nokia built a chassis that a 4.5 screen could fit in and put a 4.3 in instead.  HTC's almost edge to edge body is really hot.
    I'm really pissed at HTC for its OWN application support though.  Case in point is the Connection Settings app which doesn't include settings for popular MVNOs and doesn't even support the Titan II.  Locations was a BIG let down too when they decided to take the low road and leave everyone hanging to flip the bill on voice guidance.
  • Nokia is the only manufacturer taking WP7 seriously. Samsung and HTC make hardware and put the OS on there and pretty much stop there. Nokia is really the only WP7 phone worth getting even with the shortcomings of the camera. Nokia Drive alone is worth it. HTC charging for its navigation program is a perfect example of how they don't get it. Their products just can't compete with Nokia's offerings, megapixels and all.
  • George I'd have to say that if they use the one x body for the next HTC windows phone that would be tempting but I'm sold on AMOLED I can't use an LCD after using AMOLED even the retna display is washed out and sucks so I'm gonna say that the Titan 1 and Titan 2 both have brighter and nice screen but it's not AMOLED so I'm gonna wait to see what wp8 has to offer for AT&T I still have an upgrade coming at the end of the year cuz I bought the Lumia 900 cash so I wouldn't miss out on wp8 :P
  • One of the reasons I switched over to Nokia from HTC after owning an HD2, and HD7 and a Titan is there is always some ridiculously painful showstopper. On HD2 is was HTC Sense: with sense, daily crashes; without sense, a stable workable phone. On the HD7 is was the ridiculously hard to push buttons: a good camera is worthless if I move the phone attempting to press the buttons. And turning the power on and off was just as frustrating. On the titan it was the pitiful voice quality. A co-worker actually started calling me "mumbles".  That was the final HTC straw. They may make great phones spec-wise, but their execution and follow-up was sorely lacking.
    Do I wish the Nokia had the "best" camera. Sure. But honestly, that's just for bragging rights. 90% of the pictures I take look great, and the fact that I can actually take the picture when I want it, without moving the camera is more important to me. The fact that I can be clearly heard by those on the other end of the line is more important to me. The fact that I have wonderful support by my manufacturer is more important to me. And the exclusive software  and unique hardware design? That covers the bragging rights ;^)
  • I just want to make sure you know that if you touch the screen anywhere when taking pictures, it will autofocus and take the photo. Personally, I don't use the camera button for anything other than start the camera. All photos by touch screen for me.
  • Though I am aware of that option now, remember the hd7 was first generation, pre mango, and that wasn't an option back then. That said, a physical camera button is much more natural for those of us who have been using cameras for about 40 years :P
  • I am pretty sure there was this option in pre-mango
  • Yeah, I was going to say that too. I have a HD7 and I don't have any of the issues you describe. The power button requires the lightest touch to activate, and I've had no issues with the camera button. Only the volume up/down gets stuck sometimes. Another two mates also have HD7's and they can only say the volume button was an infrequent issue... so maybe you bought a dud one! :P
  • i mean i as a wp7.5 user love seeing windows phones regardless of oem. i can spot them from far but lets be honest if you saw someone with a titan and didnt know wp you wouldnt know it was a wp lol because htc recycles so many designs thats all im saying but wp as a whole i get excited just to see people with one. there is a guy who works with me saw my lumia and was like this is the best phone i have ever owned and i was glad because he enjoyed the phone and he recognized mine and obviously made him feel good about the choice.
  • Stop caring so much about what other people think. Did you finish your homework yet? -Dad
  • LOL
  • Thanks for being so absolutely hilarious.....its ashame we all dont have your comical gift
  • Don't talk back to your father!
  • Hahaha! Good one! WinFan1, don't get upset. We're just joking around. Now go take the garbage out! Hahahaha. OK, that was the last one from me.
  • im not upset im just havin a stressful day at my job and the comment did not really help though i am calm now that being said can i borrow the car for the weekend?
  • Maybe what they're getting at is you don't use periods at the end of your sentences. ;-) Makes your posts a bit difficult to read.
  • Then don't read it.... Seriously what is it with people and punctuation its a forum it isn't that serious
  • I never use periods, I only use full-stops. :P :P :P
  • I totally agree. Nokia is the only company that truly supports windows phone. The rest like Samsung for example does not even provide all connectivity to its other products like smart tv. If this stays this way WP will stay in a niche market
  • My first gen LG has SmartShare. My HD7 didn't have anything like that. Loving SmartShare.
  • Well said, George.  I just got my Lumia 900, upgraded from the original Titan.  And while both phones do nearly the exact same thing, Nokia's apps, promotional events, commercials, and support makes it feel like a totally different experience.
  • Is it just me or the tiles on the Titan II look yellow on the cover image of the article??!?
  • In the business world, vendor support always weighs heavily in the decision matrix. Consumers would be wise to do the same.
  • Right! it's simply more than only hardware. Having a vendor that truly supports its products is priceless.
  • The camera is not marginal if you do auto fix on every shot.  It really improves the quality.  I think it probably loses some of the data to do it, but it is fun to upload a photo to skydrive, then autofix the same photo and compare on skydrive. 
    If you do this you can get fine photos.  Interestingly, this seems to be a software issue.  The video camera is terrific, as good as HTC or anything out there.
    Just my opinion, but I am loving the Nokia while I wait for "pureview" on a windows phone.  Probably with windows phone 8
  • I loved my Samsung Omnia 7, and still do, but the Lumia 900, is just wonderful. I just couldn't understand with all the power and products Samsung has, they didn't do the same as Nokia did. Yes they had a few apps, but they didn't try to push developers hard like Nokia is trying to do now. HTC & Samsung, being both are leaders in the Android world, could've agreed with all developers to bring great apps to the WP platform. And just didn't really try to advertise their handsets or anything. Hoping things change for WP8. When I pull out the Lumia Cyan, everyone is like that's a cool case, then I tell them it's the actual phone, jaws drop. Then when I show off PhotoSynth, they are like "How in the world" & and who sells that phone? My upgrade is not up until end of the year! Slowly I see people put their phones away.
  • I get the same reaction.. Hahaha
  • I got that today! So hilarious. Even had my Rogers rep eyeing it haha
  • I am hoping that Nokia, does release a fix for the minor camera quirks. I have been able to adjust the settings to get great pictures, just got use to having the phone do everything on it's own.
  • The Titan's screen is not easier to see outdoors. The SLCD can't touch AMOLED. Camera is all the Titan has on the Lumia.
  • Exactly! Don't know how he got that impression.
  • I have a Titan I and was jonesing for a 900... until I went to play with one. I had assumed it was this slim nice phone until I handled it. It was the same size if not bigger (thicker) than my Titan, I could not justify the loss of screen space without a porpotional decrease in size, but to lose the screenspace and still carry a brick was joke. The camera was abysmal compared to mine and I'm not even on the Titan II. LTE doesn't effect me (I'm in nashville) so that wasn't a selling point on either the Titan II or the 900. As for exclusive apps most are just a matter of patience (not nokia braded exclusives obviously) and I'm not sure where you guys are getting charged for Locations as I've used it a very small amount and never seen any sort of payment screen/options. All-in-all the 900 wasn't a big enough step up (frankly not a step up at all) to get me off my Titan despite my salivating over it for months before my hands-on. This WP7'er will be waiting for apollo for my next upgrade, here's hoping for an anorexic 900.
    (side note, if the 800 had an FFC I would pounce on it, it is very nicer in the hand and in design than the rest... curved glass for the win)
  • I did the exact same thing. After handling a 900, I decided it wasn't worth giving up my Titan. Nokia will be at the top of my list when it comes time to shop for WP 8 phones though.
  • I was in the opposite boat- I had a Titan and couldn't wait to get rid of it.  The wifi data bug was just too much, in the end.  How HTC has gotten away with that one, I'll never understand.
    If not for that showstopper, I'd have gotten a Titan II instead of the 900.
  • Nice article. I have a Nokia lumia 800 because I live in the UK, I got it in November and I love it. I dont really want a lumia 900 or titan 2 because I dont want a big screen. I dont watch movies or anything on my phone so there is no point of having a big screen. If I want to watch movies on the go I just use my iPad. But I've had no issues with my lumia 800 except I would like a front facing camera but its not worth it paying like £5 extra a month for the 900 as the only desirable feature is the front facing camera as 4G doesn't exist here in the UK. But I would choose the lumia 900 over the titan 2 definetely.
  • I had the HTC Titan... bought it for myself as a Christmas present... 3 Weeks later... they announced the Titan II.  That upset me.  It really upset me.  The Titan had come out 2 months before the announcement and they were already on the next iteration... There wasn't even a rumor or anything to prevent me from moving forward with my purchase...
    I loved my Titan... loved it... but then I consume a lot of internet and data... so speed was important.  I got smoked by old phones on At&T's network... Same network... slower speed.  that annoyed me.
    Then the Lumia 900 came out... and WPCentral, Gizmodo, Engadget... they all humped the phone... everyone agreed that the Titan II was a beefier phone but the Lumia was just... a beautiful device.  So I bought one for my wife.  I was in complete envy... I purchased one for myself (using the upgrade for another line on my account) and handed down my Titan (that line previously had an HTC Aria so the screen jump was ridiculous and they were already happy with the speeds that they had.... The Camera was the biggest sell for that deal.) 
    Honestly... .4 inches shouldn't make that much of a difference but it's NOTICIABLE... the difference in screen size.  On top of that... the pictures are not even close to what the original Titan was getting.  With that being said... I love the Lumia.  I've been asked on several occassions what "the heck kind of phone is that?"  It's a good feeling.
  • Why would you want a bigger phone??? It just will be awkward and will not fit in your pocket. Just stick to Nokia type of size screen or maybe 3.8 size which is fine to have carry in your pocket. Has long it has same OS and great hardware I can live with a 3.8 to 4 inch display
  • Why wouldn't you want a bigger phone? I've had a 4.3" screen (on HD7) for 18 months now and the smaller screens look horrible :P
    I find the iphone laughably small and I was actually shocked by WP7 running on the Lumia 800 - I couldn't believe how small all the tiles were.
    I had a look at the Titan II the other day and it's not much bigger than the HD7. I'd be really tempted if it was running WP8 though.
    Realistically there's not a big difference in size between a 3.5" phone and 4.3" phone... it's 2 cm extra diagonally, which is only around 1 cm wider.
  • I've been an HTC owner for years, going so far as to import an HTC HD2 from Australia and running a custom ROM on it to get all that WinMo goodness on ATT. Loved my Titan, I'm a big fan of large screens, but I am convinced my Lumia was worth the full price I paid for it.
    Support to deal with bugs quickly and out in the open is invaluable. Every HTC phone I've owned (9 of them) has disappointed in some major way. And HTC never did anything about them. Nokia has clearly committed to this phone and WinPhone in general and that is a very valuable distinction. I expect the camera software will be fixed as soon as ATT will allow it. The buzzer, sorry rattler, is tragic but clearly bad hardware choice that they can't fix. As fur the screen, while I love the Titan's extra real estate, there's no comparison. The Nokias CBT is far superior. The rejection of unwanted glare is the most important feature of any screen and this is the best display in the Industry.
    For me it has been an easy and happy step up to the 900.
  • HTC has constantly released firmware updates for the HD7 so think again next time u try to say HTC doesn't do anything
  • I love HTC's hardware materials but love the design by Nokia. I wish HTC would pit some effort into promoting their Windows Phone offerings though. And Nokia may need to slow down with the whole beta tester thing if they can't even compete with the greats especially in the camera department. I'm using the original Titan and I love it but I wish HTC and Samsung would get on the freaking ball with advertising and exclusive app support.
  • I think Samsung lost the plot by not releasing an international equivalent of Focus S. It has the best screen on any Windows Phone & it'd surely have been a killer.
  • 100%
  • Sad to c that only Nokia bother to advertise wp7.5.if HTC could bring the titan or titan II to Singapore I would definitely buy it
  • I believe the original titan was in the video for fun's "we are young".
  • Went from the titan to the lumia. Loved both phones and the lumia did get better reception. But I missed the big screen and the low amount of bezel on the titan, plus I had hardware issues with my lumia and had to exchange it twice. I ended up the second time switching to the titan 2, and could not be happier. That said I do miss the lumia's better reception and accessorie support. No free lunch but both are great!
  • HTC isn't charging for locations, a 3rd party company is. No money goes to HTC at all for that
  • Also forgot to mention the SRS enhancements HTC has. That keeps me from getting anything other than HTC especially since they even said that sound is important
  • Remember guys, Nokia's life depends on windows phone succeeding. Htc and others have Android as an alternative.
  • Nokia dropped Symbian like a hot rock and went all in with WP7.No surprise sense Steve was one of the head guys at Microsoft before leaving for Nokia.
  • ......and here I am with an original Samsung Focus... I wish I could even say I have a titan. I do not belong here.
  • Don't feel too bad. I also have the original Samsung Focus still, but for sure it ws the vest of the launch models, so we got a good deal with it. I am waiting until Windows Phone 8 starts being rolled out before I look into a possible upgrade over the Focus.
    I might not even hold off longer if the Focus gets updated to Windows Phone 8.
    I just wish Samsung would also push for exclusive, or timed exclusive apps like Nokia is, but I can understand why there is a difference between the two, as was stated earlier one is all in while the other plays both sides of the fence.
  • I'm happy with my Samsung focus S. I was loyal to HTC since the windows mobile 5days to ICS but there was always something wrong with HTC's software so I would end up flashing too many ROM's & tweaks. I personally can't wait to see what Samsung does with wp8 & if they don't do much I'll make the switch to Nokia specially for the support & the beautiful design.
  • I came from a Nokia N97. So the lumias were kind of the logical next step. However, as a person who always tries to be as objective as he can, based on what both companies are offering, Nokia clearly has the better overall offering. Maybe it's because their lives depend on it or maybe it's because it's Nokia. The bottom line is they have the best offering. It's as simple as that.
  • I've had the 900 a couple of weeks thought about waiting for 8 but decided that I liked the lumia enough to jump have had no issues decided I should support Nokia now for what they've done to promote and advance the ecosystem
  • Nokia has got me sold. I love HTC, been with them since my touchpro. But now they've dropped the ball. I'm done, I'm gonna try to hold out for the Apollo Nokia hardware; but if I become impatient, Lumia 900 it is. I wished I could get the Dark Knight edition....
  • I'm using a Lumia800, but still won't part with my focus. It proved to me that the 4" screen is the ideal size! Oh, and it is the only phone that can take a micro SD for expandability! That said, its now my sons's phone because in every other respect, I just prefer the Lumia. I like the overall size more (I know it can't give a 4" screen though) and I love the design more.