Motorola TITANIUM Review

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

The i1 was introduced by Motorola and Sprint last year to much fanfare with Mike Rowe pimping the rough and tumble Android device with Nextel Direct Connect (DC.)  It was a good enough device, but plagued by an out of date version of Android and laggy performance.  Motorola is back with the follow-up, the TITANIUM.  The successor brings a portrait QWERTY keyboard to the table, but specs remain otherwise similar.  Features include a 5-megapixel camera, 3.1” display and Military Spec 810G for dust, shock, vibration, low pressure, solar radiation, high temperature and low temperature (but not water, as the i1 was.)  It has a newer version of Android, but at 2.1 is still two versions behind the latest build out of Mountain View.  Included with the Motorola TITANIUM you’ll get a microUSB cable and AC charger, 2GB microSD card and stereo headset.

Design:

The Motorola TITANIUM resembles the XPRT closely, but Motorola hasn’t completely copied the design.  For starters, the four capacitive buttons of the XPRT are now three physical ones, as well as physical send and end keys.  We don’t like this move because they are now very thin and hard to press, and the send and end keys are redundant to onscreen controls.  While the keyboard looks very similar, it feels very different.  It is mushier, and we often found it couldn’t keep up with us resulting in missed key strokes.  It became quite frustrating; as we became more aware of the problem we became more aware that we were indeed pressing the keys and that the TITANIUM wasn’t recognizing all of them.



You can compare the Motorola TITANIUM with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Outside of the keyboard the TITANIUM feels very well put together.  The soft touch battery door makes for a solid grip in the hand, and the 3.1” 320x480 capacitive display is plenty responsive. The display is average for a device like this; it is usable in most lighting conditions but will be hard to see in bright, direct light and the quality of the display overall wont wow you. Some of the side buttons (camera on the right, lock and speaker on the top) are a bit hard to find by touch but the PTT key and volume rocker stand out well enough.  All of them are easy to press and give a good click.



The TITANIUM fits comfortably in the hand and feels good against the face.  Like the i1, the TITANIUM feels extremely well built as is evidenced by its Military Spec 810G rating.  We do question the lack of water resistance of the TITANIUM , but otherwise it is another example of Motorola’s renewed commitment to quality hardware.



Motorola TITANIUM 360-degrees View:





Interface and Software:

Unfortunately the Motorola TITANIUM only runs Android 2.1 Éclair, putting it two generations behind.  The interface is the familiar Blur-type interface found on most Motorola phones these days including five home screens, the standard Motorola widgets and the Phone, App Drawer, People dock.   Unfortunately the TITANIUM only features the same 504MHz Freescale Zeus processor found in the i1 and 512MB of memory (half of which is available for apps,) so performance is quite sluggish.  It wasn’t good enough on the i1 with Android 1.5, and it is definitely not adequate enough for the more advanced version of Android.


Included software is pretty minimal and apps you’d expect like TeleNav, Facebook and Sprint services.  The My Sign app allows the user to create gestures which launch certain apps and Quick Office allows for Office document viewing and editing.  Thankfully the bloatware is not only minimal but also mostly uninstallable, an initiative Sprint has taken starting with the HTC EVO 3D.


As we mentioned the physical keyboard isn’t the best, but when used in landscape mode (which is awkward) Swipe is available onscreen.  We don’t see many users taking advantage of this option, but at least it’s there.



Connectivity and Internet:

The Motorola TITANIUM is an iDEN device with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR and GPS.  Data speeds over the iDEN network are so slow that it isn’t worth using the browser, but even over Wi-Fi the underpowered phone took quite a bit of time to load more complex webpages such as our home page.  It allows for double tapping and pinching to zoom, but both methods are very choppy.  Another issue we had was that Wi-Fi had a tendency to randomly disconnect from time to time, and at times it would immediately turn off right after we turned it back on (as seen in our video review.)



Camera and Multimedia:

The Motorola TITANIUM is geared more to the business crowd, but as an Android device has plenty of multimedia capability.  The 5-megapixel camera performed decently but not great.  Detail was relatively good, but colors were a bit washed out and bright imaged tended to be over-exposed.  Options are sparse, which is par for the course for Motorola devices.  The video capabilities are lacking, with maximum recording resolution only CIF.




Motorola TITANIUM Sample Video:



The music player may not quite be stock Android, but in terms of features and functionality it is.  It handled all the songs we threw at it as you would expect and there really isn’t much else to say about it.  The video player will max out with videos 640x480 at 30fps.





Performance and Conclusion:

Callers were impressed with the Motorola TITANIUM, rating us an 8.5/10.  They said we were a bit nasally, but otherwise were very clear and easy to understand even with a good amount of background noise (which they were unaware of).  They were quite loud and clear on our end, with our only complaint that the speaker sounds a bit recessed in the phone.  The speakerphone lies below the QWERTY keyboard and was plenty loud.  Battery life was a drawback on the i1, but has been beefed up to 1820mAh (from 1440) which is good for 6.75 hours of talk time and 235 hours of standby.  The i1 was only rated for 3.5 and 100 hours, respectively.

The lack of selection in the Nextel lineup makes the Motorola TITANIUM your default choice if you want a smartphone, but it is not without its shortcomings.  The 504MHz processor and 512MB of memory simply aren’t enough to run Android smoothly.  The keyboard is soft and inaccurate and the navigation keys are tiny.  While the Motorola TITANIUM may resemble the XPRT on the outside, is it very different on the inside and with the user experience.  Unless you really need a smartphone and Nextel Direct Connect we’d recommend the XPRT if you’re looking for some portrait QWERTY Android action.

Android version: 2.1-update1

Motorola TITANIUM Video Review:

Video Thumbnail



Pros

  • Military Spec 810G
  • Good call performance and better battery life than the i1

Cons

  • Underpowered processor with not enough memory
  • Mushy, inaccurate keyboard
  • Only Android 2.1

PhoneArena Rating:

5.5

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