[Exclusive] Antennagate redux on the HTC Titan running Windows Phone?

It is perhaps an open secret that the best windows phone on the market today also suffers from a deficiency in something that is the cellphone’s primary function: making calls.

Many posters on HTC’s support forum about the HTC Titan are complaining about muffled sound issues. Additionally, there was some chatter on WPCentral’s forums and we got some tweets about this as well. A couple of user reviews on The Verge also give a lower score to call quality than average, though it is interesting to note that their official review gave very good marks to call quality.

Image: screenshot from HTC Titan support forum complaining about sound quality.

One of the easily overlooked things from the CES announcement for HTC Titan II was the fact that they changed the material of the back of the Titan from metal to what the CNET is calling “a soft touch finish of a lighter grey”. This could be a coating added to an aluminum body, or a different material altogether, we have not been able to determine. Add to this the fact that the HTC Titan was just released in November, why would they announce the successor to the phone this early?

HTC is aware of the problem and has no workarounds or solutions at hand. When I emailed HTC Support about the call quality issue, they responded with the following text:

Dear Sushovan De,

Thank you for taking the time to contact HTC, Sushovan. We are sorry to hear that you are experiencing issues with the sound quality on your Titan. We will gladly assist you with this issue.

We are currently aware of this issue, where your voice sounds muffled to the caller, and we are investigating possible resolutions. At this time, we do not have an ETA as to when this issue will be resolved. To stay on top of updates for any of our devices, keep an eye on our official website and our official social media outlets(Facebook & Twitter). Once we have information regarding an update, it will be posted to these sites first.

We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused, Sushovan, and we appreciate your patience while we work to resolve this important issue for you and other Titan users. As always, we are here to answer any technical questions or concerns you may have between 6am to 1am EDST, 7 days a week for your convenience, or by phone at <number>

While I appreciate the fact that HTC Customer service was frank and prompt in their response, I am suspicious that there might be something fundamentally wrong with the phone.

Well, if you put two and two together, it seems like there is a serious design issue with the HTC Titan. Which is why HTC modified the design of the phone. Which is why they are releasing the successor to the Titan so soon. Which is why they don’t have an immediate answer to this muffled call quality issue.

So to test my theory out, I decided to perform some experiments.

I live in a place where I get about 3 bars of service from AT&T indoors, when the phone is lying on my table. When I grip the phone in my hand, the number of bars drops to 1.



And then, the final piece of evidence: the actual calls. This following video has three parts. The first part, which is barely understandable, is me speaking on the Titan, holding the phone up to my ear. There were 3 bars on the phone when I started the call, but it might have deteriorated during the call. The second part is me using a pair of earphones to make the call from the same place as the first once (indoors).  And the third part is me using earphones outdoors, where there is much better signal.

To conclude, this seems strangely reminiscent of the Apple iPhone Antennagate issues. While I absolutely love the metal finish on the back of my phone, it remains a very unsuitable material for the back of a phone.

p.s – Don’t forget to read our HTC Titan review where Malcom noticed the sub par call clarity.

We have contacted HTC and are awaiting their response.

6 thoughts on “[Exclusive] Antennagate redux on the HTC Titan running Windows Phone?”

  1. I’m also having problems when I attempt to use speakerphone.  Doing so, my wife tells me, renders my voice nearly unable to be heard at all.  You should add that use case to your test and see.

  2. Im glad I got rid of mine and bought a Galaxy S2…………….never looked back

    too many problems with WP7 that still need ironing out.

  3. I think the author is off-track on the conclusion here.  While the signal strength may drop when the phone is held, it’s been pretty much established that the muffled mic problem is actually defective implementation of the noise cancellation function.  Covering the noise cancellation mic on the back of the phone usually improves the sound quality dramatically.  The reason the sound is better with the headset is that it avoids the built-in microphones.

  4. I’ve been using an HTC Titan for nearly 2 months now and never encountered this issue. My carrier is AT&T. This being said, I have always encased my Titan with an Incipio feather case. Since somebody brought up the metal backplate as a potential factor, I’m curious to know if choosing the right case for the phone helps improve call quality. Never done any testing in this regards… just sharing my own experience.

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