Historically, HTC smartphones were well-known for their design and hardware, but in one important aspect, they lagged behind the competition, and that is cameras. While over the last years, models such as the Sensation 4G repaired some of that bad reputation, HTC just couldn’t claim that it offers top-notch cameras on their smartphones.
But that’s about to change. To promote the freshly launched One series, including the One X, One S, and One V, HTC put emphasis on two major attributes – the authentic sound (the phones integrate Beats Audio technology) and the amazing camera. And from what we’ve seen so far, HTC has finally nailed it when it comes to cameras.
ImageSense – a Leap Forward for HTC
A part of the new Sense 4 UI overlay, ImageSense is HTC’s new camera and imaging features suite. With ImageSense, HTC tries to finally provide an imaging experience that can differentiate (in a good way) HTC’s devices from its competitors. So, what does HTC ImageSense bring to the table?
Here’s a quick rundown of the camera and imaging features of the new HTC One series:
- Super-fast capture – the 8MP HTC One X can take a picture from standby in just 0.7 seconds. By comparison, the average blink of an eye takes 0.4 seconds. Pretty darn impressive. Auto-focus is supposed to take just 0.2 seconds (who can measure it?), which makes it possible to take several pics per second. The new HTC One devices don’t even have burst mode – why would you need it, when you can just keep the shutter button pressed and take as many snapshots as you want? The guys at Phandroid even pitched the One X against the Galaxy Nexus, and the winner at speed, was the HTC, hands down.
- Better low-lighting photos – with an aperture of f/2.0, the devices in HTC’s new One series are able to capture more light than other smartphones, allowing you to take great pics even in low-lighting conditions or even no-lighting at all. For those bad lighting situations, the new HTCs also boast a single-LED Smart Flash that is tunable on five levels of brightness. During the press event at MWC, the Taiwanese also showed off the HDR technology in their new One phones. Here’s a screenshot from a DigitalTrends video that shows precisely how the One X does in terms of HDR processing, contrasted to an iPhone4.
- Simultaneous video recording and photo snapping – this one’s cool – you can take high-res photos while recording HD video on your HTC One smartphone, without interrupting the shooting. Just tap on the shutter button and the device will capture a photo in the background.
- Integrated Dropbox and simple sharing – while not exactly an imaging feature, the Dropbox integration makes photo management and backup much easier. With a good WiFi connection, your photos will automatically be synced to the cloud, and they’ll eventually find their way to your computer. No more manual syncing. The new HTCs give you 25GB of free Dropbox storage space (for two years) and you’re not limited to photos, so you can save your other docs in the cloud, as well. Another neat trick – with the HDMI wireless accessory, you can instantly display your photos on any HDMI-enabled TV, no cables required.
The new HTC ImageSense surely seems promising. HTC worked hard to wipe off the bad reputation that its devices had when it came to cameras, and ImageSense shows that the clean slate strategy might just work. From early hands-on reviews, it appears that HTC did deliver what it promised, so kudos to them. It’s great to see that manufacturers move away from the megapixels race (except for Nokia) and focus on making smartphone cameras easier to use and better at taking beautiful snapshots.
What about you? What’s your experience with HTC cameras? Do you look forward to giving the new HTC Ones a shot?