HTC Sensation review: Camera and video samples

So we’ve already looked at HTC’s lovely hardware and the few changes that come along with the updated HTC Sense 3.0 user interface – now it’s time to bore you with our holiday snaps and examine the HTC Sensation’s camera and video performance.

The Sensation comes with a main 8megapixel camera, a secondary 1.3megapixel front-facing camera, plus the Android phone’s dual-core internals means 1080p video recording is supported. Can HTC deliver us a camera that stands up against the excellent Galaxy S II‘s sensor?

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Well, it’s pretty good. Detail in outdoor shots is excellent, although colours aren’t as vivid as you might like. Which is kind of an HTC trademark, so is what we were expecting.

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Picture detail gets a little noisy inside when capturing darker areas without flash, but this is still some decent output – but not up with the best out there right now in terms of high-end Android phone cameras.

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You get 10 scenes to play with, all standard types, along with a selection of popular filters. The same “Vintage” retro filters as found in the HTC Desire S are included here, giving photos a puzzlingly impressive battered old photograph look, like so:

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That’s the Warm and Cold Vintage filters in action.

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And this is a Vignette and a Depth of Field filter. Both come with on-screen sliders to adjust the severity of the effect.

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And there’s an excellent macro mode. Really tight focus with great results. I should’ve used a more exotic battery for the photograph.

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Focusing in general is extremely fast. The Sensation continually adjusts the focus until you’re ready to shoot, meaning it’s usually possible to get a shot off without the camera doing any extra focusing. It’s all very quick and straightforward.

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HTC’s put a thing on here it calls “Auto Enhance”. Left is Auto Enhance on, right is Auto Enhance off. We can’t really see much of a difference.

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This is a still from a 1080p video. The Sensation records its “Full HD” clips in 3GP format, with the end results looking OK, not amazing. Movement is a bit jerky and there’s some artifacting. Sound’s good, though. Download the sample video here [33MB].

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Another 1080p still. Low-light video is pretty awful. Even with the flash on it’s all very grainy. Which is odd, because in decent light it can produce passable results. You’ll be able to set your watch by the time of day the video results suddenly fall of a cliff.

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The highlight of the HTC Sensation’s video capabilities is it’s focusing. It’s not autofocus, with HTC opting for a “tap to focus” system. So while it’s not automatic, it does mean your films aren’t ruined by the sensor making constant tiny adjustments as you move the camera. It’s very quick to focus once you’ve tapped the screen and lets you get in very close. Nice.

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So, basically, the HTC Sensation produces better results than HTC’s previous generation 5megapixel sensors, but the Galaxy S II does a better job in most areas if that’s what you’re comparing it with. So does the Xperia Arc.

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But it’s still a fast and responsive camera that’s great to use. If you’re upgrading from an HTC Desire, you will notice a slight difference. But not £500 worth.


6 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. John

     /  June 1, 2011

    No overall summary of the HTC Sensation and verdict or is that still to come Gary??

    • Gary C

       /  June 1, 2011

      Yes, that’ll be ready later today. Else it’s too much coherent writing in one go for me.

  2. sansenoy

     /  June 1, 2011

    Why is it odd the camera performs better in good lighting?? It’s pretty much the rule these days… Also, what about the lockscreen shortcut+instant capture combo?? Is it as fast as it seems, practically ready to shoot before the phone is in place?

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