HTC One X review: Camera, photo and video samples

HTC’s new quad-core flagship phone doesn’t just feature Android 4.0, a 4.7″ display and Nvidia’s newest Tegra 3 chipset – there’s also an entirely new 8megapixel camera in the phone, powered by a system HTC is calling ImageSense.

And this camera is one of the many highlights of the new Android phone, offering the perfect combination of extremely fast opening, focusing and operation and great, bright, colourful pictures, plus 1080p video capture. Here’s what we’ve been taking photos of during the recent warm spell:

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Images emerge at 1840×3264 resolution if you choose the highest setting and the 16:9 aspect ratio option. We like the end results very much, with photos easily comparable to those produced by the excellent Sony Xperia S.

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The best photos are obtained through the close-up macro mode, which produces results that are just astounding. Just look at that. Amazing. It’s like an actual daffodil has been taped to my laptop monitor.

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The move to Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich software and the removal of the Menu buttons means the camera app’s entirely controlled through on-screen menus, plus there’s no separate window for video – you just get two shutter buttons, one to take a still and another to record a moving clip.

Plus stills can be captured while you’re recording a video clip, as you could in the Galaxy Nexus.

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The key software feature is HTC’s “Continuous Shot” option (left), which has the One X recording a series of images for as long as you hold down the shutter button. The custom preview panel then pops up, letting you scroll through all results and pick out the best one.

It’s an awesome feature we found ourselves using every time, just to make sure we got the best pic possible.

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You also get some fun filters. The usual retro/hipster colour effects, plus more impressive stuff like a vignette, complete with effect intensity slider like the old Galaxy S II.

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And that’s the depth of field style effect (left) plus another one I can’t remember. The usual sort of thing. Fun to play with, but you’ll probably rather just have normal photos after the novelty’s gone.

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You also get an HDR option. That’s a normal shot (left), plus an HDR enhanced image to the right. The HDR pics look good, certainly brighter and more vivid, but the shots are created by compiling two separate images – so you have to hold the phone very still and be taking a shot of something that’s not moving. Or you end up with weird, ghostly, double exposures.

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The One X’s panoramas are immensely impressive. Whereas most cameras scale down the end results, the HTC One X produces enormous composites around 10,000 pixels wide, weighing in at around 6MB – 7MB. Not sure what use these amazing images are, but they’re damn impressive.

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Darker days produce darker shots. Which is how cameras tend to work. Even HTC has to adhere to the laws of nature. Inside it does a good job of handling low light.

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The flash is great (left). It’s so fast to react and fire you hardly even register it going off.

And here’s a 1080p video sample. Click through to YouTube to watch the full sized original. It’s good enough, plus the zoom works and it’s quick to focus.

A slow motion sample. Image quality crashes when recording these for some reason.

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Anyway. Great camera when you’re just taking photos. Nice results, stupidly, unbelievably fast to open and use, with a great continuous firing option to ensure you really do always get a great picture.

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We just can’t stop using it. Photos look amazing on the One X’s display, too. So yes, that’s a 10/10 for the camera. We’ll take a look at the rest of the HTC One X experience tomorrow.

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