As many of you are well aware, The Mobile World Congress (MWC) rolled in and out of Barcelona last month. We were lucky enough to be invited along by one of the coolest brands in the world right now, mobile giants HTC, to test their latest ‘ONE’ series of mobile phones.

HTC One Series Camera

There are three phones in the series, the entry model ‘V’, the above mid range ‘S’ and the flagship, all conquering ‘X’. We were given the mid-model ‘S’ for the day to put through it’s paces, and in particular we wanted to see if the camera could replace our everyday point and shoot.

Let’s find out.

The tech

Let’s start with the tech, exactly what does this camera hold? Well like the top level HTC One ‘X’ the ‘S’ boasts the 8 mega pixel instant capture with F/2.0 Lens (the ‘V’ only features 5 megapixels). The lens part is important, as the added capability captures 40% more natural like than the normal camera phone which general run with F/2.4 Lens, and you could definitely tell the difference whilst out there using it. The phones also include the new HTC ImageSense technology (yes they like the word sense don’t they?). This includes an array of quirky filters (think instagram) but also a very impressive continuous shooting mood which we loved, as well quick focus technology which works in just 0.2 seconds!

Usage

The start up is quick, just 0.7 seconds which is pretty fast by anyones books. My slight gripe would be using the phone from lock. Because the whole front is screen, it means you need to unlock top right, then slide the camera in to the unlock circle on the screen before it boots ups. This is a little cumbersome, especially as the phone will be locked most of the time to save battery.

Once you are on the main camera screen, everything is pretty simple. You will find your usual shutter button, options, zoom, and the additional filters mentioned above. Taking photos is simple as you would expect, and the filters are a nice added touch for those ‘professionals’ out there…! And this is where the cool stuff starts.

The camera also has a continuous shooting mode, where if you hold down the shutter button it will take a picture every 0.7 seconds until you pretty much max out your memory card! We loved this, and it is a huge huge selling point for the phone. It is ideal for those who do extreme sports, or want to catch live images when timing is crucial. No more guessing. Just hold down, and select the photos you want or don’t want at the end. Easy!

Now, let’s not forget the video mode, which we are told is ‘Full HD’ but we haven’t had confirmation if that means 1080, so we assume not for now. But it will obviously shoot in 720, with a nice little quirk as well. Whilst shooting video, you can still tap the shutter button and take a live snap without having to pause or stop video! You can also go back after the shoot, and choose stills from the video itself in full resolution.

Now we did love using this but one issue was the battery life. We shot a few hundred snaps in say a 4 hour period and drained the battery dead. Bear in mind that is with no voice calls, text, data or anything. So that would go even quicker on a live day. Don’t get me wrong, 4 hours is no short time, but I want my phone to last all day, an 18 hour day, not a 4 hour one.

The Pictures

Ok ok, enough talk for now, check out a couple of snaps below, then the conclusion, before more snaps! (click for full size, some with filter).

Urban Barcelona Pictures

Overall

Overall we loved the camera on the HTC One ‘S’, the phone sits a little bigger than an iPhone so it is easy to carry, it is also much better than the iPhone, both in terms of image quality and the experience within.

But in terms of a full replacement for a camera there are still slight problems. The battery is a serious issue if you are going to want to take over 100 shots in a day, and you will need some kind of battery backup to take with you. The startup time from lock is also a little long, add to the fact that around 60% of us lock our phones with a password and that is a lot of downtime waiting for the camera to start on a 100 pictures.

Overall though, it’s the closest anyone has come to bringing out a smartphone with a real contender camera replacement right there. Will it replace my point and shoot for normal everyday and small events? Yeah, it probably will…

Macro Photo on the HTC One Series Phone

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