Review: Motorola E815
As stated earlier, there are not one, but two keys dedicated to activating the camera. The side button requires a longer press than the button on the keypad before it launches the application. Thus it feels like the keypad button launches into the viewfinder quicker. Once the key is pressed, the application takes just under two seconds to launch.
The camera lens is very close to the hinge, but because of the size and shape of the phone, your hand rarely blocks the lens. The phone is balanced well enough to take pictures one-handed, and doesn't require you to change your normal grip on the phone to do so. The sensor and viewfinder are oriented in landscape format. Capturing a portrait format picture is best done two-handed.
The automatic brightness and contrast adjustment built into the phone shows improvement over previous Motorolas we've tested. It still handles low-light situations with ease (especially with the addition of a very bright LED flash), but now captures bright daylight scenes better. Unfortunately colors and detail still bleed out under extremely bright conditions.
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Although the e815 forces the user through Motorola's 3 step process to save a picture and then return to the viewfinder, it at least saves the image in less than two seconds, speeding up this arduous process. Once a picture is captured, which takes a little over a second, you need to confirm you want to store the picture and then choose what to do with the stored picture. This is when the 2 second save occurs. Exiting the application or doing anything else other than continuing with this process before being the picture is saved deletes the picture.
The e815 has a surprisingly smooth video recorder. We were able to take impressive clips of a bicycle race cruising through San Francisco at a rather quick pace. The video record application is fairly simple to use. It has 3 record lengths: 10 seconds, 30 seconds, and the maximum time that can be recorded in free memory. There are no options to adjust size or quality.
The gallery application still devotes about a third of the screen to a large menu and status bar. There is no option to view a picture full screen. Nor is there an option to zoom in on a picture beyond a size that fits in the screen. This would be especially useful for checking sharpness and detail of pictures, which in our experience was sub-par for a 1.3 Megapixel cameraphone. The "original size" option - which normally displays photos at full resolution on Motorola phones - strangely works the same as "fit to screen" on the e815.
Pictures can be sent by MMS, uploaded to PixPlace or even transferred to and from the TransFlash card. They cannot be transferred to another device over Bluetooth.
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