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Review: HTC Droid Incredible

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Camera

The Incredible's 8 megapixel monster is one of the best I've used on a cell phone. Lack of physical camera key aside, it nails pretty much every other detail. If you think about the features you'd find on any 8 to 12 megapixel point-and-shoot camera, the Incredible probably has it, too.

Once you find the camera app, it launches in about 1 second. That's pretty good. There are controls on the screen that let you control the flash and exposure levels without opening the menus. This is nice. Fast access to the flash is a must-have feature for me.

There's a tab on the left side of the screen. Press it to get at many of the camera's other controls. The controls let you adjust the shooting mode, exposure, saturation, sharpness, add effects, as well as dial down and alter the core settings. ISO (the camera's "speed") ranges from an incredible 100 to 1250. The camera's resolution can be dialed from VGA up to 1, 3, 5 and 8 megapixels. The camera natively shoots in a 5:3 aspect ratio . You have to change it to 4:3 to get the full megapixel count, which is a little weird. Most people won't notice or bother with this.

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The Incredible uses the touch focus model. If you see something on the display and you want it to be in focus, press it. The camera will focus on that spot (which hopefully is your friend's radiant smile). Press the optical mouse key to actually take a picture. The Incredible focuses fast and shoots pictures fast. This is, perhaps, where the 1GHz processor is most evident. The Droid's camera, while respectable, still falters a bit. The Incredible is the first phone I've used that comes even relatively close to being as fast as a stand-alone camera.

The review screen lets you send the photo off wherever you want to send it with just a few quick taps.

Speed and easy-to-understand controls make the Incredible's camera painless to use.

 

Gallery

Oddly, the Incredible forgoes the Cooliris-made gallery app that is present on the Droid and Nexus One (with Android 2.1). Instead, it has its own, new gallery application that I've not seen on an Android handset before.

It can be opened from either the camera or the menu, and presents pictures in either a timeline or via grid. The timeline mixes pictures and videos into one long stream of images and movies. The first picture you shot is to the far left, the most recent to the far right. The entire stream flows back and forth as you swipe your finger to and fro in a very fluid manner. I dig it. If you want to fly from one end of the spectrum to the other, it's best to resort to the grid view, which lets you see more than one or two images at a time.

There are always some software buttons along the bottom of the screen that let you access menu options, share photos, delete them or get back to the camera. Unfortunately, there are but two editing functions. Pictures can be cropped and rotated. That's it. Users can't make any other adjustments or edits. That's a shame.

 
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