HTC Incredible S review: Smart and curvy
8MP camera has its highs and lows
The HTC Incredible S packs an 8MP camera that snaps stills with resolution 3264x2448 pixels and records 720p@25fps video. There’s a dual-LED flash / video light to help out in the dark too.
The camera interface is very space efficient. Most of the controls are on the right side of the viewfinder, with the virtual shutter in the center. There’s a virtual zoom slider on the left. By default the viewfinder image is cropped so that it fills the entire screen, but you can switch that off (note that cropping reduces the resolution).
The HTC Incredible S features touch focus and face detection; geo-tagging is enabled too.
The camera features continuous autofocus, which automatically adjusts the focus when you move the phone. This is very useful, since the Incredible S doesn’t really have a hardware shutter key to trigger the autofocus (you can’t do that with the virtual shutter key either).
The effects button brings out a panel on the left with the usual set of color effects (sepia, solarize and so on).
There are other image effects too. For example, Warp places a control point on the screen, which you can drag with your finger and see the result in real time.
Depth of field is another such effect – it adds a radius slider besides the control point and will blur everything in the photo that falls outside the circle.
The camera supports face detection too. It’s enabled in self-portrait mode too – you can set it to focus on 1 or 2 faces.
The HTC Incredible S is a decent 8MP shooter with good contrast and colors. The amount of captured detail is OK but the image processing has a tendency to smudge out things like foliage.
Still, the noise is kept under control and the photos are very usable – the Incredible S is not the 8MP king but it’s good enough most of the time.
You can judge the camera by the samples below.
Photo quality comparison
The HTC Incredible S enters our Photo Compare Tool to join the other 8MP shooters. The tool’s page will give you enough info on how to use it and what to look for.
Buggy HD video
The interface of the camcorder is similar to the still camera’s and there are lots of customizable options with this one. You can set the video resolution, recording limit and add effects.
Autofocus works here too, but only before you start shooting – then the focus is locked and won’t change even if you get closer or move back. Still, the Incredible S had no problems focusing at even very close distances.
Videos are shot in .3GP which isn't the ideal container for HD video but that’s not the video camera’s major problem. It had some sort of bug, which made all the videos extremely choppy – we tried several different players, re-recorded the samples but nothing helped. We’ve noticed other online reviewers got perfectly smooth videos out of their Incredible S’s so we guess it’s just another case of poor camera production quality control – an issue we’ve seen with many HTC phones in our office (and we get most from retail stores).
Videos don’t have much resolved detail but at least the contrast is good and so are the colors (though colors tend to be oversaturated).
The reality is much less impressive than the specs look on paper. Here goes an untouched sample 720p@25fps video clip (11MB).
And here’s a video uploaded to YouTube for convenience.
Video quality comparison
We entered the HTC Incredible S in our Video Compare Tool database too and put it head to head with other 720p mobile camcorders.
The HTC Incredible S is a connectivity master. Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE is a given, and the dual-band 3G is blazing fast – 14.4Mbps downlink and 5.76Mbps uplink thanks to HSPA.
The local wireless connectivity has Wi-Fi b/g/n and full DLNA support (both client and server, for images, videos and music) and Bluetooth 2.1.
The Connected media app handles all sorts of DLNA interactions – it plays media to and from devices on the network with just a couple of clicks. Apps like the gallery have such functionality built in too.
When you plug in the microUSB cable you’re presented with a long list of options - Charge only, Disk drive (mass storage), HTC Sync, USB tethering (use the phone as a modem) and Internet pass-through (the phone uses the computers Internet connection).
Last but not least is the HTC Portable Hotspot. It can connect 1 to 8 devices (default Froyo app maxes out at 5), you can encrypt the hotspot with WEP, WPA or WPA2 and you can enable only “allowed users” to connect or leave it open for anything (unsecure, but the quickest setup).
You can set the app to power off automatically after 5 or 10 minutes of inactivity, saving your battery if you forget to switch it off manually.