The HTC Rhyme packs a 5MP camera that does stills of up to 2592x1944 pixels and records 720p video @ 21fps. There’s a single-LED flash / video light too.
The camera interface is very space efficient since the Sense 3.5 update. Most of the controls are on the right side of the viewfinder, with the virtual shutter in the center. The still/video toggle and front/back camera toggles have been combined in a single menu and the Effects button has been moved to the top left corner - this freed up space for the Scenes and Settings button.
There’s a gallery shortcut (a thumbnail of the last photo taken) in the bottom left corner and a virtual zoom lever along the bottom. 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 Scenes are pretty cool - especially since they grew an extra feature we saw for the first time on the Sensation XL - Backlight HDR.
The HTC Rhyme has face detection and touch focus. Continuous autofocus is enabled too which is good to have on a phone like the Rhyme with no hardware shutter key. On the downside, the continuous autofocus may be way off in some shots - the only way to be certain you have the right focus is to tap and hold the shutter key.
Geo-tagging is an option too as is Auto upload - all you have to do is pick a service (Facebook or Flickr), an album and when to upload (Immediately, daily and Wi-Fi only), the phone will take care of the rest.
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.
HTC Rhyme produces decent photos with enough resolved detail (although it could have been much better), lively colors and good contrast. The noise levels are also kept low, there is no over sharpening or purple fringing.
The pictures you take with the Rhyme will do for Facebook and other web albums, but it is not the device to capture your best moments.
We've got a bunch of samples below.
The HTC Rhyme enters our Photo Compare Tool to join the other 5MP shooters. The tool’s page will give you enough info on how to use it and what to look for.
HTC Rhyme shows no trace of pink spot, something quite rare of an HTC droid. It also does pretty well in synthetic resolution and the rest of the charts, but in real life it's not among the 5 megapixel smartphones we would recommend.
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 unless you tap an area on the screen, which will cause the camera to refocus on that area.
One interesting feature here is the 2x slow-motion mode - it only works for resolutions up to WVGA. This mode also disables the audio recording. Unfortunately our unit had some issues with the slow motion videos, so we can't post a sample.
You have effects for videos too - Grayscale, Sepia, Negative, Solarize, Posterize and Aqua.
Once you're done recording, you have an option to trim the beginning and the end of a video in case you started too early or you let the recording run for too long.
Videos are shot in .MP4 format in 720p resolution at 21 frames per second (24 fps at best), so most of the videos are a bit choppy. The video quality is average at best for a 720p shooter and the compression is too high. We really won't recommend relying on the Rhyme's camcorder for your videos.
Here goes an untouched sample 720p@21fps clip.
And here’s a video uploaded to YouTube for convenience.
We entered the HTC Rhyme in our Video Compare Tool database too and put it head to head with other 720p mobile camcorders.
You can spot the differences between the Rhyme and other competitive droids - it lacks in everything - captured details, contrast, colors, noise reduction.
The HTC Rhyme has a complete connectivity set. There’s quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and blazing fast tri-band 3G: 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 3.0.
The Connected media app handles all sorts of DLNA connections – it plays media to and from devices on the network with just a couple of clicks. Apps like the Gallery and music player have such functionality built in too.
You have a long list of options for connecting to a PC - 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). The Charge only and Disk Drive now have big, thumbable icons, which is great since they are used most often.
Last but not least is the HTC Portable Hotspot. It can support 1 to 8 devices, you can WEP, WPA or WPA2 encrypt the hotspot and you can enable “allowed users” only to connect or leave it open for all (unsecure, but the quickest setup).
The app can be set to power off automatically after 5 or 10 minutes of inactivity, saving your battery in case you forget to switch it off manually.