While smartphone cameras improved over the last couple of years, I was always reluctant to drop my point and shoot. I became a Dad a couple of years ago so I wanted to make sure I was getting decent photos all the time. I’m far from a photographer, but I always felt even the simplest point and shoot was better, that is, until now. I recently reviewed the One X and called it the best Android phone hands down. It also happens to have the best camera, and during that review, I realized the time had finally come to let my point and shoot go and trust HTC with my family photographs. I really didn’t have any hesitation, but to fully convince myself I decided to make the One X my exclusive camera on my family vacation last week to Virginia Beach. I was excited and my expectations were high. Did it deliver? Hit the break to find out.
Let me first say that although I was always reluctant to drop my point and shoot, I always knew deep down that using a smartphone made perfect sense since it’s always connected. You can instantly share photos via social networks and/or email, and you would always have all your photos in your pocket in case you wanted to show somebody. On top of all that, taking my other camera home and connecting it to my computer (or inserting an SD card) and transferring photos was always annoying to me.
Now I already mentioned that I’m far from a photographer and I don’t Instagram, but with the One X I feel empowered. I won’t try to tell you that it’s as good as your typical high end DSLR, but as an average consumer I feel like for the first time, I’m taking pictures with decent hardware. It actually inspires me to take more pictures and try different things I wouldn’t normally do with my old camera. Yes, basic photos come out great with the One X, but the added effects HTC implemented (HDR, panorama, grayscale, etc.) makes me feel more artistic. It forces me to see people and objects differently through the breathtaking 4.7-inch HD display. Of course there are those times where it’s impossible to get a 3 1/2 year old to cooperate for a simple one tap photo, so the burst shooting mode is always handy and allows me to take a great photo when it sometimes appears impossible to do. You can learn more about the HTC One camera features in my One X review or Joe Sirianni’s One S review, but trust me, you won’t find a better camera in a smartphone.
Taking great pictures is only the beginning because the connectivity I mentioned earlier makes the whole experience so much more appealing. With HTC’s partnership with Dropbox you get an additional 23GB of storage for all your photos and video (and other files) for 2 years. This is more than enough, but what’s most appealing is that your photos are automatically uploaded so you have access to your photos from any other device. This includes your desktop, your tablet, or even another family member’s device. You can share your folder(s) with anyone so they can see your photos soon after you’ve taken them. For example, after taking a bunch of photos at the beach last week, my wife could quickly look at the photos on her iPad (yes I said iPad) and even delete the ones that weren’t worthy. We had 3 smartphones, 3 tablets, and 2 laptops on our trip and all our photos could be seen from any device. This kind of connectivity is great all the time. Say you go to a party and you take some photos, everyone in your family can see them within seconds if you give them access to your folder. There is one caveat, you would have to allow automatic uploads via 3G or 4G in order for them to be available right away, otherwise they will upload via WiFi when you get home. Either way, it’s still a major convenience even if you don’t share. Having all your photos backed up and available on any of your own devices is empowering. It should also be noted that most Android phones already have the ability to automatically upload your photos to Picasa through Google+, but it simply doesn’t have the versatility that Dropbox has.
Now Dropbox can be implemented with most Android phones so I would highly recommend it, but in order to make it complete you need a killer camera. The One X and One S provide that, but I know there are other smartphones that have decent cameras as well. Yes, the iPhone 4S has a great camera and the Samsung Galaxy S III as well, but I favor HTC based on their black levels and overall performance in lower light situations.
Yes this article is meant to sell you on the One X, but it’s also about educating you on the merits of finally making that switch to using your smartphone as your exclusive camera because there are some really nice smartphone cameras available today. For hardcore photographers that own a high end DSLR, I understand that a smartphone camera could never replace that. Fortunately most people fall into my shoes, which makes them casual photographers that want to take decent pictures without all the hassles. If you fall into that category, you need to get rid of your “other camera” and get yourself the HTC One X, One S, or something comparable. The HTC One X changed me forever and trust me, it will do the same for you. Not only will you take better pictures, but you will quickly find out that the other aspects of connectivity is something you will wonder how you lived without.
At this point you’re probably saying, “Show me some pictures already!!” Here you go:
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..and last but not least, a Father’s Day photo with my son after we returned. Burst mode was utilized for 16 shots and this was the best. I would never have gotten anything near as good as this with my point and shoot.