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HTC Status Gallery and Initial Impressions — Beautiful Hardware, Regardless of Price

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HTC kindly offered to lend us the HTC Status to have a look at and I was happy for the opportunity because it’s giving me some time to step back and look at Android on the lower-end of the phone spectrum. We tend to focus on the bleeding edge devices, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that not every person (in fact, the majority of people) don’t want to drop $299 on the latest phone every year. The HTC Status runs a cool $49 on contract which blows me away because this phone is pretty damn gorgeous.

The HTC Status is running Android 2.3 on a 2.6″ 480×320 (3:2) screen which is curious because this is the exact same resolution that the very first Android phone, the HTC G1 (AKA Dream), used. If you’ve read my analysis of the ergonomics of Android, you shouldn’t be surprised to find that, from an ergonomic standpoint, HTC is way easier to use with one hand. Instead of stretching and shuffling to read between the navigation buttons and the notification bar, it’s all right there, easily within reach.

The unfortunate fact is that almost all of today’s Android applications are designed with the assumption that the phone they will be used on is primarily portrait and with much more screen real estate. Despite how it may seem, I was actually really impressed with Android’s ability to scale everything down to the smaller landscape resolution of the HTC Status. Things are no doubt cramped at times, but the ability to adapt the entire interface, from something like the massive 5.3″ 1280×800 screen of the Samsung Galaxy Note to the relatively tiny 2.6″ 480×320 screen of the Status, is rather amazing.

HTC has never disappointed in the hardware department. Even though the Status will only run you $49 on contract, this hasn’t made any impact on the attention paid to the hardware. The Status feels great and I love the styling — it’s clean and sharp. The keys on the keyboard are firm and have near-perfect feedback when clicked.

There’s certainly more to be tested, but for the time being, have a look at this beautiful phone.

 

N82 Picture – Orchid

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I’ve just passed the 2.5 year mark with the N82 and I’m still looking for something that can replace it. As reported many times here, on Carrypad and on the XperiaX10 blog, my Xperia X10 isn’t up to the same standards. I’ve been looking at the Motorola  Droid XT720 and Nokia N8 as replacements but we’ll have to see about that soon. In the meantime, the N82 is doing a good job…

Orchid by N82

Click for full version. ISO 100, F2.8, 1/333s

iPhone 4 vs. iPhone 3GS Camera Test, Video and Photos

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cam In the keynote that announced the iPhone 4 [Portal page], Steve Jobs told the world that the iPhone 4 features a 5MP camera. A decent bump from the previous iPhone 3GS’s 3.2MP camera, but still a far cry from some of the latest phones out there which are rocking 8MP cameras (see: HTC Incredible). Jobs was quick to also say that the iPhone 4 uses something called a back-illuminated sensor which is designed to capture more light than traditional smartphone sensors, to enhance low light performance. The iPhone 4 is also capable of recording HD video at 720p (1280×720) at 30 FPS, according to Apple.

Here I’ve got some comparison photos and videos from the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS cameras:

Video Recording

At the end of the video there is a link to the same video taken with the iPhone 3GS. Make sure you are watching in HD.

Real HD video and flash (YouTube) HD video are a bit different. The raw file is certainly of a better quality than what YouTube is showing, but you should still be able to get the gist of it.

Photos

I’ve taken a variety of shots with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. Be sure to click on photos to enlarge them for full detail. The iPhone 4’s flash is turned off in all photos. The iPhone 4 takes photos at a resolution of 2592×1936 while the iPhone 3GS takes them at 2048×1536.

General Use

iPhone 4 iPhone 3GS

Close Ups

iPhone 4iPhone 3GS iPhone 4iPhone 3GS iPhone 4 iPhone 3GS

Extreme Close Ups

iPhone 4 iPhone 3GS

Low Light

iPhone 4 iPhone 3GSiPhone 4 iPhone 3GS

Extreme Low Light

iPhone 4 iPhone 3GS iPhone 4 iPhone 3GS

For one, it looks like the iPhone 4 has better contrast than the 3GS. This is particularly apparent in shots of the pen, where there is a more broad range of blacks and whites in the iPhone 4 shot; on the corresponding 3GS shot, you’ll notice that the darkest black on the photo appears to cover more area instead of fading through a series of shades as the light and colors change.

Probably the best picture to see the difference in resolution is of the belt in the Close Ups section. This was semi-dark shot and the iPhone 3GS’s photo suffered because of it.

Special back-illuminated sensors are great, but just how much better is the low light performance on the iPhone 4? I might be able to dig up a technical answer, but let’s look at what it means in real world terms. Take a look at the first two photos in the Extreme Low Light section. On the iPhone 4 shot, you can see the lilies toward the bottom of the pond a bit better than the 3GS shot. Additionally, the pond’s surface is not as noisy in the iPhone 4 shot as it is in the 3GS’s, due to the enhanced low light performance.

Is this really a significant improvement? I would put my money on the fact that the majority of iPhone 4 users will not notice the difference between the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS cameras when it comes to photographs. Most user’s photos will either stay on the device, or be uploaded or sent somewhere at reduced quality. But for those who really use their camera, I think they’ll be quite please with the iPhone 4’s camera. On the other hand, the HD video recording capability on the iPhone 4 is a pretty clear improvement. The flash is also something to consider, though because the iPhone 3GS doesn’t have one, we didn’t use it in these shots (if you are interested in flash info, you’ll find it in our upcoming full iPhone 4 review).

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