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T-Mobile is really hyping the HTC Amaze 4G as having an advanced camera and on paper, we'd agree: An eight-megapixel, auto-focus, backlit camera sensor with dual LED flash and a laundry list of features to rival most point-and-shoot digital cameras.
As mentioned earlier, the Amaze 4G features dedicated hardware buttons for both still and video. Even while the display is locked, users can quickly access camera mode by holding down either button for a few seconds.
This could easily cause a multitude of all-black pocket or purse photos, but we didn't suffer from any phantom photos.
Holding these buttons down halfway locks exposure, focus and white balance, and pressing all the way snaps a photo or starts video recording.
In addition to the usual Auto mode, the Amaze 4G includes several handy presets such as SmartShot (for stitching together the best group photo from several versions, which sadly doesn't work as advertised), SweepShot (for panoramic shots), ClearShot HDR and BurstShot, which offers five shots in rapid-fire succession for quick-moving subjects.
Another nice touch is displaying how many photos you can take with the current settings, which appears briefly in the upper right corner when you switch into Camera mode. Tap to focus, face and blink detection are also in play here, as well as Macro and full Manual shooting modes.
T-Mo touts its exclusive "Perfect Pics" feature, a type of smart album for ranking photos on the go. It narrowed our 43 shots down to three, but only one of those was actually good – it completely ignored other suitable candidates, so we'd call this feature a miss at best. (You can also manually add photos to Perfect Pics with the Gallery app.)
Despite so many otherwise decent features, the end results were just okay, with indoor shots having soft contrast and a general lack of definition (outdoor shots fared much better).
Flash photos were a bit less gaudy than single-LED smartphones, and users can crop, rotate or add effects to photos from the Camera app (sadly, there's no red eye removal here).
The Amaze 4G is a competent shooter capable of replacing many low-end point-and-shoots, but nothing warranting the hyped celebration from T-Mobile.