HTC Smart review

The HTC Smart certainly looks the business, but is that beauty only skin deep?

HTC Smart
The definitive HTC Smart review

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HTC smart

The camera is a 3-megapixel affair, which seems low by today's standards. That said, cameras in phones have fallen foul of the numbers game, and it's worth remembering that more megapixels doesn't necessarily mean better photos, especially when the sensor is so small. So, in theory, the camera in the Smart could be a hidden gem – but unfortunately, it's not.

The camera is disappointing on a number of levels, but none more apparent than the dreadful shutter lag. Put simply, unless you're shooting something that's completely stationary, you may as well not bother.

You're looking at a lag of approximately two seconds from the moment you press the button, to the moment when the virtual shutter is released. The usual result is that the picture you spent time framing turns out to be a blurry mess.

HTC smart

MISSED HIM: The appalling shutter lag and slow lens make it nigh on impossible to shoot anything that can move

If you like to take pictures of pets or children with your mobile phone, the Smart is not for you. Even the terrible shutter lag could be lived with if the lens was fast enough to allow a correspondingly fast shutter speed, but it's not. And to be honest, that's not a surprise considering the budget nature of the phone.

HTC smart

NOT MOVING: Even if you can convince your cat to sit still, you're still likely to get blur in anything other than bright light. Flash coverage is so uneven that it's not worth using

Assuming you can find a subject that will stay still long enough for you to photograph it, the camera will still struggle to resolve detail in high intensity areas of a scene. In fact bright areas of a scene tend to be completely blown out, with little or no detail on offer.

Colours also lack vibrancy, and are often completely misrepresented – dark blues look black, while the maroon Ferrari F430 below was actually a deep metallic red.

HTC smart

BACK IN BLACK: The Porsche 968 in the foreground is actually blue and not black as it appears in this photo

HTC smart

RUBY RED FERRARI: This car sat in the pits all day and didn't even see the track! But the point is that it's not dark maroon, it's actually a deep metallic red

HTC smart

OPPOSITES ATTRACT: The highlights on the white car are completely blown out, losing all detail in those areas

Video recording is arguably worse, mainly because the resolution is limited to 320 x 240. It's clearly no coincidence that video is shot in the same resolution as the screen, thus allowing 1:1 pixel mapping when playing back on the phone, but if you want to take the video off the phone and watch it on a larger screen, you'll be very disappointed.

Sound quality when shooting video is poor too. And if you're shooting outdoors, you'll soon realise that even a slight breeze is more than the built-in microphone can handle. In the video above you'll notice that you can barely hear the car engine over the wind noise – until it heads off down the pit lane.