The HTC P3470 comes with a 2.0 megapixel camera which is capable of taking pictures up to 1600 x 1200 pixels in size. HTC have included four lower resolutions including 160 x 120, 320 x 240, 640 x 480 and 1280 x 960 sizes to save space. The quality of the photos captured can be varied between Basic, Normal, Fine and Super Fine quality and included are most of the common features and settings one would expect in a camera phone. These settings include adjustable white balance (sunny, night, incandescent and fluorescent), effects (greyscale, sepia, cool, negative) and an 10.0x digital zoom (although this degrades picture quality as high resolution images are just being cropped when zoom is used). There is a shutter delay timer (which can be varied between 2 and 10 seconds) and also the ability to toggle macro mode by flicking the switch located at the lens. As the P3470 is a budget model, HTC has tried to keep costs down and opted not to include an LED camera flash on the P3470. This is a shame as the flash LED is always useful as a small torch when trying to hunt for keys in the dark. As soon as photos are taken they are saved and can then be attached to messages or can be transfer via Bluetooth or the USB connection.
The camera’s responsiveness is average and the P3470 takes photos fairly soon after the button is pressed. Saving photos to the phone is reasonable but at full 2.0 megapixel resolution one should expect a delay of about three seconds between shots (this is also affected by the preview time which can be modified in the settings). Photo file sizes range from 6KB for a Fine quality 160 x 120 photo to 669KB for a Super Fine quality 1600 x 1200 shot. It seems that the P3470 uses a high level of compression when compared to other 2.0 megapixel phones however HTC have incorporated a good image processor and artefacts from the high level of compression are not as noticeable as one would expect.
The picture quality is good but what makes the camera a real joy to use is the massive 2.8 inch screen which makes for quite a good viewfinder as well as being able to display all the options on screen. The camera menus in the P3470 have been improved and it is easy to navigate though the options using the touch screen. Despite improvements, menu options are still scattered and placed illogically. The camera user interface is mostly intuitive but if a bit more thought went into the ergonomics, this would result in a much more enjoyable user experience.
The HTC P3470 also includes a video recording mode with many of the same features (zoom, white balance) as when taking photos. It is also very easy to switch between camera and video recording modes by pressing the appropriate keys on the touch screen when in view finder mode. Videos can only be recorded at two resolutions (small and medium) but the quality of the video captured cannot be varied. It is also possible to vary the codec used for recording between H263 and MPEG4. It is possible to restrict videos to various durations and sizes and also to a size that is suitable for MMS messages. Video recording on the P3470 is poor as the capture resolution is low and the quality of the captured video is poor. The video camera zoom is also poor as only 2x zoom is available and it is not possible to zoom during recording. Stay away from this handset if video recording is important to you.
Pictures and videos can be saved onto the handset’s internal memory or onto the expandable microSD™ memory card. The camera does take a while to boot-up, taking about 3 seconds and is accessible through the menu list or by pressing the dedicated camera button. Example photos shown below clearly show that the HTC P3470 camera is reasonable. Of note is the macro function which does do a good job taking close ups as this is evident by the outdoor macro photo example. Compared to previously reviewed Windows Mobile power devices (such as the O2 Atom), the camera application on the P3470 is much more stable and did not freeze during the testing period.