The camera plays an increasingly important part in our smartphones. The focus on this function and the camera applications by Apple, Motorola and Nokia clearly reflect its importance. There are plenty of apps available that improve the functionality of either the camera app or editing potential; whether our current test candidate, HD Camera Ultra, can lift this function to a new level you will discover in today's review!
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- ✓Rudimentary tasks are fulfilled
- ✕Too many compromises
|Reviewed on||Android version||Root||Modifications||Reviewed version||Latest version|
|Google Nexus 4||4.3||No||2.0.6||Varies with device|
Features & Use
The camera of the Nexus 4 is passable, but not worth a long speech. The camera's standard application is kept very minimalistic and fits well into the overall picture of Android 4.x though. HD Camera Ultra is, if you will, an example of one of the great strengths of Android. In comparison to other operating systems, Android lets the user choose exactly which application should be used by default. So Ultra HD Camera must challenge not only other apps available, but it must also compete with the pre-installed camera on various devices.
The features and operation of Ultra HD Camera are easily accessible and familiar. The first time the user opens the app you'll quickly see almost the entire functionality at first glance. The application offers two quick buttons for controlling the flash and switching between front and rear camera. In the right top of the screen is the input area for the camera. Here, the user selects between different settings for focus, white balance, exposure, and a scene mode. There is also a zoom and the shutter sound can be turned off.
The problem with Ultra HD Camera is from the perspective of functionality, in that the application provides no unique features. Although the focus adjustment is nice and the additional scene modes offer some added value compared to the pre-installed camera, some standard functions have apparently fallen overboard, despite the app's 4.7 rating in the Play Store. HD Camera Ultra lacks a countdown timer, the location can not be set (for me personally a very important feature when traveling), HDR is not available, the image size can not be set and videos or panoramic images are also unavailable.
This accumulation of compromises, in my mind, simply does not justify the gain of two additional focus modes. Their usefulness can be questioned on the Nexus 4 at any rate, because regardless of whether "macro" is selected or not, the photos of objects at close range were all blurred. The same pattern was evident in a short test I did on the One X. Also, the Nexus 4's manual trigger button, which came with the update to Android 4.3 will be lost through the installation of Ultra HD camera.
Screen & Controls
The graphical presentation of HD Camera Ultra is well done regardless of its functionality flaws, and it sits in the upper-average range of camera apps. From the perspective of operation, however, Ultra HD Camera is not very commendable and is another example of unnecessary compromises. So it does not make sense to me, why the zoom can not be activated by the typical gesture with two fingers. Instead you only get a slider embedded in a menu button which seems a bit old-fashioned to me. The operation of the stock Android camera is much more modern and fresh. Here the scene mode must be selected from a lengthy list. In the default camera this happens with one finger and a few quick "slides".
Speed & Stability
Even within the first 10 minutes of the test period HD Camera Ultra caused a total crash of the device. During the test, that initial impression of instability was only confirmed and a number of subsequent crashes originated from normal use. For a very simple app, this is not acceptable.
HD Camera Ultra is available for free in the Play Store. $1.75USD will remove the advertizing. Considering there;s really no more functionality than the stock camera here, that is clearly too much.
The title of the test report is an anticipation of the upshots. HD Camera Ultra simply asks the user to accept too many compromises. The added value of the application was questionable throughout the test period. The functionality was not the only factor in this evaluation though. It was a combination of lack of unique functional features, defects in the operation and general instability, which takes away the joy of use.