Video and Video Chat
For this part of the review we decided to compare the video on this phone against the video of our Nikon D5100 16MP camera which also shoots video at 1080P. In order to compare, we put both the phone and our camera in nearly identical video situations both shooting at 1080P. We also shot the phone at the phone’s native resolution of 540x960 just to compare and contrast against the phone’s 1080P video recording capability.
Shot on the HTC Sensation at 1080P 4G in Sunny Conditions
Shot on the D5100 at 1080P in Sunny Conditions
Shot on the HTC Sensation at native (960x540) resolution in flat lighting
Shot on the D5100 at 1080P in flat lighting
Upon testing the phone’s video we realized that the camera does not default to the maximum 1920x1080 resolution but rather to 960x540. This is probably because once the resolution is brought up to 1920x1080, the camera jitter increases significantly. At full res, the video looks quite good when not blown up to 1920x1080 resolution. Once blown up to full res on a computer, the pixelation becomes evident. This is in contrast to our Nikon D5100 which does not suffer from camera jitter and has no pixelation whatsoever in identical lighting conditions. At 960x540, the camera quality is severely reduced, but there is less pixelation and almost no camera jitter. If you plan on videotaping something to upload it to Facebook, it is recommended to shoot at the phone’s native resolution. However, if you absolutely must have the highest video quality possible and have decent lighting and not a lot of movement, then the 1080P video setting works well.
Since this phone has a front facing camera we decided to test the front facing camera and video chat. The phone comes preloaded with QIK video, but it is a rarely used application. Thankfully, during the course of our review Skype, released a new version of their mobile app that supported the HTC Sensation 4G with front facing video. Since the Sensation 4G is running on T-Mobile’s high-speed HSPA+ network, it can usually handle video chatting without fail. If you like, you can video chat over the network or you can video chat over Wi-Fi. Admittedly, the video performance and quality are better over Wi-Fi, but we were able to successfully initiate and maintain a video call while driving on the freeway. Don’t worry; we were completely hands free during this test (California Law). Having a Skype application on this phone that enables two-way video chatting is a great feature, and the more Android phones that support this, the more useful Skype will become as people begin to use Skype more frequently. The original issue preventing two-way video chat was the lack of ability to process such video and do it without lag, but now the primary issue is the network and the lack of decent upload speed on many carriers. Without a good upload, video chat becomes unusable, which is why video chat is better supported over the network on Verizon’s LTE or T-Mobile’s HSPA+.
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