HTC Desire 828 camera review: jack of all trades, master of macro

“The Desire 828’s shooters are capable enough to please most users”

Update: The device has been officially launched in India for Rs 19,990


HTC has always tried to experiment with the camera performance of its smartphones. Be it the UltraPixel technology, or equipping some of its phones with a separate depth sensor, HTC has always brought something new to the table. Some attempts have delivered great results while some weren’t as successful. Recently, the Taiwanese phonemaker made additions to its One and Desire series. And the new Desire smartphone, dubbed the Desire 828 (first impressions) is the first in this lineup to boast optical image stabilisation. Therefore, it only seemed fair that we test the capabilities of the shooter and see how well it can capture under different shooting conditions.

Coming to the technicalities first, the primary camera module on the Desire 828 features a 13-megapixel primary camera aided by an LED flash. On the front, there is the HTC’s UltraPixel 4-meg selfie camera. The OIS aids primary camera’s shooting. The default camera app is a loaded affair, though the interface is simple and clean.

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You will find the virtual shutter key on the right side of the viewfinder.  Just below it, another button lets you access other shooting modes. There’s Selfie, which simply switches the front camera on. Other virtual lenses include Panorama, Bokeh, Split Picture and Photo Booth. While the others have made appearance on HTC’s camera apps before, Bokeh is a new feature. Despite being inbuilt, the Bokeh, Split Picture and Photo Booth, come hidden under the Add option, and you can decide which ones to keep as a shortcut , and which ones to hide to maintain the clean UI.

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Other shooting modes include standard ones like Manual, Night, Macro and HDR. While shooting a video, you can switch between Slow Motion and Fast HD. There are more camera options and settings that let you control the ISO, White Balance, Exposure, Contrast and Saturation in your pictures. You can also save a mirror image of what you capture, as well. After figuring all this out, we took the shooters on the HTC Desire 828 on the testing grounds and here are the results.

Long shot


The long shots captured from the rear shooter of the Desire 828 look flooded with detail, a lot of which remains intact even after zooming into the picture. The colour reproduction, however, is very slightly on the warmer side. Overall, we were pleased with the output. The shooter focusses in a jiffy and the shutter speed is impressive too.

Close Up


The close up shots taken with the rear shooter can only be described as brilliant. As you can see, the camera capture the depth in the scene beautifully while keeping immense detail in the object in focus. To validate what we just said, let’s take an even closer look at this close up.

Close up (zoomed in)


Zooming in completely justifies our comment about the details, as you can clearly see each and every twig which has been intertwined to build this beautiful Weaver nest. The faux birds’ faux feathers look sharp as well and we hardly see any blurred seams.



The Bokeh effect in the HTC Desire 828 caught our attention as the mode takes macro photography to a whole new level, when it comes to smartphones. Although, the “bokeh-ed” background seems a little too overdone, the picture altogether has turned out great with the object in focus getting all the attention. Details have been captured nicely as well.



The shot taken with the HDR mode off look exactly like what you expect from the shooter, after taking a look at the long shot. There are details and the colours look warmer than they should. Let’s take a look at what the Desire 828’s HDR mode does to the shot.



When you turn the HDR mode on, the colours in the image look more on the natural side. However, the overall picture look a tad over-exposed, and hence, a little artificial. Still, unlike most smartphones these days, the pictures taken with the Desire 828’s HDR mode should turn out usable.

Low light 


In low light, the rear snapper has still managed to capture good amount of detail. Understandably, there’s noise, but the green of the leaves, red of the cherries and the lines on the carpet are easily visible, which is a good sign.

Low light (with flash)


The flash on the HTC Desire 828 over-compensates for dim light. The object looks slightly washed out. On the brighter side (quite literally), the image is evenly lit.

Night shot


Despite the bit of grain which creeps in, the HTC Desire fares well when it comes to night photography. While some of the areas look murky, overall, the snappers capture enough detail for you to not miss out on anything you might want to shoot while you’re out at night.

Front camera


The 4-meg front shooter delivers sharp looking images as well, however, the sharpness remains only till you view the pictures on the phone’s screen. Colour reproduction is accurate and in abundant lighting you shouldn’t have a problem with clicking share-worthy selfies.

HTC has equipped the new Desire 828 with a pretty capable shooter. Apart from the flash which drowns the object slightly, and the front camera which is average, there is nothing you can really complain about when it comes to the camera on this device. After evaluating the 828’s camera prowess, we’re running our tests and gauging its capabilities as a daily driver. Keep watching this space for the full review.

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