Round India with an HTC One X

In Photography, Travel on July 24, 2012 at 11:31 pm

A few weeks ago, one of Taiwanese phone maker HTC’s communications agencies got in touch with me via Twitter to ask if I wanted to be a brand ambassador for their new phone, the HTC One X. They would give me a free phone, and I would try it out and say what I thought. My proviso was that it would be nothing to do with work; I’d have the phone as Austyn the tweeter, Austyn the occasional blogger, Austyn the freelance brand ambassador. Not Austyn the journo. Suits me. It’s a great phone.

One problem with reviewing the phone was that I was off to India for a week to meet a former housemate, Ellen, and see the Golden Triangle, that tourist route of Delhi-Jaipur-Agra. I took the phone; I didn’t take a data package. So for a week I carried it, alongside my SLR, as an extra camera.

Which is what it’s really good at being. It’s got an 8mp sensor on it, and a massive screen. The screen I framed the photos on was probably larger in terms of square inches than the images my Facebook friends would see when I posted them from hastily snatched wifi hotspots.

Here’s some of the photos. Check ’em out (and click on them for full-sized versions):

This was one of the most humbling things we saw in Delhi. We turned up expecting to see some amusing toilets to laugh at, but ended up having lunch with the museum’s founder, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak.
Dr. Pathak invented those toilets we’re looking at in the picture. They don’t require a sewerage, and nor do they need to be mucked out. More than 55 million of these toilets have been built in villages around India. They bring sanitation, but they also mean that the untouchable cast that used to be tasked with disposing of human waste from toilets is now moving up in the world.
Dr. Pathak’s movement (which is Ghandian) is bringing sanitation and social change to the country.
And there are also some amusing novelty loos at the museum too.

I was getting quite attached to the camera’s high dynamic range (HDR) function. A little too attached, you might say. But look at it. Isn’t HDR beautiful?

From this rooftop restaurant in the backpacker area of Agra, you could see the Taj Mahal. And the organised chaos on the street below.

The camera on the HTC One X has a great burst setting. This was one of seven photos of Ellen jumping. It fires off frame after frame to catch, well, a friend jumping next to the most beautiful mausoleum in the world.

You’re not allowed to take photos inside the Taj, but our guide sneaked this one when no guards were looking. That’s either the mosque or the guesthouse next to the Taj. It’s flanked by those two buildings; they look pretty similar.

The Taj Mahal. What can I say? It’s beautiful. This was around 6am, before the crowds came in.

Rajasthan is a desert (although we were there at the start of the monsoon). This means that camels are quite happy there. They are used to tow carts and carry out other horsey labour. When they die, their bones tend to be made into inlay for those boxes you can buy everywhere in Dubai.

At the monkey temple in Jaipur, dedicated to the Hindu god Hanuman, this chap’s probably not getting many hugs.

At the monkey temple dedicated to Hanuman in Jaipur.

At the monkey temple in Jaipur, this man grew up around the monkeys. He knows them all, and they know him. He can speak to them in hisses and shouts, and they respect him and are happy to eat out of his hands.

At the monkey temple in Jaipur, you can buy peanuts and feed them to the monkeys there. If you’re lucky, they will climb over you. Unless you don’t like monkeys, in which case that could be considered unlucky.

I set the camera on the HTC One X to portrait mode for this shot. It was quite dark inside, though, so it’s a bit grainy. The musician had a disturbing stare.

At the Amber Fort in Jaipur, this man had a snake in one basket and wads of rupees from tourists in another.

More HDR magic in Jaipur.

The gigantic mosque in Delhi. To take this photo on the HTC One X, switch it to panorama mode, then simply swivel left to right. When the viewfinder’s lined up right, the camera will take a new shot and stitch it to the last one.

One slight problem with the HTC One X’s camera that I noticed was that its white balance tends towards pink for outside shots, when it’s set to auto. It makes for a nice mood, but for tonal accuracy, you might want to tweak your pictures a little after you’ve downloaded them.

– This entry was edited on 30 July 2012 to correct the origin of HTC. It had originally said they were Korean. D’oh.

  1. Beautiful shots. If the company was wanting to show of their phone’s camera – they succeded.

    Thanks for sharing.

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