Action, a shutter priority mode which adjusts settings for capturing moving subjects.
Macro, which optimizes settings for close-up shots.
Portrait, a shallow depth of field mode for portraits. This allows you to specify the diameter and position of a circular area on the viewfinder outside which the picture will be artificially blurred. It's similar to Instagram's tilt-shift feature on the iPhone, but not nearly as polished. There's no gradient between the area that's in focus and the outside that's blurred, just a sharp transition.
Manual, which provides the following settings (among others) via the menu key: timer, color effects (black & white, sepia, etc...), exposure, white balance, ISO, resolution, review duration, and geo-tagging, face / smile / blink detection.
There's no doubt that the myTouch 4G Slide takes beautiful pictures. Still, as we mentioned above, the Galaxy S II usually performs better and the N8 still plays in a league of its own. The Slide manages to gather a lot of information, but that's no match for the massive amounts of detail captured through the N8's impeccable Zeiss optics. It also exhibits more noise in normal light than the Galaxy S II, despite both phones using similarly sensitive sensors. We didn't experience any problems with exposure but white balance was sometimes a little off. We also noticed what looks like chroma aberrations or JPEG compression artifacts in shots. Low light performance is impressive -- like the N8, the Slide preserves detail at the expense of some noise, thus leaving the door open for post-processing. In addition to the above gallery, here is a ZIP file
containing the original photos along with matching samples taken with the N8, Galaxy S II, Xperia Arc, and Canon's s95.
The myTouch 4G Slide captures 1080p (HD) video at 30fps with initial autofocus and touch-to-focus functionality. Audio is recorded in mono using what sounds like a less than stellar microphone. The resulting videos are reasonably sharp and smooth, but we noticed some dropped frames here and there, something that's rather unexpected for a dual-core handset. It looks like the Slide's camera was optimized for stills, and while video recording is definitely serviceable, it's not this device's forte. Hopefully these issues will be addressed in a future software update, along with the introduction of continuous autofocus and stereo sound.
We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the myTouch 4G Slide not only ships with Gingerbread
out of the gate, but comes with one of the most recent versions (Android 2.3.4
). Like many of HTC's recent Android devices, it runs Sense 3.0
, something that we'd normally be moaning and groaning about, yet somehow really fits here. The Slide follows in the footsteps of the other myTouch handsets by using a customized version of HTC's UI that suits it perfectly -- especially when you consider T-Mobile's target audience (the first-time smartphone buyer). Some things are missing compared to "stock" Sense 3.0, such as the ability to place four shortcuts right on the lock screen, but T-Mobile chose to add some potentially useful features like group texting (powered by Bobsled
) and the aforementioned Genius button (courtesy of Nuance
), which adds full voice control to the phone. Sadly, there's nothing smart about the Genius button -- it looks impressive on paper but works poorly in practice.
In terms of perceived performance, the myTouch 4G Slide just doesn't live up to its dual-core pedigree. It's certainly no slouch, but it's no match for the Sensation, despite having to render 35 percent fewer pixels -- in fact, even our single-core Nexus S feels snappier. Our benchmarks partially confirm these impressions, with slightly lower scores than its sibling for Quadrant
(1800 vs. 2000) and for Linpack (43 vs. 47 MFLOPS for single-thread). Linpack (multi-thread) returned 57 MFLOPS, Nenamark 41fps, Nenamark2 24.7fps, Neocore 59fps, and Sunspider completed in 4817ms (when it worked). Other than the lackluster Quadrant results (and occasional problems running Sunspider), these numbers are in line with what we've observed on several other dual-core smartphones. Still, there's no denying that there's a price to pay for T-Mobile and HTC's UI customizations. The Galaxy S II, which features a lighter skin (TouchWiz
) but similar specs, just runs circles around the Slide.
Like most carrier-sanctioned smartphones, the myTouch 4G Slide includes some bundled software, and while none of the pre-installed apps can be removed, several of them are actually somewhat useful. Beyond HTC's Sense apps (such as Friend Stream), you'll find Adobe Reader, Bejeweled 2
(PopCap's popular game), Netflix
, Polaris Office, Slacker Radio, T-Mobile TV (for carrier-billed live and on-demand TV), TeleNav
, Qik Video Chat
, and Zinio Reader. Other familiar apps include the Swype
keyboard, WiFi calling, and Screen Share (for DLNA
support). T-Mobile rounds things off with its in-house My Account, My Device, AppPack, KidZone, Highlight, and T-Mobile Mail apps. It's worth noting that for some reason the music, video, FM radio, and Screen Share apps must be launched via something called Media Room in the app tray -- but otherwise there are no surprises here.
The myTouch 4G Slide is certainly a worthy contender in the race for best cameraphone, but it takes more than hardware and software wizardry to make "the most advanced camera of any smartphone." When it comes to mobile photography, Nokia still reigns supreme with the N8 (which is a far better shooter than it is a phone), and Samsung continues to flex its imaging muscle with the Galaxy S II. It's surprising that despite packing the same processor and battery as HTC's Sensation flagship, the Slide performed worse in our speed and endurance tests. There's also room for improvement in the display and keyboard departments, which don't quite live up to our standards. Ultimately though, none of this really matters -- the Slide is pleasant and easy to use, looks and feels great, and takes gorgeous pictures. As such, your mom won't be disappointed. If you want a qHD display, and can live with less camera, the Sensation is a viable alternative to the Slide for the same $200 (on contract). Still, we think the recently updated
G2x remains the best device in T-Mobile's lineup thanks to its top-notch camera and a slightly better display than the Slide for $50 less. Well, what are you waiting for? Go out there and buy your mom a phone already!