The HTC Gratia has a 5-megapixel camera, capable of capturing stills up to 2592x1728 pixels, and video up to VGA (640x480) resolution. Unfortunately performance is mediocre. We appreciate the addition of autofocus, as a fixed focus makes capturing close-up detail impossible, but it's slow and the lack of a flash makes the camera near-useless in low-light conditions.
We took the phone out on a sunny day to see how it would perform in optimum conditions, but even then the results weren't impressive. Detail is lacking, colours are a little washed-out and the lack of definition leaves some shots looking clouded or milky. The close-up test was more successful, capturing the veined surface of a nearby leaf well. Check out our Camera Test Shots gallery for the full results.
The Gratia's camera is perfunctory at best. The lack of flash means it's not at all versatile, and the focus is a little too slow to make it fun to use.
Its video playback skills are similarly bare-boned. HTC recently made an attempt to boost its phones' video skills in the HTC Desire HD, by including Xvid codec compatibility, but that's not present here. The Gratia failed almost all our video tests, only playing our MPEG4 clips. Divx, Xvid and rmvb files failed to show up in the media player at all.
The videos that did play looked great though, thanks to the high-quality LCD screen. A 3.2in display is a little small to start watching full-length TV episodes or films on, but we can imagine watching the occasional 20-minute US-length episode on this little trooper.
Music skills are similarly basic with just the basic Android support of MP3, AAC+ and WAV. There is however an FM radio, which uses your headphone cable as an antenna.
The HTC Gratia leaves out the specs eye candy that you'll find in more expensive models, but will you really miss any of it? The camera's poor, video-playing capabilities are basic and internal memory is paltry, but with Android 2.2 at the helm the core Android experience you get is top notch. Partly thanks to the fairly small screen, battery life is good for an Android device too. It'll last for a solid couple of days between charges, and outlasted our HTC Legend running Android 2.1. The HTC Legend offers better build quality though and is now available for around the same price, but that doesn't stop the Gratia from becoming one of our favourite mid-range Androids.
The Gratia performs much better than its low-end 600MHz processor might suggest. Thanks to Android 2.2 and the well-optimised Sense software, this phone zips along at a pace not much slower than its 1GHz-chip big brothers. Only those that demand full Flash support or a high-powered camera need think twice about buying this phone.