Hyperlapses aren't exactly a new phenomenon. Instagram's been doing this for a while on its iPhone-exclusive app, and Microsoft finally opened up its Hyperlapse app for all Android users this summer.
However, with the HTC One A9, it is the first time that HyperLapse has been pre-packaged in a smartphone's stock camera app. HTC has not only made its TimeLapse function, well, functional, it has made it cool.
How cool? This cool.
From the camera app, Hyperlapses are three simple taps away. First, we tap the four circular dots in the bottom left corner of the camera as you hold the phone vertically (or the top left corner if holding the phone horizontally). HyperLapse mode sits right next to the standard Camera mode. Upon entering HyperLapse mode, the shutter button is replaced with the HyperLapse button, which will start and stop your captures.
A single HyperLapse can run up to 45 minutes, and you can tap on the screen to re-focus and to white-balance as you move between light and dark environments. You can capture a HyperLapse either horizontally or vertically, but it will not shift between the two during a HyperLapse, so be sure you're in the right orientation before you start. HyperLapses can only be captured using the rear camera, but you can take a regular video with the front-facing camera and convert it into a HyperLapse in the gallery.
If you have the option of mounting your A9 on a stand or even a selfie stick while capturing your TimeLapses, you'll likely want to. Holding your phone for 45 minutes can often lead to cramping, especially when holding the phone up at a certain level or angle for long periods of time. My balcony timelapse starts bobbing a bit because my hands would slip and cramp on me.
The hyperlapses I took were not only easy, but they whenever I showed them to people, online or in person, there was an instant "that's so cool" when they saw how smooth and effortless these TimeLapses looked. HyperLapses are easy to clip and export, making them almost instantly shareable on social media. And because you can come back and re-edit Hyperlapses in the Gallery, you can shoot HyperLapse after HyperLapse and leave the editing for later if you're trying to catch something longer than the standard 45 minute window.
While driving back from the Big Android BBQ in the rain, it dawned on me that this was an excellent time to test out HyperLapse. In the span of a red light, I was able to begin the HyperLapse and when the light turned green, I could focus on driving. No fussing, no tapping to keep the screen on, and no warnings about the phone overheating or the battery giving up on me (though to be fair, I had the phone in airplane mode during the driving HyperLapses).
HTC's HyperLapses are a fun camera feature, and while it may not be one you'll use every day, it's definitely one you'll be glad works as well as it does.