Still trying to get the hang of taking photos and then uploading them lol.. instant upload doesn't seem to like me all that much.
Photos are unedited, taken indoors with different white balance settings and no flash. The "whiter" one is done with the "Incandescent" setting - most of the colors are right, but the walls are too light and the browns aren't quite right. The "pinker" ones are done with the "fluorescent" setting and are more accurate for the walls and brown colors, but the blues/blacks are slightly purpler than they should be. The lighting in the room is a compact fluorescent bulb on a ceiling fan. The picture of the stuffed animal is almost perfect, except the crate is a little too purple (like I said above).
Added one done with flash and fluorescent setting both on - colors look absolutely dead-on perfect to me, even with the pastel-rainbow bunny which I had sincere doubts would come out right. (the pink blur on the side of the shelving unit is the reflection of a hot pink feather boa lol). Maybe very slightly washed out from the flash, but not enough that it would disappoint me. Actually the wall is losing its pink again but I've come to expect that (maybe I have low expectations)
the HTC Rhyme takes better photos than this thing. [among other devices i've messed with]
These pictures have no crisp and refreshing look to them.. really bland, dull, and grainy.
Maybe I'm crazy, but I thought the pictures were very realistic looking. Sure, they don't "pop" but to be honest, nothing on my shelf DOES "pop;" there are lots of colors, but any popping would be software enhancement anyways. I kind of like that the camera doesn't automatically do all that stuff to it, and I can just choose to do it later. Oh and as for grainy, all these pictures have been resized anyways so it's hard to say what's actually grainy and what's just an artifact from resizing. If the problem with these pictures was that it wasn't focusing properly and that details were muddy, that'd be one thing, but when it's just the colors I can't see the problem. The software has editing tools for that.
Here's a couple examples, the original and the "popping" images... sure the ones that "pop" are more aesthetically pleasing immediately, but it's not quite real. I like that I'm given the power to choose exactly what the pictures look like, and whether they represent realistic colors, what I think it should look like, or what the software thinks it should look like.
I think the whole camera thing is just another example of something in Android that is made to be tweaked rather than "just work," and therefore what you cite is not a problem imo. Then again, this is my first smartphone (and I think my first 5MP camera believe it or not) so it's possible I just have no good basis for comparison.