The steps I took earlier in the year to improve my photography skills  – an online photography class, a new point-and-shoot – have not yielded the results I had hoped. That could be because I need to implement the lessons from the online class and get thru the manual for the camera.  Or it could be because I need the combination of a practical class and a decent camera.  Recently I got both.

On the Disney Fantasy Media Preview cruise, which doubled as a Traveling Mom Blogger Network retreat, not only were we “treated” to a session on taking better photos, lead by photog extraordinaire and Photo Traveling Mom, Kymri, and we were also provided with a camera. Actually, it was a smartphone, but since I already know how to use a phone, I was much more excited about getting to play with the camera on the HTC Rhyme for a couple of weeks. 

My thoughts? Wow!  So wow, in fact, that I am seriously considering giving up my iPhone, and that’s saying something because I am so attached to my iPhone. And when I say attached, I mean literally. At any given time you will find it on my person. 
Since the best camera is the one you have with you, I was really happy to have the Rhyme with me for a little while. It features a 5MP camera with autofocus, a LED flash and lots of settings that just make taking pictures easier and a lot more fun, like face recognition, a panorama feature that stitches together three pictures and makes it a wide shot, and a function that lets you preview how the picture will look before you actually snap it.
I’m not a photographer, but if I had the Rhyme a little longer, with the technical features it has – like white balance, ISO and setting resolution – I would have at least been able to pretend that I was, and maybe even produce enough good pictures to convince a few other people. 
I also really liked the feature that automatically uploads photos to Facebook, though it would be even better if I had the option to send the photos to my fan page or my personal page. There’s also a feature that lets you choose different filters for your photos, and since I’m a fan of Instagram, I thought that was a cool little extra.
Can I be really shallow here and just say how much I really liked the look of the Rhyme? The purple body had me at “hello”.  Not only does the Rhyme take great pictures, it’s pretty as one, too. Even my daughters got excited when they saw it, thinking I’d gotten a fab new cover for my phone.  The Rhyme also has this cute little purple charm that flashes when you receive an incoming call, message, email or Facebook update.

In the event I ever remove the phone from my person, and keep it in a bag or purse, or put it on vibration mode, I could see how this purple charm would be useful. The charging dock is another useful accessory that also works as an alarm clock and a speaker.

My final conclusion is that I haven’t come to a final conclusion. While the pretty pictures the camera takes, the awesome extras, like the charm and the docking station and the purple packaging of the phone have certainly turned my head, but I’m not quite sure if it’s enough to make me leave camp iPhone. My current phone contract ends soon, so we’ll see.

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by HTC Rhyme and I received a HTC Rhyme (temporarily) to review.