So my phone's camera is pretty crappy, washes colors out like no one's business.
It has an HDR mode though, I don't use it much because it likes to triple the focus time. But what does it do? Do I have to edit more afterwards to take advantage??
The reason it takes more time is that HDR, high dynamic range, is a series of images shot of the same scene. It can be as few as three. Typically, one normal, one (or more) overexposed, one (or more) underexposed. The software combines all three to "even" exposure between highlights and shadows.
I've never been a fan of HDR images--almost all appear cartoonish and the ones that do not, could have been done by simply improving camera and exposure knowledge. But, for something like a phone, which is today's P&S more or less, it solves some difficult exposure problems for the consumer. You just have to determine if the lag time is acceptable for the subject.