In one of the bravest moves in smartphone history, HTC gave up on the megapixel war and decided to equip its latest smartphone with a 4 MP snapper at the back. The low resolution allowed each individual pixel to be much larger, which improves per-pixel detail and low-light performance significantly. So even though the HTC One sensor measures a modest 1/3″ in diagonal, each of its 4 million Ultrapixels (as HTC calls them) is much larger than that of the average smartphone (by about 300%).
So in theory, while you will be sacrificing some detail in well-lit environments, you should be getting better low-light results. Add the super bright F/2.0 lens and you should be getting the smartphone with the best low-light performance in business. And since you would be downsizing many of your images anyway, this seems like a fair trade to us. As long as the HTC One delivers on those promises, that is.
As it turns out the shots are pretty good, considering the less than perfect environment and their per-pixel detail is much better than any of the smartphones we have recently reviewed. It’s not quite able to come close to the performance of the Nokia 808 PureView, but that one has a sensor 6 times as big as the HTC flagship.
And here come the actual photos. Keep in mind that the demo units aren’t quite finalized yet, so you should be seeing even better performance from the market-ready HTC One.
HTC One camera samples
Overall we’d like to see more manufacturers join HTC and turn this into a trend. Ideally, we’d also like to see them put bigger sensors inside their smartphones as 1/3″ is rather modest even for a flagship device, where slim waistline is essential.