Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.
Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!
In a bold move, HTC has attacked the "megapixel race" in smartphones head on, by putting a 4 megapixel sensor in their latest high end smart phone, the HTC One. They emphasis the importance of light sensitivity by using a sensor with less megapixels, and therefore larger light gathering pixels, a bright f/2.0 lens, as well as optical image stabilisation. They say this combination gives them 300% more light than competitors with 8 and 13 megapixel smartphones, and even go as far as calling it an "UltraPixel" sensor.
our guide to digital camera sensor sizes. This means that each pixel is also much smaller, and trying to cram an 8 or 13 megapixel sensor into a small space has lead to ever smaller pixels, with the latest sensors using a 1.4 (8mp smartphone) or 1.1 (13mp smartphone) micron pixel size.
* excluding the Nokia N8 and Nokia PureView 808
Compare that to a compact digital camera such as the Canon Powershot S110, with a 12 megapixel, 1/2.33inch sensor and 2 micron pixel size, or a Digital SLR such as the Canon EOS 700D with an 18 megapixel APS-C sensor and 4.2 micron pixel size, and you begin to see that each pixel is getting up to 2x less light than a compact camera, or 4x less light than a Digital SLR to each pixel.
There Can Be Only OneThe HTC One still uses a small 1/3 inch sensor, but in order to get more light to each pixel, it uses a 4 megapixel sensor, with 2 micron pixel size. This isn't the only way the HTC One aims to improve low light performance, it also uses a bright f/2.0 28mm wide-angle lens, and combined with optical image stabilisation it should perform better than any other smartphone in low light conditions.
- 4 megapixel BSI sensor
- Pixel size 2.0 µm, Sensor size 1/3inch
- f/2.0 28mm wide-angle lens
- Optical image stabilisation
- 2.1 megapixel front camera, wide-angle lens with HDR capability
- 4.7inch 1080p screen
- 32GB built in (25.4GB available)
- Full HD Video, Stereo sound, HDR
- ISO100 - ISO1600
- microSIM slot
- Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 600, quad-core, 1.7GHz processor
The unlock button is slightly raised, but as the phone is rectangular it can take a while to work out which way up the phone is without looking at it, when you first pick it up. On the side are textured volume buttons.
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.05s|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||<15s|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||0.2s|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||0.9s|
|Continuous Shooting - JPEG||9fps (20 shots)|
Continuous shooting shoots at 9fps, and for 20 shots, although you can enable more shots than 20. Shot to shot time is excellent and there is virtually no focus delay.
Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
HTC One Sample Photos
HDR Off | 1/6410 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 110
HDR One | 1/1280 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 102
Low Light | 1/4 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 771
LED Flash | 1/120 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 126
Red Buckets | 1/1372 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 100
Portrait Without LED | 1/40 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 133
Sample Photos - The single LED flash does a good job of lighting the scene, however, you can get more natural looking results without using it, although the 28mm equivalent focal length of the lens isn't the most flattering for portrait shots.
HTC One Lens test images
Wide | 1/6410 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 113
Wide HDR | 1/1325 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 103
Trees | 1/320 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 100
Macro Low Light | 1/15 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 564
Normal Macro | 1/2959 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 106
HDR Macro | 1/651 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 100
Lens Performance - Detail is quite good in photos, although they do appear to have strong sharpening applied. Some purple fringing is visible in the photo of the trees above, however in most shots this was not a problem. Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) meant we could take a sharp hand-held photo at 1/15sec or less without using the LED. Exposure is generally good, and can be set using the touch screen. The HDR shooting mode does an impressive job in dealing with high contrast photos, although it can look artificial.
HTC One ISO test images
1/60 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 100
1/120 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 200
1/120 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 400
ISO Noise Performance - ISO performance at lower ISO settings is good, but as light levels lower and the ISO setting increases, noise does become quite noticeable. The ISO800 and ISO1600 shots show no additional noise over the earlier shots, and due to the shutter speed and aperture remaining the same, we suspect the camera has not actually switched to these higher ISO settings. For examples of noise in low light, have a look at our other example photos above.
HTC One White-balance test images
AWB Tungsten | 1/60 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 100
Tungsten Preset | 1/60 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 100
AWB Fluorescent | 1/20 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent Preset | 1/20 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 100
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten light, with a slightly warm result, and the tungsten preset gives a more neutral result. AWB performs very well under fluorescent light with the preset giving a similar result.
Panorama mode - The panoramic mode automatically stitches photos while you pan the camera around. The photo is reasonably well stitched together, however there are some lines visible where the exposure changes.
HTC One Digital filters
No Effect | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Effect 1 | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Effect 2 | 1/7692 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 114
Effect 3 | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Effect 4 | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Effect 5 | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Effect 6 | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Effect 7 | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Effect 8 | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Effect 9 | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Effect 10 | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Effect 11 | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Effect 12 | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Effect 13 | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Effect 14 | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Effect 15 | 1/9615 sec | f/2.0 | 3.8 mm | ISO 116
Digital Filters - 15 effects are built into the HTC camera app and are selectable along the bottom of the screen. You can adjust exposure, contrast, saturation, and sharpness of photos. The "Zoe" shooting mode takes a number of continuous photos (up to 20) and then puts them into a video, the video makes a short clip and doesn't include sound, but you also get to keep the photos as well.
Video - Video options include slow-motion, fast HD (60fps), video HDR (Full HD), examples showing a standard video, and the same scene recorded using the HDR mode can be seen on our YouTube channel.
Value For MoneyThe HTC One is available for around £529 sim free, and is up against a number of new smartphones that put an emphasis on camera quality including the iPhone 5 (8mp), Sony Xperia Z (13mp), Samsung Galaxy S4 (13mp), Nokia Lumia 920 (8mp with OIS), and Nokia PureView 808 (41mp, Xenon flash).
For the hardcore low-light photographers the camera phone will impress, but in good light the low resolution of the camera may disappoint. HDR photos and videos are impressive, as well as the high speed shooting. As a smart phone, the HTC One is simply stunning.
HTC One ProsLarge clear bright 4.7inch screen
Impressive HDR stills and video
Great looking phone
Fast continuous shooting
HTC One ConsNo physical shutter release button
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
HTC One Specifications
|Optical Zoom||No Data|
|CCD pixels||4Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Shutter speeds shortest||No Data|
|Shutter speeds longest||No Data|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 800|
|Video FPS||1080P up to 30fps, 720P up to 60fps, 1080P with HDR up to 28fps, 768x432 up to 96fps|
|Box Contents||Phone, microUSB Cable, Earphones, Sim eject pin, Instructions, UK charger|