HTC One camera

One of the biggest questions about the new HTC One? The camera. It's just tough to wrap your head around a 4-megapixel main camera in 2014 — especially when the front-facing camera shoots at a slightly higher resolution (when shooting 4:3, anyway). It's just one of those weird quirks about an otherwise excellent phone.

The real proof is in the pudding, however.

In real-world use, we've found the new HTC One camera to be quick to focus, which is good, because that focal point is still mighty important, especially when it comes to lighting. The original HTC One struggled outdoors, with images often being blown out in sunlight. That's less of an issue now, thanks to software improvements and a new camera module, but there still are instances in which the camera seems to be overwhelmed.

All in all, we're looking at a pretty capable camera here. Not the best all-around camera, perhaps, but one that's filled with features and the capability of producing some pretty compelling shots. Have a look:


Reader comments

Camera samples from the new HTC One


From what I've read, they've also ditched optical image stabilization as well. When the biggest selling point of the HTC One is it's cool camera, it really seems to have regressed since 2013.

i am less than impressed for sure!! i dont care what kind of software crap you do to them, 4mp doesnt cut it.

My hope for this camera is that HTC has fully straightened out the purple haze issue that plagued so many M7 Ones. I got lucky with mine, *knock on wood* but I've heard of so many issues that it'll be interesting to see what happens.

Well, looking at the same pictures on this site, there doesn't seem to be purple haze but there's some HORRENDOUS purple/bluish fringing on a lot of those pictures. This camera just doesn't cut it.

I am on a 27" 1440p calibrated monitor that has VERY accurate color / brightness etc. On my monitor those photos look pretty decent, although they do lack detail/sharpness.

Who cares if the colors are accurate if the colors are grainy? Those pics are pretty grainy, there is no way around that. that has been my beef with my One as well.

after 8MP they shouldn't, but 4MP is 4MP more light or not. the front camera is 5MP! so if you want higher rez use that one. strange stuff htc

Don't confuse marketing terms with the facts. It's a 4MP UltraPixel camera. The pixels are larger, but not more numerous.

No, its not. It is a marketing term. The pixels are larger than a standard smartphone pixel, sure. They are still smaller than the pixels on many actual cameras. There really isn't a such thing as a "standard megapixel". Ultrapixel is no different than Nokia's PureView. It is simply HTC's marketing term for their camera technology.

"The pixels are larger than a standard smartphone pixel, sure."
You even used the term "standard".

I don't feel like arguing this.

I just get sick when people just dismiss it because it is 4mp. the number means nothing in terms of quality.

A pro dslr has 20+ megapixels, and each pixel is substantially bigger,than even the Ones" ultrapixels". Canon is not calling them gargantuan pixels, just megapixels.

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I don't get your point in response to my comment. A 1020 has 41 mp. That doesn't mean the images are better than a DSLR with 20.

You're not understanding. HTC's "Ultrapixel" camera just has larger pixels than what you get on most phones. It's not new technology. It's for marketing purposes only.

The advantage to having larger pixels is better low light pictures. In normal light, most high-end smartphones' cameras have large enough pixels to take in enough light, so they take much better pics than HTC's phone in normal lighting.

You have to find the right balance. More MP doesn't necessarily make a better picture, but 4MP just isn't enough.

I am understanding fine.
I never said any of those things in the first part of your reply.

"4MP just isn't enough."

For you.

I have a nikon 6mp DSLR and it is plenty.

4mp is plenty. So long as you don't want to crop, print or have sharp detailed pictures :-p a standard 8mp smart phone camera that uses a camera app that overlays a few pictures to eliminate noise takes better night and day pics than ultrapixel IMO. The best camera is the one you have on you at the time and for most people that is their phone so pics that you could print if you want to is preferable. That's not really an option with HTC.

I owned a 1.6MP kodak digital camera and a 1.3 nikon back when digital cameras first started coming out. I've taken some way better pictures with those than I have with newer 8mp 15mp how ever many pixels they can jam into the same size sensor. Have you zoomed in on a 8mp phone picture, it looks like a coloring book. There is just noise everywhere.

I do some digital astrophotography and ive used some of the consumer level cameras. The old rebel XT(8mp), XSI (12mp), and newer T3 (10mp). order of how good they were goes T3 > XT >XSI . The 10mp chip in the T3 has far less noise and doesnt heat up with sensor glow. The 12mp xsi was just a sea of noise.

MP aren't everything

A Pro DSLR doesn't always have over 20+ megapixels. Look at the Nikon D4. Megapixels are overblown regardless of what this 4mp camera does on the HTC One. There are many more reasons why the pictures may lack the detail that do NOT involve megapixels. Maybe the lens isn't as sharp as it could be? Maybe the software's compression algorithms are at fault? Maybe there are issues due to the sensor itself? Maybe the focus isn't quite right? Many people have taken and blown up 6mp Nikon D40 pics for years to sizes of 13"X19" without a great loss of detail. To be honest, if all else is okay (lens, software, focus, etc.), 4mp should be plenty for a phone and for what people should be using a phone camera for.

I don't know about you guys, but I have cameras coming out my ears. I have used many cameras with great success with all varying levels of megapixels (Nikon D40, D40X, D60, D7000, D7100, Canon S95, SX210, SX230, Sony 3mp point-and-shoot from over 10 years ago, etc.). These pictures look good to me and I don't know what 13mp will give me that these pics can't. Again, it's a smartphone camera that is generally tasked with casual photography.

Thank you thank you thank you. I actually only have one DSLR a Nikon D40 that I have had for years because for my uses I see no reason to upgrade. People that haven't used lower MP but quality camera will just never get it.

LOL no. you don't understand. There is nothing besides a standard megapixel.

please read.

larger sensor aka "ultrapixel" does not exist. it doesnt mean theres more pixels in the picture.

it means nothing besides the sensor is bigger.

please stop commenting about it, the camera is horrible. and its front camera puts it to shame.

nothing to argue here. we havent used it but this video sample is more then enough to sway me towards another phone.

That's exactly what I said as I zoomed in with my G2.

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So you are saying the HTC One failed to be the phone of the year by tons of awards given and building an amazing phone with innovative features? At least they have a beautiful phone with performance and quality. HTC failed?

Beautiful phone for sure. I think the camera will be a deal breaker for me although I'm sure its a great camera for facebook, instagram etc.

There are so many other factors that make a good camera, megapixels being only one factor. There are plenty of 4mp cameras that are better than 10+mp cameras. Megapixels are used for marketing junk cameras. Go to Walmart and grab an $80 camera with 40mp and let me know how that works out.

Definitely agree, but as an enthusiastic owner of a current-gen HTC One, it's hard to rave about this camera. It does better in low light than most, I'll give it that. My Galaxy S4 couldn't take a blur-free photo unless I was outside in the middle of the day. But the picture quality is pretty much shit and part of that is owing to the lack of adequate number of pixels to represent the image well. Many details are soft and muddled because there's just not enough pixels to represent those details.

Did I missed something, or M8 does not have OIS ? (M7 have it, but no one mention this for M8)

Yep, in fact HTC should have focused most if not all of their efforts in the past year on improving the camera's image quality. Getting OIS and an 8MP sensor that took better pics would make this phone a hands-down winner. Strange considering that the camera was such a widely discussed disappointment on the last-gen phone.

Why are Android manufacturers so bloody deaf to customer requests/desires? Who, exactly, was asking for this second-lens focus tech that, if the samples are to be believed, doesn't work very well and makes the pictures even MORE noisy and crappy than before? Just bizarre.

Phil, can you clear this up? Does the M8 have OIS? That's important for me not taking shakey videos and still pics also.

The camera is definitely...mehh. I still love the phone though! Looks very nice and I'm sure Sense 6 is great

typical backlash from trolls.. prior to the s5 unveil everyone wanted it then it gets unveiled: "it looks just like the s4 & blah blah". prior to the m8 unveil everyone wanted it now: "it only has 4mp? well gee... blah blah" lol.

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That actually means that Samsung and HTC didn't live up to expectations. It's not trolling. The hardware was underwhelming and the software doesn't compensate for it. The Moto X has great software but a bad camera and older tech, so it's worthwhile. The S5 looks like someone lost a band-aid. The HTC One 2014 is only a slight upgrade from the previous version. I like that it has an expansion slot for memory.

It's not trolling. In both cases, the manufacturers largely ignored the most often criticized aspects of the previous-gen device. The Galaxy S4 was mostly criticized for feeling like cheap plastic and Touchwiz being ugly and over-burdened with gimicky "features." They didn't really fix either problem with the new model. With HTC, the camera's image quality was one of the only complaints from the last model.

Thank you for the samples. The resolution looks decent but there's definitely loss of detail when viewing them full screen and some look pretty overexposed, like the photo of food tray in the plane.

4MP total deal breaker. I have the HTC one and the cam is OK, but if you want to crop a photo which often like to do then the image falls completely apart. I don't think k megapixels mean everything, but 4 isn't enough resolution to do what I like to do with photos...

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Yeah the camera is disappointing and I know ppl who didn't buy the last one because it only had 4MP. Regular non-techie folk don't understand or care about "ultrapixels". They see that there's only 4 and that's not enough, so they end up going for the Galaxy. The camera didn't raise any eyebrows last year and it won't again this year. That's why they lose to Samsung. I'm not happy about that but for life's sake give it 8MP at least.

I agree that 4MP just isnt enough if you are going to crop, but I was very happy with my M7. The pictures were just better than any other phone ive every had. Better colour (no obvious tint), sharp, because it actually focused properly, well exposed and perfect contrast.

Having 13MP+ is great, if the damn phone can focus quickly, if the colours are accurate, and if the exposure is right. If its not, which it often isnt, you get 13MP of dark, tinted blur. Not very useful.

Having said that i would have preferred more MP from this phone. If it has 8MP and all those features I would be sold, as it is, ill have to thing about it.

I still think that megapixels don't make a difference when the sensor is so small. I use my iPhone 5S camera (8MP) more often than I do my Samsung Galaxy S4 (13MP) because the lens is that much better on the iPhone. The lens is what makes the difference.

True, from the samples the camera doesn't look as bad as people are making It seem to be.

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It doesn't capture enough detail in 4MP. Especially since that is stretched to wide aspect ratio. It has a great lens and does capture good images, but not enough detail for anything more than web posting.

Seems like HTC didn't listen to people's complain about the horrible camera from the predecessor. For myself this is the deal breaker.

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Wait for a side by side review to pass judgment I have seen the st camera samples and I'm not impressed the only way is to have a side by side review.

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Kudos on the first good front camera. f/2.0 and plenty of megapixel should actually perform in typical indoor situations.

But 4MP main camera doesn't cut it and dropping OIS is terrible. It's a very capable camera, just doesn't capture enough detail in 4MP. I gave up the last One GPe for Nexus 5 because except for in extremely low light the Nexus 5 camera is better. Now the new One doesn't address the only shortcoming of the device and instead takes away features and adds gimmicks.

At least there is a Google Play edition.

The photos look fine for everyday viewing. The only time I'll ever open up a pic full screen on my imac is if I took it with my DSLR. I can understand people wanting more, but it still compares closely to other phones photo quality. Looking at the sample images on my iPad, I can't quickly pick out any problems, Combine that with all of the other outstanding features this phone has, and it really is a winner.
I for one can't wait to ditch my old samsung phone and get one of these babies .

AC always seems to sugar coat cameras in their reviews. I can't remember ever reading an AC article saying "this camera sucks" or the equivalent. The words "decent' and 'middle of the pack" are always used. Just say it sucks!!!

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