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Will HTC’s “UltraPixel” Camera Change Mobile Photography?

February 19, 2013 - Written By Tom Dawson

Today is a big day for HTC, it’s the unveiling of their new flagship smartphone and the way things have been going for the company, this could be a make or break sort of product launch for them. It’s been one of the worst kept secrets in the smartphone industry in recent memory and it leaked out all over the place prior to launch. This is nothing new though, pretty much every HTC device has leaked out before it gets officially announced and we suppose there were some surprises left for the events. You can take a look at the specs here.

What we’re going to do here however, is take a closer look at the imaging side of things on the HTC One. For the last couple of years, the Taiwanese company has tried their very best to have some of the best imaging on a smartphone and while Samsung comes close, Nokia solidly beat them on the photography front. Will HTC’s use of “UltraPixels” change the way we take photos on the move? Is it the best imaging out there on any mobile device?

Light is the most important aspect of taking photos, you can have the fastest processor in the world but, if you can’t capture enough light then you’ll end up with nothing to actually process. With the One Series from 2012, HTC announced ImageSense and f/2.0 lenses that would capture more light than smartphone cameras before it. Certainly, the imaging experience on the One X and the One S was pretty good but, this time around HTC has gone a little farther. In the quest to capture perfection, HTC has built their own custom-made camera module for the HTC One and it’s detailed as being able to take in around 300 percent more light than traditional smartphone cameras. The more light the sensor can take in, the better the quality of images taken in low-light will be. Which is, for many, the most problematic area of smartphone optics – they’re terrible in low-light.

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So, HTC seems to have solved the conundrum surrounding light but, what about the overall quality of images? Well, this is where things get a little confusing, while HTC have said their new ImageChip takes in more light than anything else, they’re detailing a resolution of 4 Megapixels per image. Which might turn a lot of you off right away, having said that would you rather end up with a good-looking image at 2,289 x 1,712 or a poor-looking image at 3,502 x 2,336? I know which one I’d take but, what about you?

There’s multi-axis optical image stabilization as well, which should eliminate blurry photos when on the go and for those out there that like to take images of themselves, there is an ultra-wide angle front-facing camera that’s capable of 1080p video recording to boot.

Overall, it looks like HTC has done a good job of delivering a quality imaging experience and there are even some more features to Sense 5 that will capitalize on this new hardware. What do you think? Is an improved sensor going to help you take better pictures with your camera? Would you use your smartphone for more pictures if it were this good?

You can take a look at some of the camera features in HTC’s teaser below: