Camera Test: HTC One vs. The Galaxy S4 vs. iPhone 5 [PHOTOS]

HTC made a bold bet with its Ultrapixel camera, dropping the resolution to just 4 megapixels, while everyone else is focusing on boosting the resolution. But as you’ve heard me (and others) say a gajillion times, the overall quality of a photo has nothing to do with the amount of megapixels it contains. What really matters most is the speed of the lens (aperture), the size of each individual pixel, and the image processor that compresses a RAW file into a usable file like a JPEG.

I grabbed the HTC One, courtesy of our friends at Wireless Vision, and put it up against the iPhone 5, arguably one of the best smartphone cameras on the market, and the Galaxy S4, one of the best selling Android smartphones ever. I took three photos with each camera, just seconds apart, so the conditions were as close to the same as possible. Other than adding the ZAGG logo to each one, these photos are untouched. You can click on each photo to expand it to its full size. Check out the results.

Indoor Photos; Low Light

Photo size: Galaxy S4: 3.7MB // iPhone 5: 1.6MB // HTC One: 1.0MB

HTC One

iPhone 5

Galaxy S4

Indoor Photos; Average Light

Photo size: Galaxy S4: 2.9MB // iPhone 5: 1.5MB // HTC One: 0.98MB

HTC One

iPhone 5

Galaxy S4

Outdoor Photos; Daytime

Photo size: Galaxy S4: 6.9MB // iPhone 5: 3.5MB // HTC One: 2.23MB

HTC One

iPhone 5

Galaxy S4

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

As you can tell, especially if you took the time to look at the full size version of each image, the HTC One does a fantastic job. My only complaint would be that the images appear to be a little more heavy on yellow saturation and could be a little more even. To make things fair for each camera, I didn’t alter any of the settings or put any of the cameras in any special modes. Each time my process was the same: open the camera app and shoot.

The only time you’ll really notice the lower resolution images from the HTC One would be if you’re trying to expand the image to a larger size or make physical prints of your photos. For general tweets, Facebook posts, Google+ sharing, or emailing, you’ll find that the One doesn’t leave anything to be desired. Nice work, HTC!

Side note: I was actually a little blown away at how bad the Galaxy S4 was in low light, since that’s my primary carry-every-day-phone. It might perform better if I put it in Night mode, so I’ve got some homework to do.

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  • Gene

    You need to turn on Night Mode on the S4. It will make ALL of the difference. Does well enough that it makes the big feature of the One not so compelling.