Today the HTC One received an update. Software version 126.96.36.199, which is a 229MB download, is said to update the camera, improve HTC Zoe sound quality, improve Beats Audio and adds system stability tweaks.
Let’s wind back the clock because, in February, we posted this article which compared the HTC One camera against the Nokia Lumia 920. The test caused quite a stir, especially as there was so much interest in this new HTC Ultrapixel technology which lets more light into the shot.
Well, before I show you what happened I must let you into a little secret. I’ve seen everything that the HTC One has to offer in Barcelona but this is the first time that I’ve spent a good chunk of time with it and, I have to say, I’m shocked at how much I like the HTC Zoe system. I took my son on a quick trip to see the trains at the local train station and, as is usual, I snapped a few shots. Normally these shots (and the odd video) stay on my phone and I never seem to find the time to put the pictures in a digital album or stick the videos on a DVD. The Zoe system brought a simple few shots and videos to life in a really fun way and that sound quality is absolutely epic.
Believe me, if you choose to buy the HTC One I’ll come round and pat you on the back. This is a really, really good phone.
So, to the photo comparison. Last night, at 8.45PM on Wenesday April 24th, it was pretty much dark. The sun had set, the street lights were on and there was only a tiny amount of light. I took a shiny new HTC One with the very latest updates and a Sony Xperia T running Jelly Bean.
Now yes, the Xperia T has a 13 megapixel camera whilst the HTC One has a 4 megapixel camera, however the HTC One pixels are bigger and let in more light. This test isn’t about resolutions, this is about picture quality in low-light, so I went around the garden in the dark. I took the same photos at the same time. Some came out a little blurry, but I’ve included them here anyway. I turned HDR on with both handsets.
First up, a shot of our trampoline and slide. This really surprised me. To the naked eye it was fairly dark, but the green of the slide really jumped out on the HTC One..
Next up, a flag we have hanging in the garden. You can see here how the HTC One has injected extra brightness. Again, it was really weird because the sky wasn’t that bright to the naked eye. It really does boost the tiny bits of brightness. The colours are really enhanced here too..
The sky was on the next shot too. I just wanted to see how each phone handled the light and dark, and you can really see how the HTC One has picked up the clouds and the sky here compared to the Xperia..
As things got darker you can start to see how an almost “Instagram type” effect comes into some of the HTC One shots..
This shot of the wheel also seems to have the same effect..
By now it was getting a little too dark, so I headed inside. In this particular room there’s a 40 watt bulb in a lamp and nothing else. This is real evening-time mood lighting here.
Lastly, I went back out into the garden again and snapped a shot of a flower…
I could see that the HTC One was being very clever. In very limited light it seemed to boost a circular section in the middle. Colours are boosted and become more vivid and I was genuinely surprised at how bright they were in the preview window. At times I did find the effect a little “digital” but overall it did enhance low-light shots.
I’d like to hear your opinions on this though. Which do you prefer? I’ll be taking more shots later this week.