What are ultrapixels? HTC shares more details on their new camera

February 20, 2013
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HTC made a daring move with their brand new flagship smartphone the HTC One. They introduced it with only a 4 megapixel camera. At first you might be thinking they're crazy when others all offer 8MP, and new devices are rocking 13MP cameras and beyond. However with cameras, especially smartphones, it isn't the quantity that counts -- it's the quality. The term 'ultrapixel' is just their way of saying that the quality of the sensor beats the rest with big numbers.

We've been saying this for a long time, and it isn't about the number of pixels, but the quality of the pixels. That's why a 5 megapixel iPhone takes way better photos than the 8MP camera on the DROID Bionic. It's all about the quality, processing, and delivery. With HTC's new One smartphone the Ultrapixel camera has a far superior and larger pixel sensor. This is why they claim it will be the best camera-phone available.

Not only will the camera take clearer and better pictures, but the lowlight performance should be unparalleled by any other smartphone available today. HTC explains their larger 4 ultrapixel sensor captures 300% more light than the leading 13 megapixel smartphones like the LG Optimus G. That's a bold claim. Here's a better description of the new 'Ultrapixel' camera and sensor:

• UltraPixel Sensor - Engineered with larger pixels, it enables each pixel to capture more than 300% more light than most leading 13 megapixel cameras.
• HTC ImageChip - Offers continuous autofocus, color shading, and noise reduction, as well as more realistic High Dynamic Range.
• F2.0 Aperture - The largest available on smartphone camera, it lets in 44% more light than the iPhone 5.
• Optical Image Stabilization - Drastically reduces blur in still photos and shaky video footage.

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 12.16.06 PM

things like Optical image stabilizer (OIS), lens compensation and color shading, on-demand denoise, large f/2.0 aperture and more means users not only get fantastic pictures, but they'll also look great in any condition and have less blur or grainy affects.

Then HTC go as far as to compare their camera to the Galaxy S III, iPhone 5, Xperia Z and its 13 megapixel shooter and more. Taking multiple photos in different low light situations, the HTC One clearly outshines all of the competition. With millions and millions of people using their phones as their primary camera, this is an area that can't go unnoticed. They've set out to make the best camera for our smartphones - and feel they've delivered just that.

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 11.57.40 AM

So in the end HTC didn't reinvent the camera on our phones, but the idea is in the right direction. Of course our limited hands-on time with the smartphone during yesterdays unveiling we didn't get a chance to fully enjoy the camera. You can expect plenty of pictures and sample photos and video in our full review once the HTC One starts hitting retailers in early March.


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  • Magnesus

    If a 4MP sensor pixel (large) captures 300% more light than a 13MP sensor (small) pixel then the pixel on the 4MP sensor is worse at capturing light (because 13/4 = 3.25 so the pixel is 3.25x larger but captures only 3.00x more light…).

  • bitflung

    right – 300% more light per pixel… or in more sensical terms 3x more light captured in each “pixel”. all they’ve done here is (abstractly) use 3 sensors, each 4MP, and combine the each corresponding pixel from the set of 3 sensors into a single ‘ultrapixel’.

    this is exactly what nokia did last year with the pureview 808 – only nokia used 7x over sampling instead of 3x. it’s PureView-lite!

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      PureView-lite.. haha. Interesting.

      PureView-lite with “nuisance” aka new sense

    • Kailashnath Draraka

      Had Nokia released PureView and Lumia hardwares with Android, it would have captured a significant share of smartphones market-share, at-least 20% also gives 40 million handsets compared to mere 4.4 million Lumia WP phones.

  • dudz

    They dont compared it with xperia z cause hdr does exactly the same thing, but uses a 13.1mpixels sensor instead. Who saw xperia z in action knows it did a big step ahead of competition .

  • dudz

    And the article is wrong, as lots of articles here. Htc is not compared to xperia z, but with xperia T. Hdr on xperia z has no competition on smartphones for now.

  • Ramón Riquelme García

    Why Lumia 920 is not in the sample photos comparation, when HTC claims ultrapixels gives the best resoults in low light?

    • Kailashnath Draraka

      Who cares about junk and useless Windows Phone phones !