HTC is best known for producing a range of competitive Android smartphones, many of which have boasted impressive audio technology courtesy of Beats integration. However, with the arrival of the HTC One earlier in the year, it suddenly became apparent that the focus was being expanded to make photography a key capability.
The HTC Ultrapixel camera technology found on the One is intriguing, partly because it goes against the grain of current convention and reduces the raw megapixel count rather than increasing it. There is method in this apparent madness, as we will discuss. It looks like the HTC One Mini camera features the same Ultrapixel system, as well as a range of other hardware and software attributes that will make it capable of performing comparably with its full sized sibling.
So while Nokia’s Lumia 1020 may be taking on the market with a 41 megapixel sensor, HTC is doing just as well with four.
HTC One Mini Camera Hardware
If the One Mini does boast an Ultrapixel sensor, then this will mean that while the number of pixels on offer may be lower than many of its rivals, each individual pixel will actually be much larger than is found in a typical camera phone. This endows them with the ability to absorb 300 per cent more light, eclipsing the capabilities of comparatively priced devices with 13 megapixel cameras on board. Letting in more light means that images captured are brighter and more vibrant, even in poor lighting conditions. The sensor is combined with an F/2.0 Aperture lens, which is also able to draw in more light, outdoing Apple’s iPhone 5 by 44 per cent.
Experts agree that this combination is far more important than the number of megapixels that a manufacturer slaps on marketing material, as well as being closely related to the quality of the shots that can be captured.
HTC is trying to convince consumers that they do not need to chase megapixel-heavy models if they want top notch mobile photography.
The rumoured One Mini/HTC M4 specs suggest that it is still pursuing this strategy, following the successful sales figures for the One.
The lens of the One Mini’s camera has a few other tricks up its sleeve, such as the ability to provide optical image stabilisation. This means that the phone is not relying on software to lessen the impact that minute vibrations can have on your ability to take photos and shoot videos. Images will be stabilised by the lens even before they have been captured by the sensor, which is definitely a benefit if you want to get blur-free snaps and capture action shots.
Under the skin is HTC’s ImageChip, a powerful processing unit that is dedicated to handling all of your photography needs. It can deliver continuous autofocus that is almost instantaneous, as well as applying noise-reduction and colour compensation, all in the blink of an eye. This means that every time you push the shutter button and snap an impressive photo, you are getting plenty of help from the processor.
One of the landmark features of the HTC One, which should be present on the One Mini following its launch, is HTC Zoe. It is a mode that you can enable when taking a picture which records just over half a second of high-def video footage before you fully depress the shutter button, followed by a further three second clip afterwards. The idea is to generate a full motion picture and the results need to be seen to be believed. You can view these clips individually, share them online and even stitch them together in a chain to enjoy as a continuous video montage. Extensive editing and management tools let you tinker to your heart’s content, although not everyone will be on board with the Zoe functions.
There are many other options to play with, settings to tweak and features to enable when using the Ultrapixel camera, with the lower price of the HTC One Mini making it even easier to recommend to photography fans.
Since this is going to be an Android smartphone, you will also have access to a huge library of third party apps that will push the image capturing potential of the phone even further. The affordable nature of the HTC One Mini does not mean that it will be overly compromised in order to achieve value. A 720p display, stylish design and high end camera could instead make it a bargain that is worthy of your full attention.