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HTC One's Camera Tested (Updated)

By Alvin Soon - 27 Mar 2013
Launch SRP: S$968



The HTC One has an interesting feature called Zoe, when you switch it on by tapping an icon on the shooting screen, the One will start shooting a video of the scene, saving one second before you press the shutter and then three seconds after. Afterwards, you can then scroll through the playback and save frames from whichever point you want. When saved to your PC, you'll also get 20 frames from the approx. four second capture, which means that Zoe is shooting an average of five frames per second. You'll also get the full movie saved as an .MOV file; it's nice to have both a shot of and a video of the moment.

It's an interesting feature, with which you can grab the perfect still frame from your shot. It doesn't mean that you'll be able to grab perfect action shots however, as the shutter speed - which you cannot control - determines whether or not you'll get a sharp or blurry image of a moving subject, not the frame-rate.

The other challenge is that it adds an additional layer of work for the user. Do you really want to scrub through a four-second video every time you take a photo to select that one perfect shot? Do you want to see twenty nearly identical images in your image folder when you transfer it to the PC? We can't really say - that's up to the individual. For our money, we think that Nikon's mirrorless 1 cameras have the better idea with the Smart Photo Selector mode; the camera shoots a burst of images and then selects five that it thinks are the best for the user, giving the user what he wants with less work, although you don't get a video at the end.

When comparing images shot in Zoe mode to non-Zoe photos, we notice that the Zoe images appear slightly sharper, but there is more distortion in the details, which means they've been more aggressively sharpened by the image engine. Honestly though, nobody will probably notice unless they look for it. So yes, they are the same resolution (in terms of pixel width x height), but not exactly the same image quality.

100% crop, non-Zoe capture, ISO 100

100% crop, Zoe capture, ISO 125

100% crop, non-Zoe capture, ISO 200

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  • Design 9.5
  • Features 9
  • User-Friendliness 9
  • Performance 8.5
  • Value 8
The Good
Aluminum unibody, zero-gap construction
Variety of useful features such as BlinkFeed
Fast processing speeds
Natural looking screen
Excellent audio
The Bad
Unconventional soft button configuration
lmaging quality is middling due to 4MP sensor
Average battery life
Display is hard to view under direct sunlight
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