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Camera Comparison: HTC One vs. Samsung Galaxy S4

Camera Comparison

Not that we have been avoiding it, but we felt the time was right to do a bare bones breakdown of the cameras found on the top two Android devices on the market right now, the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4. What makes both of these cameras unique is that on paper, both are basically complete opposites. The Galaxy S4 features a whopping 13MP sensor while HTC employed a “Ultrapixel” camera inside the One, which is actually a 4MP sensor. At first, the idea of having a 4MP camera in a 2013 flagship device threw some people off, but HTC seems to know what they were doing.

Down below, we cut the crap and just give you a side-by-side comparison of both cameras in everyday real-life scenarios. Seemed like the best way to do this type of thing, considering that this is not a photography blog. We hit the low light, the macro, the video tests, and more.Β 

Samsung Galaxy S4 (left) vs. HTC One (right)

The macro: This wouldn’t be a Droid Life comparison if we weren’t taking close ups of something. You will see a reoccurring trend throughout this comparison that the HTC One (right) gives off a much warmer vibe than the Galaxy S4 (left). We have seen that on their previous Samsung devices, so it isn’t much of a shocker, but what they do have going for them is that the S4 focuses on subjects that are extremely close with relative ease in comparison to the One. In fact, I found myself tapping the display to focus on the Galaxy S4 just once or twice to get the perfect close up, while I had to tap on the One more than five times to get it focus. While both take close ups rather well, the Galaxy S4 would probably win this one due to its high rate of consistency and attention to detail. The One definitely gives off much better color though, once it actually focuses.

Macro S4 (Copy)Macro One (Copy)

Macro Galaxy S4 (Copy)Macro HTC One (Copy)

Color: Β As I mention, the HTC One (right) does have a tendency to give off brighter and warmer colors in the right circumstances. Although, when deliberately trying to find some well-lit and colorful areas, the Galaxy S4 (left) excelled. The GS4 brought together a perfect union between sharp lines and details, with well-rounded color balance. The blues were blue and the reds were red. Both cameras score well in this section and when you are out on a brightly-lit day and you have a subject as adorable as Loki, I hope your phone can take a decent picture as well.

Color Galaxy S4 (Copy)Color HTC One (Copy)

Loki Pup Galaxy S4 2 (Copy)Loki Pup HTC One (Copy)

Loki Pop Galaxy S4 (Copy)Loki Pup HTC One 2 (Copy)

Low-light: Β According to HTC, the camera found in the One (right) lets in 300% more light than your average smartphone camera. If the pictures below are evidence, I would say they are about right on that one. The Galaxy S4 (left) struggles immensely with focusing in the low light settings, so this point goes to the HTC One everyday of the week. The One, in low light, gives an image that more resembles what your eyes see rather than a dark shadowy image that we see from the Galaxy S4. Big bonus points to HTC for their work on the low lighting scenarios.

Thor Lowlight Galaxy S4 (Copy)Thor Lowlight HTC one (Copy)

Loki Lowlight Galaxy S4 (Copy)Loki Lowlight HTC One (Copy)

Dogs Lowlight Galaxy S4 (Copy)Dogs Lowlight HTC One (Copy)

Out and about: Β On your typical outings, it is really hard to say which phone I would rather have to snap pictures with. The HTC One (right) produces well-lit images with warmer colors than the Galaxy S4 (left), but on the other hand, the GS4 produces extremely crisp pictures, full of detail. Plus, given the added size of the pictures taken on the Galaxy S4 with the 13MP sensor, much more detail is added in and the ability to zoom in without seeing fuzz is an added bonus. If this comparison was based on a point system, both devices would get a point in this category. They are both dependable, versatile, and produce pictures that are worthy of sharing with friends and family.

Flower Galaxy S4 (Copy)Flower HTC One (Copy)

Tree Galaxy S4 (Copy)Tree HTC One (Copy)

Path Galaxy S4 (Copy)Path HTC One (Copy)

1080p Videos samples: Both videos look fantastic. It is a bright and warm day and the grass is super green. I have a model named Loki and as you can see, he’s loving the spotlight. Points to both phones for some fantastic HD videos.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/FDaxDpsZw1E[/youtube] [youtube]http://youtu.be/bRLBtc74xH4[/youtube]

Wrap-up: To sum it up, both devices, whether you care about how many megapixels your phone has or not, are great. From my experience, the Galaxy S4 is better for taking higher quality images that you would like to later edit and publish online. As for the HTC One, it is probably the perfect phone for someone that is addicted to Instagram. The pictures are clear, full of color, and perfect for someone that doesn’t need extreme detail.

Each device has their highs and lows. While the HTC One shows dominance in the lowly-lit category, it struggles to focus on closeups and the detail just isn’t there like you would hope in some shots. The Galaxy S4 shows extreme command in a variety of circumstances, but with a lack of color and rich tones, some of those highly detailed shots end up looking lifeless.

Your lifestyle will greatly determine which device you should choose if the camera is a main focal point. If you can, try them all out and see what fits your best.

  • newHtcOneUser323

    YES, love my new HTC One! But seriously, camera is NOT all that HTC is claiming to be.
    It only shines in a “dark” settings. (Yet, honestly, iphone & Samsung, they both can beat HTC, under normal condition.)
    I know you die-hard Taiwanese are getting ready to “scream at me.”
    But, you know I’m telling the truth. (Besides, why defend HTC, when their leader clearly stated, during the presidential election, on their National TV, “we are a Chinese company, not Taiwanese!”

  • Divinci

    Most people use smartphone cameras for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter anyways. That’s why both of these phones have the auto-upload feature in them to upload to social media. Personally i have The One and I can take a great picture in the daytime, and an even better one at night. The S4 has its strengths also, but 13MP can’t account for the mistakes of the photographer. Both phones are good, and both take great pictures. But pictures taken on a phone camera are used for social media and thats it. That was the main purpose of Instagram You want something to frame? just go buy a Canon, a Nikon, a Sony, or an Olympus, and Samsung fanboys quit bitchin, its just a phone,

  • mfj

    When u compare lowlight u need to test with flash, cause from what I’ve seen GS4 takes amazing lowlight pictures as long as you use flash, even better than HTC One….So claiming HTC One is low light champion is only true without flash… I would like to see who produces the best picture overall in low light, wether it is with flash or not, just best setting for each phone.

  • digitalicecream

    I’d like to see a comparison of the s4 and the lumia 920. The HTC1 uses the same sensor as the 920 but slightly larger, the 920 has an 8mp camera instead of a 4. So far, my 920 photos are stunning, even in low light. I’d like to see how the s4 compares. (I have both phones, so having someone else do the comparison will help keep me unbiased.).

  • lowlight mode makes a big difference. This 13mp camera reminds of when you take a pic with video mode. Is full screen but a lil zoomed in. I have the SG3. samples down below

  • low light mode makes a big difference. this 13mp camera reminds me of when you take a pic with the video mode. is full screen but a lil more zoomed in.

    • New_Guy

      I’ve noticed very similar results with my Note 2

      • I still think the SG3 camera is the best…I havnt tried s4 yet


    4MP sucks. noise cancelling seems to do more harm than good.

  • All these people arguing in the comments forgot to realize the One has 3 stacked sensors, not 1. They do this to INCREASE THE COLOR AND DETAIL. So stop with you cant get good detail with a 4mp camera. Think of it as like hardware HDR…

    • Tim242

      Hahahaha that’s all I could muster up at that.

  • i like your dogs!!

  • jnt

    @Timotato:disqus I’m trying to figure out how you got this to work. I’ve been trying to take some comparison photos myself, and with the “out of the box” settings, in mediocre light (i.e. my naked eye can still see it), the One is flashing every time, which renders the Ultra Pixels somewhat useless.

    • Detonation

      Turn off flash?

      • jnt

        Of course… But I was going with the “not touching any settings” idea that Tim mentioned above when asked about comparing to the low light settings on the S4 (or N2). Turning on LL on the S4 is as easy as turning off the flash on the One. If the One defaults to flash as often as the S4, and you have to turn off flash in some scenarios where you want to try out a normal low-light shot, that makes its low-light ability much less useful, IMHO.

  • pappy53

    IMHO, the best all-around photos come from the iPhone 5, and one of the Lumias is right there with it.

  • Shaunwin

    Purple Toothy! FTW!!

  • Not sure if it was mentioned as I didn’t read every review, but the mic is definitely a lot better on the S4

    • Matt V

      the mic is better on the s4? are you on crack.

    • TylerChappell

      Definitely not true from what I remember from the in-depth anandtech article.

  • samsungloveskpop

    tim242 and bullettoothwhatever, go read anandtech’s review of the one, I think that is one site no one can fault for their objectivity, and the comparison pics (even with your precious LL mode enabled) easily show the one taking the cake.

    tl;dr ANANDTECH, nuff said

  • Neal Horowitz

    I’m surprised you don’t mention OIS. Most of your points are pretty apparent from the images, but in addition to producing smoother video, OIS also helps in non-moving low-light situations by correcting for minor hand-shake on long exposures. Quite a nice benefit to the One, if you ask me.

  • Bob G

    I think the cool thing about the S4 camera is all the different settings that comes built-in like making gifs! Never knew how much fun making real life gifs in until you start with the S4.

  • kris

    I’m getting sick of this sites commentary. You guys are terrified to call any one thing better than the other, every freaking comparison and the end result is the same crap… It depends on your lifestyle. Unless your a drugging photographer the different cameras will have no real effect on your lifestyle. Quit being so indecisive and start voicing your real opinions.

    • ams165

      Phuck you….
      how’s that for voicing my opinion?????

    • You want my real opinion? Buy a Lumia! πŸ˜›

  • S4 takes amazing pics.

  • Tim, you have a GORGEOUS dog. And I am Jealous πŸ™

  • jnt

    I have both devices and while the One, out of the box, does better in low light, it’s also painstakingly slow at focusing in those scenarios. Plus, for me, I’d rather have crisp with flash than grainy without flash.

    In addition, if I take a pic of my kids running around our backyard or something, even if the One looks good at first glance, if I zoom it at all and they’re more than 10 feet away, the lack of megapixels shows immediately.

    I’m not trying to bash the One because it really is cool technology, but for my day to day usage the S4 still wins hands down.

    • jnt

      Also enabling “auto night mode”, or whatever it’s called, on the S4 is super easy – don’t have to dig through anything, and it does as well as the One, easily.

  • Chris King

    Good vids thanks for the review

  • Does your HTC One have the latest software which provided better camera performance and pictures? Just wondering.

  • JoeDubz

    I am looking forward to finally retiring the Thunderbolt and getting the Galaxy S4!

  • Bionic

    Anyone who thinks using their phone for serious picture taking is an idiot.

    I have a Canon xs230 with GPS for point n shoot and a Canon T3i for serious shittt.

    • New_Guy

      I have a Casio Exilim. Not the greatest cam in the world but takes good pics. Went to Rome, ran out of batteries as I forgot to charge the damn thing. Cell phone took over and the shots were really nice. Just saying, sometimes you cannot afford to have a bad cam on the phone. Comes in handy.

      • Bionic

        Sure as a backup. But you understand the point I was making.

        • LaceyJ

          Anyone who makes absolute statements like that is a d-bag. How’s it going, d’bag?

        • New_Guy

          I can see, but still can’t negate the fact that a $600+ piece of hardware SHOULD have a serviceable shooter on it.

          • Shilamar Drea Shockley

            Stating how much the phone shouldn’t come into play unless you paid the $600+ for the phone, which is most cases people DON’T.

          • New_Guy

            Actually, those who subsidize their phones will end up paying that and more. But now we’re taking semantics. I’m sure even you can understand the point here that the device should have a decent shooter regardless of how much YOU paid for your phone.

          • Shilamar Drea Shockley

            People are expecting too much from a PHONE which is exactly what you’re buying, a PHONE. The camera is not meant to be shooting senior pictures, extravagant sites and all this hoopla, it’s a camera PHONE. It’s interesting how we as people expect more than necessary, whether it be a car, a phone, computer, etc. (Being human is wonderful) The phone DOES have a decent shooter, just not the one that you’re exactly looking for, but that shouldn’t discredit the phone as a whole. 9 times out of 10 you’re going to take your CAMERA and supposedly make sure you don’t run your batteries down BEFORE if you’re going to do all that photography stuff. It’s called being smart. I would NEVER expect my camera PHONE to capture the water droplets of a waterfall, but an actual CAMERA it damn sure better. Lol. ANYONE that is going somewhere that is foreign is and should be smart enough to have a REAL camera on hand. The phone is for backup I understand, but that backup isn’t the full thing nor should it ever be. If phones didn’t have cameras on them everyone would still buy them, why? Cause the camera doesn’t MAKE the phone, it’s a feature that can be dealt without.

          • New_Guy

            You don’t own the GNex, do you?…

          • Shilamar Drea Shockley

            I do own one. I also have the Nexus 4 as well.

          • Shilamar Drea Shockley

            Either way, knowing what phone I’ve owned doesn’t explain none of the above. I’ve had my fair share of phones and I’ve come out of pocket a LOT when it comes to having a new phone.

      • TylerChappell

        I used to have a Casio Exilim back in like 2009 or so. It was the ex-z1050. It was 10mp, one of the first ones with the YouTube feature. It was really easy to use, felt great in the hand, and had several preset modes that worked really well, and it took amazing shots that were impressively sharp and crisp for a PnS, then it got dropped on a dirt ground, and the lens got stuck, and then popped out when I tried to fix it. =[
        I prefer Canons for PnS, and Nikon for DSLR’s. I have a D3100 and plan to buy the new D7100.
        I kept seeing the new Canon Rebel T5i advertised on tv, but when I did a comparison on Snapsort.com, it was a joke compared to the D7100, and even the Nikon D5200 put it to shame.

    • gokusimpson

      I use an X Phone when I need to go hard in the paint with photography.

    • Liderc

      That should be the goal though, with these cameras at this point. We should be able to take fairly good shots since 99.9% of people aren’t carrying around a point n shoot with them. I don’t think anyone is asking for incredible shots, just solid ones. The S4 and One look fairly good for these types of shots.

      • Shilamar Drea Shockley

        I don’t think the goal should be to match a point and shoot camera. Honestly. I think a camera phone should be simple and not all extra technical. Yeah it should take good pics, pics good enough to see. But not something that you’re like, “oh I take all my family pictures and house pictures with my phone”. On the fly, night out with the friends and random drunk moments (for those who drink and party) I completely agree with you. I think the One and anything up to 8 MP is just fine.

    • TylerChappell

      It’s all of these iPhone users that think that using Instagram, etc, make them professional photographers. Too bad all the low-light iPhone photos I see look like crap, as do the ones with flash on.

  • Tyler

    I would get a One in a heartbeat if A) It came to Verizon B) Had RAZR MAXX battery life.

    • New_Guy

      In all seriousness, any phone that has a non-removable batt should have a Razr MAXX-like batt inside.

      • Tyler

        I don’t understand why Motorola is the only OEM selling a normal sized(ie non phablet) phone with a massive battery. Phones are plenty fast, cameras are pretty good, phones are plenty thin, and phone’s screens are beautiful, yet screen time is staying the same with very little improvements to battery life. Maybe 4.3 will have optimizations to battery life which will improve standby time. Maybe im just bitter because my galaxy nexus has terrible battery life.

        • donebrasko

          No the nexus had HORRIBLE battery life. I had to walk around with three batteries.

  • Flyinion

    I have nothing to add other than Boxers rule!! Nice looking puppy dog πŸ™‚

  • New_Guy

    I just learned about the Low-Light setting on my Note 2 and the difference is seriously amazing. Tim-o-tato, can we get some comparison with the S4’s low-light settings turned on?

    • With this, I went purely stock settings out of the box and didn’t touch anything special. Since folks are asking, I could take some with the LL settings on the S4 and see how they stack up! πŸ™‚

      • New_Guy

        Thanks. I am not trying to be a fanboy (though I CAN be at times). I’m genuinely interested because I know the settings on the Note 2 made a big difference for me. I wasn’t even funny how much better my pictures were with it turned on.

        Thanks again!

      • Dain Laguna

        i think its only fair that we see what the one can do with a low light setting enabled too. just sayin πŸ˜‰

      • acidophilus

        to be fair the ONE has a night mode as well…so you would have to compare both phones with this enabled…true?

  • Dain Laguna

    at the end of the day, i think most folks just use their camera phone to upload to social networks…while i def see where the s4 excels, i think i’d take the one personally. i’m not making 8×10’s with my smartphone camera…i have a nikon for that πŸ˜‰

  • Dylan Patel

    Is this before or after the camera update?

  • Is this before or after the camera update for the one?

  • Bionic

    X phone camera is better.

    • Dain Laguna

      lets hope so…because nothing motorola has offered in the last 2 years has really been on par camera-wise.

      • Bionic

        Truth. My bionic camera is only tolerable at best.

        • LaceyJ

          Truth = you’re a d-bag.

    • Virinder

      Sarge has said nothing about the XPhone or Ghost’s cameras in the Moot Thread…and, Vic Gundotra of Google was referring to future Nexus models having “insanely good cameras,” not the forthcoming XPhone. Considering the cameras in Moto’s RAZR line were complete rubbish, I’m none too optimistic about the cameras in their upcoming phones.

      • Bionic

        I didn’t say sarge said it. I was joking around. The only camera info he gave was 10mp

    • Tim242

      Google has abandoned the X phone. What was to be the X phone is just gking to be a mid range moto phone. I told you so. Haha so what are you going to get now?

      • Bionic

        This isnt good if its true. The bad thing is that sarge isnt available right now because of major personal issues. If this is true its a major blow to motorola, they needed this project in a big way. The phone still exists yes but without googles “backing” and “special add ons” the x phone 5 inch version can only compete equally with the HTC one and S4.

  • I tend to disagree. The colors reproduced by the One seem more accurate, except for the outside shot. Both seem really good for a phone camera, I take more low light pictures so I guess thats another tick in the box of the One… Just waiting on you Verizon.

  • Bill Mitchell

    I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I definitely prefer the One’s camera. The colors just seem so much more vibrant, even though it might not be as sharp.

    If anything, the One did what the Galaxy Nexus couldn’t… It proved that you can still take amazing pictures with a low megapixel camera.

    • Tyler

      Yup, just the S4 takes in about twice as much light as the Gnex.

  • Tim242

    There’s a low light setting easily accessible on the S4 that creates the same quality as the one.

    • BulletTooth_Tony

      Better than the One… and it can be set to Auto-On for it as well.

      • Dain Laguna

        better than the one? how so? i’ve seen comparo shots with that setting enabled and they didnt seem to turn the tide for the s4 very much…

        also, what happens when you turn low light mode on the one?

        • BulletTooth_Tony

          Less noise, more detail, better color, and brighter… you know, the stuff that’s important in an image, listed in the order of most important to least important.

          • New_Guy

            I agree man, detail is most important to me. When my Casio Exilim stopped working when I went to Rome, I snapped photos with my phone and they looked amazing. Sometimes, you cannot afford for your phone’s pictures to look bad up close. And many of these photos produced by the One look very blurry outside of the focal point. It would irritate me.

          • athom07

            As someone who is completely unbiased (I am not going to buy a S4 or a One, I am waiting for my contract to be up and im buying a Nexus) — I was able to tell which pictures were the One’s (without reading) by looking for less detail. I was also right.

          • Dain Laguna

            my point was that if tim is taking shots in ‘auto’ mode on both phones and the htc is the better low light performer, enabling a low light mode on the s4 is moot; you can enable such a setting on the htc one as well, and any advantage the s4 introduces with its low light setting is mitigated.

            i dont doubt the s4 takes good pictures…i can plainly see it. but for MY uses, which are limited to showing off pictures on my actual device, or sharing to google+/facebook/instagram, the extra detail isnt a dealbreaker. i actually played with an s4 and one today, side by side in an at&t store…and the difference at face value is only slight.

            and when i say ‘my uses’ i mean ‘my uses’ for a SMARTPHONE camera…if i’m taking serious shots where detail is going to be scrutinized, i’ll bust out the ole d3100.

            granted, for some folks, this is the only camera they can or are willing to carry around (i know that sounds pretentious but its not intended to be), so i can see why they’d invest in an s4.

          • BulletTooth_Tony

            Moot means something is open to discussion and debate, not closed or irrelevent. Just an FYI for future use of the term. I have no issues with anything else you stated, but one camera is going to provide a truer image, with less blown out colors, and less noise. The One would have been outstanding with an 8mp shooter… but they went the cheap route.

          • Dain Laguna

            I now what moot means, i was illustrating the fact that we could argue modes and shooting conditions forever.

            The s4 is better with detail and daylight, the one’s forte is low light. Why is that such a difficult reality to accept? You one of those folks on sammys payroll? Dont be surprised folks are accusing you as such, samsung has engaged in such shenanigans. And even if thats not the case, why do you care SO much? Enjoy your s4, let others enjoy what they want.

          • BulletTooth_Tony

            Because the S4 beats the One at its ‘forte’ of low light shots, considerably. Detail is king. Brightness is not. I don’t see what’s so difficult to accept here. The One’s camera is trash. So sorry that you bought it thinking otherwise. Enjoy your blurry shots.

          • Tim242

            I’m not even sure if there is a low light setting on the One. You seem to be missing the point. The S4 takes the better every day pics. The One takes better low light pics. By enabling low light mode on the S4, you can get great low light pics. There is nothing you can do to the one to male it take better natural light pics. The S4 has the best all around camera.

          • Dain Laguna

            There is a low light setting. I thought you sold phones… Typical cellphone salesman;knows nothing about what he is selling, other than ‘its the new galaxy/iphone, yo’

          • Tim242

            It would be impossible to know every single setting of every single phone that comes out. Typical @as is what you are.

    • bose301s

      No, it does not. Try reading the reviews on Anandtech and you will see that no matter what you do the S4 just can not perform as well in low light as the One.

      • Mike Cook

        And it isn’t inferior on DPreview, *the* source for camera reviews. And it isn’t even inferior on Anand’s blog, he’s merely commenting on the brightness, but the loss of detail can not be overcome, while the brightness can be adjusted. Poor comparison, yet again.

  • beyeg

    For the Verizon types, I think that if big red does not announce an HTC One before they make the 32gb S4 available, then I’ll get the S4. I need an upgrade in a bad way. Anyone seen anything on the 32gb S4? Still only 16gb on preorder.

  • 4n1m4L

    Good post. Good to see a comparison on a level playing field.

    • BulletTooth_Tony

      DPreview for a level playing field, and technical analysis…

      • Liderc

        Can we get this douche off the site already? Get a life.

        • BulletTooth_Tony

          Really? You’re a winner. And you just made an ass of yourself.

        • Mike Cook

          Apparently you don’t have a life either… πŸ™

  • Did your HTC One have the .13 patch to improve the quality? Also, to me, the HTC One, dominated here.

    • Tim242

      You are an obvious blind fanboy. The S4 pics were obviously better for every day pics.

      • Bill Mitchell

        He barely even said anything, and even acknowledged that other people have a different opinion than him. YOU are the obvious fanboy, if any of your other posts describe you.

        • Tim242

          He said that the One “clearly dominated.”. That is a lie. Did either of you look at the pics, or read the article? I’ll take quality pics over only good for Facebook crap any day.

          • Bill Mitchell

            “Also, to me, the HTC One, dominated here.” Note the “to me” that signifies he knows it’s his just his opinion.

            And furthermore, I accept your opinion, as long as you recognize it as such.

          • Nick V

            I thought the One Dominated too. I am also a paid photographer, and I liked the vibrancy of the images compared to the S4’s washed out looking images.

            Nothing against the S4, when blown up, they are probably better than the One’s, but I have never blown up a camera phone’s image to hang on my wall. You sir, are a Fanboi, and need to step back

          • Tim242

            Paid photographer? A paid photographer would never accept a 4 MP image as being acceptable, much less dominate. You would also know that the S4 pics show more true colors. The One’s pics look too warm, and washed out. A photographer, you are not.

          • Nick V

            Don’t be jealous. I am not a professional photographer, but I get to make money out of something I enjoy. Just because you have your back to the wall, and most people disagree with you, you are wetting your panties and snapping at everyone.

            You need to find a hobby, because your ability to convince people you are right, just isn’t working. You can make all the claims you want, but you are still not correct. Good Luck though… You’ll need it.

          • Tim242

            Most people disagree? Every single review has said that the One’s pics lack detail and are too warm. Regardless of that, I work in a corporate cell phone store. We are selling tons of S4’s. We have sold a total of 3 HTC Ones.

          • anon

            You are on Samsungs nut sack hard because thats all you say. I bet you have a huge Samsung tattoo like the Apple fans do.

          • Nick V

            Honestly, you snap at almost everyone here, and then you want us to believe that you are now a Cell Phone Sales person? Is this to help your credibility? Honestly, I don’t believe your stats, maybe you sold 3 HTC Ones, but I am guessing that the store has sold plenty. I can see you trying to convince all those customers to go Galaxy.. Still not convincing me. Now you just seem to be trying to hard

          • Tim242

            Believe what you want Nick. Sales figures will speak for themselves.

          • gregmr

            “A paid photographer would never accept a 4 MP image as being acceptable”

            This is too funny. Even Ken Rockwell is laughing at you somewhere right now


            Joe Holmes’ limited-edition 13 x 19″ prints of his American Museum of Natural History series sell at Manhattan’s Jen Bekman Gallery for $650 each. They’re made on a 6MP D70

          • Tim242

            Even 6MP has 50 percent more pixels than 4.

          • gregmr

            So you didn’t read the link then?

          • Ruvim

            good ole Ken Rockwell.

          • Dain Laguna

            Paid Photographers dont use smartphones bruh. But there some pretty decent slrs that shoot at 4mp so not sure of serious…

  • callumshell1

    Most photos I take are in pretty low light anyway so I’d go for the One.

    • brkshr

      I’m with you. I don’t use the camera too much, but when I do it’s usually inside.

    • Tim242

      Low light setting on the S4 FTW!

      • Dain Laguna

        i think there have been comparisons on andandtech with that setting enabled…the one still pretty much takes it regardless.

        • Tim242

          I’ve tested them both. The low light pics were very comparable. Reviews have pointed out noise in the One’s low light pics. Counting on a low light pic for a √ in the plus column is silly. Everybody knows pics look best with plenty of light, or a point and shoot I’ll take the more crisp and more detail over low light any day.

          • NexusPhan69

            I read that as “Counting on a low light pic for a ‘square root’ in the plus column is silly.
            Stupid math classes.

      • New_Guy

        I just learned about the LL setting on my Note 2 and the difference is seriously amazing.

        • Tim242

          I’m glad we all banded together to shine some light on the low light setting. Pun intended : )

          • timchutiya


          • ./facepalm… πŸ˜›

        • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

          seriously I had no idea the LL setting was there but wow no pun intended but its like night and day.

      • Trueblue711

        The low light setting on the GS3 works wonders as well. Samsung’s camera app is really good and it makes sense given that they make digital cameras that use it (Galaxy Camera).

      • feres13

        You know that there is a “night” mode on the HTC One too, right?

        • Tim242

          You know there is no setting on the One that can make it take good outside pics, right?

          • feres13

            I agree, it all depends on who you are :
            Night shooter??? Go with the One
            Day shooter??? Go with the S4
            I personally take more night pictures so the One if for me, but the best thing to do is to get both…

          • casualsuede

            anyone who claims that there is a big user experience difference based on these day shots are arguing for the sake of arguing. however there is a night and day difference in low light (pardon the pun)

    • BulletTooth_Tony

      None of these comparisons have bothered to turn on Auto mode so it switches to low light mode, and embarrasses the One.

      • New_Guy

        Seriously. i attended my brother’s graduation where the only lights were on the stage. I took pics without low-light turned on and they admittedly looked awful. found the LL setting, turned it on and I swear you’d think the whole room was lit and the crispness of the shots came back. It really does work very well. Surprised Tim didn’t turn it on in this comparison.

        • MicroNix

          What I’d really like to see is the camera used to its fullest extent *with the software features used*. On these smaller cameras, software plays a HUGE part in the outcome of a picture. What’s the sense in having great software if you don’t use it? Samsung has been knocking it out of the park with its software yet no one acknowledges it….like everyone is only going to use auto for every picture. I guess you’d need a photography site that knows how to use the software of a camera to be objective in comparisons πŸ˜‰

      • You seem genuinely concerned about the Galaxy S4’s performance. In this post, I was going with a pure out of the box comparison, using no special effects or settings. I assure you, this post won’t directly tarnish the GS4’s reputation among serious photographers. πŸ™‚

        • BulletTooth_Tony

          Auto-low light is enabled out of the box on all models outside the US. It should be enabled, as it’s used as a selling point against it, and people will make poor choices. You can edit the over-saturated One colors to bring it more in line with reality. You can brighten a dark image. You can not, however, edit blur out, add in lost detail, and effectively remove noise. How about some 100% crops, if nothing else?

          • New_Guy

            100 Crops would actually be nice.

          • Bill Mitchell

            Do you work for Samsung? You seem extremely perturbed by this small omission Maybe you have stock in them, and are trying to save them from a crash?

            It’s nice that you have Sammy’s back, though!

          • BulletTooth_Tony

            This common, absolutely ignorant way to discount facts is finally used? No. I’m not Korean, nor in Korea, nor trade on the KRX. Nice to see an unoriginal comment, though! Go back to listening to your top 40 music, you might miss Ryan Seacrest this evening.

          • Bill Mitchell

            I prefer classical, but okay!

          • LaceyJ

            We get it. You’re a Sammy fanboi. That doesn’t mean the S4 takes better pictures than the One, because, well, it doesn’t. I want you to remember one platitude for the rest of your life: Just because you don’t like the answer, doesn’t make the answer incorrect.

          • BulletTooth_Tony

            I don’t own an S4… but nice try. The S4 objectively and undeniably, in every sense of the words, takes better photos than the One under every situation. I’ve actually seen them at 100% and been able to edit each of them to see which is more forgiving, which has more detail, which has better colors, and which matches up to proper cameras better.

          • Sean Royce

            The S4 does take better photos, a lot of reviews have documented that already. In low light the HTC does win though I’ll admit.

          • Tim242

            You are the blind fanboy. A 4MP picture will never have as much detail as a13 MP picture.

          • Ibrick

            The blind leading the blind..
            MP don’t mean jack on a phone unless you’re blowing the pictures up to huge sizes or zooming way in, in which case you should be using a real camera..
            For your typical point and shoot w/ basic settings, It’s always going to be about the photographer and not the gear. Chase Jarvis a pretty well known professional has some amazing photos taken with a 2MP iPhone.

          • Tim242

            So you are saying what I said. For crap Facebook pics, it is fine. For those of us that edit and crop, it is severely lacking. That aside, every reviewer says the One’s pics lack detail. MP absolutely mean jack.

          • Ibrick

            Right.. because it’s obvious from your post you were referring to highly detailed editing, not comparing the difference in MP between the One and S4..

          • Tim242

            The reduction in detail is there, regardless if you crop or not. Every single review agrees. Why you fan boys want to argue, is beyond me.

          • Ibrick

            I actually don’t have a dog in this fight, couldn’t care less to be honest. Camera phones, regardless of the number of MP will never allow for the amount of detail that an actual camera will, which if you truly NEED 13MP is what you would be using.

            My only point was that comparing MP on camera phones is useless. When the light sensor technology catches up to the number of MP then the difference between 4 and 13, 8 and 13, 8 and 41 (whatever that Nokia phone had) will make a difference. Until then, the talent of the person behind the camera is always going to mean much more than a number..

          • Jeetu K

            nice to see that we are arguing about 2 android phones … this proves that we are objective and not just android fanboys πŸ™‚ …

          • Daleos

            The amount of pixels don’t correspond to the amount of detail in all cases. Focusing, camera shake, the amount of light each pixel can capture are also very important. My old 10MB Canon Ixus camera takes infinitely better daylight shots than any phone simply because (a) the sensor is physically bigger than a phone camera sensor so can capture more light, more quickly
            (b) the lenses are far superior
            (c) It has optical zoom
            (d) a real camera is easier to hold to take a steady shot
            The HTC One, whilst far from perfect does prove that Megapixels are nowhere near the whole story.
            As someone who has a DSLR and a reasonable point and shoot, I’m very happy that HTC decided to concentrate on the low light shots as they’re exactly the type of shots I use my smartphone for. Anything more serious and I need optical zoom which negates pretty much all smartphones.

          • Bionicman

            whoa whoa whoa, its pretty obvious the s4 does take better pics. i dont think it takes away from the HTC one or that it means it is an inferior product because it is not. but like Tim said in his review, different strokes for different folks.

          • Liderc

            Get over it, the HTC One looks better. Your low-light setting isn’t changing anything.

          • BulletTooth_Tony

            Nothing to get over. The One photo looks like over-saturated garbage. How dare I say an unkind word about your phone and it’s poor 4mp shooter that was high tech in 1999.

          • Tim242

            But it does. It changes everything. You will see when they post the proof.

        • New_Guy

          Ha! I see what you did there :)…

        • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

          Ok so now Im really intrigued by the low light setting. I just tried it on my note 2 and it seemed to make a huge difference. Is there any way you might be able to maybe take one more shot with each but using the low light setting on the S4?

          • drparty

            I too would like to see this, I use low light on my Note II almost all the time, I can’t imagine switching to a One but I would like to see the comparison.

        • radiohead14

          hi tim. will you guys do an S4 vs S3 comparison also? really tempted to upgrade from the S3 if it’s a significant quality bump, since i use the camera on my S3 a lot. thanks!

        • Kevin McDole

          People actually defending an HTC phone rather than insulting it? What is this world coming to?!?

        • Eric

          Serious Photographers shooting pics with a phone?

      • callumshell1

        Implying low-light mode doesn’t just turn up the ISO hence making the picture horribly noisy.

        • BulletTooth_Tony

          They aren’t noisy tho. The One’s night mode photos are though. Samsung uses Sony’s sensors and JPEG engine. It’s a great product that Sony offers, they’re quickly approaching Olympus’ JPEG quality in the pro-sumer market and for those that don’t want the post-processing headaches of shooting RAW.

          • Matt

            For anyone talking about the S4’s LL setting, it’s entirely possible to set the One up so it still takes great night shots with absolutely no noise as well. Using the Night mode for better exposure and lowering the ISO 200 or 400 seemed perfect(won’t look quite as bright but from my testing the auto actually looks brighter than real-life, so lowering the ISO does wonders).

            Also, messing with the exposure and other settings can create a noticeable difference. I understand the average user will use auto most of the time, so this article is more about that, but if you’re going to talk about adjustments for one phone, I think someone ought to know about them for the other as well.

      • Christopher Riner

        I mean it gets to a point to where–settings or not– physics are gonna take over and be the determining factor. The sensor on the One is just bigger, and so its going to let in more light.

        I guarantee that no matter what boxes you tick under the hood of that s4, you’ll still see a night and day difference (nyuck nyuck) in low light comparisons between the One and most other cameras.

        On a side note, I thought it was a great review (not being a photographer myself). I seemed to get what I needed to out of this article to determine how I’m gonna feel about the cameras on either device. The s4 seems like the clear winner, but personally I am plagued by low-light problems with photos and I think the HTC would deliver satisfaction for my pickle.

        • Geoff Johnson

          True, but on the flip side the higher MP of the GS4 is going to be superior to the One in outdoor daytime shots in adequate light.

          • MicroNix

            To print an 8×10 you need around 6-7mp for good reproduction of the picture. 4mp just isn’t going to cut it for me. Pictures taken on high end phones of today just aren’t for FB and Instagram anymore…unless they come from a 4mp camera πŸ™‚

          • Dain Laguna

            Except that most folks DO use their smartphone for ig and fb. NOT printing 8×10’s.

            Youre free to do what you want, but you are doing yourself a disservice by taking photos that you eventually want to make into 8x 10’s with a smartphone camera

      • dsignori

        It still loses to the One according to AnandTech – with the LLS turned on. It’s clear from the comparison the the LLS setting makes a big difference, but is still inferior to the One on the Anandtech site. YMMV ..


        • BulletTooth_Tony

          And it isn’t inferior on DPreview, *the* source for camera reviews. And it isn’t even inferior on Anand’s blog, he’s merely commenting on the brightness, but the loss of detail can not be overcome, while the brightness can be adjusted. Poor comparison, yet again.


      night bird?