What is that Ultra Pixel Camera on HTC One?

HTC One is the company’s flagship device for year 2013 and comes with some truly amazing specs designed to beat all the past records set by HTC devices. The device is touted to be the best smartphone this year with a beautiful body, great interface and other mind blowing features. The most talked about is the device camera which HTC has enhanced with it’s Ultra pixel technology and tons of new features that will keep mobile snappers happy. The cameras Zoe interface is highly admired for it’s ease of use and the rich features it offers including simultaneous HD video and image recording, face and smile detection, OIS and much more. “UltraPixels” is certainly a new word in the industry.  Going by the numbers, its just 4MP camera on the rear of HTC One, but HTC claims it to perform better than 13MP snappers. We decided to take a look at the UltraPixels technology and what sets it apart from other cameras by digging a little into its technicalities. The Ultrapixel Sensor On the first look, if you are not in the know and haven’t looked close enough you might be turned off by seeing the 4-megapixels camera resolution. However, HTC camera has been built with the UltraPixels technology which offers a 13 megapixel image quality on a 4 megapixel device. The megapixel count is not only factor that determines the image quality, the image is enhanced by sensors and processors present in the camera that guide its exposure in various light conditions. Exposure to the right amount of light is what determines the image clarity. With the Ultrapixel technology, the sensor on HTC One can capture 300% more light than an average 13MP camera. What is Ultrapixel? The huge megapixel numbers are a marketing gimmick used by  smartphone manufacturers as per expert opinions. What HTC has done is overthrown this view to make their customers look at other components of the camera on their device that will enhance the pictures clicked by them and not just chase the highest megapixels for a great image. UltraPixels capture bigger pixels with better light filter than the normal camera which helps it to get sharper images with more color clarity and better shades. HTC One Camera Built If you are wondering how the camera has been built in, just under the lens, you will find-
  • F/2.0 Aperture: a 5-element lens with f/2.0 aperture guides the amount of light to be let in. The aperture on HTC One allows up to 44% more light than the regular high-end smartphone aperture.
  • Ultrapixel Sensor: Behind the lens is the Ultrapixel sensor that takes 16:9 photos at a resolution of 2688×1520 pixels or just over 3-megapixels.
  • ImageChip Processor: Finally, behind the sensor is the Second Generation ImageChip to process captured images by optimizing the Image Signal Processor (ISP). It is responsible for processing actions such as continuous autofocus, HDR video recording, lens compensation and color shading and de-noise processing, which are basically the HTC Zoe features for the camera. The entire setup between the aperture and the ImageChip processor is governed by the Optical Image Stabilizer that ensures minimum shaking or blur on the image.
Verdict The HTC One camera is exceptional with its Ultrapixel hardware and the Zoe interface software. The device performs exceptionally well in low light conditions, in fact its low light image quality is unparalleled by any other device camera in this range currently available in the market including the iPhone 5, Sony Xperia Z, Samsung Galaxy S IV. However, its performance is not up to the mark in normal lighting conditions and is fairly outdone by its competitors. In fact, it lags behind most of its competitors. If you need a camera to shoot party pictures at the pub or discotheque, or even need it for darkroom shots, the HTC One is incomparable.
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