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HTC One M9 camera beaten by three-year-old smartphones in latest test

An in-depth HTC One M9 camera test has revealed that its technical capabilities are lower than that of the three-year-old Samsung Galaxy S3 and Apple iPhone 4s, which was released in 2011. As the HTC One M9 was only released in March 2015, this result may come as something of a surprise.  

The test was conducted by DxOMark, a dedicated resource for digital camera image quality benchmarks, which placed the flagship at number 22 on its list of best smartphone cameras. The Galaxy S6 Edge took the number one spot and was the only smartphone released in 2015 in the top 30.

In its review, DxOMark noted the One M9's "pleasing colors" and detail in bright light, but maligned its inaccurate white balance, oversaturation in low-light, and "loss of sharpness" on image corners. 

htc one m9 test 03
The HTC One M9 camera kind of sucks, according to one test. / © ANDROIDPIT

The HTC One M9 achieved the same overall photo score as the Galaxy S3 (73/100), but lost out on its video quality. The Galaxy S3 received a mark of 88 for exposure and contrast, and 83 for color, whereas the One M9 was awarded 75 and 69 in the same respective categories.

As for the iPhone 4S, this achieved a higher photo score with 74 and higher overall video score at 68 (compared to the One M9's 61)

The HTC One M9 was a highly anticipated 2015 flagship which didn’t exactly blow our socks off. Despite HTC upgrading the 4 Ultra-Pixel rear camera found on the HTC One M8 to a 20 MP snapper for the One M9, we noted that its camera performance was still disappointing in our original HTC One M9 review.

Do you agree that the HTC One M9 camera is worse that than of the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 4s? Let us know in the comments below. 


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  • I want my S3 back. Serious this camera is crap. The phone itself ois slow and laggy. No home button. The buttons on side are so small and close its annoying. When texting, it takes its time to come up that its sending. Just a crap phone.

  • sam pack May 29, 2015 Link to comment

    Camera camera camera! F*k the camera. Want a great camera? Buy one fool. Want all this bs in a "cell phone 📱", that's why they price them so damn high. $500 - $900. Smdh. Crazy ppl. #TAKEITHOWUWANNATAKEIT

  • I do not trust any article or test that shows iPhone in a favorable position. It couldn't beat it's way out of a paper sack let alone against modern hardware.
    IPhone is notorious for using out dated hardware in their products so an iPhone from 2011 is really a phone from 2009 or older.
    There is no comparison of hardware from 2015 and 2009.

  • The m9 does have a terrible camera it's not because the software, someone earlier commented on their m7 having great pictures now, but htc used an awful Toshiba sensor in the latest flagship so that's probably why the camera benchmarks so low. Although looking at everything else in the phone from build quality and software and processors it's still top of the line so it's just a matter of how much you take pictures and how much do you need the camera to be above and beyond

    • .

    • I can disprove your comment right here and right now. The M9's camera is all software not hardware. It has nothing to do with the fact it is a Toshiba sensor. Toshiba makes great sensors. Nokia used Toshiba sensors in the Lumia 1520, 1020 and 930. In fact the 930 has the same sensor as the M9. So your comment on it's hardware and not software and that Toshiba sensors are awful doesn't hold water. the Lumia 1020, 1520 and 930 were all praised for their cameras and all used Toshiba sensors. And again the 930 is still considered to have the best camera of any smartphone and it uses the same sensor as the M9. So your comment proves you are uninformed.

  • I used one plusone ,note 4 ,then HTC m9 and now using s6 and Oppo n3 trust me HTC flag is my fav but camera was the issue I sold it and got s6 and Oppo n3 supper. Guys try Oppo n3 u will remember my words

  • MarkN May 28, 2015 Link to comment

    I don't know about iPhone or Samsung but my M9 is a really good phone and the camera is great. I've taken many beautiful pics. And as for battery it last the whole day and charges really fast.

  • Had the M9 for a week then gave it to the wife and grabbed an Galaxy S6 and glad I did, it's easily got the best camera of any smartphone ever, the pics come out perfect every time with a simple point and shoot. That's the exact opposite of the M9 which takes ok shots but no where near what others are doing in 2015, I completely agree the M9 camera is equivalent to a 2 or 3 year old camera and if you don't think so it's only because you have the M9 and don't realize what great photos look like from a smartphone now days. Grab the S6 or S6 Edge and take some shots and then tell me the M9 takes great photos.... You can't or your lying it's as simple as that. I wish it wasn't the case because the rest of the phone is very decent, well except battery life which I'm was getting 3 hours screen on time on average where my S6 is getting 5.5 hours of screen on time on average with the same usage. The S6 is so efficient for battery it makes no sense why many reviews say it has ok battery life, it's only a half hour less than I was getting on my Note 4 which reviews state has awesome battery life..

    • I pity our stupidity. The M9 actually does have a great camera and takes pictures just as good as the S6. It is no where near the equivalent o 2 or 3 year old phone. The problem with the M9's camera are all software. If you know what you are doing in Manual Settings you can blow the S6 out o the water. The M9 uses the same sensor (just a newer version of the sensor that is larger and with a lower aperture) as the Lumia 930. So to say the M9's camera is bad and cannot take great pictures that are very bit as good as the s6 is false. And your comments on battery life prove you are either stupid or a liar. Come on. Respond. I dare you.

  • David B May 28, 2015 Link to comment

    I got the m9 about a week ago and it's been ok. The battery life is worse than my m7 by the time I get home in the evening, currently at 8%. The camera over saturates quite a bit and is hard to correct.

    I do like the performance but that's about the only plus. I miss the keys being with the logo instead of above it because now I have to adjust to the keyboard being higher but causes a lot of typos in the meantime.

    I'm going to return it because I tried to take a picture of a joke picture on my mentor today from about 3ft way and it couldn't get the balance of cars and contrast correctly for the life of it that I know my m7 would.

    Thank goodness for grace periods! I'd much rather pay the restocking fee of $50 than keep this phone.

    I did my best to like everything about this phone but with the camera issues I've had, and was warned about, it's just too much. That and no increase in battery time...

    • If your battery life is worse than your M7 sounds like something is wrong with your device. I have had the M7 and M8 and now M9 and the M9 as awesome battery life. Also the camera issues are software and software only. if you knew how to use a camera you would know this. And a software update is rolling out that greatly improves the camera. The hardware o the camera is some of the best. But I don't even believe you have ever owned an HTC device. Your comment shows you to be a liar.

  • Dave Gale May 28, 2015 Link to comment

    Bizarrely, the HTC One M7 is now taking stunning shots following a recent software upgrade but then it does have the benefit of OIS (see McLean Productions on Flicker for recent samples).

    • OIS on smartphones = placebo effect. Nothing more. Their isn't enough room for it to actually make a difference,

  • So according to this article, the GS6 Edge is number one and no other phone from this year. What is wrong with this pic? Both the regular and the S6 Edge purportedly have the same camera and software. So what does the reliability of that so called benchmark implies?

    • No other flagships made the top 30, but earlier in the article they state the m9 is 22.... Regardless, once I learned how to use the camera, the HTC blows the s5 I use to have out of the water. The HTC is more involved then the normal point and shoot' out there. I take all my pictures in raw format and use adobe lightroom. Bottom line people are complaining because they don't want to take time to take great pictures, they want the point, shoot, its perfect image.

  • Not only the camera tho, even the battery and screen itself is terrible.

    • That's crap, I have an HTC M9 and I love it, the screen is crisp, and clear, the battery life is Amazing and it takes less than 20 minutes to completely charge, Blinkfeed is too cool, and Zoe is a unique and fun way to make your photos come to life...BTW, I have no problem with the camera at all.

  • Iyad May 27, 2015 Link to comment

    lies lies, I have one and I know others who have it, it's awesome, they simply don't want the m9 to be the best smartphone although it is!!

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