A flagship smartphone won't charm tech fans the world over if it can't snap top-quality pictures. To see how the new HTC One M8's camera stacks up, I pitted it against the iPhone 5SSamsung Galaxy S4Nokia Lumia 1020 and the older HTC One.

All photos were taken on full automatic mode at the maximum available resolution. Although every phone was held at the same distance from the scene, each phone has a different focal length, so some (particularly the Galaxy S4) look rather more zoomed in. Not every phone is represented in every slide -- the Lumia doesn't have an HDR mode, for example, and the old HTC One corrupted some of its images.

Click through the gallery above to see the HTC One M8's attempts at each scene. Below each pic, you'll see links to see the full-size, non-cropped version of its photos, along with the comparisons from its rivals.

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

First up, this lovely big house in West London. The One M8 managed to achieve a good overall exposure, although its white balance was rather on the cold side.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

Nokia Lumia 1020

HTC One

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

While the colour was more natural here, the M8 didn't achieve as even an exposure. Compare the iPhone 5S's shot, which more clearly captured the dramatic grey clouds behind the trees. Only having 4 megapixels also means it lacks the full-screen detail offered by the iPhone, Galaxy S4 or Lumia 1020.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

Nokia Lumia 1020

HTC One

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

A great shot here. Both exposure and colour tone looked good, with more contrast than the Lumia 1020.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

Nokia Lumia 1020

HTC One

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

The M8 came out on top in terms of exposure and colour balance here. The iPhone 5S had an unusual orangey tint and seemed a little over-exposed.

On the downside, the 4-megapixel sensor again means that there's little clarity when you zoom in. For Facebook snaps, this will be fine, but if you want to crop into an image, 4 megapixels won't be enough.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

Nokia Lumia 1020

HTC One

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

A great, natural colour tone overall here, but the water has overexposed, making it look like bright white globules falling, rather than a clear stream.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

Nokia Lumia 1020

HTC One

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

A disappointing effort from the M8 here. It has only exposed for the dark brickwork beneath the bridge. That part of the shot is more easily visible than in the iPhone's shot, but the rich blue sky is completely washed out.

Note that I tapped to focus and meter in the centre of the image under the bridge on all phones, so all of them were exposing for the same part of the scene.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

HTC One

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

Turning HDR mode on didn't help matters. Although it's made the brickwork brighter, it's done nothing to rescue the bright sky. The iPhone 5S managed to maintain a rich sky, while the older HTC One did a fair job at keeping the sky under control and still showing plenty of detail in the brickwork.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

HTC One

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

This non-HDR image has again slightly overexposed clouds, although to nowhere near the same extent as the bridge photo. Both the iPhone 5S and Galaxy S4 managed to capture much more balanced scenes.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

Nokia Lumia 1020

HTC One

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

HDR mode didn't help at all in keeping the clouds under control. If anything, it only really served to make the scene look a little unnatural.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

HTC One

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

The M8's white balance was way off here, making this scene look very cold and blue.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

Nokia Lumia 1020

HTC One

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

With HDR mode enabled, the colour balance was brought under control. It's a generally great pic, with great exposure overall.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

HTC One

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

The non-HDR version of this picture is a little dark, although on the plus side, it hasn't blown out the sky too much.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

With HDR enabled, the scene is a lot brighter. The colour balance doesn't look particularly natural, but I really like it anyway -- it has an almost vintage feel to it that suits the scene well.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

There's an automatic sweep panorama mode on board that's very easy to use. It was able to capture this great shot in West London. Colour balance and exposure look good and there are very few stitching errors.

The iPhone 5S's version is great too, with slightly warmer colours and more vertical information recorded as the phone is held in portrait mode as you sweep it around.

See the full-size HTC One M8 panorama

See the full-size iPhone 5S panorama

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

The One M8 can take a 360-degree photo, as well as a panorama. It captures everything around where you stand, by piecing together lots of individual photos. It takes a while to do and requires you to spin on the spot, but the result looks great.

Once captured, you can move the phone around you and the scene will pan around on the screen, exactly as though you were stood there.

See the full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

It even allows you to take a snapshot from the 360-degree photo and save it as a new image, effectively allowing you to completely recompose a shot you saw after you've left.

See the full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

Moving indoors, the One M8 had a decent exposure in this very poorly lit portrait scene, but it's seriously lacking in quality and sharpness. The Nokia Lumia 1020 achieved the best shot here, while the S4's attempt was barely even visible.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

Nokia Lumia 1020

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

The One M8's flash wasn't particularly powerful here, so hasn't given much illumination, but it also hasn't washed out skin tones or given a lot of glare.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

Nokia Lumia 1020

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

These low-light objects were easily visible on the One M8's shot (the S4's was again extremely dark). It lacked clarity however, which is particularly visible in the text on the red box of Oxo cubes. It was much sharper on the iPhone 5S.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

Nokia Lumia 1020

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

Unsurprisingly, all images looked better with the flash turned on. The One M8's shot was the darkest, with the Muse album difficult to make out in the background. Colours were a little drab as well, although I was pleased that there isn't any major glare from the flash on any of the objects.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

Nokia Lumia 1020

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

With a hearty 5-megapixel camera on the front, it's no surprise that the One M8 managed to capture a pretty decent selfie. Exposure on my face was even and the overall colour tone looked good.

Check out how the rivals compared:

iPhone 5S

Samsung Galaxy S4

Nokia Lumia 1020

HTC One M8 full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

The One M8 comes with a bunch of other camera tricks too. This dual-shot mode lets you combine images taken from the front and rear cameras at once.

See the full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

There are a host of effects you can add to your images. None are more dramatic than this solarised filter.

See the full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

The Zoe camera mode takes a 3-second video from which you can save individual frames to capture the best moment in a scene.

Click to see the full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:

You're also able to edit them together into an action sequence shot. Got skateboarding friends? They'll love this.

Click to see the full-size image

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Photo by: Andrew Hoyle/CNET / Caption by:
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