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HTC One vs iPhone 5 camera duel: Ultrapixel tech tested

HTC says its 4-megapixel 'Ultrapixel' sensor lets in more light, for better snaps. Does it live up to the hype?

With the HTC One, HTC made the bold decision to opt for a lower-megapixel camera sensor, in the hope that larger individual pixels on a third-of-an-inch sensor would let in more light, and make for better photos. Has it paid off?

Our pals over at CNET Asia have got their mitts on an HTC One, and pitted its 'Ultrapixel' sensor against the camera on the iPhone 5 -- one of the finest smart phone snappers money can buy.

Check out a sampler of the comparison shots below, and click the image to check out full-resolution versions. Make sure you check out CNET Asia's full test, which contains more comparison shots.

Here the camera was set to focus on the subject's face, and nabbed a clear image. It loses out slightly on detail when you zoom in, however.

The iPhone 5 meanwhile featured more of that detail, but is blown out, making for a less attractive photo overall.

In this studio shot the HTC One has captured more realistic colours, but focusing isn't entirely accurate.

The iPhone 5 meanwhile gets everything in sharp focus, and colours are more saturated.

Not much difference?

Both mobiles take decent shots, with the HTC One taking a slight lead on the iPhone 5 when it comes to detailed macro shots and low-light conditions, but proving fractionally less adept when it comes to producing colourful shots.

My overwhelming impression of the test shots is that, for the most part, there's little difference between the performance of these two cameras. The broad similarity suggests that the HTC One's Ultrapixel snapper isn't exactly revolutionary, but may vindicate the company's insistence that more megapixels doesn't necessarily mean better photos.

CNET Asia notes that its HTC One's software isn't final, so it's possible we'll see some changes in image quality upon launch.

Are you impressed by the HTC One's performance, though? Or do you think the iPhone 5 does a better job? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.