Cameras are just about the only thing in a smartphone that gets a meaningful upgrade each year and we keep a close eye on that. HTC was late to the Galaxy S7 vs. LG G5 party, though, so let’s have a do-over!
Of course, the big news is that UltraPixel has been resurrected and the second generation promises to fix the mistakes of the first. 4MP were never going to cut it, not even in 2013, but now 12MP seems to be the sweet spot. They may not be 2m pixels like before, but are 1.55m big.
The bad news is that this isn’t so exciting because of HTC’s slowness. The Nexuses (5X and 6P) have 1.55m 12MP cameras (but the HTC 10 has a brighter aperture and OIS), the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge have 1.4 pixels and a slightly brighter aperture (f/1.7 vs. f/1.8).
Then there’s LG, which picked up the dual-camera idea that HTC dropped, but is using it for something more exciting than digital bokeh – the wide-angle 135 camera has a much more meaningful impact on photography.
The LG G5 keeps the resolution higher – 16MP – and relies on the f/1.8 aperture and OIS to keep the quality up in the dark. There are also things like Laser AF and a color spectrum sensor.
The HTC 10 also has Laser AF but brings no major innovations on the focus front. Samsung, meanwhile, introduced Dual Pixel AF, which is the best autofocus system we’ve seen yet – in good and bad light.
HTC’s “world’s first” claim is about the selfie camera – it equipped the 5MP shooter with optical image stabilization of its own. It has fairly big pixels (1.34m), but no dedicated flash like some mid-rangers have. We’ll see how it performs against the competition.
Note that we used the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge for this test, but the smaller Galaxy S7 has the exact same camera, so conclusions here are valid for both devices.