One of the big factors these days when buying a smartphone is how good the camera is. It honestly doesn’t really matter how huge the screen is or how fast it is, what really matters in my opinion is how well does it take photos. Gone are the days where the average person carries around a dedicated point and shoot camera because these days, there are smartphones that can take photos that are “good enough.” Of course you don’t want just “good enough.” You want photos that are great and that’s what a lot of the higher end smartphones provide. Take for example the HTC U11. At the time of this post, I believe it is the highest rated smartphone ever in DxOMark history.
The rear camera on HTC U11 is a 12MP unit with a F1.7 aperture. That probably doesn’t mean much to you, but those numbers make for some pretty nice specs, even when competed to point and shoot standards. What it doesn’t have however is a double lens like the LG V20 or the iPhone 7 Plus, so zooming on the HTC U11 is still a digital affair. I don’t really recommend using the zoom, but if you have to, it isn’t that bad either. You just won’t get the same kind of quality you would with an optical zoom.
The HTC U11 does quite well with close up photography. I have several shots in the sample gallery of these little wooden toys from the Frost Science Museum and it did an excellent job capturing them all. There’s a lot of detail in each photo and the colors seem accurate enough.
This photo above was taken in a very dark room where the only light source came from inside an aquarium tank. The details in this photo are also quite good, though you can see that there some areas where it’s a little blurred or muted. I’m still pretty happy with the results however. Most smartphone cameras have some kind of trade off when shooting in low light.
Foodies will be quite happy with the HTC U11 and even those who just like to capture food shots for their social networks. The camera captures a lot of detail and I love how it blurs the background which helps focus on the main subject. Again, it captures color quite well.
If you take a look at the rest of the samples in the gallery, you’ll see that for the most part, all the pictures are well balanced, have a good amount of detail, and are overall clear shots. This could have something to do with the super-fast autofocus and HDR Boost settings. HDR Boost supposedly offers clearer, more balanced pictures by taking multiple shots that measure the darkest shadows and brightest highlights without any slowdown. For the most part I think this is true as I never really experienced any lag. The auto focus is also super fast because there’s something called UltraSpeed Autofocus, where all of the pixels are used for phased detection autofocus. This is based on what DSLR cameras use. Does it work? I think so.
Overall though, I’m quite impressed with the main camera. It’s a fast shooter with an even faster autofocus and one that hasn’t let me down yet. I normally don’t leave HDR on because of the lag usually associated with it, but on the HTC U11, I just keep it on because the lag just isn’t there. Also, I don’t even have to use the flash in most situations either. While I do miss having two lenses, the single lens on the HTC U11 works quite well and for most people, this will be more than enough to make them happy.
For more samples, click the photo above for my Flickr gallery.
Review unit provided by the manufacturer
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