On March 15 2014, HTC has announced the One Mini 2 smartphone with a 13 megapixel rear-facing camera and a 5 megapixel front facing camera. The first thing you probably noticed is that HTC dropped the 4MP sensor for the rear camera in favor of a much higher resolution one.
This also includes a bump in the front-facing camera resolution from 1.6MP in the One Mini (first generation) to 5MP in One 2. This is due to the popularity of the ongoing Selfie trend. So there is a much higher demand of a higher quality front-facing camera, which turned out to be (for some) more important than the rear facing camera. I personally prefer the approach that Oppo took with its N1 smartphone, using a high quality single rotating camera, instead of two independent cameras. This also allows people to enjoy a LED flash when shooting self-portrait stills or when recording videos of them selves.
A few things have changed from the previous model, the HTC One Mini. First of all, the One Mini 2 now features a 1/3.06″ (4.69×3.53mm) BSI sensor instead of a 1/3″ (4.80×3.60mm) sensor size of the HTC One. So the One Mini 2 sensor is slightly smaller than the HTC One Mini for the rear-facing camera.
Just for comparison, the iPhone 5S and Nokia Lumia 920 utilizes a 1/3″ sensor, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 uses a 1/3.06″ sensor. However, the most important part is related to pixel size. The HTC One (M8) and HTC One Mini both have 2.0 µm (microns) sized pixels for the rear camera. This what allowed each pixel to gather much more light and therefore provide very good low-light performance. It seems that this strategy looked good on paper, but wasn’t embraced as good as HTC has hoped for.
The HTC One Mini 2 also use a f/2.2 aperture lens for its rear camera and f/2.0 lens for its FFC (Front facing camera). The HTC One (M8) and HTC One Mini both use a f/2.0 aperture lens for the rear camera. So the main question will be how good the HTC One Mini and HTC One Ultrapixel camera compared to the one of the HTC One Mini 2?
It’s worth mentioning that there is a high demand for phone camera that can perform well in low-light. The Xenon flash (if exists) doesn’t give a solution when shooting subjects that are far away from the camera. For that you’ll need a fast aperture and a sensor that can capture usable images at high ISO, so the entire frame will have an optimal exposure. When shooting the flash, you probably notice that the close subject might appear well lit, but the background appears relatively much darker. In fact, in order to boost the background exposure, photographers usually boost the ISO if they don’t have the option to further open up the aperture to allow more light to pass through the lens.
I think that even if the One Mini 2 features an inferior low-light performance, the higher-res for daylight shooting, as well as the high-res front-facing camera for selfies, will appeal to a wide audience than the HTC One in the current market state.
There isn’t anything revolutionary about the HTC One Mini 2 cameras, but it’s a good adoption by HTC to fit this new mobile phone with the latest trends and market demand. A higher resolution sensor allows more creative freedom when editing photos, something that lacks with a 4MP image from the M8 or previous HTC One Mini phone. so I think that HTC improved on things that it should improved, and I personally eager to wait for some sample images to see how both camera performs in real-life tests and see how good the sample images are at high ISO.