While the HTC One M8 is meant to be HTC’s new high-end flagship smartphone for 2014, there’s also a smaller version for those that want to spend less money and also prefer a smaller screen. The thing is, the smaller HTC One Mini 2 comes with a 13 megapixel camera with 3 times the megapixel count that the high-end HTC One M8 has.
People often say that megapixels don’t matter and that’s sometimes true. At other times they really do matter. Of course, the HTC One Mini 2′s camera does not use quite the same technology as the One M8 which has a larger sensor that is able to absorb more light more quickly. The M8 also has a separate lens for the depth sensor, but that doesn’t really work very well so we’ll ignore that for now and just compare the picture quality in a few different scenarios.
When it comes to low-light, the One M8 is clearly superior to the One Mini 2. In the above 100% crop, we had to crop into the only part of the HTC One Mini 2′s image that wasn’t completely black. With the One M8, you could actually make out the shape of what the photograph is supposed to be. Both are still a bit of a mess of noise and blotchiness, but the One M8 is clearly superior in very low-lit areas.
In this 100% crop you can see a lot of purple fringe in the edges of the trees on the HTC One M8. These chromatic aberrations, while still a bit present, are much less noticeable on the HTC One Mini 2. You can also see a significant amount of artificial sharpening applied to the photo in the HTC One M8. That’s great for making the entire image look sharper, but sometimes you can see little halo effects around edge contrast areas. On the other hand, you can see that the HTC One M8 is getting much better color and contrast than the HTC One Mini2.
Now when exactly do megapixels matter? Above is a good example. In this pixel for pixel crop you can clearly see that with the HTC One Mini 2, the sign on the escalator is actually readable while the HTC One M8′s image is just a mush of blurry pixels.
HTC One Mini 2 Gallery
HTC One M8 Gallery
In the above two galleries you can download full resolution sample images that we took with the HTC One M8 and the HTC One Mini 2. Overall, we think the HTC One M8 has better photos at least for social network sharing due to the better color, saturation, contrast as well as the superior low-light sensitivity. Check out the comparison video below for more observations, then let us know what you think in the comments below.