With the original HTC One (M7), the manufacturer introduced us to the “UltraPixel,” some branding it came up with for a camera sensor that traded high megapixel count for physically larger individual pixels, capturing more light and designed to produce higher quality images. Now with the new One M10 just around the corner, we’ve heard reports of UltraPixel making its return to the phone’s main camera, though now in the form of a much higher-res 12MP sensor. Can we still expect the same big pixels as before, just with a lot more of them? Or is the UltraPixel branding more fluid, and HTC could have some other image-enhancement trick cooked up for the One M10’s camera? While we don’t have the full story just yet, a new rumor claims that the sensor itself will be one we’ve seen before, as HTC goes with the same Sony IMX377 component used in the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P.
Unlike the IMX377 on those phones, though, the HTC One M10 should augment the sensor with optical stabilization. That said, if this is true, it’s still a bit of a let-down for those of us who were hoping to see something really unique from the One M10’s camera.
It’s also worth noting that the IMX377’s pixels aren’t quite up to the old UltraPixel standard: while the One M7’s pixels measured in at 2.0μm square a pop, the IMX377’s pixels are just 1.55μm on a side. For those of you doing the math, that spells an area of 4.0μm^2 vs 2.40μm^2 – or 40 percent smaller with the IMX377.
Don’t get us wrong – the new Nexus phones have some killer cameras, and the One M10 could do a lot worse than to take those and improve even further upon them with the introduction of OIS. And admittedly, sticking to old UltraPixel sizes while scaling things up to 12MP could have gotten prohibitively expensive. But we can always dream, can’t we?