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HTC One M9 camera tip suggests a 20 MP Toshiba sensor with proprietary pixel design

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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HTC One M9 camera tip suggests a 20 MP Toshiba sensor with proprietary pixel design
By now it's clear for everyone and their goldfish that the HTC will finally do away with the low-res UltraPixel shenanigans, moving them to the front of the upcoming One M9 flagship, and equipping the main camera with a hearty 20 MP sensor, just like in Sony, Meizu and some other phones. This is the highest resolution that the Android kingdom currently offers, and so far these resolute sensors have mostly been built into Sony phones, as Sony is the one supplying the vast majority of sensors for mobile cameras, including the 20 MP endeavors.

The HTC One M9, however, is allegedly straying away from the pack, and will utilize a 20 MP camera unit with a sensor made by Toshiba instead, indicating that we might see a different level of photo quality than we are accustomed to with Sony sensors. Those have, frankly, not been very impressive results, 20 MP or not, as can be attested by our camera comparisons with the Xperia Z3, though it might be due to Sony's software optimizations, too.

Looking for 20 MP mobile sensors that Toshiba currently offers, we can actually only see one, the recently announced T4KA7. Besides the usual high-end stuff, like backside illumination, real time HDR support, and 1080p video recording with up to 90fps, this Toshiba sensor is somewhat unique in the rest of its specs. For starters, it offers square pixels. While still at a tiny 1.2 micron size, like all high-res mobile sensors, Toshiba claims that the sensor "utilizes a proprietary square-pixel design that enables exceptionally high-quality images with low-power consumption."

Block diagram of the 20 MP Toshiba T4KA7 camera sensor in the HTC One M9

Block diagram of the 20 MP Toshiba T4KA7 camera sensor in the HTC One M9


The rest of the specs are a 1/2.4" size, 5384 horizontal and 3752 vertical signal pixels, and 22 fps recording at the sensor's full resolution. Sony's coming with a new sensor for the Xperia Z3, most likely the 20 MP IMX230, which has phase detection autofocus built in, so the battle of the smartphone cameras will be fierce this season, as all flagships will be equipped with high-res, state-of-the-art units, and powerful image processor. Thus, the photo and video quality might boil down to the software optimizations that each manufacturer manages to code in. This might explain the thoroughly overhauled Sense 7 camera interface, nuggets of which you can see in the purported spy shots below.


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posted on 25 Feb 2015, 05:24 11

1. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1344; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)


Hope its a great camera for a flagship with proper software optimization, also with low light photography that matches to ultrapixel.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 06:19

7. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


The ultrapixel anyway provided a pretty bad low-light shots. Many of the shots with a lighting source such as a lamp post had terrible over-exposing issues.

Also, the camera lens was cheap.

I do agree that M8 was better in low-light compaed to sammy phones but that's nothing to boast about. Nokia, Sony and iPhones can take much better low light shots with smaller pixels.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 07:10

10. Hyperreal (Posts: 223; Member since: 08 Oct 2013)


you are wrong. PA "camera tests" are terrible. had One M7 and Xperia Z3C and Z3C low light looks like total crap compared to One M7 camera.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 07:35 1

14. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


I had the M7 for a week( exchanged with my friend). The dynamic range in low light was terrible.

With right settings( not the auto mode), the Z3/Z3C can achieve better results.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 05:40 7

2. Kumar123 (Posts: 485; Member since: 15 Jan 2015)


"Sony's coming with a new sensor for the Xperia Z3, most likely the 20 MP IMX230". I think you meant to say Z4 not Z3. Sony not even started the mass production of IMX230.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 11:02

22. TypicalGeek (Posts: 131; Member since: 19 Feb 2015)


Yeah, they got it wrong.

On the side note, it may be one of the reasons Z4 launched is postponed.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 17:09

26. rency0722 (Posts: 155; Member since: 12 Jun 2013)


Z4 as they should say, and it is 21 megapixel, different from the usual 20.7 megapixel IMX220 from Z1-Z3.

And Sony already started producing them, exclusively for Z4. Just like they announced Exmor R for mobile and Exmor RS for mobile way back times of Xperia Arc and Xperia T respectively.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 05:43

3. bendgate (unregistered)


It was a stupid decision to put 4 ultrafail camera on M7 and a big idiocy to do it again with M8. But better late than never. Got another great choice this year.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 05:44 1

4. vuyonc (Posts: 987; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)


No news on a hybrid autofocus system :(

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 05:58 1

5. WarMaster (Posts: 3; Member since: 25 Feb 2015)


Loved the ultrapixel concept (bigger censor pixels = more light == better photos) but software was horrible at taking advantage of the hardware :-(

Hopefully this censor works well, otherwise it simply is too many weird unconventional cameras in a row for public who wants middle of the road hardware.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 06:21 1

8. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


It was not the software, the sensor and the lens itself had issues. It had terrible dynamic range and the lens had issues with purple fringing( not purple hue).

However, the software was terrible too.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 18:50

27. nebula (Posts: 515; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)


What were the sensor and lens issues ? Can you provide link?
Thanks

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 19:34

28. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


It's too hard to find the link now.

See MKBHD review. He mentions the terrible dynamic range. And google search for HTC one purple fringing.

posted on 26 Feb 2015, 02:31

31. nebula (Posts: 515; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)


Not able to find link about lens and sensor. I just watch his full review on M7 and could find where he was bashing dynamic range. His review called "HTC One Review!" I own M7 for two years now .Apart from camera is not great I would not call it terrible dynamic range. It's a very strong word. It's rather inconsistent and more dependent on the lighting situation than others but believe me you can also get nice images. Fringing is there ..dahh...There is simply chain of hardware maybe design too and soft problems down the chain HTC didn't address. I was hoping they would push that technology even further and introduce UP like 8MP shooter but....anyway let's see what the new sensor brings on the table and those square pixel.

posted on 26 Feb 2015, 02:44

32. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


Watch the m8 review of MKBHD.

posted on 26 Feb 2015, 03:15

33. nebula (Posts: 515; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)


Troll.

posted on 26 Feb 2015, 03:45

34. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


Did you really watch the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwsPZi_JRrA

Go to 7:20

posted on 26 Feb 2015, 03:49

35. nebula (Posts: 515; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)


Do you realize we were talking about M7? Yes I did. So same to say about M7. Inconsistency the right word.

posted on 26 Feb 2015, 03:54

36. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


Sorry but I meant M8 the whole time. I don't know about M7 but I've used it about 1.5 years ago and the camera was terrible. The unit I had also had a purple hue in low light and it was a pretty widespread problem.

posted on 26 Feb 2015, 04:10

37. nebula (Posts: 515; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)


I am using it on a daily basis while it's not stellar it's definitely not terrible( at least my unit). Low light quality was not great to be honest.I t does a job better than many other cameras BUT there are some colour artifacts , purple fringe for instance.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 06:11 1

6. TheGunnyPT (Posts: 252; Member since: 12 Feb 2015)


Can't wait to see some comparisons of this with Note 4 on camera

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 06:47

9. verybeo (Posts: 23; Member since: 16 Jul 2012)


biggest fail of 2015's spring

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 07:25

13. darkskoliro (Posts: 1076; Member since: 07 May 2012)


why would you say that?

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 08:35

15. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)


Because troll.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 10:16

21. darkskoliro (Posts: 1076; Member since: 07 May 2012)


True I dont even know why I bother replying haha. This site is infected with trolls.

posted on 26 Feb 2015, 00:44

30. Chuck007 (Posts: 1035; Member since: 02 Mar 2014)


True I dont even know why I bother replying haha. This site is infected with *paid* trolls.

Fixed..

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 07:12

11. mrnnec (Posts: 6; Member since: 24 Feb 2015)


Hum... let's see how it goes first...

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 07:20

12. bugsbunny00 (Posts: 1989; Member since: 07 Jun 2013)


Too bad the front still has the old ultra pixel, naah...

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 08:40 2

17. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)


And it going to better then all the other front camera.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 08:37

16. lallolu (Posts: 453; Member since: 18 Sep 2012)


Good they have finally stopped their ultrapixel nonsense. It is probably time to use HTC one more time.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 08:47 2

18. TechNerd (Posts: 66; Member since: 03 May 2014)


I doubt that toshiba 20Mp will have any advantages to sony 20Mp

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 08:59

19. Hitchcock (Posts: 2; Member since: 19 Feb 2015)


Mmmmmm! Nein!

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 09:10

20. NateAdam8 (Posts: 388; Member since: 17 Feb 2012)


What's up with that extra capacitive key on the bottom?

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 13:03

23. Rhinoface (Posts: 176; Member since: 05 Dec 2014)


I haven't seen four keys since the Droid RAZR.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 14:24

24. Predator1701 (Posts: 108; Member since: 28 Oct 2014)


I don't care about megapixels we wan't OIS and a great sensor, now thats a winning combination.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 16:23

25. Phonecall01 (unregistered)


Smartphone camera battle's gonna be crazy this year. S6, M9 and so many others. Not to mention the next Flagship Lumia... Bring it !!!

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 20:08

29. Genza (Posts: 537; Member since: 12 Mar 2014)


I don't see 4K video, real-time HDR or Phase detectection AF on thosiba sensor specifications plus there is no news about any kind of stabilization.
It seems that HTC will make the same mistakes as the previous year.

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