HTC U Ultra vs Google Pixel and HTC 10: cameras compared

Several days ago, we published a camera comparison between HTC's latest high-end Android phone, the HTC U Ultra, and three other phones known for their great cameras, namely the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, the LG G6, and the iPhone 7 Plus. The results – Samsung's flagship from last year took the top spot, followed closely by the LG G6. Тhe Ultra finished in third place and the iPhone 7 Plus was just a step behind it. So yeah, perhaps the U Ultra isn't the ultimate cameraphone, but we're not done comparing its camera capabilities just yet. For today's camera comparison, we have it racing against the Google Pixel and HTC's 2016 flagship, the HTC 10. Let's start by taking a quick look at their camera specs.

Camera Specs
HTC U UltraGoogle PixelHTC 10
Resolution,
aspect ratio
12MP@4:3
4096x3072px
12MP@4:3
4048x3036px
12MP@4:3
4000x3000px
Sensor and
pixel size
1/2.3"
1.55μm
1/2.3"
1.55μm
1/2.3"
1.55μm
ApertureF1.8F2.0F1.8
Focus and
stabilization
PDAF
Laser AF
OIS
PDAF
Laser AF
No OIS
PDAF
Laser AF
OIS

It should not be too hard to notice the pattern here. All three cameras use very similar sensors – with 12MP of resolution and relatively big size. No less importantly, all three sensors have pixels that are physically larger than what's typical for a smartphone, so we should be expecting nothing short of excellent low-light images. But the Pixel appears to be in an unfair position. Because of its narrower aperture and its lack of optical image stabilization, its low-light performance might suffer. We'll see if that's the case soon enough.

Note: the photos in the galleries below have been scaled down to a lower resolution to make them load faster. Full-resolution images are available at the end of the article.

Scene 1: Old Banger


HTC U Ultra vs Google Pixel and HTC 10: cameras compared

This is the same scene that I started last camera comparison with. As I said then, a realistic image isn't always the one that looks best to the eye, and even though the U Ultra provides a more neutral representation of the scene, the images out of the Pixel and the HTC 10 are simply more eye-catching – with more contrast and greater color saturation. I must also point out that the photo out of the Google Pixel is impressively detailed. Zooming in on it reveals tons of fine detail, especially if you take a look at the cracks around the car's headlight. All in all, while all three images look good, it is the Pixel's photo that looks best.

Scene 1: score
Google Pixel8.5
HTC 108.0
HTC U Ultra7.5


Scene 2: Firetruck


HTC U Ultra vs Google Pixel and HTC 10: cameras compared

And then this happens. Here's a scene where the Pixel resolved the least amount of detail, most noticeable in the fine pattern on the wallpaper. Some might be quick to blame the lack of optical image stabilization, but I actually shot the same frame two more times, and the results were not any better. Thankfully, that's a difference most people won't even notice.

Scene 2: score
HTC U Ultra8.0
HTC 108.0
Google Pixel7.5


Scene 3: Daffodils


HTC U Ultra vs Google Pixel and HTC 10: cameras compared

This is a scene where the HTC U Ultra wins my vote. The thing I like the most about its image are the colors – natural, with the warm tone of the morning sun preserved quite well. The other two photos also look fine, of course, but the U Ultra is a step ahead in my book.

Scene 3: score
HTC U Ultra8.5
HTC 108.0
Google Pixel8.0

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23 Comments

1. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

HTC phones stands no chance versus Google's Pixel! HTC really needs to step up it's camera game.

2. kiko007

Posts: 7490; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I'm not seeing the Pixel dominance you are. Every shot looks almost identical with the exception of scene four. The only advantage the Pixel truly has over either is software algorithms, which can be updated... probably.

6. PryvateiDz

Posts: 443; Member since: Jul 31, 2011

But the Google Pixel is made by HTC, and they use like the same sensors. The only real difference is the software with HDR+.

7. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"But the Google Pixel is made by HTC, and they use like the same sensors. The only real difference is the software with HDR ." Are you for real? HTC had no hand in the Google Pixel's camera. "The only real difference is the software with HDR ." Which is what I was taking about in post #1. HTC's camera software and post processing algorithm is no match for Google's... that's a fact, I ain't making it up.

16. norbiq

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 13, 2017

You're kidding, right? Of course Pixel was made by HTC. Get your facts straight before commenting again, please: phonearena.com/news/Confirmed-Google-Pixel-and-Pix​el-XL-are-manufactured-by-HTC_id86174

18. norbiq

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 13, 2017

Sorry, for commenting twice. I'm not used to this kind of comment system. Yeah, it turns out the Pixel's camera was apparently made by Sony, so ignore my earlier comment.

17. norbiq

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 13, 2017

You're kidding, right? Of course Pixel was made by HTC. Get your facts straight before commenting again, please: phonearena.com/news/Confirmed-Google-Pixel-and-Pix​​el-XL-are-manufactured-by-HTC_id86174

19. norbiq

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 13, 2017

.....

11. adi90

Posts: 554; Member since: Dec 21, 2015

@phonearena If you already have pixel, why are you not comparing it with s8. That is the only camera comparison people want righ now.

13. AmashAziz

Posts: 2891; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Because the S8 hasn't officially been released.

22. Geraldlburleigh

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 13, 2017

Your ignorance shines through the pixel is made by htc the pixel brand is simply a new name for the old nexus devices

3. Hyperreal

Posts: 361; Member since: Oct 08, 2013

This comparison should put an end to all those claims that HTC phones can't compete in camera department. What's more I'd say that HTC 10 is overall a better phone than rushed pixel: -Bigger screen and no onscreen buttons in not much bigger body -Bigger battery -Dual speakers -Front ois -Far better design The only advantage of pixel is supposed to be software but this is also questionable because of all those bugs Google can't fix and I never heard and never had any problem with 10 since last year's launch. PS. Ultra still sucks.

5. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"What's more I'd say that HTC 10 is overall a better phone than rushed pixel" This addition isn't necessary, as this comparison is about the camera alone. But yeah, the HTC 10 is of an overall better quality that the Google Pixel phone which has been plagued by all sorts of reported bugs.

4. kkmkk

Posts: 699; Member since: May 06, 2013

You should have added the s7 or s8 and the g6 for better comparison

20. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

or add iPhone7 to make comment section more lively :v

8. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Pixel is the king. Period. I am not surprised they rarely choose Pixel when it comes to camera comparison because all cameras fade away. Apart from S7.

9. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3091; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

HTC really stepped up their camera game compared to their older models. Hope the new flagship will win the competition.

10. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Without even reading, I knew the Pixel would win. It gave the S7 and is the only recent phone to beat the S7 consistently in photo. Since HTC made the Pixel, it seems they knew what they were up against and should have did better with the Ultra. I'm sadden by them ball cause the Evo, Incredible and Thunderbolt were very good devices.

12. Hyperreal

Posts: 361; Member since: Oct 08, 2013

So you completly trust a subjective reviewers opinion without looking at photos at all and judging by yourself?

23. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I said I didn't read. I didn't say I didn't look at the photos.

14. QuadFace

Posts: 179; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

I waited to see this comparison for too long, just the 10 vs Pixel, better late than never.

15. ChaoticRage

Posts: 154; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

I'm liking the Pixel better. Just my opinion.

21. 314NTMD

Posts: 13; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

FINICKY? just tap and slide! i think it's HANDY XD (sorry for my english

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