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DxOMark Mobile Report: HTC One M8


With a DxOMark Mobile score of 68 the HTC One M8 cannot quite keep up with other current flagship phones and slots in at number 15 in the DxOMark smartphone rankings, placing itself between the Samsung Galaxy Note II and Blackberry Z10

The DxOMark team reports the HTC One M8 delivers "nice and pleasant colors outdoors", "good details for outdoor images" and a "fast and precise autofocus in most situations".

On the downside, DxO says the "rendering of high dynamic range scenes is lacking accuracy", "white balance is inaccurate in some situations", the camera shows "significant sharpness instability in low light conditions", there is a "loss of detail and strong noise in low light" and "clearly visible fringing and color shading" can be observed in the images when shooting outdoors.

In video mode the HTC One M8 displayed "good noise reduction" but "white balance is often inaccurate", there is "no video stabilization", "no continuous autofocus" and "visible steps in luminance during exposure changes" can be observed. 

Still Photography

Color, Exposure and Contrast

The DxOMark team found that the HTC One M8 images show "nice and pleasant colors outdoors." However, "some outdoor images of high dynamic range scenes lost a lot of detail in dark area", "white balance is inaccurate in some situations" and there is "visible color shading outdoors and in low light."

Overall DxOMark awarded the HTC One M8 scores of:

  • 3.8 out of 5 for Exposure
  • 3.5 out of 5 for White Balance accuracy
  • 3.0 out of 5 for Color shading in low light*
  • 3.0 out of 5 for Color shading in bright light*
  • 3.0 out of 5 for Color Rendering in low light
  • 4.5 out of 5 for Color Rendering in bright light

*Color Shading is the nasty habit cellphone cameras have of rendering different areas of the frame with different color shifts, resulting in pictures with, for example, pinkish centers and greenish corners.

Noise and Details

DxOMark's engineers reported the HTC One M8 shows "low luminance noise in bright light conditions" but also "strong sharpness instability between shots in low light conditions" and a "loss of detail and strong noise in low light."

Texture Acutance

Texture acutance is a way of measuring the ability of a camera to capture images that preserve fine details, particularly the kind of low contrast detail that can be blurred away by noise reduction or obliterated by excessive sharpening (such as fine foliage, hair or fur).

Sharpness is an important part of the quality of an image, but while it's easy to look at an image and decide visually whether it's sharp or not, the objective measurement of sharpness is less straightforward.

An image can be defined as "sharp" if edges are sharp and if fine details are visible. In-camera processing means that it's possible to have one of these (sharp edges) but not the other (fine details). Conventional MTF measurements tell us how sharp an edge is, but have drawbacks when it comes to measuring fine detail preservation. Image processing algorithms can detect edges and enhance their sharpness, but they can also find homogeneous areas and smooth them out to reduce noise.

Texture acutance, on the other hand, can qualify sharpness in terms of preservation of fine details, without being fooled by edge enhancement algorithms.

A dead leaf pattern is designed to measure texture acutance. It's obtained by drawing random shapes that occlude each other in the plane, like dead leaves falling from a tree. The statistics of this model follow the distribution statistics in natural images.

In this example from a DSLR without edge enhancement, sharpness seems equal on edge and on texture. Many details are visible in the texture.

In this second example, edges have been digitally enhanced, and the edge looks over sharp, with visible processing halos ("ringing"). On the texture part, many details have disappeared.

At first sight, the images from these two cameras may appear equally sharp. A sharpness measurement on edges will indeed confirm this impression, and will even show that the second camera is sharper. But a closer examination of low contrasted textures shows that the first camera has better preservation of fine details than the second. The purpose of the texture acutance measurement is to qualify this difference.

Note: Acutance is a single value metric calculated from a MTF result. Acutance is used to assess the sharpness of an image as viewed by the human visual system, and is dependent on the viewing conditions (size of image, size of screen or print, viewing distance). Only the values of texture acutance are given here. The measurements are expressed as a percentage of the theoretical maximum for the chosen viewing condition. The higher the score, the more details can be seen in an image. 
For all DxOMark Mobile data presented on we're only showing 8MP equivalent values, which gives us a level playing field for comparison between smartphone cameras with different megapixel values by normalizing all to 8MP (suitable for fairly large prints). DxOMark also offers this data for lower resolution use-cases (web and onscreen). For more information on DxOMark's testing methodology and acutance measurements please visit the website at
Luminance texture acutance is similar under daylight and tungsten light and increases slightly as the illumination becomes brighter. 
In terms of texture acutance, the HTC One M8 leads the pack in low light but falls slightly behind in brighter conditions. 
Edge Acutance
Edge acutance is a measure of edge sharpness in images captured by the phone's camera. Again we're only looking at the most demanding of the three viewing conditions that DxOMark reports on - the 8MP equivalent.
In terms of edge acutance the HTC One M8 is trailing the competition almost across the brightness range.  
The HTC One M8's ability to retain sharp edges remains similar across all light levels. 
Visual Noise

Visual noise is a value designed to assess the noise in an image as perceived by the human visual system, depending on the viewing condition (size of image, size of screen or print, viewing distance). The measurements have no units and can be simply viewed as the weighted average of noise standard deviation for each channel in the CIE L*a*b* color space. The lower the measurement, the less noise in the image.

Noise levels in daylight conditions decrease as illumination gets brighter.
Noise levels under tungsten light are a touch higher than in daylight conditions.
The HTC One M8's noise levels are higher than most of the competition. 

Noise and Detail Perceptual scoring

DxOMark engineers don't just point camera phones at charts, they also take and analyze scores of real-world shots and score them accordingly. Their findings for the HTC One M8 were:

Natural scene

  • Texture (bright light): 4.0 out of 5
  • Texture (low light): 3.5 out of 5
  • Noise (bright light): 3.0 out of 5
  • Noise (low light) 2.0 out of 5
Bright light sample shot
100% crop: some noise even at base ISO
Low light (20 Lux) studio shot.
100% crop: chroma noise in textured areas
100% crop: fine detail is suffering in low light


Phone cameras, like entry-level compact cameras, tend to suffer from artifacts such as sharpening halos, color fringing, vignetting (shading) and distortion, which can have an impact on the visual appeal of the end result. DxOMark engineers measure and analyze a range of artifacts. Their findings after testing the HTC One M8 are shown below:

  • No sharpness difference between the center and the corners
  • Strong fringing and ringing
  • Slight aliasing

Perceptual scores

  • Sharpness 4.0 out of 5
  • Color fringing 3.0 out of 5

Measured findings

  • Ringing center 8.2%
  • Ringing corner 5.7%
  • Max geometric distortion -0.4%
  • Luminance shading 34.8%

Distortion and Chromatic Aberrations

The graph shows the magnification from center to edge (with the center normalized to 1). The HTC One M8 shows slight pincushion distortion, which you are not going to notice in normal photography.
The HTC One M8 shows some lateral chromatic aberrations which are visible in some pictures.


DxOMark also tests autofocus accuracy and reliability by measuring how much the acutance - or sharpness - varies with each shot over a series of 30 exposures (defocusing then using the autofocus for each one). As with other tests these results are dependent on the viewing conditions (a little bit out of focus matters a lot less with a small web image than a full 8MP shot viewed at 100%). Using the 8MP equivalent setting, the HTC One M8 is trailing slightly behind most of the competition in the high-end bracket. The overall score is 79/100 in bright light and 74/100 in low light.


  • Fast autofocus both in low and bright light conditions
  • No loss of accuracy loss in low light


  • Global acutance is not very good
  • Some focus errors in both bright light and low light conditions
Autofocus repeatability - average acutance difference with best focus: low light 5.88%, bright light 8.41%


DxOMark scored the HTC One M8 71/100 overall for its flash performance which is lower than most of the competition in the high-end smartphone bracket. 


  • Good detail preservation, exposure, color rendering and white balance


  • Flash is not centered in the image
  • Color shading in mixed tungsten light

Overall DxOMark Mobile Score for Photo: 70 / 100

Video Capture

DxOMark engineers put phone cameras through a similarly grueling set of video tests, and you can read their full findings on the DxOMark website here. Bottom line: DxOMark found the HTC One M8's overall video footage to show good texture and noise reduction but a lack of stabilization means footage can be shaky and there is visible brightness stepping when the exposure changes during recording. 


  • Good textures
  • Good noise reduction


  • White balance is often inaccurate (red or blue cast depending on illuminant)
  • No video stabilization or continuous autofocus
  • Visible steps in luminance during exposure changes

Overall DxOMark Mobile Score for Video: 63 / 100


Total comments: 54

It can let you down at times, but one of the finest pictures I have ever snapped was captured with the M8. No filters, just the duo camera focus editwas used. Had it printed at 8x10 and it looks very nice


The 'UltraPixel' marketing would have had some credibility if the sensor was bigger than the usual 1/3" size. Theoretically, it's better to use more pixels and downsample in low light. At least in good light, you'd have more detail. Nokia's approach (now copied by Sony) is the way to go.

In general, exposure and colour is pretty good, so in good light you're left with some nice looking shots, on screen. But when you zoom in just a bit, the detail falls apart quickly.

Apart from IQ, my biggest gripe is with the operational speed of the One M8. When viewing a photo full screen, you tap the screen to display the options: they slowly slide into view from the bottom. It almost takes a second before the second row (Back, Home, App Switcher) buttons are available. The Back button is needed to get back to shooting mode, so it's a pain to wait for it to show up. The processor is fast enough to display this immediately, so the animation is useless and annoying.


I have the HTC ONE M8 after owning th M7. Two weeks of use, indoors and out. As a point and shoot, the M8 took a small step backwards, HOWEVER< Using THE FULL FEATURE SET, I can get better results than the M7 if not in auto mode. I am starting to like the M8 camera, a bit more.


Thank you for the great review.
So the score has actually gone down from 7.5 IIRC to 7.1. What gives? I was hoping for improvement, not regression, so... no-go.

Btw HTC opt for conventional 13MP sensor for their One Mini 2, Desire 816, and even One Ace. As such I beg Connect to review any one of those.

Please do, and thank you again.

Lars Rehm

Just like with our cameras reviews we'd expect slightly better performance form a new model to get the same score as an older one.

Denis of Whidbey Island

Remind me why these phone reviews appear on the front page of DPReview. Were the readers of that site interested, they would be watching this one.

1 upvote

Got you to click, didn't it? That's why.

Denis of Whidbey Island

Clicked to complain, not to read.

Lars Rehm

Well, it wasn't written for you then but the people who are interested in phone camera reviews. There quite a few of those.


Angry clicks and happy clicks get the same number of ad views....

Denis of Whidbey Island

This is not entirely dissimilar to saying that it's fine to put links to TV reviews on the DPReview home page because some people who read DPReview are also interested in televisions. Really, what percentage of DPReview readers go to that site to find phone camera reviews?

1 upvote
Lars Rehm

Nobody is interested in everything. Some people look at DSLR reviews, some at compact reviews, some at lens reviews and, believe me, an increasing number is looking at smartphone camera reviews. There would not be much point in doing them otherwise.


Can you take pictures with TVs? What kind of a dumb analogy is that? Phones have ever improving cameras in them which allows you to use them as a photographic tool. A Camera review of a TV would be 0 pages.

1 upvote

Had the last HTC one, which died while charging after one year of use. I would not touch any electronic devices that carries HTC brand. That phone was nothing but trouble from software to hardware, I have never experienced so much disappointment in an electronic device before.

Just replaced the dead fish last week with Galaxy s5 because The big iPhone is no yet next available!

....and DON'T BUY INTO 4MP image resolution crap. It's stupid. Who cares about better image quality on cell phone if you can't zoom enlough? I want to be able to zoom in images, read prints i can't tell from naked eyes, or similar purposes where cell phones picture are good for. I don't plan to do studio works with them. 4MP camera is as good as crap.


>I have never experienced so much disappointment in an electronic device before.

While I agree with you on a relatively poor camera, I think you'd find very few people who agree with the rest of your assessment.

Lars Rehm

Well, I liked both the original One and the M8 very much for their phone/mobile computing capability. the're also both very nicely made. the camera is really the only point of criticism. Unfortunately, if you like taking pictures with your phone it is a very major one.


My work colleague had Galaxy S3 started smoking while on charge and eventually expired, so by your logic people should stay away from Samsung as well.


No, why stay away from Samcrap? You should avoid Androids junk at all cost!


I was showing interest in this phone, and then the camera results came rolling in from the web.


If there is one thing that HTC has helped the photography community, it is that HTC debunked the myth of using less pixels but keeping sensor size unchanged results in better picture.

I have to admit that I was a believer. I have converted after seeing HTC One's samples.

1 upvote

They didn't really debunk anything, it's always been a balance, go too far in either direction without increasing efficiency (too many pixels for the sensor size OR too few) and you end up with something that suffers by comparison, not a shocker.


Many people have already known this to be a fallacy. I've been trying (unsuccessfully) to warn people not to fall for this scam but to no avail. There are many, who in reality are totally clueless about photography, yet think themselves as smart and sophisticated when they parrot HTC's marketing talk.

The only thing this sad episode really proved, is how totally clueless HTC's imaging team really is. Like I've always said, they're a bunch of salespeople wearing lab coats.


Thones phones and their lattes.

Tonkotsu Ramen

cell phone cameras have come a long way, but HTC seems to want to stay in the past. They'll be rewarded with low sales. Hope they take the next gen more serious.


I guess "low sales" based on camera quality will depend on how many people buy phones with that as the primary criterion.


Pretty weak camera quality for a flagship phone. Looks like they went to a new camera module for the newest HTC One Mini 2, so maybe they are wising up.

1 upvote

Having a separate depth sensor means there are alignment issues, which are not helped by lower resolution. It would be interesting to see if the depth sensor could be used to stitch actual 3D models more accurately, but the simulated DoF effect looks too crude to be of much use -- at least for now. Obviously, shallow DoF "like professional cameras give" is what every tiny camera wants to fake this year....


They already released a phone with dual cameras for 3D, and a 3D display, and it actually worked... But nobody really cares about recording 3D content or watching it on such a small screen, at least that concept flopped quicker.


No, I'm not talking stereo pairs or single-view depth maps -- I'm talking about stitching true 3D solid models, like we use to drive 3D printers. There's a lot of tech for this, but I suspect there would be a healthy niche market for a phone directly spitting-out a printable model.


The depth sensor is a stupid gimmick and doesnt work well. They should just put a 2/3 or larger sensor in there with a decent lens.


I think the issue that you've demonstrated with Ufocus is because the depth measurement is so much lower resolution than the actual photograph, not capturing small objects like the bicycle parts or doing a good job detecting exact edges. Because the Google app uses motion/parallax with the main camera sensor to identify depth, it's at the same resolution as the image and can (in theory) do a better job in these aspects.


In practice both produce poor results by overdoing the effect, introducing artifacts, errors in edge stitching etc. I wasn't very impressed with it on my N5 anyway, haven't tried it again since initial testing. LG's more subtle effect seemed to work better during a comparison I saw but it wasn't very comprehensive.


Another no-go. My Nokia 808 won't be beaten in IQ for another year for sure.

Unless Samsung or Sony comes out with a large-sensor, thick cameraphone with a prime, wideangle, bright lens. Samsung have released three small-sensor zoom/"Kamera" models (pretty good ones for a zoom camera but, at the same FoV, can't rival IQ-wise the large-sensor prime-lens 808); hopefully they also release a large-sensor fixed-FoV lens one as well.

Edited 5 minutes after posting

I don't see Samsung releasing a fixed FL anything outside of phones, zooms appeal to the masses and Samsung's all about mass appeal. I'd really like to see Sony take the QX concept to it's logical evolution and release a couple of prime editions, or at least one at 35mm with the 1" sensor...

It would HAVE to be significantly smaller than the two existing models, maybe even as small as something as a Panasonic 20/1.7... That'd be eminently pocketable and a MUCH better alternative than a smaller sensor P&S or phone. It makes sooo much sense, just gotta market it right. It's not like the concept of selling zoom to smartphone users really caught fire (existing QX).


"I don't see Samsung releasing a fixed FL anything outside of phones, zooms appeal to the masses and Samsung's all about mass appeal."

Well, when done right (significantly better IQ than the 808, OIS, 4K video, brighter lens etc.), such a model would make almost all existing Nokia 808 / 1020 users not happy with the ecosystem / the OS / the phone's allowed-for capabilities (e.g., phone call recording) switch. (I'd say there are millions of them.) I'd too switch to a high-end Android if and only if the camera would be comparable to that of my Nokia 808.

1 upvote

Wow, you really think there are a million 808 users out there? Like actively using it as their daily driver? Seems far fetched, but even if there are, that's a very niche market. Samsung probably sells a million SGS5 just during launch week, pretty sure I remember seeing something about the SGS4 selling a million in under two weeks anyway.

Point is, few OEM (not even HTC) would build a phone hoping for a million sales at most. Frankly I don't see why you'd suffer thru the 808 just for the camera, I'd much rather just carry two devices but that's just me. Is Nokia's current Lumia THAT far behind the 808 that you'd give up the app ecosystem and everything else on a modern phone just for the better camera?

I think the modular approach is reasonable for people that want a truly great camera on their phone (rather than two devices), somebody just needs to chase the concept further. Phones aren't gonna go back to 12-15 mm form factors anytime soon.


"Wow, you really think there are a million 808 users out there? "

Nope, it was the cumulative number of the 808 and the 1020. (See my OP.) I'm certainly aware of the 808's only selling some hundreds of thousands - after all, it wasn't advertised at all and was only really targeted at camera and Symbian enthusiasts, not the Average Joes.

1 upvote

Thanks for the review. Yep, this phone looks pretty terrible camera wise. Not sure how you can beta test it and say yeah, lets release it the way it is??

As to the people on here that complain about every cellphone review. If you don't like them why are you even reading the review, or even commenting?

You guys NEED to wise up. This is not 1995, it's 2014. Cameras as we knew them are a dying breed. Hardly any young person prints anything anymore.

I have taken some pretty darn good pictures with my phones. Can I make a 20x30 print with them, no. Do I need to or want to no. My children and grandchildren see them just fine in emails I send them, and in return I get shots of them from their cellphones. What else you want, a picture from a 80mp MF back you are going to look at on your computer screen at 100??

I am not suggesting you throw away your cameras. I still own a LOT of them. But the average young person probably does not even OWN a real camera anymore.

Edited 9 minutes after posting
1 upvote

I would be interested in seeing how the HTC One M8's camera stacked up against the Moto G. We'd be comparing a phone from the top end of the market with a phone from the bottom end.

The Moto G gets a lot of flak for its poor camera, but looking at the samples above I don't think it's much worse than the HTC One M8. A review comparing these phones side by side will be very interesting.


Never understood these 'camera-phone' reviews. I don't know anyone who is serious about photography that uses a phone. I do know a lot of people using their phone for taking 'social events' pictures and then sending them to friends. They don't give a hoot about 'ultimate' quality images. It's about sharing a very basic image. Most of the time the images stay in the phone until memory runs out (and then they come to me ...'Help, my camera is not working anymore !'). If they ever print such an image, which they seldom do, it will be postcard size. The images in this review of the M8 look good enough for that for sure. Make these reviews more realistic by aiming at how almost everyone uses their phone and not by reviewing it for the rare geek that uses their camera phone like a Hasselblad.



I totally agree.. DPR is churning out these darn things like a production line.. Good people at DPR, this site is viewed by photographers of all abilities.. please do more interesting things with well as your decent reviews. If you are going to show us the latest phone or gizmo, then take a hint at what Ron suggests.. to give it meaning in our photography.. Azmi

1 upvote

So they shouldn't compare IQ at all? Even if the majority of users will not do anything with the shots but post them to FB that doesn't mean they don't give a hoot about IQ... You do realize displays are getting better and better all the time on tablets, laptops and even TVs no? 1080p (2MP) is like the minimum people will accept across those devices now and they WILL pinch and zoom and often look at pictures in more detail than any "serious photographer" would while printing.

Frankly I don't much care about the camera on my phone because I won't use it for anything critical or memorable, I have other cameras, but for PLENTY of people now their phone is their SOLE camera and it'll be called to capture everything from first born sons to weddings. Your snobbish attitude is wholly unnecessary, if you don't care for a technical review of a smartphone camera and just want a subjective by the seat of your pants comment then read any of the dozens of tech blogs.

1 upvote

People who are 'serious' about photography often take the worst boring images. Pixel peeping my @ss, it's not the camera, it's the person behind it.


"I don't know anyone who is serious about photography that uses a phone."

Well, actually, the Nokia 808 can easily rival even DSLR's with decent ($1000+) lens used in their "sweet spot" (FoV and aperture combo) under small-sensor-friendly circumstances (low DR, plenty of light).

The 808 has an exceptionally good lens, corner-to-corner, and the sensor-lens combo is capable of some VERY serious detail retention. I just love mine.


"I don't know anyone who is serious about photography that uses a phone."

Then go crawl back in your third world hole and quit posting here. Every one I know that knows a viewfinder from a lens mount carries a smart phone, and every one of those smart phones has a camera. For a photo enthusiast, the quality/capabilities of their camera's phone, while not everything, are a greater factor in their purchasing decisions than an average person, so reviews like this can help them get a phone that best balances their need for features and a (relative) quality camera.

Only an idiot would complain that a smart phone doesn't stack up against a dedicated camera. That's not at all the point. By that rationale, dpr should only review "full-frame" and larger sensors, because anything smaller is pointless.


I used to say the same thing until I got a good camera phone. Now my phone is my most used camera and I only take my DSLR for planned portrait sessions or special destination landscape shots, etc.

1 upvote
Lars Rehm

I am sorry this review is not of interest to you but there are a lot of people who do take pictures with their phones and who do care about the image quality of the cameras on those phones. Those are the people we target with these reviews.


I don't understand people complaining about these reviews, I much prefer DPR do a camera phone review than any of the other tech sites. I often use my phone when my camera isn't at reach, so a camera phone I have with me all of the time is invaluable.

Anyhow, great review and a big dissapointment with the M8, I just hope HTC can stay afloat for another year, with a new look on their camera technology, as the current 'less is more' philosophy isn't working.


As was to be expected lots of juvenile reactions and name calling.
But the facts are undeniable. Yes, the 808 is a wonderful machine (I have one), but no, it still does not come close to a camera (I have one too). If people are happy with their phone, good for them. Who cares, certainly not me.
But still these reviews are not completely fair and actually a bit misleading. Many if not most of the users of cameraphones will be completely happy with the results of the models that are reviewed here. While the reviews suggest huge differences, they are irrelevant to most. That is the reality I see all around me. Sorry Lars.

Lars Rehm

Sorry to disagree. I would not recommend the One M8's camera to anyone, it's clearly worse than its direct competitors in most respects. If you are at all interested in the image quality that comes out of your smartphone you'll want to get something else which is why this review is very relevant. If you don't care about the IQ of your phone then of course it's not relevant to you and there's not much point in reading it.

1 upvote

You are entitled to your opinion as am I. A pitty that you, like some of the name callers here, try to make it a personal thing by trying to put words into my mouth. My remarks had nothing to do with whether I care for IQ of phones or not. It had to do with the fact that the reviews could be more helpful for more people. Positive criticism. Not a personal attack. But feel free to ignore it and cary on the way you do. No harm done and looking at some reactions you have a nice group of civilized followers ...


Yeah, all except the fact that "your remarks" are based on your lack of perspective.

If you care so little about the subject, why keep commenting? Nobody here wants to know what you have to say after you've proven how ridiculous you are.


Aahhh, I see. And you represent the average intellect in this forum I guess?

Lars Rehm

Easy on the insults please or I will have to delete a few comments here. Where do you think is my review attacking anybody or anything on a personal level?

Total comments: 54
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