HTC’s flagship handset features what is touted as an UltraPixel camera, bringing a raft of visual innovations to the device. Using larger pixels to capture more light, the camera has what is effectively three layers of four megapixels which can create images that rival those from the best smartphone cameras available.
Also packed in to the HTC One package is the Zoe camera feature, which allows you to capture short clips instead of photos and then edit together frames from the video to create the perfect image. If this sounds a little familiar it’s because BlackBerry launched a similar feature called Time Shift with its BlackBerry 10 platform. So, how do the two compare when tested alongside each other?
Both handsets capture clips a few seconds in duration and allow you to roll backwards and forwards through the footage to pick the ideal frame. Having done that you can opt to discard of retain frames in which the expressions of people within the image are not to your liking.
On each device this works by using facial recognition to isolate people’s faces then allowing you to roll just that part of image backwards or forwards a few milliseconds. This is perfect in the instances where a subject has blinked at the wrong moment as you can adjust the shot to a time when their eyes were open.
The BlackBerry has an excellent interface for doing this, with each face appearing larger on screen as you select it and the presentation of a circular control which is very easy to adjust. HTC’s Zoe works in the same way but faces are not enlarged for editing and adjustments are made via swiping gestures, something which we found to be a little less accurate in practice.
However, HTC goes a full step further with a function that BlackBerry cannot match. Say for example someone walks into the background of your shot as you’re taking it; HTC Zoe can recognise elements of the image that it thinks are out of place and allow you to remove them. This is achieved by rolling back the selected part of the image a few milliseconds to a time when that person simply wasn’t in shot.
While BlackBerry’s Time Shift is accurate and easy to use, it doesn’t have a feature which matches the object remover in HTC Zoe, giving the Taiwanese firm the edge in terms of post-shot editing functions.
Beyond those innovative functions, both handsets have quite feature packed photo editing suites, with a host of effects that can be added along with options for cropping and resizing an image. Overall, BlackBerry Time Shift has an excellent control interface but it is the HTC device which wins out in terms of overall functions and features.