Apr 9th, 2015

You’ve read our HTC One M9 review. Loved the phone, not so much the camera. Then HTC announced a software update that improved photo quality . We knew you’d want to see before and after comparisons immediately, so that’s exactly what we did: took a variety of photos, downloaded and installed the software update, then tried to duplicate those exact photos with those exact settings to see if the camera quality really did improve (spoiler: it did).

Based on: Software update 1.32.531.33 (88.6MB)

Before Update / After Update


This photo of the City Paper dispenser outside the City Pier in Fells Point (Baltimore, MD) shows an instant improvement in a pretty standard style outdoor pic.


From this simple photo of a basketball outside of my garage you can quickly tell the difference: the update makes everything sharper.


This photo of church doors near my house again proves the update not only improves photo clarity with greatly reduced grain, but the colors are much more lively and vibrant.


This photo was taken in a completely pitch black room using flash. Previously the M9 couldn’t handle this at all, but as you can see, the update provides a pretty decent photo considering non-existent lighting conditions.


Everyone loves taking macro pics and the update improvements are seen in this area of photography as well. More color and more clarity.


This zoomed out photo of a colorful row of houses illustrates that near, far, wherever you are, I believe that the camera improves.


Indoors as well. My initial photo of this sculpture was blurry and quite frankly horrible, but after the update it fairs much better. Keep in mind that this picture was taken in low light.


I want to point out a few important things before you draw any conclusions:

  • I only had one HTC One M9 unit for testing so I had to take the pictures, update the phone, and then take another round of similar pictures. This means that the after pictures were taken approximately 30 minutes later. The last pictures were taken around 5:30PM so it’s possible that changing sunlight for both outdoor and indoor photos had some effect.
  • It was a cloudy day… very cloudy with no direct sunlight popping through.
  • In some cases my house lighting may not have been identical, but I tried to match it as best as humanly possible in each photo
  • The front-facing selfie cam appears to be unaffected by this update

Regardless of these minor inconsistencies, I think it’s fairly obvious to tell that this M9 camera update boasts huge improvements. I wouldn’t say that this catapults the M9’s camera from terrible to outrageously awesome, but those who decided against the M9 primarily due to the camera should consider giving it a second look.

This is just a preliminary look at the camera update. We’ll be digging in deeper and updating our full M9 review as appropriate.

Gallery of full size images

The above photos were put side-by-side using comparison software. If you want to see the full, unedited and unfiltered images, I’ve posted them below. They should still be in before and after order, but to assuredly discern between photos taken before and after the update, please refer to the photo’s file name. (Or you can assume the better looking photo is the one that has been updated since that’s the case essentially every single time.)

Click for full size image

Does this change your opinion about the HTC One M9? What are your thoughts on the camera after seeing these before and after improvements?


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