[Update: before and after!] HTC pushes out a much-needed update to improve the HTC One M9’s camera


UPDATE: see before and after photos that show improvements


One of the biggest knocks on the HTC One M9 despite its stylish good looks, powerful hardware and blissful software experience was its camera — it just wasn’t up to snuff despite being a 20 megapixel shooter. You can read our concerns regarding that in our HTC One M9 review.

But guess what? HTC’s been listening, and they’re just about ready to push the first software upgrade to fix that. The company has confirmed that a forthcoming upgrade (build 1.32.531.33, about 88MB in size for our T-Mobile unit) that specifically addresses the camera is currently in testing and should be ready for folks to download and install within a matter of days:

  • AT&T and T-Mobile: The update is in final testing, and is expected to roll out in a week’s time.
  • Sprint: The update is ready to go and will roll out beginning tomorrow.
  • Verizon: The upgrade will be pre-loaded on Verizon’s devices when they go on sale tomorrow.

We’re not yet sure how much of a difference this will make for the camera experience, but for it to get its own software upgrade we’re expecting big things. We’ve already gotten our hands on it and will look to test out the new improvements in the moments to come. Stay tuned for some before and after shots, and get ready for it to hit your phone in the days to come!

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. But are the issues solely software fixable? You can write all the code you want, but if the hardware is flawed in some way, there is only so much you can do.

    1. I guess you just have to wait and see

    2. The hardware isn’t flawed. It’s using a Toshiba sensor, the same one as the Nokia Lumia and those produce great results.

      Same with all these professional DLSRs which mostly use the same CMOS sensors, but produce widely different results.

      1. Just because it uses a certain “brand” of censor does not automatically assume the sensor used in this device is not flawed. Known good “brands” produce flawed products all of the time.

        1. But it’s using the *same* sensor as another phone. Doesn’t this mean in essence that if the software were the same it would take the same quality photos?

          1. Is it? How do we know that? No joke, I am curious how that is known.

            Anyway… that still does not mean THESE sensors in THIS phone could not be bad. And which Nokia Lumia? The 930 from 2014? The 635? The 640? The 735? Point is, we still don’t know if these sensors in these phones are the issue or if it is just software. I do not think it is just a forgone conclusion that since it is a “Toshiba sensor” then all is well and software will fix it. If so, how did it make it out the door with crap software? Software that, from day 1, everyone said was bad since photos were so poor. So everyone else knew on day 1 photos were bad, but HTC somehow missed it? So maybe the bad hardware is locked in, they tried to fix with software, didn’t do a great job, people noticed, complained, now they try for round 2 with mass feedback. Their only option at this stage is software… but that may not be the fix.

          2. Because software is the probelm. Not the hardware. The hardwar is flawless. And the hardware was praised when it was used in the 930. SO your comment makes you look like an uninformed biased twat.

  2. Even MKBHD said a software update alone would not fix the camera much. They opted for a Toshiba sensor instead of the industry standard Sony sensor..

    1. he is just human, even he can be proved wrong

      1. Thank you for making that observation. My point is that many outlets ,including Phandroid, were concerned with picture quality. My intention was not to assume whether or not the update would fix it, it was merely an attempt to express that the photos where so inconsistent that “not even an update could fix it” that’s how hit-or-miss the camera is and that it was coming from a respected person in the tech community.

        1. I know exactly what you , and I know all about MKBHD, Im just quick to assume everyone is wrong with speculation, all I go off of is the fact after the fact

        2. You are an idiot.

    2. breh, the toshiba sensors are similar to the ones used in the Nokia Lumias…..

    3. MKBHD is a fucking idiiot. A software update can fix the camera greatly. Did you know that Nokia used Toshiba Sensors in all of their Lumia devices? Sony is not the industry standard. Did you know the Lumia 930, which was called the best camera phone of 2014, is using an identical sensor to the M9? So yes. A software update can fix the camera and fix it a lot. This just proves MKBHD is uninformed and doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  3. Hmmmm, arguably the best camera phones on the market use Toshiba sensors. Lumia range…

  4. NO! I hope my device got out of Verizon’s hands beforehand! My Verizon M9 arrived today around noon. Now I get to go home after work and hope the update didn’t make it’s way to the phone. I am super paranoid about losing the ability to get S-off.

    1. Oh you know Verizon will be working tirelessly to ruin your S-off status. Good luck.

  5. Look forward to some before the fix/after the fix comparison shots. I am also doubtful about how far you can go with software improvements, but I’ll reserve judgement…

    1. You’d think the camera hardware itself would be more capable. Didn’t Toshiba work with MS and Nokia to make that crazy 41mpx Lumia shooter?

  6. So, is this an update to the HTC Camera app, or, an OTA update? Just curious, the DevEd got an OTA about a week ago, not sure to what, a non-descript software/bug fix.

    1. This is an OTA update. Just hit my T-Mobile One M9

      1. http://cdn.gottabemobile.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/M9-update-720×636.jpg
        Something around this size? (From GottaBeMobile’s T-Mo M9)

        This is the update I got last week w/the DevEd (a much larger sized update,284MB):

        http://i.imgur.com/oubhsmx.png http://i.imgur.com/wAvDvsJ.png

        1. Verizon updated my device before I could receive it

          1. Able to unlock/root/etc?

            I’m holding out until S-Off is out of beta,then,I’ll be looking @TeamVenomROMs

          2. I’m fairly certain the Verizon M9 doesn’t have root yet, but I’ll have to double check.

      2. Sweet.. I look forward to seeing the afters. Hopefully you can shoot the same setup (content, placement, time day, lighting) as the befores for good apples to apples.

      3. Everybody is getting updates except for me!!!!!! (Sony Xperia Z3)

      4. So what’s the word, notice any difference?

      5. T-Mo!? Mine has yet to get it. :S

  7. Where did this news come from? Was there official announcement from HTC? or an inside source?

    1. HTClover49 said it was so on Twitter :)

    2. This was an official statement from HTC sent directly to us.

      1. Ok cool. I just noticed that JMcKenzie nor Jeff Gordon haven’t said anything about it. I was curious. Thanks for responding.

  8. Alright, here’s an quick comparison for those wondering…

    HTC One M9 (after camera update): http://i.imgur.com/FRj022E.jpg

    Samsung Galaxy S6: http://i.imgur.com/llUiWdT.jpg

    The update definitely fixed the One M9 camera (it was practically broken before). It’s much sharper now, but you can still see HTC’s trademark noise smudging all over the image. Almost makes the picture look like it was painted if you zoom in all the way.

    That’s not to say the One M9 camera doesn’t perform well. It still may not be as sharp as the Galaxy S6 (which has a bigger file size too), but it’s not “bad” by any means.

    Will need to further test in different lighting conditions, but those are just my initial impressions.

    1. The M9 photo looks much clearer and has much better dynamic range than the S6 shot here. The M9 file size is 3 times as big as the S6 file size. Some of that no doubt has to do with the 10:7 aspect ratio. The M9 photo does have artifacting from over-aggressive noise reduction and subsequent over-sharpening. But, it clearly looks better than the S6 shot in these examples.

      1. Toshiba!

      2. Yea I zoomed in on the little droid figures, they do have more detail from the S6, the M9 still had some work to do, but I definitely believe in them more now

    2. Nice slippers. The M9 pics are actually pretty nice, although I believe the S6 colors are more true to life. Not bad though, just wish it didn’t have the 810 :/

      1. The S6 colours (and it is spelt colours not colors) are over saturared from the camera. The M9 are true to life. And their is nothing wrong with the 810. It is a beast of a processor. They over heating issues was fabricated. And the over heating photo of the M9 during a benchmark test was proven to be photoshopped. The 810 is the best processor on the market at the moment.

        1. Maybe in GPU, but the A8 & Exynos 7420 are the best on the market right now.

          1. The Exynos 7420 is a jok and overrated. The 810 is a million percent better. Typical Sammy fanboy.

          2. I’m just gonna let you roll around in your own stupidity.

          3. No That’s you.

    3. Hahaha why I got stuff all over my little center table as well, and my ps4 controllers stay lingering on my table lol

    4. I can see the Sour Patch Kids bag in the GS6 photo..that’s it…GS6 FTW!!!

  9. This news is not a minute too soon. Had I been able to order the gold S6 64GB on Best Buy pre-order just for the charger I would have. Now I will wait and see if this makes the camera close to the S6 or not.

    1. See my last comment.

      1. Do you have the Apk to update my HTC M9 camera ?

  10. OK, I pre-ordered the Verizon M9 on April 1, and it arrives tomorrow at my door. Will it have the update? Is there a firmware number I could check for?

    1. Units that are shipping to you have been in the warehouses of retailers for a few days and in shipment for a week or maybe more from overseas. So i doubt that they’ll have the upgraded software already installed. Hopefully when you turn it on, you’ll receive the update instantly.

  11. screw htc the U.S. gets no m9+ or m9 max love

    1. Because the regular M9 is better.

      1. processors dont make the whole phone

  12. Anyone actually got the update today for the sprint version?

    1. not yet

  13. Tomorrow i officially return to the HTC fold and receive my M9. Sorry I left to try a Nexus made by Motorolla, learned my lesson. Sorry i traded my excellent M8 for that disappointment. Never again, unless that Nexus is made by HTC. The Nexus 6 was the first non HTC android phone i ever owned, again, lesson learned.

    1. What didnt you like about the N6 that the M8 had? I had both and I love the N6 alot more. Its night and day. But Im a vanilla android user and I love the 6″ screen in a body of a 5.5″ phone.

      1. Loved the vanilla android experience, loved the 6 inch screen and the front facing speakers. What i didnt like was the instability. near constant lag of some sort. Not saying that the M8 had something that the N6 didnt. Just wish i wouldnt have picked the N6 as the Nexus i left HTC for. Always wanted to try a Nexus, this one disappointed me. Will wait for an HTC Nexus. If not ill just keep up with the ONE series, and HTC in general.

        1. I agree but it wasn’t Motorola it was 5.0. When 5.1 dropped this phone flies. I had the M8 and honestly I missed it when I got the N6 but not anymore since 5.1. This phone is now near perfect.

          1. To each his own. I got 5.1 and it didn’t really help. In fact the battery drains even faster now. Now it loses power while plugged in and not the other way around. Has to be more than just the software. The lag night have been software. But there are things I didn’t list which I won’t get into that have been hardware related issues. I’ve had enough.

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