Spatial Resolution

We'll start by measuring the rear facing camera's ability to resolve fine details by shooting at an ISO12233 test target. For now we'll be looking at horizontal and vertical resolution using the sagittal and tangential lines in the upper right of the center of the test chart:


ISO12233 captured by One mini 2

The One mini 2 should show a clear advantage here compared to the One (M7/8) and original One mini as its 13MP sensor should be able to resolve finer details than any of its predecessors or more expensive siblings.

The gallery below has links to the original chart captures for all of the phones compared in this review:


In the sagittal crop, the One mini 2 doesn't show signs of aliasing until beyond the 14 mark (units of line pairs per image height). By 16 line pairs per image height we see more aliasing and beyond that things get worse. As the camera attempts to resolve finer and finer details it becomes more challenging to properly separate the white and black lines, which is why we get aliasing (swapping of the two colors). The M8 in this case is an absolute mess. There's aliasing beginning just after 10 line pairs per image height, and it's impossible to determine separation between the two lines after the 12 mark.

I think the LG G2 is a great comparison as it can be found at a similar price point to the mini 2 and it also has a 13MP camera sensor. The difference in quality is substantial. On the G2 we don't see aliasing until closer to the 18 marker. Even the Moto X's 10MP camera as well as the iPhone 5c's 8MP camera. As much as the One mini 2 is able to resolve finer details compared to the One thanks to its 13MP rear sensor, it's possible to deliver better performance with lower resolution cameras. In other words, not all 13MP cameras are created equal.

You can see full 1:1 resolution crops in the gallery below:


The tangential crops tell a very similar story. The One mini 2 delivers more spatial resolution than the One, but it falls behind last year's flagships.

Color Reproduction

With the M8, HTC improved color accuracy over the previous generation. As the One mini 2 features a different camera module, sensor and ISP, I wondered how color reproduction changed with the cost reduction. For the next comparison I shot the standard x-rite colorchecker classic card under 6500K light. The obvious next step here is to compare the captured colors to reference colors and calculate delta E values but we're not quite there yet.


There are definitely differences between the M8 and One mini 2's color handling. Reds are more saturated on the M8 mini, while there's a bit more green on the M8. The light brown swatch is a bit more pink than it should be (see the second square in the top row), and there's more noise than there really should be in some of these squares. Grayscale performance looks decent. Overall color reproduction is decent, but different than the M8.

Camera Architecture Still Image Analysis: Lab Scenes
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  • devione - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    Why, oh why, can't more manufacturers follow the Sony Z1 Compact route.. Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    I'd be interested to see the sales figures for the Z1 Compact in Europe where the phone is widely available to see if Sony's strategy of producing a flagship phone with a smaller screen has worked out for them. On paper the phone looks pretty much exactly what everyone has been wanting for a while in Android with a top end SoC, camera, micro SD, decent screen even weather sealing and without much compromise either as the price is reasonable as is the batterylife. It makes a complete mockery of the HTC Mini 2 as they both appear to be a similar price despite the Sony being a much more capable device.

    Yet I've not seen anyone with a Z1 Compact despite plenty of other Android phones and I've hardly seen any second hand for sale (I want a cheap one for going out cycling) whereas there's quite a few S5's around even though it's only recently released. I realise none of that's statistically relevant hence I'd like to see the sales data.

    I do think Sony were too slow releasing the Z1 Compact, I think if they'd released it around two years after the Galaxy S2 they'd have been in the perfect position to catch those who wanted a similar sized phone with top end specs. I knew quite a few people who had S2's and didn't want an S4 due to the increase in size however as there wasn't anything suitable in a smaller form factor with Android they went with the S4 and find the size is fine.

    A few friends and family have 'mini' phones particularly the S3 Mini and S4 Mini but they didn't just want a smaller phone they also wanted a cheap phone so wouldn't have considered a Z1 Compact if available.
    Reply
  • Laxaa - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    My brother just bought the Z1 Compact, and it's an impressive piece of kit. I only wish it had OIS and a better camera app(like Nokia Camera on the Lumias) Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    From the article: "HTC then proceeded to launch the One mini, a phone that was the size that everyone had been asking for"
    From Johnmcl7: " On paper the phone looks pretty much exactly what everyone has been wanting for a while in Android".
    Really? Everyone wanted a phone like that? I didn't. I was fine with 4.3" in my SGS2 when the iPhone established the 3.x" form factor. I liked my 4.65" Galaxy Nexus when that was becoming the norm and I like the 5.2" LG G2 which is doesn't feel much larger than the GN. So count me out of that "everyone" group, please. Not everyone is looking for smaller flag ship phones, just like not everyone is looking for microSD card slots, replaceable batteries or phones made out of aluminum. Some are, others aren't. I'm someone who is fine with lugging around his Nexus 7 when I'm wearing a jacket. The 5.2" G2 fits perfectly fine in all my trousers and I have never thought "bly me, that size is really bothering me".
    Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    OK, wrong turn of speech - my own phone is a Sony Z Ultra (6.4in screen) so I certainly appreciate the benefits of a larger screen. Reply
  • fokka - Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - link

    i'm really happy for you and you're right, not "everyone" wants all those things you list. the problem is that for people who are happy with 5"+ phones there already are many options - the whole flagship-segment caters to them.

    but for those who want all the power in a slightly smaller form factor there is exactly one viable offering - not much considered the dozens/hundreds of models on the market. and even this lonely smartphone will be "obsolete" in a matter of months, considering the specs of current and coming flagships.

    in a market like this, i think it's clear and also warranted, that people are complaining. but even if we aren't "everybody", it's still important that we voice our opinions. sorry if you felt collateralized ;)
    Reply
  • sfuzzz - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    I feel exactly the same. Z1 Compact is a great phone (with some flaws like other) and the right size for everyday life, you don't have to carry a bag or a jacket only for your phone. I own a Nexus 5, coming from a Xperia U (perfect size for me) and this summer will see if i go mad feeling it in my pockets all day. As for the sales (of Z1 compact) It's difficult to tell the real figures, here in Italy is available for 450/420 euros or less, but anything that is not Samsung or iPhone is a "niche" phone. I own a N5, my sister owns a Moto G, and we are considered some kind of "geeks" only for that :) Reply
  • Gich - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    4xCortex-A7 can't keep up with 2xKrait 200 on benchmarks that do stress all core... and it should be worst on "normal" apps.
    Isn't this... very bad?
    Reply
  • Gich - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    Also "it’s not much of an improvement"? I feel is more of a step back. Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    Yeah, I'd take dual krait over any number of A7 cores any day. Reply

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