Nokia Lumia 1020: photo impressions

, posted: 8-Oct-2013 15:25

I must start this with a correction. I was more than a little incorrect before in stating that the 1020’s camera bump sticks out by ‘a few centimetres’. A more accurate measurement is 3-4mm from the body. The 1020 is in fact only about 14mm thick at the camera and around 10mm for the rest of the body. The 1020 is a comfortable size and fits well in one hand (though I do tend to end up using two for most things). The camera bump doesn’t really get in the way during use and actually gives you something to grip on while taking it out of your pocket.

The biggest complaint I have about the construction is that the handset feels slippery. I have yet to drop it, but at the same time I am too nervous to take it out of my pocket on my daily ferry rides for fear of it going for an unplanned swim. Obviously due to the shape it doesn’t sit flat either, so you either have to rest it on the screen or the camera bump on the back. A case should definitely be an early purchase in my opinion.

On to the camera. In a somewhat confusing move, camera functions are separated into three discrete applications. Nokia Pro Cam is used to perform manual adjustments such as ISO, focal length and shutter speed and capture the 41 megapixel monsters Nokia is so keen on selling. Nokia Smart Cam provides improved low light performance, burst shots, action shots and the ability to merge these in various ways and add effects like motion blur at 5 or 8 megapixels. Finally the stock standard Camera app is still available, though it will not capture 41 megapixel shots. Nokia is in the process of combining Pro Cam and Smart Cam into a single application though we don’t have a release date yet. Pushing and holding the camera button starts up Pro Cam by default, though this can be changed if you like (settings, applications, photos+camera). I will be focusing on Pro Cam for this update with Smart Cam coming in a later update.

The Pro Cam allows adjustment of several aspects of the photo, with a live preview. These include:

  • Flash - On, Focus Light Only, No Focus Light, Off
  • White Balance - Auto, Cloudy, Sunny, something else, Indoor
  • ISO - 100-4000
  • Shutter Speed - 1/16000 - 4 seconds
  • Exposure Value - -3 to +3

All are accessible from a bar at the top/side (depending on how you are holding the phone) and tapping on one brings up a slider that allows you to change them. Doing this absolutely requires two hands, unless you have incredibly long thumbs. Tapping on a screen will attempt to focus on that area, you can then take a photo by tapping the camera button on the screen or pushing the two stage camera button.

If like me those settings don’t mean a hell of a lot to you, there is a tutorial which pops up the first time you launch Pro Cam (and is accessible alter on) that takes you through each one. Cleverly each explanation includes an example photo and shows what changing the setting does to the image. There are a number of good getting started guides for how best to start using these settings, including this one ( I have been taking shots during my trips to work (the walking sections at least) and I have been using auto for all settings. You can see some of the results in the samples.

The 1020 by default captures a shareable 5MP image and a 34MP (for 16:9) or 36MP (for 4:3) when you take a photo. For the trainspotters, a 16:9 34MP image is 7712x4352 while the smaller is 3072x1728.


The 5MP goes into your camera roll and can be shared as normal. When going through Camera Roll it will show up with “captured with Nokia Pro Cam” and clicking the text will then open the photo in Pro Cam.

Opening in Nokia Pro Cam allows you to use cropping and re-framing. What this means is that you can pinch and zoom your photo or change aspect ratio, then save an image from that zoomed view. Because the 1020 uses such a high resolution sensor and oversamples, the amount of zoom you can do from a single shot is impressive. In the pictures below you can see the unzoomed original and a reframed shot. To be clear - both are from the same single photo.



Max Zoom

Once reframed, you hit save and can then reshare. However you can go back to the shot in Pro Cam at any point and reframe again (zoom out, zoom in on another area etc). The amount of zoom you can get is dependant on the original quality of the shot. Some of my auto shots taken in overcast conditions got very noisy at fairly low levels of zoom, something I am pretty sure could be resolved by adjusting manual settings appropriately when taking a picture.

The 5MP shareable photos end up in the Camera Roll in the Photos app and can be shared through the usual suspects (Facebook, MMS, Email etc). While the full size originals can only be accessed by hooking the handset up over USB. The smaller ones are around 2.5-3MB in size for a 16:9 image, while the full resolution ones are between 9 and 12MB.

What this camera does is make taking good looking photos a lot easier. Just take one, get the settings right and you can crop/zoom it later. Doing so on the phone is quick and responsive, no lagging at all. Where it does fall down however it starting up Pro Cam, which takes between 2 and 5 seconds. In addition, there is a 2-3 second wait after taking a photo while it processes. If you are wanting to capture something that happens quickly, better leave it running. In comparison Smart Cam takes around three seconds and the default camera app just one second.

So that is my amateur’s take on Pro Cam. Coming up next time will be Smart Cam, video and a hobbyist photographer’s take on the camera capabilities. I will leave you with a few more shots of beautiful Auckland City.

And some links to full resolution files:


My Geekzone username is wasabi2. I am an IT consultant located in Auckland. I am currently working at SKYCITY. I have been interested in technology since I was a kid, where I got started breaking the family PC. These days I spend a lot of time keeping up to date with the latest tech. My house has all mobile ecosystems covered (Android, iOS, Windows Phone).

The Nokia Lumia 1020: initial impressions

, posted: 1-Oct-2013 20:58

I was lucky enough to be sent a brand new Nokia Lumia 1020 to review. I received it this week so what follows are my initial impressions.

First, some back story. I have been a keen Windows Phone user since the Nokia Lumia 800 was first released. I upgraded from a Nokia E60, so the Nokia Lumia 800 was my first real smartphone, but was getting a bit long in the tooth. Apps either don’t support Windows Phone 7 or just run slowly, even Microsoft have recently ended Skype support on anything older than Windows Phone 8. So it definitely felt like time for an upgrade, but what to buy? We have all ecosystems represented at home - iPhone 5, Android 4 and Windows Phone. I was leaning towards Android (due to a great experience with a Nexus 7) but really wanting to give Windows Phone 8 a go first.

Then along came the Nokia Lumia 1020. Originally known as the 909, this is Nokia’s second attempt at putting their new camera technology on/in a phone. The 808 was the first device to come along with the 41 megapixel monster attached, but it ran Symbian, making it a dead duck for all but the most dedicated gadget heads. It has taken a long time for a Windows Phone handset to come along with the same (but better) tech attached, the Nokia Lumia 1020 even has some traces of the original moniker around the place (about phone shows the model as NOKIA 909). The 1020 is running Windows Phone 8 and ships with the following versions installed:

  • OS - 8.0.10328.78
  • Firmware Revision Number - 3049.0000.1330.1002
  • Hardware Revision Number -
  • Radio Software Version - 3.2.04033.1
  • Chip SOC Version - 8960

The settings menu now also lists an extra+info item, which shows the version of all Nokia applications.

To complete the numbers, the 1020 contains a Dual Core, 1.5Ghz Snapdragon S4 Processor with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of Storage.

The box is small, with a little bit of Telecom branding. It is very similar to the box from my original Lumia 800. Inside you will find:

  • The Handset (wrapped in plastic)
  • SIM Tool (for popping open the SIM tray)
  • In-ear earbuds (the same colour as the handset)
  • USB Cable (luckily not the same colour as the handset)
  • USB Charger (plug comes out the side)
  • Some paper

My first surprise was the colour. Going from a black Lumia 800 to the Yellow 1020 is something of a shock. The pictures don’t do it justice: this thing is bright, bright yellow. It has taken a few days but I am finally getting used to it and I’m even starting to like it. Everyone who has seen it has commented on it, most positively. The ear buds included in the box match the colour and I suspect I look a little bit ridiculous wandering the Auckland streets with bright yellow earbuds on.

The next thing you notice is the camera bump. As you can see this sticks out a good few millimetres. I was concerned this bump would get damaged or bits scratched but it seems sturdy and has yet to show any signs of scratching or scuffing, despite spending most of the last few days with the bump down on my desk at work. The flashes look to have a strong coating on the outside and the lens itself is covered and recessed from the surface of the bump. It certainly isn’t fragile, but I do treat it a little bit more carefully than my flat backed 800.

Going from a smaller phone, 4.5 inches does feel quite large. It is definitely usable in one hand, however I do have long fingers. Reaching from bottom left to top right with my thumb requires a bit of stretching. This is common to all larger phones and it not limited to the 1020. The 1020 does feel solid and weighty, but in a good way, sturdy, not heavy. My biggest gripe so far is that the polycarbonate shell is quite slippery. A case is going to be my first purchase when I can find one.

Next up, the screen. It is absolutely gorgeous. Running at 768x1280 the 4.5 inch AMOLED display has 334ppi, slightly higher than the iPhone 5’s 326 and even the 2013 Nexus 7’s 323. This is my first phone with a larger than 4 inch screen and I am enjoying it immensely. Blacks are deep and colours vibrant. The display settings applet also contains a Lumia colour profile section, which allows you to set Colour Temperature and Saturation. Mind shipped with the saturation set to enhanced, I reduced this to normal. On a side note, the phone ships with the theme matching the handset colour. Suffice to stand my very yellow phone with a very yellow theme was a little bit much, I had to change to dark blue.

The ear buds that ship with the 1020 do a good job. They are the in-ear type and come with 4 sets of rubber sleeves. I am not a fan of this style (I prefer earbuds or over ear) but they work fine for my morning commute on the ferry. Volume with headphones on the 1020 is also greater than my old 800. I used to have to max the 800 out to listen to Podcasts, I no longer have to do so. The ear-buds also contain a microphone and button (for call control and music playback). Voice quality using the ear-buds is good and the button on them responsive and very useful when the phone is in an inside pocket under a jacket.

Ports on the device are limited to a 3.5mm headphone jack in the middle of the top, alongside the SIM tray (which requires the included SIM tool to open) and a USB port in the middle at the bottom, next to the speaker. There is a good quality USB cable included in the box for syncing and charging with the included USB charger. The charger itself is very small and flat, with the port on the right hand side of the plug. Handy for sockets mounted above/below each other, not so much for side by side.

As far as applications, the 1020 comes with nothing I would consider bloat and no carrier branding whatsoever. The Nokia HERE Apps (Drive, Maps, Transit) are all pre-installed, along with the requisite camera apps (more on those later), Data Transfer utility (copies data from supported phones using Bluetooth), Data Sense (shows data usage by app and can set limits) and the usual basic apps (Alarm, Calculator etc). The first apps I went to the store and downloaded were Adobe Reader, Baconit (for reddit) and NZ Herald. Beyond that Windows Phone has pretty good social network integration built right into the People Hub.

Hopefully this has been a helpful introduction and unboxing. Over the next few weeks I intend to cover some other aspects of the device in greater detail. In particular the camera (from an amateur and enthusiast perspective), phone hardware, Windows Phone 8 and Telecom network performance.

My Geekzone username is wasabi2. I am an IT consultant located in Auckland. I am currently working at SKYCITY. I have been interested in technology since I was a kid, where I got started breaking the family PC. These days I spend a lot of time keeping up to date with the latest tech. My house has all mobile ecosystems covered (Android, iOS, Windows Phone).

Technofreak’s HTC One: final thoughts

, posted: 21-Jun-2013 11:10

I've had the HTC One for six weeks now and have had a good chance to get to know it.

The HTC One reminds me to some extent of the Samsung F480T that I once owned. Both are very well made and great looking phones that lack finish in some areas. When I say this, it is very subjective and relative to what other smartphones are capable of these days.

Overall it is a capable device that does a pretty good job, there are some real highlights and some disappointments.

Before I recap on those I have some other comments.

The Trace keyboard, as HTC call it, is not as polished as I’m used to on my Nokia N9. I’m comparing the stock apps in both cases. Despite the N9 having smaller screen, and therefore smaller keys, the Swype keyboard on the N9 works better than the Trace keyboard on the HTC. Also the HTC lacks features, like being able to swipe up to enter a capital letter or swipe from the full stop to the space bar to add a full stop, space and capitalize the first letter at the start of the next sentence. The dictionary gives some rather odd choices of words at times.

I believe there is an upgrade you can purchase which is supposed to be better, but again this is another example of only the basic version of an app being installed. Also the Trace keyboard does silly things at times and won’t allow you enter characters by tracing, as if the "Trace" function is frozen. My N9 also supports various keyboard styles (qwerty, Swype, T9) and allows an easy change between styles with a sideways swipe in the keyboard area, with the HTC One you need to go to the settings menu to make the change.

Speech quality has generally been good except when used in the car on Bluetooth handsfree when there's often a background noise like heavy rain. Also I've had the voice signal fade or drop out in locations where I don't normally have problems.

Like many current smart phones the battery is not user replaceable. However a lot of phones are constructed in such a way that a user with reasonable technical expertise can replace the battery. Not so with the HTC One apparently, the battery has to be replaced at a service centre. However for the average owner this is unlikely to be too much of an issue.

Battery life has got better as time has gone on, though I still consider it only average for the battery size. I leave Bluetooth on all the time and have WiFi set up not to search for new networks, just like on my other phones. With two days of light to moderate use it be down to 29%. However I’ve also had days where using Sportstracker for an hour or so has reduced battery life to just one day.

With Android you are driven to the world of Google and while it’s certainly not a walled garden like Apple, there are some many Google centric things. Here I’m thinking about the calendar, email and maps particularly. I guess this isn’t just an Android thing as I strongly suspect Windows Phone 8 does a similar thing. For those who have Google accounts this is probably perfectly acceptable.

I don't particularly like being herded in one direction, I like to choose, and while the HTC One is quite Google centric there are still good alternatives to the Google option, for example, Exchange Active Sync works well with other calendar and email options.

One of the big selling points of the phone is the screen size but to me it’s also has a downside. While a big screen is great for web browsing and videos, it makes the phone hard to operate with one hand. The lock/unlock button being located at the top of the phone is very difficult to operate single hand. The lock/unlock button would be much easier to use if it were on the side.

With my other phones I can text and answer calls with one hand and the size of the HTC makes texting particularly hard to do with one hand and even other actions require two hands to ensure you have a good grip on the phone. It would be a real shame to drop such a great looking device

Over the last few days I’ve gone back to using the N9 as my main phone and it is nicer to hold and surprisingly it didn’t take long to get used to the smaller screen. Perhaps because I’ve been using it alongside the HTC One to compare functions, the change in screen size hasn’t been as dramatic.

The major disappointments for me were:

Not being able to sync the calendar and Notes directly with Outlook. This is a bit limiting for me particularly the Outlook Notes. HTC provide HTC Sync manager to do this but I found it would crash 9 times out of ten, making it useless. The calendar I managed to sort out by using with Exchange Active Sync. This worked quite well in the end for me, as I was able to easily keep the calendar in sync on all of my devices. I have had issues with some repeating events showing up a day out, though to be fair this isn’t the fault of the phone. Not being able to sync Notes was a bit of a deal breaker though.

Having no turn by turn voice instructions when connected via Bluetooth made the Maps app almost useless for me. I have a handsfree kit in my car, with the phone connected to the handsfree kit there was no voice instructions either from the phone speakers or the car speakers. Perhaps the next Jellybean update will sort this out. Otherwise the maps worked well.

Like most devices you keep finding little nuggets, that’s what I call them, cool little functions or features you stumble across by accident. One I discovered the other day was the ability to zoom the size of text in a SMS message, a very nice feature.

Now to the highlights

The HTC One shines as a media device. The music player is pretty good, it’s easy to use and has some nice features. The screen saver with the lyrics is particularly cool. The front facing stereo speakers provide very good high quality sound for such a device. Even though I suspect most users will use ear buds, for those occasions you want to share the music with others, the speakers provide good fidelity and volume. Unlike many small speakers the sound has reasonable base with not too much treble.

However the real stand out component for me is the camera. I think it is outstanding particularly in low light. The auto focus works very well and the on screen zooming is a great feature. You will go a long way to find a better camera on a phone as the HTC One has a very good camera. Sure it’s not a big mega pixel camera but plenty enough mega pixels for the average person. You should be able to blow your shots up to A4 size without too much of a problem and still retain reasonable quality.

Overall I think the average owner will be pretty happy with the HTC One. Everyone’s mileage will vary depending on their needs. There were some areas that let it down for me but these areas won’t be important for everyone. It’s a good looking phone which draws good comments from those that see it. It does everything you’d expect of a smart phone and does some of those things particularly well.

I see the HTC One giving good service and a lot of satisfaction to the people that own it. This is demonstrated by the number of Geekzoners that have bought the HTC One and keep raving about it on the HTC One owners thread.

If you want a very smart looking phone that has a great stereo speakers coupled to a good music player and you make good use of a camera in low light situations then you will be very very happy with the HTC One.

This was my first real foray into the world of Android. I would like to thank Telecom New Zealand and Mauricio for the opportunity to take part on the TelecomTech blog. I have enjoyed the experience immensely. I hope readers have gained something from what I have written. I’ve certainly learned many things along the way. I look forward to reading other TelecomTech blogs as they come along in the future.

About the author

My name is Alan. I’ve been a Geekzone member for almost eight years (as Technofreak) and have enjoyed contributing and helping people on the site and have also gained a lot of help here myself at the same time. My involvement with technology goes back to another life when I was a Technician for NZPO/Telecom. I still remember the first cellphone I used, a Panasonic, which was the size of a handbag. I was an avid user of Palm handhelds for many years, having owned a 515, a T5 and a TX, all fantastic devices, I only recently pensioned off the TX.  These days I find smartphones extremely useful devices for keeping me in touch, especially being out and about with my job. The HTC One is the first real foray into the world of Android for me, it going to be an interesting and learning experience.

Brad’s root guide for the HTC One

, posted: 12-Jun-2013 17:30

Since this is a blog on a tech site and a lot of the people reading it will be interested in rooting their device for a number of reasons I have put together a guide to unlocking and rooting the HTC One.

What is root you ask? Well I’ll let Wikipedia answer that

Android rooting is the process of allowing users of smartphones, tablets, and other devices running the Android mobile operating system to attain privileged control (known as "root access") within Android's subsystem.

Rooting is often performed with the goal of overcoming limitations that carriers and hardware manufacturers put on some devices, resulting in the ability to alter or replace system applications and settings, run specialized apps that require administrator-level permissions, or perform other operations that are otherwise inaccessible to a normal Android user. On Android, rooting can also facilitate the complete removal and replacement of the device's operating system, usually with a more recent release of its current operating system.

Now why would you want to root your expensive new device? Well as above, there are many reasons like:
  • keeping your stock ROM but gain root for certain apps or mods i.e Titanium Backup.
  • flashing a custom kernel
  • flashing a custom ROM
Important:Before you begin this process, ensure that you have backed up any important data as the phone will formatted during this process.

If you need ADB/Fastboot drivers see this thread on XDA.

Step 1: Unlock Bootloader

Warning: Unlocking the bootloader will format your phone and may in some cases lead to voiding your warranty. This process cannot be undone with flashing a firmware RUU.
  • Go on and create yourself an account on HTCDEV.
  • Download these adb/fastboot files
  • Make a new folder on your C: drive called Fastboot for example and extract the ZIP to it.
  • Go to and select "All Other Supported Models" and then “Begin Unlock Bootloader"
  • Yes, Tick both Boxes, Proceed
  • Skip up to step 8 as we have all we need for the first 7 steps
  • Reboot your phone into the bootloader by holding the power and volume down buttons for 10 seconds
  • Highlight Fastboot With Volume + or - then press power
  • Plug your phone into your PC and open a Command Prompt at the folder you extracted the fastboot tools to (shift + right click the folder > open command windw here).
  • Type this into your command prompt window “fastboot oem get_identifier_token”
  • Select & copy the text as per step 9 on the HTCDev website
  • Paste your identifier token into the box at the bottom and submit
  • You Will Very Shortly Receive an email from HTCDev with a link to the second part of the instructions and your "Unlock_code.bin" attached
  • Download the "Unlock_code.bin" from the email and save it to the folder you extracted the files to earlier
  • Type this into your command prompt window “fastboot flash unlocktoken Unlock_code.bin”
  • The Display Will change on your phone, press Vol + to accept and power to confirm.

Step 2: Custom Recovery
  • Download the recovery of your choice, here a couple of choices:
    • ClockworkMod Recovery (make sure to select the touch or non-touch version for HTC One, and not the Sprint version) - recommended.
    • TWRP
  • Place the recovery .img file you downloaded into the fastboot directory and open the command window again
  • Now type:
    fastboot flash recovery name_of_the_recovery.img
    For example:
    fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-touch-
Now your recovery is installed.

If you are planning on flashing a custom ROM which is pre-rooted like CyanogenMod or a modified Sense ROM you can skip Step 3.
Step 3: Root

Now we will proceed to root your phone with SuperUser by Koush. You will need to reboot your device and go through the device setup process at this point so you able able to copy the SuperUser zip to your phone.
  • Download SuperUser and copy it to your phone
  • Flash it with the Recovery:
  • Power off your device and then hold the VOL DOWN + Power to boot into the Bootloader
  • Navigate with VOL and Power to Recovery
  • Now flash the .zip by selecting the following options
    • install zip from sdcard
    • choose zip from sdcard
    • select the downloaded SuperUser zip file and flash it
  • Reboot
Now you are able to flash any Custom ROM.
Step 4: Custom ROM

· Download the ROM you want to flash (if you are downloading an AOSP based ROM you will also need to download the Google Apps package).
  • Copy the ROM to your sdcard
  • Now boot into bootloader again (explained above) and choose recovery with your volume keys and power button
  • In recovery wipe data and cache aka fullwipe before flashing your ROM if you are moving to a new base (for example to CyanogenMod/AOSP from a Sense ROM).
  • Now flash the ROM zip by selecting the following options
    • install zip from sdcard
    • choose zip from sdcard
    • select the downloaded ROM zip file and flash it
    • Flash Google Apps package if necessary.
  • Reboot
Choosing a Custom ROM

There are many different ROMs to choose from for the HTC One.

The first is the ever popular CyanogenMod. This is based on the Android Open Source Project (stock Android). There are many who prefer the stock look of that CM provides but you will lose many of the HTC/Sense features like BlinkFeed, Zoe and Beats Audio.

More information about CM on the HTC One can be found here and build downloads are here. If you use CyanogenMod you will also need to download the GApps package for 4.2.2.

If you prefer the look of Sense there are a number of Sense based ROMs to pick from. These have the advantage of always being based on the latest version from HTC (no more waiting for the Telco to push out an update) and have many various improvements and tweaks.

I am currently using TrickDroid which retains the stock look but adds in functionality like quick toggles in the notification drawer, some bug fixes and general speed and stability improvements. It also has optional flashable theme and tweak packages.

More Custom ROMs can be found in the Android Development forum for the HTC One over at XDA-Developers.

I am also using a custom kernel which allows the HTC logo on the bottom front of the phone to be mapped as a menu button as well as sleep/wake the phone (long press). This also removes the black menu softbar. Useful root apps

One of the benefits of having root access is being able to install apps that unlock functionality that would not otherwise be available to you or simply enable further features within apps you may already use.

Titanium Backup

This great little app allows you to back up not just your entire device but also specific apps and their app data. Titanium Backup is especially useful when you install a new ROM and don't feel like reinstalling each app you had previously. You can also automatically schedule backups, move apps to the SD Card to make more room on the internal storage, and sync app data with DropBox or Google Drive. So if you lose your device, you can still get your apps back once you replace it.

Other root enhanced backup apps include Helium and G Cloud Backup


Greenify can help you increase your performance and battery life by identifying apps and tasks that are running in the background, and using up system resources for no reason. You can also use it to make sure these apps remain in hibernation when not in active use. Greenify also helps you recognize possible malware and remove it.

Cerberus anti theft

Cerberus is a complete anti-theft application, which can help you to recover your misplaced, lost or stolen Android device. It has three ways to protect your device:
  • Remote control through the website
  • Remote control via text messages
  • SIM Checker (for devices that have a SIM card): you will automatically receive alerts if someone uses your phone with an unauthorized SIM card
While Root is not required, it does allow for the following features:
  • Complete uninstall protection (a thief will be able to delete Cerberus only by flashing another ROM)
  • GPS auto-enabling
ES File Explorer

ES File Explorer is a free, full-featured file and application manager. It functions as all of these apps in one: file manager, application manager, task killer, cloud storage client (compatible with Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive,, Sugarsync, Yandex, Amazon S3, and Ubuntu One), FTP client, and LAN Samba client.

The app provides access to pictures, music, video, documents, and other files on both your Android devices and your computers.

ES File Explorer Root Explorer-- the ultimate set of file management tools for root users. Provides access to the entire file system and all data directories, and allows the user to change permissions.

What you are able to do with your device after unlocking and rooting it is not limited to what I have written here.

There are many other mods and apps out there that will allow you to further customise your One. You could even go as far as to replace Android with Firefox OS or Ubuntu Touch. Someone is even working on a WP8 port.

Disclaimer: I nor Geekzone or Telecom New Zealand take any responsibility for what may happen to your phone by rooting it. Generally it is a safe process and so long as you take care not to flash a recovery, kernel or ROM that was not intended for your phone you cannot go wrong.

The act of bootloader unlocking or rooting will not void the hardware warranty of your phone. Obviously you will not be able to return to your network provider about software issues you may run into. But if you have a hardware fault, unless it can be proved it was caused by rooting then you will still be covered.

About the author

My name is Brad and I’ve been a member of the Geekzone community for nearly nine years including three as a moderator. I was a long time Windows Mobile (yes Windows Mobile, not Windows Phone) user before deciding to try out Android a couple of years ago. I quickly fell in love with the openness and freedom that Android provides and have built and customised my own ROMs from source. I am a web developer, gamer and all round gadget junkie. I hope that my TelecomTech posts will be informative for potential HTC One owners.

Brad’s HTC One reviews: camera

, posted: 5-Jun-2013 11:48

Much has been made of camera in the HTC One, its quality and performance especially in low light or situations with less than optimal lighting.

I need to start this post off however by saying that when it comes to cameras and photography, I know very little beyond the basics. So with the HTC One I really will be reviewing the camera from the point of view of your average person.

I’ve never really taken a great many pictures with my phones as the quality of the cameras really has not made it worthwhile. The pictures I did take rarely turned out to be worth keeping as they were often slightly blurry or grainy or the exposure was all wrong. I was very keen to see what the One could do as it would mean I might just be able to finally use my phone to take some of those spur of the moment shots and happily share them.

The morning I received the One, I had to go down to the Telecom store to pick up a compatible micro SIM. While I was out I thought I would take a couple of quick pics since it was a nice day and see how the One lived up to its hype.

The first is of the Dunedin Railway Station (click for larger image)

This picture was actually taken through the windscreen of my car, I was really very impressed by what I saw. While viewed at fullsize the clarity is not amazing, it does look really good when resized to resolution that would shared via email or social media or even printed.

My next stop was the Mornington lookout which looks right across Dunedin City (click for larger image):

With this shot I was impressed by the colour and clarity especially of objects in the distance. The Forsyth Barr Stadium at middle rear of the photo is 3020m in a straight line (according to DDC GIS information) while the far side of the harbour to the right is further again.

One of the areas that the One really shines in is lowlight images. Often a lot of pictures that you would want to share are indoors with a lot of people and till now phone cameras simply haven’t been up to the task in those situations.

I took the following images from the same lookout as before but a month closer to winter and at 4.30pm when the light was fading fast.

The image on the left was taken in normal mode while the right one was taken using the low light mode (no Photoshop work here). The difference to me really was incredible, the brightness and colours felt as close to natural as they could be.

While I have not included any images of social settings which also turned out great for obvious privacy reasons, I did get another chance recently to show off the ability of the One to take great lowlight photos.

The first is showing part of my backyard in the middle of a snowstorm at 3.30am with only an exterior light and no flash for illumination:

The second photo is of my poor car after somebody backed into the side of it, this time with the flash activated.

Once again I was very impressed by the quality, far exceeding anything I’ve seen from a phone camera before.

While viewed at max resolution the shortcomings of having only a 4MP are evident, I honestly can’t say it is a real issue. From the feel of the rest of the One experience, HTC seem to have designed everything about this phone around having an excellent social media experience.

When shared to Facebook or via other social media services the images from the One look outstanding. The One is not going to win any competitions with a standalone camera but it does exactly what it should; it takes excellent quality pictures on the go that you can share to Facebook and people will say “Wow”. They are also high enough quality to make excellent HD wallpapers.

Something which has come up in discussions about the camera is how well it compares to the Samsung Galaxy S4. There is one area in which the S4 comes out ahead and that is simply by having a much higher pixel count (13mp vs 4mp). When zooming in on images, everything is a bit sharper. But in places that don’t have even lighting or in low light the HTC One comes out way ahead, with everything sharper and clearer and far more natural colours. HTC Zoe

One feature I will single out is HTC Zoe. It has been reviewed to death by other sites but I would like to mention it briefly.

When Zoe mode is enabled the camera is constantly recording and when a photo is captured it is saved into essentially a three second video clip made up of about twenty individual images.

You can then playback as a video clip and select the frame you want use you. I found this to be a great feature when taking group photos. So often you get a great shot ruined by having a single person move just at the wrong moment.

Zoe will highlight parts of your selected frame that have changed compared with other frames and allow to remove them. That person who turned their head or closed their eyes at the last second will have their head replaced with one from a different frame.

Zoe also includes features like sequence shot which allows you to combine the selected frames from the Zoe image to make an action composite, this is very similar to the S4’s Drama Shot.

I am very impressed by what HTC have done with the One’s camera. It isn’t perfect, its low pixel count is a slight drawback in some situations. But overall it far exceeds anything I have seen in photo capabilities in a phone before. It gets some stiff competition from the Galaxy S4 but from my use of both I have to say the One comes out on top as the best all-round camera.

For the first time I feel I can go places without the need to take a separate camera with me. The One is more than able to do a great job of capturing all the pictures I will ever take without me worrying that I won’t be happy with the result.

About the author

My name is Brad and I’ve been a member of the Geekzone community for nearly nine years including three as a moderator. I was a long time Windows Mobile (yes Windows Mobile, not Windows Phone) user before deciding to try out Android a couple of years ago. I quickly fell in love with the openness and freedom that Android provides and have built and customised my own ROMs from source. I am a web developer, gamer and all round gadget junkie. I hope that my TelecomTech posts will be informative for potential HTC One owners.

TelecomTech's profile

Telecom New Zealand
New Zealand

Telecom Tech is a different type of blog. We're sponsored by Telecom New Zealand, but most of the posts here are from every day users like you.

We choose tech savvy Geekzone users to "test drive" the new handsets from Telecom New Zealand.

The team will post firsthand reports on using these smartphones on New Zealand's smartphonenetwork. Make sure to keep an eye on this blog. Who knows who might be our next "test drivers"?


Catch up on previous Telecom Tech reviews - read about the Nokia Lumia 1020Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Galaxy Note II, Nokia Lumia 800, Nokia Lumia 710 and HTC Sensation.

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