Apr 18 AT 12:06 PM Nick Gray 27 Comments

HTC One (M8) versus the Samsung Galaxy S5: camera shootout


The great smartphone debate of 2014 isn’t much different than it was in 2013. There are lots of great Android smartphones to choose from, but the HTC One (M8) and the Samsung Galaxy S5 are the two devices you’re most likely considering. Both phones have many of the same specs, but the one most talked about difference between the two is the camera experience. Samsung has equipped the Galaxy S5 with a 16 megapixel monster and HTC has equipped the One (M8) with a new UltraPixel sensor which only manages to capture 4 megapixel images.

So which one is better? If you’re a pixel-peeper, the Samsung Galaxy S5 camera may be the best choice. There’s a lot more detail in Samsung’s images, but we all know that more pixels doesn’t always translate into better pixels. That’s exactly what HTC is trying to prove with the UltraPixel sensor.

Over the past few days, we’ve taken a handful of images with the HTC One (M8) and the Samsung Galaxy S5 to give you an idea of how each smartphone performs in different environments. We’ll let you be the judge and decide which camera performs best.

Samsung Galaxy S5 & HTC One (M8) comparison shots


Samsung Galaxy S5 sunset

HTC One M8 Sunset

HTC One M8 Sunset

Sunset pictures are always fun. You get a lot of color and a lot of contrast to deal with. Both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One (M8) handle this scenario quite well.


Samsung Galaxy S5 night-time selfie

HTC One (M8) night-time selfie

HTC One (M8) night-time selfie

The world is obsessed with the selfie, so I thought I’d join in on the fun with a picture of me and the Minneapolis skyline. It’s pretty clear that the HTC one (M8) wins this round. The image produced from the One (M8) is much brighter than the Samsung Galaxy S5 in low light conditions.

Samsung Galaxy S5 desktop robot

Samsung Galaxy S5 desktop robot

HTC One (M8) desktop robot

HTC One (M8) desktop robot

While Samsung has a huge megapixel advantage over the HTC One (M8), Samsung’s phone struggles with exposure in well-lit situations. However, the S5 does get the white balance right while the HTC One (M8)’s image has a slight blue tone to it.

Samsung Galaxy S5 parking garage

Samsung Galaxy S5 parking garage

HTC One (M8) parking garage

HTC One (M8) parking garage

This picture is a great example of why HTC is pushing UltraPixels. The HTC One (M8)’s image of the dark parking garage is much brighter (note the detail in the ceiling and floor) than what the Galaxy S5 could produce. That being said, the image from the One (M8) isn’t perfect. The light portions of the picture are blown out while the S5 manages the contrast quite well (note the defined lines around the windows).

Side note: this parking garage is the Minneapolis Armory which served as the home of the Lakers before the team moved to Los Angeles. It’s also the filming location for the music video for Prince’s “1999″ and Aerosmith’s video for “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”

Samsung Galaxy S5 night-time skyline

Samsung Galaxy S5 night-time skyline

HTC One (M8) night-time skyline

HTC One (M8) night-time skyline

The Samsung Galaxy S5 takes the crown in this night-time skyline view of Minneapolis. the HTC one (M8) and its UltraPixel camera do produce a brighter image, but the lights in the image are blown out (notice you can read the temperature in the S5′s image).

Samsung Galaxy S5 restaurant door

Samsung Galaxy S5 restaurant door

HTC One (M8) restaurant door

HTC One (M8) restaurant door

The same issues come into play in this image as well. The Samsung Galaxy S5′s image isn’t perfect, but the HTC One (M8) can’t handle the contrast in areas that are lit up well.

Samsung Galaxy S5 kitchen storefront

Samsung Galaxy S5 kitchen storefront

HTC One (M8) kitchen storefront

HTC One (M8) kitchen storefront

We’re not exactly sure what happened here, but the Samsung Galaxy S5 managed to produce a brighter image than the HTC One (M8). We like the color tone better in the Samsung image, as well.

Samsung Galaxy S5 skyscraper

Samsung Galaxy S5 skyscraper

HTC One (M8) skyscraper

HTC One (M8) skyscraper

It’s really hard to find any faults with outdoor daytime pictures from the HTC one (M8) and the Samsung Galaxy S5. In this instance the color tone on the Samsung Galaxy S5 was over saturated and the One (M8)’s was under saturated. You’ll also notice that the image from the HTC One (M8) is wider and pulls in another building on the right. A wider angle isn’t necessarily better, but it allows you to frame your pictures in a different way.

Samsung Galaxy S5 skyline

Samsung Galaxy S5 skyline

HTC One (M8) skyline

HTC One (M8) skyline

Again, there’s really not much to complain about in either picture. The sun in the right side of the HTC one (M8)’s image is blown out similar to other pictures we’re seen, but it’s not as noticeable since during the day time.


We don’t want to push our biases on you, so we’re going to let you crown the victor here. Leave us a comment to let us know if you prefer the images taken by the Samsung Galaxy S5 or those form the HTC One (M8).

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • illregal


  • Govind

    Htc one

  • donger

    Go HTC!

  • renn9420

    M8 that’s why I got One.

  • JQuest81

    Looks like crap shoot to me, depending on the lighting. Though I’ll pick S5, since I can do more with it after the shot than I would with the M8,not to mention in some instances the M8 seems to let in too much light in some instances.

  • Eli Gaffke

    Didn’t realize you were in Minnesota. When I saw the armory pic I thought it looked familiar, but figured there are other places with that style of building.

  • SubX

    They both have their strengths and weaknesses. However we are comparing a 4.1UltraPixel camera to a 16 megapixel camera.
    Due to this I say the M8 is much better. I do not agree with your comments on the restaurant door. The image from the M8 is much much better that the S5.
    Sure the kitchen and skyline pics on the S5 are clearly better than on a be M8.

    Still over all, I will say the M8 is the clear winner.

  • nin-mo

    They each seem to have their strengths and weaknesses. One thing I want to see is how the m8 performs in the long run because the m7′s camera sensor was plagued with issues in the long run and based on the information I could find, HTC didn’t change much with the sensor in the m8.

    • James

      The M8 has the same size sensor but it is a new and improved Sensor made by a different company.

  • Grayson

    You could argue the different pictures merits either way depending on preference if looking at it these pictures full screen. However, click on each picture and zoom in and the m8 loses in every one. If you always take a perfect picture then no prob, but I think most everyone needs to do some cropping and editing with most photos. Because of this, the m8 will never be as good of a camera as the Samsung. Lack of detail and noise on blown up pictures killed it for me.

    • SubX

      Most phone pictures aren’t meant to be blown up. They use a tiny sensor compared to point and shoot and DSLR.

      A camera phone is basically fir capturing heat of the moment images. Images that you don’t expect you’ll be taking when you don’t have a dedicated camera with you.

      If you print your standard size prints at your local developer, you will find that most of camera phones can do a good job. That is what most people do. Print standard 6×9 prints.
      Unless you want to print a poster size image in which most people would do from a camera phone image, then you need a higher pixel count and a damn decent camera in which no camera phone could compare.

      Lets be real, who here are ever had the need to print a poster size print from their phone?

  • towny

    dont you do those tap to focus/exposure thing?
    I have seen way better m8 pictures than what you and many other tech sites/blogs have been showing

  • K

    M8. While it sucks that the images aren’t nearly as detailed, and that the camera resolution is the exact same as it is on the original M7, it is such a unique camera set up, and shows note true to life colors. I am in love with everything HTC is doing with this new phone, and the camera, for the most part, is included.

  • cha

    M8 +1. Those over exposure would not happen in real worlds because you can tap the lighter part of the screen to redetect light.

  • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

    For my purposes, the Galaxy S5 definitely wins out. Sunsets, inside, and not much real “dark” shots are what I mostly shoot, and the Galaxy S5 excels at that. The M8 has its strengths though.

    • steve

      What settings on the s5 are used for sunset and sunrise please help.

  • Veer

    M8 4 UltraPixel tech is giving tough competition to s5 16 megapixel. Also s5 can’t match m8 in terms of zoe, u focus, copy paste in picture, design & sound quality HTC any day for me. Proud m8 owner!!!

  • piggypigs

    from the photos, definitely S5, although I am actually waiting for the next gen and will be comparing Note 4 versus the rest.

    But by the set of pictures, definitely S5 wins out as the limitation of low pixel count can be seen, especially if you opened up the pics and looked at the details.

    If I am the sort who value selfie (what with the better and higher pixel front camera) and take a lot of night scene, I will pick M8. but as it is, for me it will be S5 type of camera.

    Now, if HTC actually improve their hardware and lenses and increase the pixel count to 8MP, then it is another story altogether.

  • Marshall

    I’m bending ever so slightly the HTC’s way. The S5 camera is impressive but I don’t believe it makes up enough ground for the Sammy. Anyone who seeks stunning results from a happy-snap phone camera is kidding themselves anyway.

  • Sagar Ghising


  • RJ


  • Maglar

    I have had the privilege to test them out in a head-to-head comparison, much like the article author. Unlike the author, I shot more daylight photos outdoors.

    I don’t know if it’s because of unsufficient sample shots in this article, or the fact that many of you are so biased due to M8′s general superiority over
    the S5 that you fool yourself to think even it’s camera is better than the S5′s. It could be the so often occuring case of “Cognitive dissonance” happening.

    I agree that the M8 is a better phone i almost every single way over the S5, and 99 times of 100 I would prefer it. I’ts a godlike super phone, and I just love it…
    BUT!!! The one time I would prefer the S5, is when takning pictures.

    The M8 camera is a pure catastrophy and I promise you, a nightmare in comparison to the S5. Not only does object far away appear blurry (to the facts that its only 4 mpx), surroundings not in the center of the pictures gets blurred out (i’m not talking about objects beeing unfocused), and have this fuzzy texture that reminds of the first “higher” quality camera phones released about 10 years ago. Gravel, asphalt, cobble rocks, grass, tree branches, foliage, water, sky ALL looks like a sludge. And thas not the worst though, it’s inconsistency is. You have to shot at least three pictures from the same spot in order to get decent one. If the sky is bright, the portrait and the whole picture gets too dark. When megapixels are not that important, for example close-up shots, you get much better images though.

    So lets be clear, if you wan’t the best overall smartphone but with mediocre (sometimes bad) looking pictures – get a M8.

    If you consider good looking pictures are more important than feeling/build quality/looks/software, get an S5 or some other phone.

  • fadi

    Samsung Galaxy S5 is the winner in camera test i used both my self

  • Big Johnson

    Ok a camera is a camera and they’re both good but did you notice the sound difference ? The M8 has two sound blasting speakers in front, the s5 has one in the rear. The M8 comes with headphones worth .$150.00 (free). Does the s5 do the same?

  • Manuel Rivera

    M8 By mile long

  • Roger

    To me they seem to both take quite nice pics, but for me I want the pic to be as close to what the eye actually sees. The last pic…was the sky blue that day or did it have a gray tint to it to the naked eye? This information would be the only way that I could give either of them the winning vote. Still as this review/comparison goes, great job and very nice pics either way.


    M8 is a great phone all around. Period!!!!!!!!,,,,, H/K edition,