By Rich W Woods
I’m almost done putting the HTC Desire 820 through the rounds for the camera comparisons. You may have noticed that I’ve been focusing more on the HTC Desire 820 instead of the Microsoft Lumia 535 and the Amazon Fire Phone. That’s because I have to give this one back.
HTC and Sony both make great smart phone cameras; however, they do it in different ways. HTC saturates the image, using their ultrapixel technology. This is why the HTC One M8 gets by with a 4 MP rear camera. Sony uses a 20.7 MP camera; however, in most situations, it only uses 8 MP.
HTC Desire 820 vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: Specs
|HTC Desire 820||Sony Xperia Z3 Compact|
|Processor||Octa Core Snapdragon 615 1.5 GHz Quad Core & 1 GHz Quad Core||2.5 GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 801|
|Display||5.5″, 720p, 267 ppi, LCD||4.6″, 720p, 319 ppi, LCD|
|Body||157.7×78.7×7.7 mm, 155 g||127.3×64.9×8.6 mm, 129 g|
|Camera||13 MP, 4160×3120, 8 MP Front||20.7 MP, 5248х3936, 2.2 MP Front|
|Video||1080p – 30 fps, Front 1080p – 30 fps||4K UHD – 30 fps, 1080p – 60 fps, Front 1080p – 30 fps|
|Focal Length||28 mm||25 mm|
|Storage||16 GB, Expandable to 128 GB||16 GB, Expandable to 128 GB|
|RAM||2 GB||2 GB|
|Battery||2600 mAh||2600 mAh|
As you can see, these are very similar phones. They have the same display resolution, the same battery, the same RAM, and the same storage. The processors are different, although the jury is still out on which one is better. The Snapdragon 615 that is powering the HTC Desire 820 uses the Adreno 405 GPU, which is more powerful than the Adreno 330 that comes with the Snapdragon 801.
HTC Desire 820 vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: Benchmarks
I am not a fan of benchmarks as they rarely give any insight into the real world usage of the device. Typically, they only provide ammo for trolls that have created an “Apple vs Android” war in their heads. I figured it couldn’t hurt to include a few screenshots of benchmarks. Also, the phones are similar so it may be interesting.
This first test is a battery test done with Geekbench 3. The first column is the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact and the second is the HTC Desire 820. The first row is with the dim screen toggled off and the second row is with the dim screen toggled on.
By the way, that is correct that the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact got a worse time with the dim screen toggled on. I’m not sure why but I’m running the test again tonight.
The next tests are Geekbench 3, AnTuTu, and some results from GFXBench.
So as you can see, the HTC Desire 820 has a much lower single core score but catches up with the multi-core. This is not very surprising. 2.5 GHz quad core vs an octa core with quad 1.5 GHz and quad 1 GHz, the math adds up. The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact did get a better AnTuTu benchmark.
The thing that I found surprising was just how much better the battery life was in the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. While the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is a brilliant phone – it’s fast, gets great battery life, amazing camera – the main things that typically affect battery life are the processor, the display, and the battery size. They have the same battery size, resolution, and similarly powered processors. I guess Sony’s software is just that efficient.
HTC Desire 820 vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: Rear Camera
Let me say this now. Resolution is the least important spec on a smart phone camera. It’s important to remember that the resolution of the photo is higher than the resolution of the display it is being viewed on. Remember that a 720p display is less than 1 MP, 1080p is less than 2.1 MP, 1440p is less than 3.7 MP, and 4K UHD is less than 8.3 MP. Clearly, it is not possible to tell the difference between 13 and 20.7 MP, even on a 4K display.
Aperture literally means opening of the lens. If you were comparing the lens to your eyeball, it would be the pupil. A smaller aperture means a larger depth of field, meaning the background of the image will be more focused. For example, f/8 ill have a larger depth of field than f/2. The difference between the HTC Desire 820 and the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact – f/2.2 and f/2, respectively – is trivial.
The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has a physical camera button, which is one of my favorite features on a phone and I was a bit disappointed that HTC didn’t use it on the Desire 820. They used it on the Desire Eye.
One thing that’s cool about both of these phones is that they both have manual settings. By this, I mean all different kinds of manual settings that are beyond the scope of this review.
Please note that in order to enlarge the images, simply click or tap them. To view the full size image, there is a link in the carousel.
|HTC Desire 820||Sony Xperia Z3 Compact|
One thing that is clear here is that these are two very similar cameras. For the normal photos, I would have to say that the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact takes better photos. The HTC Desire 820 seems to be oversaturated in some cases to the point where the color bleeds.
Now, clearly the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact does much better at night. I have always found the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact to find amazing nighttime photos. In fact, it outperforms the Nokia Lumia 1020. One thing where the HTC Desire 820 beats out the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is in bright light. One problem with the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, that I see in a lot of Android devices is that there is a glare in bright light.
HTC Desire 820 vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: Front Camera
Resolution is the least important spec on a rear camera because typically the cameras have higher resolutions than the displays they are being viewed on. Front cameras typically have lower resolutions; however, that may be ok since there is less cropping to be done on a selfie.
The HTC Desire 820 uses an 8 MP front camera, which leaves plenty of room to crop. The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact uses a 2.2 MP front camera, which is exactly 1080p.
Obviously, the HTC Desire 820 wins on the front camera. The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has the glare in bright light. Also, the photos look a bit blurry. It looks better than it typically does but it’s still not great. The HTC Desire 820, on the other hand, looks great.
HTC Desire 820 vs Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: Video
Like I said, 4K UHD is just 8.3 MP, so both of these cameras have the resolution to do 4K UHD video; however, only the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact does. The HTC Desire 820 only goes up to 1080p at 30 fps.
There is only one way to tell the quality of an image: resolution. There are two that dictate the quality of a video (not including audio): resolution and frame rate. Resolution is how sharp the picture is. Frame rate is how smooth it is. Think of a video as a string of still images being shown in succession. More pictures in a second makes for a smoother video. The HTC Desire 820 takes 1080p video at 30 frames per second (fps). The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact takes 1080p video at 60 fps, making for a much smoother video.
Personally, I prefer taking video at 1080p at 60 fps. In my humble opinion, it’s the perfect balance of resolution and frame rate. The iPhone 6 also takes 1080p video at 60 fps; however, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has the option for 4K at 30 fps as well.
Please note that unless you are using a monitor that has a resolution above 1080p – such as 1440p or 4K – and you are viewing the video at full screen, you will not be able to tell the difference between 1080p and 4K UHD. I hear a lot of people talk about how sharp a 4K video looks when it is embedded in a web page on their WXGA monitor.
HTC Desire 820 1080p 30 fps
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact 4K UHD 1080p
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact 1080p 60 fps
Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Vote in the poll and let the world know what you think. Think I’m an idiot? Let me know in the comments!