Originally Posted by EarlyMon
^Also, that noise difference could change depending on the ISO setting used.
ISO definitely plays a factor, but I'm ok with "ignoring" it, in a sense. I'm assuming here that the test shots are all "auto" mode, so everything rests on that assumption, so --
The ISO here is a careful part of the balance played between shutter speed and aperture for the ultimate light metering and exposure. It's on HTC to carefully manage these three factors in a variety of light settings and subjects so that motion blur/camera shake is minimized, noise is minimized, and the scene is exposed "just right."
If a reviewer is stepping out on a nice sunny day and taking photos of the city (like in the test shots) and the camera is, for whatever reason, shooting at an ISO that is too high for sun lighting (outdoors sunlight usually = lowest ISO), then that's on the camera/phone/HTC, and the fault lies with their programming/calibration. Yes, we could manually adjust the ISO down, but in my view, consumers shouldn't have to deal with adjusting the ISO to fit the conditions on a camera phone (or any Auto shooting for that matter).
In a controlled test environment, I'd want to match up the exposures, and test for ISO noise at each ISO rating, and that would be for my personal nerdy benefit, but otherwise, I think it's probably fair to be judging real work test cases for what they are.