The HTC One mini uses a sensor that is about average in size for the smartphone game (1/3") but since it has relatively low 4MP resolution it packs much bigger pixels. In theory fewer bigger pixels offer a slight advantage in low-light performance, but limit the performance in good lighting. The fast F/2.0 lens also helps poor light shooting, but there's no optical image stabilization (OIS) like on the HTC One.
The sensor has a 16:9 aspect ratio, which means you can shoot widescreen photos without sacrificing resolution and those are the once most comfortable for viewing on the phone, on most tablets (which typically have 16:10 screens) and HDTVs.
The front-facing camera is a 1.6 MP unit but sadly isn't as wide-angle as the one on the bigger HTC One.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini comes with a more conventional 8MP main camera and a 1.9 MP front-facer.
The One mini camera interface itself is pretty simple - there are two shutter keys (one for stills and one for video), above them is the gallery shortcut and below is the effects button. On the left side of the screen you get flash mode selector and the Zoe toggle.
Now, we already covered what Zoe does after you've taken a shot, here's how the actual shooting goes. You enable Zoe (an indicator at the bottom of the screen confirms you're in Zoe mode) and tap the still shutter key. The key turns into a progress bar, counting down the three seconds during which the phone records video, reminding you to stay relatively still.
The Galaxy S4 mini user interface is based on the Galaxy Camera interface. The viewfinder handles both still and video capture, so you don't have to switch modes. However, this is certainly not the most convenient solution - if you're shooting full resolution 8MP photos, you'll have to frame your videos using a 4:3 viewfinder.
The settings are found in two places. The first is the Mode button under the shutter key. It brings up a carousel with different shooting modes, each with a descriptive image and text. When you get familiar with those modes, you can switch to the grid, which drops the text but is faster.
In the upper left corner, there are a couple of quick settings plus an arrow to reveal more options. As for the different camera modes, it's a collection of some of the best camera features currently available.
The arrow at the bottom of the screen brings up a row of color effects. Each effect gets a live preview, so you can see what the particular scene will look like with it. There's a download button, too, so you can grab more effects.
There are more settings in the top left corner, but they won't be very often used. Still, there is a number of interesting options here like having the volume rocker act as a still shutter key, a video shutter key or a zoom lever. The HDR mode (Rich Tone) can be set to save a normal and an HDR photo or just the HDR one. Another interesting option is contextual file names - the Galaxy S4 mini will name photos with your location (the GPS needs to be on for this to work).
There are standard modes like Rich Tone (HDR), Panorama, Night and Sports. Panoramas are nice, they do a full 360° circle, but the resolution is not that impressive.
Sound & shot captures a photo and records ambient sound. It sounds pretty cool - for example, you can hear the sea gulls in a beach photo or the roar of car engines at a race.
Overall both camera apps feature the basics like HDR, Panorama, Night mode, etc. and have a variety of effects and filters to choose from.
Winner: HTC One mini. While the wealth of features offered by the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is not to be underestimated we really love how Zoe works without requiring any user interactions. This means that you can take a shot now and decide what to do with it later, instead of having to come with the idea first as is usually the case.