Fact Check: The HTC 10 Does not Actually have Phase-Detection Autofocus

Fact Check: The HTC 10 Does not Actually have Phase-Detection Autofocus

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While doing research for our recent article on the Sony IMX378 and the Google Pixel, we noticed a piece of misinformation about the IMX377 and HTC 10 that had become fairly widespread. A lot of major websites are referring to the HTC 10 as having PDAF, despite the fact that it doesn’t have it.

Phase Detection Autofocus PDAF Example by cmgleeWe searched through HTC’s marketing materials, and could not find a single instance of HTC claiming that the HTC 10 has PDAF. So, we reached out to Sony and HTC to double check, and we got confirmation that the IMX377 and the HTC 10 do not use PDAF. Instead, the HTC 10 uses a combination of contrast-based autofocus and laser autofocus.

So where did this misinformation come from? It appears that this was initially started by a leak by LlabTooFeR that was mostly correct, but misstated what autofocus system was used to supplement the laser autofocus. We want to highlight that this was a leak, not an official confirmation, and that leaks are always subject to change (LlabTooFeR is still one of the most reliable leakers out there).

Unfortunately, a large part of the tech world has seen this misinformation repeated over and over again, and started to take it as fact, without double checking it. Even I was surprised to hear that my HTC 10 didn’t have PDAF, and while to my knowledge we haven’t made that claim in an official article (as we tend to rely on OEM sheets), I’m sure that I have mentioned it in passing conversation outside of XDA. This demonstrates just how widely a frequently repeated lie can spread, especially if not properly dispelled. Thankfully, very little harm came from this particular situation, aside from a couple funny moments of websites praising the HTC 10 for adding a feature that it doesn’t have, but it still is a sobering reminder about how terrible our minds are at separating fact from rumor.

That being said, it does get us a bit more excited about the Google Pixel and Pixel XL phones, as the HTC 10 and IMX377 saw very good performance through its combination of contrast-based autofocus and laser autofocus, and the IMX378 and Snapdragon 821 should result in further improvements for the Pixel phones thanks to the addition of PDAF and further improvements to the ability to incorporate laser autofocus into a hybrid autofocus system.