The Winners: Overall Video Quality
1. Apple iPhone 4 (Video Quality Score: Good)
2. Samsung Galaxy (Video Quality Score: Fair)
3. Motorola Droid X (Video Quality Score: Fair)
4. HTC Evo 4G (Video Quality Score: Fair)
The iPhone 4 also led the charge when it came to video quality, and this part of the battle wasn't even close. Video quality shot with the iPhone 4 in bright light was rated as Very Good, showing smooth motion, bright colors, and accurate white balance.
But low-light video shot with the iPhone 4 is the real story, as its ratings didn't just run circles around the low-light video performance of the other smartphones, but also of the Samsung and Sony point-and-shoot cameras. The iPhone's low-light footage exhibited smooth motion with good contrast, but its video did have a noticeable yellow tint. The latter factor knocked its low-light video rating down to Good.
The only device to outperform the iPhone 4 in our low-light test pool? The second-generation Flip Video MinoHD, which we tested alongside the video footage from these smartphones and the two point-and-shoot cameras. The Flip showed sharper and more-colorful footage in low light, but when it comes to phones (and even some full point-and-shoot cameras), the iPhone 4 is a go-to device for low-light video.
The Samsung Galaxy S finished second in our video comparison, and its performance was skewed heavily toward good performance in bright light. Bright-light footage looks a bit underexposed and slightly grainy in a full-screen view, but great at smaller sizes. The Galaxy S's auto-focus searches a bit before locking onto a crisp image. Its microphone actually picks up audio a bit too well: our audio clip sounded far too loud and blown-out, while it was barely picked up at all by some of the other smartphones in this comparison. In low light, the footage was a bit too murky and undefined to earn a better rating.
The Droid X finished third in our video smackdown, capturing pixellated footage that wasn't very smooth or very detailed, and showed oversaturated colors. Low-light footage was surprisingly decent, finishing second among the smartphones, but still lacking detail.
Heading up the rear in our video tests was the Evo 4G, which couldn't even top the video capture on the iPhone 3GS. It finished dead last in video quality on both ends of the lighting spectrum, thanks to footage that was choppy, murky, and overblown in bright light, and bright but super-grainy in low light.
Apple iPhone 4: Bright Light Video Test
Samsung Galaxy S: Bright Light Video Test
Motorola Droid X: Bright Light Video Test
HTC EVO 4G: Bright Light Video Test
Apple iPhone 4: Low-Light Video Test
Samsung Galaxy S: Low-Light Video Test
Motorola Droid X: Low-Light Video Test
HTC EVO 4G: Low-Light Video Test