Smartphone Camera Battle: iPhone 4S vs. the Android Elite
Overall Still-Image Quality Results
|Model Name||Megapixels||Score (Out of 100)||Word Score|
|Nikon Coolpix P300 (Control Subject)||12||82.4||Very Good|
|T-Mobile MyTouch Slide 4G||8||81.7||Very Good|
|Samsung Galaxy S II||8||81.4||Very Good|
|Apple iPhone 4S||8||81.0||Very Good|
|HTC Sensation 4G||8||75.1||Good|
|Apple iPhone 4 (Black)||5||74.6||Good|
|Motorola Droid Bionic||8||72.4||Fair|
The T-Mobile MyTouch Slide 4G remains the best phone camera we've ever tested for still-image quality, but it now has some serious competition. The Samsung Galaxy SII (we used the Epic Touch 4G version for Sprint in these tests) and the new Apple iPhone 4S finished right on its heels. In fact, the results were so close in our lab tests--only 0.7 point separates the top-ranked MyTouch Slide 4G from the third-place iPhone 4S--that you could argue for any of those three phones as the best overall.
Each of the top three phones has its own strengths. Based on our judges' feedback after looking at the test images, the T-Mobile MyTouch Slide 4G took the sharpest-looking shots and had the most accurate-looking colors; the Samsung Galaxy SII captured the most evenly exposed photos with and without its flash enabled; and the iPhone 4S had an impressive lack of distortion and the most evenly balanced scores across the board for exposure, color, sharpness, and distortion. Without a doubt, the star feature of the iPhone 4S's camera is its automated white balance, which is extremely accurate.
Here are the individual scores for each category (exposure, color, sharpness, and distortion) in our lab tests for still image quality. It's important to note that each category is weighted differently to produce each camera's overall imaging score. Color accuracy and sharpness scores account for 30 percent each of the overall imaging score, exposure quality counts for 25 percent of the overall score, and distortion counts for 15 percent of the overall score.
Image Quality Category Results
|Model Name||Exposure Quality (25%)||Color Accuracy (30%)||Sharpness (30%)||Distortion (15%)|
|Nikon Coolpix P300 (Control Subject)||80.1 Very Good||78.0 Good||87.5 Superior||85.2 Very Good|
|T-Mobile MyTouch Slide 4G||84.3 Very Good||85.1 Very Good||82.5 Very Good||67.6 Fair|
|Samsung Galaxy S II||86.4 Very Good||82.9 Very Good||79.8 Very Good||72.6 Fair|
|Apple iPhone 4S||83.8 Very Good||83.0 Very Good||80.0 Very Good||73.6 Good|
|HTC Sensation 4G||80.7 Very Good||77.1 Good||74.5 Good||62.0 Poor|
|Apple iPhone 4 (Black)||78.8 Good||78.8 Good||69.2 Fair||66.4 Fair|
|Motorola Droid Bionic||73.1 Fair||72.1 Fair||72.9 Fair||71.0 Fair|
Video quality was an entirely different story. The T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide went from first to worst, while the Samsung Galaxy SII posted the highest overall score--even better than the Nikon Coolpix P300. In low-light situations, however, you'd be much better served by the Motorola Droid Bionic (which posted one of the best scores we've seen for low-light video quality), or the Apple iPhone 4S (which continued its impressively consistent jack-of-all-trades ways with solid scores for both bright-light and low-light video).
Here's how the smartphones stacked up in our video tests.
Video Quality Results
|Model Name||Resolution||Video: Normal||Video: Low Light||Audio||Overall Video Score|
|Samsung Galaxy S II||1080p||88.0 Superior||64.2 Fair||68.6 Fair||82.9 Very Good|
|Nikon Coolpix P300 (Control Subject)||1080p||80.6 Very Good||62.0 Poor||85.2 Very Good||80.6 Very Good|
|HTC Sensation 4G||1080p||79.8 Very Good||68.6 Fair||72.6 Fair||77.8 Good|
|Apple iPhone 4S||1080p||79.0 Good||77.0 Good||70.4 Fair||77.2 Good|
|Motorola Droid Bionic||1080p||75.4 Good||82.8 Very Good||77.0 Good||76.1 Good|
|Apple iPhone 4||720p||74.8 Good||73.6 Good||73.2 Fair||74.4 Good|
|T-Mobile MyTouch Slide 4G||1080p||68.6 Fair||65.4 Fair||64.2 Fair||67.6 Fair|
On the next pages, you'll find the sample images taken with each camera for our exposure, color, sharpness, and distortion tests, as well as for our bright-light and low-light video tests.