Camera Wars: iPhone 4S vs the Android Elite

by: Ken EastOctober 18, 2011
39

A recently posted article on PCWorld discusses the reality as to whether the the new iPhone 4S can capture still images and videos better than the latest and best Android smartphones. The iPhone 4S was put to the test against the Samsung Galaxy S II, the T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide, the Motorola DROID Bionic, the HTC Sensation 4G, and the Nikon Coolpix P300. How do they stack up?

To compare the camera of the smartphones, each device was fixed on a tripod and used to capture three images and videos from the same location and under the same lighting conditions After the photos and videos were taken, they were shown (unlabeled) to a panel of five judges.

The criteria or basis of the judging were as follows: exposure — 25%, color — 30%, sharpness — 30%, and distortion — 15%.  The results were tallied for the overall rating and score of each device.

Image Quality Results (courtesy of PCWorld)

Model NameMegapixelsScore (Out of 100)Word Score
Nikon Coolpix P300 (Control Subject)1282.4Very Good
T-Mobile myTouch Slide 4G881.7Very Good
Samsung Galaxy S II881.4Very Good
Apple iPhone 4S881.0Very Good
HTC Sensation 4G875.1Good
Apple iPhone 4 (Black)574.6Good
Motorola DROID Bionic872.4Fair

In the results for overall image quality, the T-mobile myTouch 4G Slide ranked on top of the other phones, but the Samsung Galaxy S II was not far behind with a differential of only 0.7 points followed by the Apple’s iPhone 4s which is only behind it by 0.3 points.

Image Quality Category Results (courtesy of PCWorld)

Model NameExposure Quality (25%)Color Accuracy (30%)Sharpness (30%)Distortion (15%)
Nikon Coolpix P300 (Control Subject)80.1 Very Good78.0 Good87.5 Superior85.2 Very Good
T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide84.3 Very Good85.1 Very Good82.5 Very Good67.6 Fair
Samsung Galaxy S II86.4 Very Good82.9 Very Good79.8 Very Good72.6 Fair
Apple iPhone 4S83.8 Very Good83.0 Very Good80.0 Very Good73.6 Good
HTC Sensation 4G80.7 Very Good77.1 Good74.5 Good62.0 Poor
Apple iPhone 4 (Black)78.8 Good78.8 Good69.2 Fair66.4 Fair
Motorola DROID Bionic73.1 Fair72.1 Fair72.9 Fair71.0 Fair

The images were also evaluated based on quality categories for still image quality. The T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide had the sharpest and most accurate shots; the Samsung Galaxy S II had the most evenly exposed pics (without using flash), and  the iPhone 4S captured photos with no distortion and has balanced scores in other criteria. This proves that the automated white balance feature of iPhone 4s is very accurate.

Video Quality Results (courtesy of PCWorld)

Model NameResolutionVideo: NormalVideo: Low LightAudioOverall Video Score
Samsung Galaxy S II1080p88.0 Superior64.2 Fair68.6 Fair82.9 Very Good
Nikon Coolpix P300 (Control Subject)1080p80.6 Very Good62.0 Poor85.2 Very Good80.6 Very Good
HTC Sensation 4G1080p79.8 Very Good68.6 Fair72.6 Fair77.8 Good
Apple iPhone 4S1080p79.0 Good77.0 Good70.4 Fair77.2 Good
Motorola DROID Bionic1080p75.4 Good82.8 Very Good77.0 Good76.1 Good
Apple iPhone 4720p74.8 Good73.6 Good73.2 Fair74.4 Good
T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide1080p68.6 Fair65.4 Fair64.2 Fair67.6 Fair

Also here’s some 1080p video comparison:

(iPhone 4S, Galaxy S II and Droid Bionic 1080P test from Matthew Panzarino)

Video Tests from PCWorld

Samsung Galaxy S II

Nikon Coolpix P300

HTC Sensation 4G

Apple iPhone 4S

Motorola DROID Bionic

Apple iPhone 4

T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide

In the Video Quality test, the Samsung Galaxy S II beat the other phones to the top followed by the HTC Sensation 4G. The iPhone 4s has been consistent though, as it still in the third place, as it had solid scores for bright-light and low-light video. Even though the iPhone 4S did not top the categories, it was consistent in its ranking–whether in video or image quality.

Yet, the Samsung Galaxy S II is definitely better than the iPhone 4S in both aspects, leaving the iPhone just behind it.

So, if you are to choose between a Samsung Galaxy S II or and iPhone 4s what would you choose?

  • RF

    LOOK AT THE HTC SENSATION LOOK HOW IT DEFINES THE FACES AND SHARPNESS IN THE BACK SPEAKER HOW CAN YOU GIVE THIS GOOD WHEN THE CLARITY OF THE HTC LEAVES ALL OTHERS IN THE DUST LOOK CLOSE ….

  • RF

    IM SURE ALL WILL AGREE WHEN CLARITY AND SHARPNESS IS WHAT MAKES OR BRAKES A PICTURE OR VIDEO….THE HTC SENSATION IS IN A CLASS OF ITS OWN SO WHAT DO YOU THINK WORLD DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?? CAN WHAT PICTURE CAN YOU MAKE OUT THE FACES ALL OF THEM CLEARLY???? AND THEN LOOK AT THE BACK SPEAKER WHAT ONE DO YOU SEE CLEAR????? LET HIM KNOW WORLD!!! HERES YOUR CHANCE TO SHINE :o)

  • wow nice comparison. iPhone wins here….

  • Iustin94

    I have nothing to say about the review at photo camera because you’re not putting the full size….
    But at the video, you clearly are blind…how you can say iPhone 4s does not have image noise, galaxy s2 and iphone 4s is clearly that they have best camera…but iphone 4s has a lot of NOISE…

  • Anonymous

    Wow, no contest, the Galaxy S2 is clearly much better than the 4S.

    Apple fails again.

  • IPhone 4S Is the Best Mobile Phone Camera Quality Tested…! :D