Camera Wars: iPhone 4S vs the Android Elite

October 18, 2011
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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 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

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 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 4G Slide 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

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 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 4G Slide 1080p 68.6 Fair 65.4 Fair 64.2 Fair 67.6 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?

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