HTC One X and iPhone 4S pitted against each other in camera face off

April 2, 2012
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The One X is HTC’s new flagship and, even though it hasn’t yet been made available in the United States and most other important markets, is one of the hottest Android handsets around.

With a Tegra 3 quad-core processor under the hood, a very thin body, and a sophisticated and stylish look, the One X is certainly one of Android’s biggest  hopes in the everlasting battle against the iPhone.

But aside from the awesome performance and cool looks, the guys at HTC are also confident that they’ll make a difference with the rear-facing camera on the One X, a camera that is supposedly “better than the iPhone 4S’ shooter”, according to official claims.

That’s a very bold statement, considering Apple’s very popular and capable cameras, but it might not be as far from reality as it sounded the first time, if we are to trust a CNET review from a couple of days ago.

The guys at CNET took both cameras for a quick spin and, after looking at seven photographs delivered in the same conditions, they reached the conclusion… that it’s impossible to reach a clear conclusion right now.

If you are a bit confused, it’s understandable, but let’s take a hard look at the photos, one by one, and see what we can say about the two cameras.

The first one (above) is a sample shot of a CNET staffer’s desk, clearly showing that the iPhone 4S is capable of producing warmer colors than the HTC One X. I think that there’s no question here about which one of the two cameras produced with the brightest, clearest image, so let’s move on.

The second pic (the first one from the gallery at the end of the post), which is a close look at the first images (at 100% crop), brings the first good news for HTC. While it’s practically impossible to set the two images apart, the One X’ shot seems just a tad sharper and clearer if you look at it closely. The guys at CNET are claiming that HTC’s camera was a “bit noisier”, but, in my opinion, the difference is to small to count.

The third face-off  (the second pic in the gallery) is probably the most important one, being CNET’s standard test shot and probably the one thing that interests all technology users. To be honest, I am not that artistic and don’t usually take pictures in low lighting and with all sorts of effects, so I am primarily interested in how normal, regular photos look on a smartphone’s camera.

The iPhone 4S seems to have more natural colors and a slightly better exposure, but then again, for me personally, both these pics look darn good, so I’ll call this battle a tie.

The next CNET photo (the third in the gallery below) is another 100% crop, but I’m not going to insist on it, because we commented on the 100% crop close look earlier, so it’s only natural to reach pretty much the same conclusions.

The lowlight test (the fourth pic in the gallery), on the other hand, is probably the first clear victory for One X. The image on the left is clearly sharper than the one on the right, so, after all, it might seem that the guys at HTC  were on to something when they boldly stated that the One X has a better camera than the iPhone.

HTC’s flagship continues to impress in terms of HDR (high dynamic range) imaging, where there are very notable differences and a clear upper hand for the One X (the image below).

Finally, the close-up section of CNET’s comparison (the last pic in the gallery) seems to be another win for the HTC One X. Once more, we have a sharper image from the One X, but the differences are not that significant and we must admit that iPhone 4S’ pic looks pretty good as well.

All in all, even though I haven’t been on the same page with CNET’s editors on all the seven face-offs between the HTC One X and iPhone 4S, I must say that I agree with them on the conclusion. Neither of the two cameras can be clearly called the better one right now, as they are both pretty great and have their own set of upsides and downsides.

However, although HTC’s claims seem to be only partially backed in reality, we have to admit that it’s not easy to come close to Apple’s performance in terms of cameras, let alone to defeat them.

Congrats, HTC! The One X, with its beautiful screen, high processing performance, and excellent camera shapes up to be one of the best mobile devices of  2012.

 

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