The advent of the smartphone has changed not only the way we communicate, but the way we go about our daily lives. The newspaper is now on your phone. High-speed internet capabilities and HD displays makes watching movies and TV shows on your handheld device an amazing experience. Your smartphone doubles as an mp3 player. The large number of games, along with all these features, means never being bored during a long wait. For the adventurous, you have your maps, compass apps, and even sky charts, if you’re into that sort of thing. And to capture all those amazing moments with friends, family, and also when you’re alone, you have the smartphone camera.

Until recently, one of the biggest gripes consumers had with their smartphones was the poor quality of the camera. The megapixels kept increasing, flash was added, but, there was something missing. It wasn’t time to get rid of that trusty point-and-shoot camera just yet. Maybe, until now.

It hurts me to say, but there is more to the world of technology than “just” Android. While only Android, all the time would be amazing and a pleasant scenario for the future, we here at Android Authority like to peek into other advances in this fascinating tech world. Let’s be honest, research conducted now(flexible AMOLED displays, battery tech advances, camera technology) will directly affect our future Android devices. As such, we have some great articles on the technology behind the whopping 41MP camera featured in the Nokia PureView 808¬†and an overview of the current state of smartphone camera tech, with some insight into the future.

nokia pureview 808

The latest high-end smartphones boast amazing cameras with a host of features that makes the need of a P&S camera redundant. That’s one more less thing you have to carry around now. Today, we pit some of the best devices Android has to offer, including the Samsung Galaxy S3, the HTC One X, and the Sony Xperia S, against each other and also against the iPhone 4S. You may be wondering why the relatively cheaper Xperia S is featured on this list. That is because while the other three devices feature 8MP cameras, the Xperia S boasts a 12.1MP camera.

Test Conditions

All images from the various testing conditions are courtesy of Natasha Lomas, the Mobile Phones Editor at CNET. You can read her complete review here.

“Test conditions” makes it sound quite serious, but it’s just everyday situations where you might be taking pictures, and includes:

  • Still Life
  • Depth of Field
  • Low Light levels
  • Flash
  • Indoors
  • Outdoors
  • Close Up

To give you a sampler of the tests ran by CNET, here are the shots in the Still Life category.

Samsung Galaxy S3


Sony Xperia S

iPhone 4S

With the Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X, the iPhone 4S, and the Sony Xperia S being packed with features, it’s not surprising that it is quite difficult to crown any of the smartphone cameras as the best. Each has its strengths and weaknesses in different scenarios, and as always, it boils down to personal preference. But, it does look like the 12.1MP Sony Xperia S is the least impressive of the four devices, even with its megapixel superiority. The poorer quality can possibly be attributed to its lower cost and hence, cheaper hardware, so that the next high-end Sony smartphone with a 12/13MP camera could stand strong against its competition.

It’s now up to you, the reader, to give us your final verdict. Which device do you think produced the best images in each category? Which device camera would be your overall choice? How big of a difference does the quality of a smartphone camera make to you? Let us know in the comments section below.