A 5-inch Triluminos display with X-Reality engine for mobile, an IP55/58 certified body promising water and dust resistance, and the latest, most powerful Snapdragon 800. Those are but a few of the top-of-the-line internals that the Sony Xperia Z1 comes packing. And yet, it is the 20.7MP camera unit packing an Exmor RS sensor and Sony's proprietary G lens that truly sets the Japanese company's phone apart. So much so, that according to Sony, the Xperia Z1 comes with “the world's leading camera in a smartphone”.
But what goes into a statement like that? You've probably guessed that such a claim is sure to attract the legal minds of any one competitor named in the survey, which is probably why Sony has been quite extensive and descriptive in its portrayal of the exact conditions under which the survey that Strategy Analytics carried out was performed.
Pitting the Sony Xperia Z1 against its main rivals, the company's new flagship was joined by the iPhone 5, HTC One, Nokia 925, Nokia 1020 and Samsung Galaxy S4. Tested under several scenarios, all of the smartphones listed above had their flash set to 'off' and their camera settings set to default. Rating the quality of the snaps taken by the various devices from 1 = very poor, to 5 = very good, were 209 consumers based in the UK, said to represent a typical sample of smartphone buyers. The plethora of images were then put on display via the following media: a 50-inch HD monitor, on the displays of the devices themselves (which were concealed, and had their order randomized as to avoid bias), and lastly: printed on a glossy A4 photo paper. The results were judged based on four factors that a previous Sony-sponsored survey found were most relevant to consumers: Sharpness, Brightness, Life-likeness, and “Overall picture quality”.
By now, it should be dawning on you that when we said Sony was quit extensive, we weren't kidding – this is actually the short version. Despite Sony's attempt to strictly adhere to a unbiased survey, however, we feel obligated to note a few key facts for your consideration. First, and probably most important – while we definitely get the idea that what consumers perceive as the best matters most at the end of the day (for a business entity, such as Sony), we nevertheless have to point out that the multitude of considerations that go into defining a really good image are, for the most part, lost on your typical consumer. Moreover, a survey with a sample of just 209 participants, qualitative as it may be, will (and should) be taken with a pinch of salt.
So, now that we've covered the technicalities (the, admittedly, boring part), lets get right into the test samples and see some of the best cameraphones fight it out.
Sony Xperia Z1's 20.7MP shooter against the competition
source: Sony Mobile