Camera comparison: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Sony Xperia Z3, LG G3, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3
Right from the start of this camera comparison, we were confident that the Galaxy Note 4 was not going to disappoint. Our expectations were correct, as it turned out. Samsung's phablet and its remarkable 16MP camera got the highest final score, and it is a well-deserved result, in our opinion. Samsung has done a great job at fine-tuning its 16MP sensor, which debuted in the Galaxy S5, to achieve even better image quality with the Note 4, with finer details and more accurate colors. Plus, having optical image stabilization makes a difference, especially when shooting video. The only area where we'd like to see further improvement is night-time photography.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, standing in third and second place respectively. Apple's greatest phones yet serve as proof that you don't need a two-digit megapixel figure to take awesome photos. You just need a well-made camera with easy-to-use software. Sure, the iPhones' images can't match the detail produced by the Note 4's camera, but they score big points in lower-light photography. Also, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus can be relied on when shooting at night or for taking videos.
As for the Samsung Galaxy S5, it is a force to be reckoned with. Sure, it couldn't outrun the aforementioned high-ends, but it delivered commendable results most of the time. Its low light and night photos, however, leave room for improvement.
Then there's the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – a phone that performed well in our comparison despite being a year old. Under favorable conditions, it barely lags behind its competitors. In low-light environments, however, the gap behind it and newer handsets becomes more obvious.
The LG G3 did't do bad, but its score put it in the unenviable sixth place. It is a “Jack of all trades, master of none” kind of device, as it gets the job done in any environment, but fails to excel in any of them. Still, it snaps pretty decent night photos, and its LED flash is a reliable one.
Lastly, there's the Sony Xperia Z3. Its supposedly great camera turned out to be not so great against other leading phones, with poorer details, duller colors, and mediocre low-light performance. Is the phone's automatic mode to blame? We're not exactly sure, but whatever is holding Sony's cameraphone back, we hope to see it dealt with in the near future.
The final score for each phone represents its average rating, but note that we're only taking into account the Details, Color representation and Indoor categories in the final score. We're factoring all the others (such as Night and Panorama) out, since those represent situations where users are less likely to take images in. Video recording isn't included either, since we consider it a separate thing from photo taking. We've done this in order to end up with a final rating that is representative of a camera's performance in those areas which we think are most important to users.
Software versions of the units used in the comparison:
Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Android 4.4.4, Build KTU84P, N910FXXU1ANJ4
iPhone 6: iOS 8.0.2, 12A405
iPhone 6 Plus: iOS 8.0.2, 12A405
Sony Xperia Z3: Android 4.4.4, Build 23.0.A.2.93
LG G3: Android 4.4.2, Build KVT49L.A1401987978
Samsung Galaxy s5: Android 4.4.2, Build KOT49H.G900FXXU1ANG2
Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Android 4.3, Build JSS15J.N9005XXUBMI7
Camera comparison: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Sony Xperia Z3, LG G3, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3 - Conclusion