iPhone 4S vs Droid Bionic vs Galaxy S II vs Amaze 4G: camera comparison
In another test to expand their prowess, we took shots of a neon clad Applebee's restaurant and the subtly more neutral tones of a Chase bank – all at night. Such images are rarely taken, but we gave them a try.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40
Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile
Apple iPhone 4S
Motorola DROID BIONIC
HTC Amaze 4G
Paying attention to the macro shots of the seashell on the ground, we're astounded to find all handsets capturing plenty of luscious fine details. Luckily, we can definitively say that the HTC Amaze 4G is blessed with the best shot – thanks to its perfect balance of sharpness and exposure to profoundly showcase details. On top of that, colors appear to be the most saturated out of the bunch, which again manages to catch the attention of our eyes. Shining next to it, is the image captured by the Apple iPhone 4S, which easily pleases our eyes, but lacks the sharpness of the HTC Amaze 4G. Take a look at its colors though – an example of a color inaccuracy problem. The macro shots from the Motorola DROID BIONIC and Samsung Galaxy S II have softer details. Yet, they're arguably passable enough to still be considered better than average – especially when they're compared to some other high-caliber smart phones.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40
Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile
Apple iPhone 4S
Motorola DROID BIONIC
HTC Amaze 4G
Ease of use and speed:
Without question, when it comes to the camera layout and functionality, the iPhone 4S is the epitome of simplicity at its finest. Sure, This comes at the price of having almost zero options with its camera application. Meanwhile, if it's manual controls and settings you're after, the HTC Amaze 4G is adorned with plenty of them – thanks to its deep controls, abundance of shooting modes, and fun options. In fact, for things like panoramic shots, it's such an easy feat to accomplish because of its intuitive and straightforward instructions. Then there are the Motorola DROID BIONIC and Samsung Galaxy S II, whch are far superior in terms of deeper options and settings then the iPhone 4S, but they still lack the refinements and intricacies found with the HTC Amaze 4G.
Of all the devices, it's painfully obvious that we truly despise the lengthy snapshot speed of the Motorola DROID BIONIC. Naturally, if you happen to have a lot of patience, it isn't much of a problem, but when you're trying to capture the moment, it's rather unnerving to find the handset taking the longest to snap a photo. Even after focusing in on the object for couple of seconds, it takes another 5 seconds to actually snap the photo and get us back to taking another one. By then, we can miss out on those opportunities to snatch some candid shots. Fortunately, it isn't as bad on the Samsung Galaxy S II, since it's fairly swift in shooting a photo and getting us right into another one. To show off their capacity to continuously shoot photos, both the iPhone 4S and HTC Amaze 4G are almost instantaneous with their shutter speeds – so yeah, there is a minimal amount of delay between each shot. Therefore, when it comes to capturing the moment, these two won't miss a beat – honestly!
Last year, it was 720p video recording that was the talk of the town, but after seeing the emergence of dual-core processors, 1080p recording has become the standard amongst the juggernauts. Factoring details, exposure, audio recording, frame rate, and colors into the equation, we have to admit that the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S II are the top contenders in this category – thanks partly to their balance production. Details are evidently sharp looking, as is their natural color reproduction and clear audio recording. As for the HTC Amaze 4G, it delivers some exciting visuals with its deep color tones and smooth frame rate, but it suffers from some serious over sharpness, muffled audio recording, and subtle artifacting when panning very quickly. Out of the four, there's no arguing that the Motorola DROID BIONIC is our least favorable device for shooting 1080p videos. Well, that's partly because of its ghastly faint details and constant focusing.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40 Sample Video:
Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile Sample Video:
Apple iPhone 4S Sample Video:
Motorola DROID BIONIC Sample Video:
HTC Amaze 4G Sample Video:
One year later, one year better. That's exactly what we find with this new class of smartphones, as they seemingly close the gap between them and dedicated point and shoots. Seriously, they can replace those once perceived mandatory gadgets – especially when they continue to excel. After meticulously looking over all the shots, we believe it is a tie between the iPhone 4S and the HTC Amaze 4G. They both have the best details, color accuracy and low light performance. They are also the snappiest.
The Galaxy SII is also a great camera phone, with the best flash of the four and great video capture. Its images have good details and our biggest complaints are for the yellowish appearance and not as good low light quality.
Although it's not terrible by any means, the Motorola DROID BIONIC simply lacks the polished quality of its rivals. It's painfully slow to capture images as well.
One shouldn't choose a phone only because of its camera. That said, whichever you decide to go with, we can assure you that you can kick that traditional point and shoot to the curb, if you are not too picky about photo quality. However, we are looking forward to the moment when the high-end smartphones will really mimic the images of a stand-alone camera.
8. tacohunter (Posts: 408; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)
Indeed. I could't even see what was on that little button picture of the droid and galaxy.
A bit akward.
34. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)
Yay! HTC has fixed the screen and camera issue. Now only battery life remains!
35. Muhannad (Posts: 455; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)
You're right but they can't really perfect in one smartphone for some reason.
Rezound = Amazing display but 1600mAh battery isn't good enough.
Amaze 4G = Great camera but battery life and display performance isn't good enough.
Vivid = 1080p at 60Fps! But 4.5" display with qHD resolution isn't good enough especially after announcing the Rezound.
42. nameless1521 (Posts: 17; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)
That's a thing i don't like about HTC.
They don't put whole features in the one phone, but release a phone every fortnight and end up not updating some of their phones to ICS.
Great sales tactic, but not so please for users.
57. Sackboy117 (Posts: 178; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
the sales thing makes sense, but apple puts all their best technology in their 1 phone and still makes good sales.
i think if HTC did that, they would have a beast superphone
51. bigdawg23 (Posts: 414; Member since: 25 May 2011)
The Vivid has better battery life than the SGS2. I had the SGS2 from AT&T and swapped it for the Vivid. Touchwiz or its email client didn't like my works exchange very well.
As you get bigger screens, say good by to battery life unless they plug a 1950mah one in it like the original Atrix.
2. bucky (Posts: 1888; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
Not that it makes a difference here, but why is the exynos sgs2 never used in these comparisons?
17. bucky (Posts: 1888; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
Its the better model of the two. In this comparision, nothing. but don't you want to always compare the best version?
28. Muhannad (Posts: 455; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)
You do realize they use the same camera sensor in both. The only difference is screen size, processor and design.
53. gyphon34 (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)
AS you know there is 2 version processor of Galaxy S2, the snapdragon and the exynos. "You do realize they use the same camera sensor in both. The only difference is screen size, processor and design." Seems like you have been into tmobile snapdragon forum for a while, there have been finding that snapdragon's processor isnt calibrated as perfect as its sibling as the color and camera functions goes.
3. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
Crop photos made by bionic and S II look shi&&y.
1080p for now is useless. I'd rather have really good 720p than this pseudo 1080p.
5. Muhannad (Posts: 455; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)
In the Amaze 4G review, the reviewer said that photo and video capture isn't one of it's strong points. How come it's in level with the iPhone 4S now?
9. GalaxySIIguy (Posts: 6; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)
Because phonearena and every other website out there falls over each other to compliment Apple's golden child. Unless it has the Apple logo on the back then it's complete crap. (Sarcasm)
11. tacohunter (Posts: 408; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)
You must be mad cause the galaxy has not the best camara review.
Idk either why they compare almost every phone with iPhone.
I think the reason is that apple said at it's keynote. That they made significent improvements to the camera. PA, just wanna test it. What's wrong with that? And it's a tie between amaze and 4s.
13. GalaxySIIguy (Posts: 6; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)
Not angry one bit. I love my galaxy S and I know it's faults. But I also know how biased tech sites are towards the iPhone 4S. For a phone that made minor improvements at best over 15 months, I don't feel it deserves the mountains of praise that it gets.
14. E.N. (Posts: 2529; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)
How does that even make any sense? Muhannad asked why the Amaze 4G camera review was so bad before and now all of a sudden its great and on par with the iPhone 4S. If this and every other website was falling over each other to compliment the iPhone (like you just said they are) then the Amaze 4G review would have gotten worse, not better.
The iPhone 4 had a great camera, and the 4S has an even better one. I don't see where there's any room for argument or discontent.
20. tacohunter (Posts: 408; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)
doesn't deserve the mountains of praise that it gets?
These reviews are made by people who know how to make a review. You know nothing about iphone at all if you say minor improvements.
You are saying and alot of fandroids that every site praised everything that apple makes. Pls stop commenting on how bad iphone, wp, etc is. It's just a review, I'm sure they'll have their reasons to "praise" it.
45. donato (Posts: 22; Member since: 28 Nov 2010)
You don't feel that it's deserves all the praise it gets but everyone else does. That is why apple sells the most makes the most money and has the most superior products. More people buy apple more people own apple that is why they praise it the most. If you don't like it then don't read a open phone site, go to a droid site were people go when they are upset that apple gets all the praise it deserves.
6. Eingild (Posts: 203; Member since: 19 Apr 2011)
Is it me or the iPhone 4s has a lot of purple infringing going on there?
12. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
..to answer the last line of the review - it's already there. The Nokia N8 :p
But really, it will be Sony's Xperia Nozomi
36. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
Don't be so sure. Arc was expected to be amazingly good in phot department ...but it's not. Still...it's one of the best photo phone around in android camp. King is one. N8.
And I'm wondering why PA doesn't mention about it.
I know that Symbian is not popular and most of users think it's dead, but in camera department he is still a KING.
However, PA disregard his existence.
15. Habib (Posts: 114; Member since: 26 Feb 2011)
HTC AMAZE just killed all the other 3!!!
how is that a tie?
18. bucky (Posts: 1888; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
actually, from what I see the amaze was third place
25. bucky (Posts: 1888; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
I did read the whole article thank you for the response! Maybe you should take the time in read mine. this was my view
16. dwroberts (unregistered)
Thanks for a thorough and helpful comparison.
Could you perhaps comment on whether the Nokia N8 remains the best cameraphone?
24. BLikens1619 (Posts: 57; Member since: 12 Apr 2008)
My SE C905 has got one hell of a camera, can't knock it.
19. santaclaus (Posts: 52; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)
title says top notch camera phone but i don't see nokia n9 or lumia 800 there. instead motorola n htc can be there.
wondering how the editors can do that...
37. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
HTC always has crappy cameras.
Moto sometimes do something good...ZN5 or even Droid X.
But in RAZR...nothing to write home about.
I know I know..the article is about best cameraphone among top notch droids...but why not among phones at all?
Or N8 is so good that they don't have to remind that?
ps. I'm sorry, but even N82 takes better photos than HTC (A)maze.
21. andro. (Posts: 1986; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
The differences are so vague that the average user won't really know the difference,at the end of the day they all have top notch cameras and most people wouldn't spot the difference in their drunken night out photos lol. I must say the nokia n8 is the best ive used though
23. tacohunter (Posts: 408; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)
We'll see, what the future holds.
(nokia n8 has indeed one of the best cameras) you're right about that. xD
26. Dumaru (Posts: 4; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
I have the Motorola DROID Bionic. The default camera app is rather crap. I purchased Vignette and it takes much higher quality photos then the default camera app.
On videos, I can really tell a difference between the 720p and the 1080p on my phone. I'm at work so I cant watch the vids posted in the review, but there you go. My nickle given.
29. Donovan (Posts: 1; Member since: 04 Nov 2011)
Look forward to the Rezound, Nexus and RZR camera reviews. I swore I read somewhere on here (either a article or someones response) that the Rezound has new camera technology but can't find it. This, along with sound (I listen to music ALL day long at work) and display, are key points for me when purchasing a phone.
38. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
rezound has probably the same camera unit as Touch 4g (posibbly best camera among htc phones)
30. protozeloz (Posts: 5387; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
I wonder why this didn't wait for the RAZR and the Nexus but I guess they have that comparison hopefully by that time the SE phone is out and we can see its camera con action
31. delon87 (Posts: 2; Member since: 07 Nov 2011)
1st of all~ stupid log in setup which can't connect well to facebook and i need new register just to stupidly comment on this post~
2nd of all~ this is a fcking smartphones which has camera features~ those still can't kills cameras or else Nikkon, Canon, Olympus and etc will running out of business if smartphones outsmart the cameras~ ==''
55. robinrisk (unregistered)
\"Stupidly Commented on this Post\"
Well, i\'ve gotta give it to you, nailed that one!
43. nameless1521 (Posts: 17; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)
Wow, many HTC fanboys i've seen here.
GS2 has a better camera than all HTC phones in terms of spec.
Im not talking about Megapixels or things that, but the indicated camera sensor and lens. Apart from sony&nokia(n8, n9) which using carl-zeiss lens, GS2 has better camera and that includes iphone.
44. Enough-Is-Never-Enough (Posts: 14; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)
The thing for me is I am not a major fan of any one phone maker over the next. The thing that does have my attention is Motorola's webtop feature. That puts me in a postion where I pretty much have to choose a Motorola phone to get the webtop feature. As mentioned before I'm not biased towards one phone maker over another. I want Samsung's Galaxy screen size but I want Motorola's webtop feature (keyboard and mouse of course). Does anybody know if any other phone manufacturer's are coming out with there own webtop-like feature or am I stuck sticking to only Motorola to get something like the webtop. I saw something about a webtop-like device for the Evo 4g but the description did not say anyting about keyoard/mouse connections, plus it seemd like it was only for EVo 4g. ????????????????? I will post this same comment on a few other threads in case no one see's it here so don't be annoyed if you see this post on 6-7 other threads!!! (maybe more if I don't get a response)
46. bondosho (Posts: 11; Member since: 07 Nov 2011)
Taken with the Sprint Galaxy SII, Epic 4G Touch (same sensor as the T-Mobile GS2):
com/-d1mV1P9WqQk/TpE4NgBFBYI/AAAAAA AADyA/dIME9SZtyeQ/s720/2011100 8_195016.jpg
com/-gTVZ6XBEWqA/TqoMsiMvtcI/AAAAAA AADpg/hr16uVrKzfQ/s720/2011102 7_103408.jpg
Your mileage will vary, don't take a reviewers article as gospel.
48. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)
Guess you did not read did you? Be gone troll
50. douglasman100 (Posts: 24; Member since: 27 Aug 2011)
there in princeton in this. i knew they were located in nj but not that close to me lol
52. Paden (Posts: 262; Member since: 07 Jul 2011)
I think we can all agree the Bionic looks like garbage.
54. dil2abu (Posts: 216; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)
Where is the Camera Phone Of the Year???
Y dont u add Xperia Arc S with this comparison ???
58. starshaped69 (Posts: 1; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)
Another completely flawed meaningless test :)
Okay you are going out on stag party or if you happen to be a female reader a hen do. You know the kinda things that normal people actually use camera's for i.e. 'real life' situation(s) rather then taking pics of stationary buildings and stuffed toys!
THE ACID TEST
You want to make sure you capture this moment for prosperity - this one off event...so okay 'The million dollar question'....Could you really risk leaving your stand alone camera at home for any of these phones ?
In low light indoors in clubs pubs etc when your mates are moving around you will just get blurred photos. go on try it..if you don't believe me :)
That's because they all use an LED flash. And that's because of cost, power management and the obsession for size zero handsets.
If the comparison(s) showed 'a typical night out' the differences would be staggering. It bemuses me it really does, everytime I see one of these so called tests! :)
There is only one camera phone - the unfashionable 'elephant in the room' Nokia N8 that has a decent enough camera to feel confident enough on a night out to leave your point and shoot at home. It uses a proper Xenon flash as used on proper camera's which means that you can take proper 'real life' photos and it captures them without blurring...kinda useful me thinks! ;)
I have lost count of the number of times I have seen women out on the town with an Iphone 4 only to reach into their bags to take a real camera out to take their night time facebook pics.
Of course if PA were to admit that every LED equipped phone camera was pretty much useless in more realistic situations they wouldn't have an article to write :)