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Conclusion

It’s hard to name a winner, right now in cameraphones we are speaking about compromises, so we’ll just list the ones you have to make with the HTC One, the Nokia Lumia 920, the Apple iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S III, Sony Xperia Z and the Nexus 4.

If you value night video recording (especially) and night images (the advantage is not so apparent), the HTC One is your best option. It also adds great sound recording capabilities that no other smartphone can match. In daylight, its lack of fine detail and slightly spongy images don’t put it in a favorable condition, it’s decent, but not great.

If you care more about an overall cameraphone that will perform great under different conditions, the Apple iPhone 5 would be your best fit. While it has virtually no manual settings, Apple’s device manages to select the right ones automatically, and delivers images with pleasant tones, closest to what we saw on our reference camera. The Samsung Galaxy S III is a close runner-up, but indoors and in low light it performed much worse.

The Nokia Lumia 920 is a strange device. After the Portico Windows Phone update, the camera produces images that you’d think came out of Instagram. Yet they didn’t. In good lightning conditions, colors are way off the mark, hugely blown out of proportion, toyish with unrealistically high contrast. Yes, they are punchy, and yes, they have little in common with reality. The phone does record excellent sound in video, though, and does a decent job at night.

The Sony Xperia Z stands out with its water and dust resistance, and will definitely fit the bill for more active folks - those spending the summer by the sea, and the winter in the mountains. However compared with the other camera juggernauts, its 13-megapixel Exmor RS got varying results: in some conditions it captures great detail, but in others detail is a bit smeary, and there is also a slight purplish tint in images.

Lacking in low-light performance and video recording, the Nexus 4 is behind the pack, and Google has some catching up to do to make the Nexus series a viable alternative in cameraphones. The Nexus 4 can now only make up with effects like the 360 panorama and vintage overlays.

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