Verizon Cameraphone Comparison Q4 2007

9
Introduction

A lot has changed since May 2007 when we published our Verizon Q2 Cameraphone Comparison. Now, almost eight months later, there are several new phones to test, including the Samsung FlipShot, LG Voyager, Motorola RAZR2 V9m, and Motorola Maxx Ve (which was used in our Q2 comparison).

The FlipShot replaces the Samsung A990, but still uses a similar 3MP Autofocus camera. The LG Voyager and Motorola Maxx Ve both use a 2MP Autofocus camera, while the Motorola RAZR2 V9m is 2MP with a fixed-focus lens (no autofocus).



With each phone, at lest 43 images were taken, equaling a total of 172 pictures between all of the phones. They have been captured under the following conditions and categories:

1) Outside in broad daylight
2) Outside at night
3) Indoors, under different types of lighting and with various distances from the object
4) Close-up Macro

We tried to use the camera’s Automatic settings whenever possible, but for night images we did use the Night/Darkness image modes. Also, indoor images taken with the Auto White Balance can vary greatly between phones, so bear that in mind.

In each category we have placed a 100% crop image at the top of the page, which shows the camera’s differences. It helps you to easily compare the performance, seeing the same object reproduced by different devices side-by-side. Since a 3-megapixel camera (FlipShot) takes a photo of the same object, but in larger resolution, it will have same advantage in this respect. We then show all four cameraphones images at full resolution, followed by a ranking of 1st to 4th place.


Test 1: Pictures taken outside during broad daylight

Thisis the most important camera test, considering that most people willuse their cameras for taking pictures outside during the day.Therefore, these images tell a lot about the overall performance ofcamerphone.

In our daytime test results, the V9m comes in 1stplace. This is due to images having the best “true to life” colorrepresentation, saturation, and being properly exposed. Even though theV9m lack an Autofocus system, the images are in-focus as long as youare 1.5 feet away from the subject. The Voyager comes in 2nd place,since it does not have as much color saturation as the V9m. TheFlipShot is a respectable 3rd, with images being as sharp as theVoyager, yet the color representation is slightly off. Rounding out 4thplace is the Maxx Ve, due to the fact that images can be underexposed(too dark) when taking pictures outside. This is a problem with theIris and only happens when there is too much light entering in the lens.

Cameraphone comparison samples. Scroll below for our category rating.



The phone’s performance, sorted from 1st to 4th place:

1) V9m: Produces the best looking daytime images, excellent color and detail.
2) Voyager: Not as much color saturation, but images are sharp with good detail.
3) FlipShot: Images look somewhat washed-out and the color is not accurate.
4) Maxx Ve: Images are in focus and have good detail, but are too dark due to the Iris problem.

Test 2: Nighttime Pictures

Thisdemonstrates how the camera behaves at night when using a longerexposure to gather in as much light as possible. We took images usingthe camera’s Auto setting, as well as manually selecting theNight/Darkness setting. Between those two modes, all phones performedbest when they were not using the Night/Darkness setting (leaving itset to Auto), since they had the tendency to come out blurry.


Forour night tests, the Maxx Ve jumps up to 1st place (just like it did inour Q2 review), with images being in-focus, properly exposed, and withlittle grain being shown. The V9m comes in a close 2nd place, withimages not being as sharp, due to the lack of an autofocus system, butare still properly exposed. The Voyager is in 3rd, due to some exposureproblems and noticeable purple fringing. Coming in 4th is the FlipShot,which had more severe exposure problems and difficulties focusing inlow light.

Cameraphone comparison samples. Scroll below for our category rating.





The phone’s performance, sorted from 1st to 4th place:

1) Maxx Ve: Night pictures are the most in-focus and with good exposure.
2) V9m: Images are not as focused as the Maxx Ve, but still have proper exposure.
3) Voyager: Most images looked too dark and there was noticeable purple fringing around bright areas.
4)FlipShot: The “night mode” caused most images to look darker, insteadof brighter, and there were problems with the autofocus not workingcorrectly.



Test 3: Pictures taken under variety of inside lighting conditions

We compared the cameraphones indoors under a wide variety of artificial lighting conditions, which reveals how their Automatic White Balance performs. Also, in darker images, more noise appears and the detail disappears, which is another problem for most cameraphones.

The V9m comes back to 1st place, since images have excellent color representation and overall good detail. Also, the Auto White Balance on the V9m worked the best out of any phone, and can easily adjust to a variety of lighting conditions (fluorescent, incandescent, and halogen). The Maxx Ve is a close 2nd, with the only noticeable difference being that images don’t have as much color saturation, but the Auto White Balance still works well with various types of light. Coming in 3rd is the Voyager, due to images being slightly darker and underexposed than they should be. In 4th place in the FlipShot, which still suffers from the same Auto White Balance and Autofocus problems that plagued the A990. Even when manually changing the white balance to Tungsten or Fluorescent, we could not achieve a “natural/neutral” color to the image.

Cameraphone comparison samples. Scroll below for our category rating.



The phone’s performance, sorted from 1st to 4th place:

1) V9m: Colors are the most saturated and the Auto White Balance works well with different types of lighting.
2) Maxx Ve: Not as much color saturation, but images still look good and no problems with the Auto White Balance.
3) Voyager: Images are a little darker than they should be.
4) FlipShot: The only phone that suffers from Auto White Balance problems. This was an issue with the A990 and has not been fixed on the FlipShot.

We would also like to add that the only phones with a built-in Flash are the FlipShot and Maxx Ve. Our tests show that the flash on the Maxx Ve is more powerful and produces better looking images than FlipShot. If you require a good flash on your cameraphone, then we would recommend the Maxx Ve over the FlipShot.




Test 4:Macro

This test demonstrates how well the phones can take pictures of close-up objects. Even though this is one area where most people don’t often use their cameraphones, it is still interesting to see which devices can capture the best macro image. We should also point out in front that the V9m is not capable of macro images, due to it not having Autofocus, but we decided to test it regardless.

For the first time the Voyager jumps into 1st place, since its macro images were the most in-focus out of the tested phones. The FlipShot comes into 2nd and the Maxx Ve is a close 3rd, with the FlipShot producing slightly more in-focus images than the Maxx Ve. Lastly, the V9m is in 4th place, due to it not having an Autofocus system to take macro images with.

Cameraphone comparison samples. Scroll below for our category rating.




The phone’s performance, sorted from 1st to 4th place:

1) Voyager: Macro images from the Voyager were the most in-focus out of the tested phones.
2) FlipShot: Images were slightly out-of-focus, but still useable.
3) Maxx Ve: The Maxx Ve is somewhat more out-of-focus than the FlipShot.
4) V9m: The V9m lacks an autofocus system, causing Macro images to look blurry.


Overall Ratings and Conclusion

In each of the categories we gave the four phones a different rating. The first place brings 4 points, 3 points for the second place, 2 points for third place, and 1 point for the forth place.

Based solely on our point system, it is almost a tie for 1st place between the V9m and Voyager.

However, for real world images, we believe the V9m to take the best overall pictures, thus we award it 1st place. It produces the best looking daytime images with colors looking their best, and inside images looking equally as good, thanks to the auto white balance being able to adjust to many different types of light. Night images were not as good as the Maxx Ve, but still respectable. Unfortunately, due to the lack of an Autofocus system, the V9m cannot be used for taking Macro images, where the Voyager is the winner.

We give the Voyager 2nd place, since outside images are almost as good as the V9m and the macro images are the best out of group.
Also, the Voyager's large 2.5" display is the easiest to use as a viewfinder out of the four phones.

The Maxx Ve comes in at an overall 3rd place, with outside and inside images not looking quite as good as the V9m, mostly due to colors not being as saturated. Yet it does make up for this with excellent night photos, an autofocus system, and a bright flash.

In last place in the FlipShot, which is a total disappointment, due to the fact that it is the only current 3MP cameraphone for Verizon. We initially had high hopes for the FlipShot, since it replaces the A990, but unfortunately the camera has not been improved upon, and it clearly does not perform as good as other 2MP cameraphones. The main downfall of the FlipShot is the poor Auto White Balance that cannot properly adjust to different types of light. Even when manually adjusting the white balance, we could not get colors to look right. Also, the autofocus on the FlipShot is the slowest between the 3 autofocusing phones, taking up to 5 seconds to focus on a subject.

Our rating system is as follows:

  1. V9m: 15 points total
  2. Voyager: 14 points total
  3. Maxx Ve: 13 points total
  4. FlipShot: 8 points total


Raking

Phone

Points

Comment

1)

Motorola V9m

3.0

Takes the best outside (daytime) and inside pictures.

2)

LG Voyager

2.75

Not as good for inside images, but excellent macro pics

3)

Motorola Maxx Ve

2.5

.Takes good pictures, has autofocus, and a bright flash.

4)

Samsung FlipShot

1.75

Overall poor looking images and slow autofocus.



Miscellaneous:

Although it does not influence the quality of the pictures directly, the operational time of the camera is rather important for its use.



#

Phone

Starting


Focusing

Saving

Time between 2 shots

1)

Motorola V9m

1 sec.

N/A 0 sec.

2 sec.

4 sec.

2)

Motorola Maxx Ve

2 sec

2.5 sec.

2 sec.

6 sec.

3)

LG Voyager

3sec

2 sec.

2sec.

5 sec.

4)

Samsung FlipShot

1 sec

4 sec.

2 sec.

10 sec.





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