Verizon Cameraphone Comparison Q4 2009


With each passing year there are more phones introduced with integrated cameras and higher megapixels, but as any expert will tell you, more megapixels do not always equal better looking images, as the size of the sensor, lens quality, and software all play an important role in how the image will turn out. Because of this, we at PhoneArena have done head-to-head comparisons of the most popular cameraphones over the years (Q2 2009, Q4 2007, and Q2 2007) and have used the results to rank how well the models perform while used in various conditions.

For our new Q4 2009 cameraphone comparison review, we will be using the 5-megapixel Samsung Omnia II, Motorola DROID, HTC DROID ERIS, and HTC Imagio, and also the 3.2-megapixel Samsung Rogue and LG enV Touch. As you may recall, the enV Touch was ranked 1st on our last comparison review, so we decided to see how well it would stack-up with the newest models.

With each phone, over 30 images were taken, totaling over 180 images between all six models. They have been captured under the following conditions and categories:

1)    Outside in broad daylight, including a video sample
2)    Outside at night
3)    Indoors with different types of lighting, including flash, and with various distances from the subject
4)    Macro

We used the camera’s Automatic settings whenever possible, but for night images we also tried the Night Mode on the Samsung Omnia II and Motorola DROID. Also, indoor images taken with the Auto White Balance can vary greatly between phones, so keep that in mind.

In each category we have placed 100% crop images on each page, which shows the cameras’ differences. It helps you to easily compare the performance by seeing the same object reproduced by different devices side-by-side.

We then show all six cameraphone images at full resolution, followed by a ranking of 1st to 6th place.

Test 1a: Pictures taken outside during broad daylight

Out of all the tests, this is the most important, considering that a majority of people use their cameras for taking pictures outside during the day. Therefore, these images tell a lot about the overall performance of each camerphone.

In our daytime test, the Motorola DROID comes in at 1st place. Images are sharp and in-focus, with colors being the most accurate and not artificially over-saturated. In 2nd place comes the HTC Imagio, as images are crisp, however colors are a bit over-saturated, though still within acceptance. The LG enV Touch is at 3rd place, as images are in-focus and still have generally good color. In 4th place is the Samsung Rogue, as some outside images are slightly underexposed (dark) than they should be, but colors are still adequate. The HTC DROID ERIS comes in a 5th place, since images don’t look as sharp and color matching is a bit of a problem. The Samsung Omnia II comes in 6th place, due to images being greatly overexposed, having poor color matching and also exhibiting purple-fringing.

The phones’ performance, sorted from 1st to 6th place:

1)    Motorola DROID: The DROID had the best daytime images, with neutral colors, proper exposure, and good detail.
2)    HTC Imagio: The colors produced by the Imagio are a bit over-saturated, but images still look good and are properly exposed.
3)    LG enV Touch: Images are sharp and in-focus, but colors are still over-saturated.
4)    Samsung Rogue: A few of the outside images were a bit underexposed.
5)    HTC DROID ERIS: Images are not as sharp and there is some loss in fine-detail.
6)    Samsung Omnia II: Color matching is a problem, as well as images being overexposed and showing purple-fringing.

Test 1b: Videos recorded outside in broad daylight:

Eventhough recording videos via a cameraphone is more of a novelty than anecessity, we thought it would be interesting to see how the six modelswould compare, even though we are not including this in our finalscore. The Motorola DROID produced the best looking video with goodcolors and smooth playback, as it can record at 720x480 resolution with25FPS. The Samsung Omnia II also records at 720x480 resolution, butvideos aren’t as smooth and colors are “blotchy” looking. The HTCImagio, LG enV Touch, and Samsung Rogue are all capable of recording at640x480 resolution, but the enV Touch had the smoothest playback at25FPS, while the Imagio was a bit choppy at 19FPS, and the Rogue waslimited to only 14FPS. Lastly, the HTC DROID ERIS had the worst lookingvideo out of the bunch, as it could only record at 325x288 resolutionwith 15FPS. Keep these results in mind if you are planning to use thevideo recording feature.

Motorola DROID sample video at 720x480 pixels resolution

Samsung Omnia II sample video at 720x480 pixels resolution

HTC Imagio sample video at 640x480 pixels resolution

LG enV Touch sample video at 640x480 pixels resolution

Samsung Rogue sample video at 640x480 pixels resolution

HTC DROID ERIS sample video at 325x288 pixels resolution

Test 2: Nighttime pictures taken outside

This demonstrates how the camera behaves at night when using a longer exposure time and higher ISO to gather in as much light as possible. We took images using the camera’s Auto settings, as well as manually selecting the Night mode on the Samsung Omnia II and Motorola DROID.

The Motorola DROID comes in at 1st place in our nighttime test, but only when using the “night portrait” mode in the settings. This allows the night images to look their best, while gathering in the most amount of light and having accurate colors, but at the same time remaining sharp and in-focus. If you set the DROID to Auto mode and take nighttime pictures, they are dark and hard to make out, so this is not recommended. Coming in at 2nd place is the HTC Imagio, as night images are bright (without any special mode settings) and in-focus, but some suffer from a warm hue. At 3rd place is the HTC DROID ERIS, as most night images are pretty close to the Imagio, but bright areas (such as brightly lit signs) can be overexposed. The LG enV Touch comes in at 4th place, since night images are darker than we’d like, but are still in-focus. In 5th place is the Samsung Rogue, since most night images are sharper and have less grain than the Samsung Omnia II, which comes in at 6th place. The night mode on the Omnia II is almost unusable, as it slows the shutter down to ½ second, causing images to be blurry and lights to be “booming”.

The phones’ performance, sorted from 1st to 6th place:

1)    Motorola DROID: When using the “night portrait” mode, images at night came out the best, with plenty of light, accurate colors, and being in-focus.
2)    HTC Imagio: Night images are bight and in-focus, but some have a warm hue.
3)    HTC DROID ERIS: Almost the same as the Imagio, but brightly lit areas can be overexposed.
4)    LG enV Touch: Night images are darker than we’d like, but are still in-focus.
5)    Samsung Rogue: Night images look a bit blurry, but grain isn’t too bad.
6)    Samsung Omnia II: Images are blurry and look out of focus and show a lot of grain. The “nigh mode” is unusable.

Test 3a: Pictures taken indoors under a variety of inside lighting conditions, including color charts

We compared the six cameraphones indoors under a wide variety of artificial lighting conditions, which reveals how their Automatic White Balance performs. We also took images of different color charts to see how each camera reproduces them.

Once again, the Motorola DROID comes in at 1st place, due to it having accurate Auto White Balance, color matching, and sharp images, through quality on all phones go down when there is less light. Edging in slightly higher than the Rogue is the LG enV Touch at 2nd place, as its inside images were sharper and had slightly better color reproduction. At 3rd place is the Samsung Rogue, since images weren’t at sharp as the enV Touch, but colors were close. The HTC Imagio comes in at 4th place as the Auto White Balance can be a problem under certain lights, but images are still sharp and properly exposed. In 5th place is the Samsung Omnia II, as it also has White Balance and color reproduction issues, but images are still bright. The HTC DROID ERIS comes in at 6th place, as it had the most color matching issues and images generally looked dull and lifeless.

The phones’ performance, sorted from 1st to 6th place:

1)    Motorola DROID: The DROID produced the most accurate colors and had proper white balance and exposure while used under a variety of artificial indoor lighting.
2)    LG enV Touch: Colors weren’t as accurate as with the DROID, but still looked acceptable, and images were in-focus.
3)    Samsung Rogue: Images aren’t as sharp as the enV Touch.
4)    HTC Imagio: Has issues with the Auto White Balance under artificial light.
5)    Samsung Omnia II: Also has issues with color matching and the Auto White Balance.
6)    HTC DROID ERIS: Images have the most color matching issues and look lifeless.

Test 3b: Flash images taken indoors

Outof the six phones, the only two that do not include a flash are the HTCDROID ERIS and Imagio. The remaining four phones come equipped with anLED flash, with the Motorola DROID actually containing two LEDs. Flashimages taken indoors of the dark kitchen (at 12 feet distance) by theMotorola DROID and Samsung Omnia II are quite good considering thesource, though the Omnia II does produce more of a warm hue. The flashimage by the Samsung Rouge’s is more blurry, while the flash imageproduced by the enV Touch is the darkest out of the four.

Test 4: Macro

This test demonstrates how well the phones can take pictures of close-up objects only a few inches away. 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.

The Motorola DROID comes in at 1st place, since all the Macro images are in-focus and have fine detail. In 2nd place is the HTC Imagio, as it also has good detail, but not as clearly defined as the DROID. The Samsung Rogue comes in at 3rd place, as it has better in-focus Macro images than the remaining three phones. 4th place goes to the HTC DROID ERIS, just slightly beating the Samsung Omnia II, which comes in at 5th place, as both phones did have issues with a couple of the Macro images, causing them to be out of focus. Lastly, the LG enV Touch is at 6th place, as its Macro images were the most troublesome and most out of focus.

The phone’s performance, sorted from 1st to 6th place:

1)    Motorola DROID: Out of the six phones, the DROID had the best Macro images and with finest detail.
2)    HTC Imagio: Almost as good as the DROID, but not as much fine detail.
3)    Samsung Rogue: Slightly more in-focus than the remaining phones.
4)    HTC DROID ERIS: Just barely beats the Omnia II, but not by much as some Macro images were blurry.
5)    Samsung Omnia II: Slightly more blurry and less detail than the DROID ERIS.
6)    LG enV Touch: All of the Macro images were the least in-focus out of the six phones.

Overall Ratings:

In each of the test categories we gave the six phones a different rating.  The first place phone brings 6 points, 5 points for the second place, 4 points for third place, 3 points for the fourth place, 2 points for the fifth place, and 1 point for sixth place.

We believe that the Motorola DROID takes the best real-world images and award it 1st place, as it earned a total of 24 points. All of the images were properly exposed, sharp, and in-focus, with colors being neutral and not over-saturated. The Auto White Balance also performed the best out of the tested phones, which is why indoor images had accurate colors. For night images you just have to remember to select the “night portrait” mode for them to come out their best.

The HTC Imagio comes in at 2nd place with 18 points. Most images were almost as good as the DROID, but colors were a bit over-saturated at times, making them look unnatural.

The LG enV Touch slightly beats out the Rogue for 3rd place and with 13 points. Outside images are good, but it also suffers from colors being over saturated. The enV Touch also doesn’t do as good a job with night images as the DROID and Imagio. The Macro images were the worst out of the bunch, but this is an area where most people don’t use the camera that often.

Coming in a close 4th is the Samsung Rogue, also with 13 points, but the Rogue doesn’t do as well with daytime, nighttime, and inside images as the enV Touch. Though the Rogue does better with Macro images.

The HTC DROID ERIS comes in at 5th place with 10 points. This is because most of the images don’t look sharp and appear slightly blurry, as well as having the worst color matching and auto white balance out of the six phones.

The Samsung Omnia II comes in last at 6th place and with 6 points, as its outside images had poor color matching, were over exposed, and had purple fringing. Inside images also had problems with the auto white balance under varying artificial light, and night images were blurry.


With each new cameraphone comparison review we’ve see a slow progression to better quality images, but unfortunately we still haven’t arrived with a real all-in-one replacement for a traditional digital camera. So what does this mean to the consumer? Simply that a cameraphone, such as the Motorola DROID, does take good quality pictures…for a cameraphone…and that it still by no means will replace your Canon or Nikon camera. It would be nice if phone manufactures would place more importance on having a good quality camera integrated with the phone, then just considering it as an afterthought. What we need to see happen is for cameraphones to have larger sensors (which gather more light), have higher quality optics, and better software. Until then, most people will continue to rely on traditional digital cameras for capturing their important photos.

Motorola DROID Review
HTC Imagio Review
LG enV Touch Review
Samsung Rogue Review
Samsung Omnia II Review

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