Smartphones are now capable of competing with point and shoot digital cameras. Almost every smartphone maker is investing in great cameras on at least one of their handsets. While most prefer purchasing an Imaging Sensor from other makers, few actually work to make the best of the imaging sensor.
Full 1080p HD video recording is now a default feature in top of the line smartphones. However, the major focus increases on packing better quality audio and optical image stabilization as promoted by Nokia in its Lumia 920. This device promises great quality images even in low light conditions.
Here is a list of smartphones that carry some of the best imaging features available in the market today.
Apple iPhone 5
The lighter, thinner and faster iPhone 5 features a 4 inch Retina display with 1136 x 640 pixel resolution and 326 pixel per inch pixel density. Though the screen might look like it is stretched long, there is no distortion in the aspect ratio. The iPhone 5 has a new design and packs dual core Apple A6 ARM Cortex-A15 core architecture. Apple has used the new iSight camera with 8 megapixel image sensor comprising of a five element lens and has an LED flash next to it. One of these five elements is a Sapphire crystal lens to capture more light and offer clearer images through f/2.4 aperture. Apple has also introduced Panorama mode, which allows users to capture images at up to 28 megapixel resolution.
Three high density microphones add great audio data while enhanced video recording is in process at full 1080p HD video resolution. The iPhone 5 claims better video stabilization due to an updated image sensor. Most importantly, the camera software has been tweaked to quickly capture images and you can never tire of clicking about 60 images in a minute. Apple has also added a 1.2 megapixel camera in the front to support FaceTime in 720p HD video resolution. Now users can engage FaceTime even over cellular networks as it was previously only limited to WiFi networks. Apple iPhone 5 promises about 8 hours of talk time over 3G networks with a 1440 mAh battery.
Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung’s third major flagship smartphone has a 4.8 inch HD Super Amoled display and packs a quad core Exynos 4412 mobile processor. The display offers 1280 x 720 pixel resolution natively, which is great for viewing photos and watching videos. Apart from a brilliant display the smartphone packs a quad core 1.4 GHz Samsung Exynos 4 Quad 4412 mobile processor with 1 GB RAM. It sports a new version of TouchWiz UI, dubbed Nature UX, and recently got the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update. Samsung has used an 8 megapixel Backside Illumination sensor and has placed an LED flash next to it for providing enough light during low light conditions.
The camera is capable of recording both 720p HD and 1080p HD videos smoothly – thanks to the quad core mobile processor. The 8 megapixel camera has f/2.6 aperture to provide a slightly wider field of view compared to the Apple iPhone 5. Offering higher resolution and better contrast, the Galaxy S III camera clicks images real fast but not as fast as the iPhone 5. Nonetheless, those who don’t wish to spill loads of cash for iPhone 5 will definitely find Galaxy S III better for imaging. There are other standard sets of features such as WiFi, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth, GPS with A-GPS support, different sensors and a 2100 mAh battery, which make the Galaxy SIII last much longer than the iPhone 5 does.
Nokia 808 PureView
Nokia’s flagship Symbian 808 PureView is slowly making waves with the 41 megapixel image sensor. Nokia 808 PureView has a 4 inch Amoled ClearBlack display, which unfortunately supports 640 x 360 pixel resolution. The display has been built using Corning Gorilla Glass technology for strength. Nokia 808 PureView packs a single core 1.3 GHz ARM 11 based mobile processor to power the Belle Feature Pack 2 OS update, released last year with 512 MB RAM. The most novel part of this Nokia device is the 41 megapixel image sensor that comprises of five element Carl Zeiss optics with f/2.4 aperture and Xenon Flash.
Nokia has added PureView Pro imaging technology, which basically makes the image sensor use a pixel oversampling technique to deliver the best and clearest quality photos. The camera is capable of recording a full 1080p HD video along with rich audio and one can also go ahead for 4x lossless digital zoom. There’s a front facing camera but it has surprisingly not been enabled for use. The Dolby Digital Plus mobile chip housed inside the phone delivers a great multimedia experience with supporting headphones. Nokia has added a 1400 mAh battery, which promises about 11 hours of talk time over 2G networks. Other features of this device include a secondary mic for audio recording, stereo FM with RDS, WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS support.
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 920 runs Windows Phone. It has a 4.5 inch HD ClearBlack IPS panel display with a PureMotion HD+ layer for enjoying blur free images even while using it with gloves on. The display supports 1280 x 768 pixel resolution natively and has a pixel density of 332 pixel per inch. Nokia has used Corning Gorilla Glass 2 technology to make the display resistant to normal wear and tear. The device uses a dual core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 mobile processor with Adreno 225 graphics chip and 1 GB RAM. It has an 8.7 megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture for wider field of view and dual LED flash.
The camera uses Carl Zeiss optics and offers several features such as image stabilisation and auto focus. The most interesting aspect of the camera is its Optical Image Stabilisation technology that helps it capture great quality HD videos. While unlike the PureView technology of Nokia, it is not just about lots of pixels; it helps you take great shots in low light conditions, and helps you take very clear images and videos even when you are moving. Lumia 920 has 32 GB on-board storage, but has no memory card slot. Packing a 2000 mAh battery, it promises about ten hours of continuous talktime over 3G networks. Nokia offers the Lumia 920 with LTE. While LTE networks are still being set up in the country, this device will be compatible with faster networks.
Sony Xperia Z
Sony recently introduced a 5 inch LCD display with Mobile Bravia Engine 2, and it has a full 1080p resolution Xperia Z smartphone for India. This massive smartphone is both water resistant and dust resistant. The Xperia Z has been powered by a quad core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8064 mobile processor and massive 2 GB RAM. By default the phone will run on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with the new Timescape UI on it. Xperia Z packs a 13 megapixel Exmor RS image sensor that is said to be the first image sensor to offer High Dynamic Range video recording. Xperia Z’s Exmor RS image sensor features f/2.4 aperture to capture a wide field of view. The camera is capable of offering HDR for both still images and video. Apart from that the camera app offers a plethora of imaging features such as different scene modes with Superior Auto and it has a touch to focus function. The camera can record full 1080p HD video along with HD video.
LG Optimus G was recently introduced in India at a market operating price of Rs 30,990. It features a quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processor and 13 megapixel camera. The phone certainly deserves a review, so stay tuned