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Best smartphone cameras compared!

Smartphones have become part of our daily lives, The PhoneArena team tested the photographic capacities of flagship flags of technology giants set the best model. Here are the scores that models get in different environments ...

Best smartphone cameras compared!

Smartphones have become part of our daily lives, The PhoneArena team tested the photographic capacities of flagship flags of technology giants set the best model. Here are the scores that models get in different environments ...

15 April 2017 Saturday 13:06
Best smartphone cameras compared!

For the purposes of this camera comparison, we took the HTC U Ultra, the Galaxy S7 edge, the iPhone 7 Plus and the LG G6 out for a camera shootout. We're about to comment on the photos that they produced in just a moment, but before we get to that, let us take a look as the cameras' specs.

Looking at megapixels alone, the 13MP LG G6 might appear to be a step ahead of the rest, but as we've said many times before, megapixels are far from all that matters in a camera. The HTC U Ultra, for example, has the advantage of packing the largest sensor with the physically largest pixels. In plain words, this should let it absorb more light more easily and with less noise. At the same time, the Galaxy S7 edge has the widest aperture, which should give it a boost in low-light performance. And after that theoretical overview, let us proceed by examining some actual samples.

The rusty ride

This is a scene I wanted to include because it visualizes a common conflict – realistic images aren't always the ones that look best to the average viewer. To be more specific, the image out of the HTC U Ultra appears bland compared to what the other three cameras deliver, even though it is a more accurate representation of what my eyes could see then and there. Looking at the images out of the Galaxy S7 edge and LG G6, I see that contrast, saturation, and sharphess have all been given a boost, and honestly, I'd be okay with that if I was simply sharing that photo on social media for the likes (as most people surely would). The iPhone has taken things a step further by adding a dose of warmth to the image – something that Apple's cameras tend to do.

So all in all, the HTC U Ultra is off to a good start, even though its image isn't quite as attention-grabbing as the others. But it looks like it will be facing some serious competition throughout the rest of this comparison. 

Score 

Galaxy S7 edge 7.5  

LG G6 7.5  

HTC U Ultra 7.0  

iPhone 7 Plus 6.5

The darling daffodils

It is easier to pick a favorite in this next scene, and that would be the iPhone 7 Plus. The reasons: first of all, colors are spot-on, with the natural warmth of the morning sun captured quite well. Also, I really like how the phone managed to capture the whole flower in focus, while parts of it are blurry in other shots due to the shallower depth of field of the other cameras. As for the HTC U Ultra, it is also delivering great results, especially when it comes to color reproduction. While the photos out of the Galaxy S7 edge and LG G6 are okay, I see an excessive amount of green in them.

Score 

iPhone 7 Plus 8.5

HTC U Ultra 8.0

Galaxy S7 edge 7.0

LG G6 7.0

The monolithic mansion

Remember that part in the beginning where I said that larger camera sensors with larger pixels could prove an advantage in low light? Here's a set of shots that support my words. Zooming in on the photo out of the U Ultra and S7 edge, both of which lead in that respect, reveals more detail, as can be seen more clearly in the draperies and the ornaments on the building's facade. But as a whole, all four images look more than acceptable.

Score

Galaxy S7 edge 7.5  

HTC U Ultra 7.0

LG G6 6.0

iPhone 7 Plus 6.0

The town at twilight

Here's another shot out of the HTC U Ultra demonstrating that the phone is well capable of capturing detail in low light. It is not leading by a mile, but its image here looks the clearest when you zoom in. Colors, on the other hand, could have been more accurate. The overall tone of the image is leaning towards the cold side. The S7 edge and iPhone, for example have achieved a better balance between the blueish twilight sky and the warm glow of the street lights. To wrap up this paragraph, all four images we have here look fine, without any major imperfections holding them back.

Score

Galaxy S7 edge 7.0  

HTC U Ultra 7.0

LG G6 7.0

iPhone 7 Plus 7.0

Conclusion

There was a time when HTC's cameras did not stand a chance against high-end competitors – a time when the first-generation Ultrapixel cams promised a lot, but delivered a little. Thankfully, that era is in HTC's history now. As the HTC 10 before it, the HTC U Ultra snaps good shots in most environments, just as expected. But its camera still appears to require some tweaking. While taking the photos for this comparison, I noticed that exposure was tricky to get right in certain situations – something that a software update would eventually fix, I hope.

While the U Ultra performed well, it didn't exactly deliver the results to win this camera comparison. The Galaxy S7 edge finished a few steps ahead, showing that it is still holding up strong a year after its arrival. And the LG G6 is definitely a shooter of the same high-end league, producing photos that are clearer and more detailed than I expected given its camera specs. As for the iPhone 7 Plus, the score may have put it in the last spot, but it is still a worthy competitor to any modern high-end phone. All in all, when it comes to camera performance, it looks like you can't go wrong with either of these four phones. 

Final score

Galaxy S7 edge 7.3

LG G6 7.2

HTC U Ultra 6.8

iPhone 7 Plus 6.7

Azania Post

Updated: 15.04.2017 14:31
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