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Android phones shoot-out, which one has the best camera?

Somebody asked me what Android phone in the market has the best camera and I thought it would be interesting to compare sample photos from high-end (or popular) Android phones from each manufacturer.


For this article, we’re going to compare sample shots from the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, LG Optimus 2X, Samsung Galaxy S2, HTC Sensation, and HTC Sensation XL. Ok let’s throw in a local brand, Cherry Mobile and its Magnum 2X to the mix to see how it compares with the big guys camera-wise. I didn’t include any Motorola because they’re not officially available in the local market.

We’ll be taking the sample photos from Engadget which has an extensive collection of camera shots of phones they reviewed. It won’t be the definitive test of who makes the best optics out there mainly because we won’t be comparing using the same photos but we’ll try to get photos with almost the same environment.

You can click each sample photo to enlarge.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

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The Xperia Arc boasts of a lens with Sony’s Exmor R sensor (f/2.4) which should allow the camera to perform well under low-light condition. Via post-processing from its software, we would see that colors are vibrant in the photos. Oversaturated in some cases but still sharpness is retained. Contrast is low on low-light shots but highlights on bright photos tend to get overexposed. The Xperia Arc S has the same camera but with added features such as 3D sweep panorama.

Engadget’s Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc sample images gallery

LG Optimus 2X sample photos

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The LG Optimus 2X sports an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash. Based on the sample shots above, colors are a little washed out. Details are there and noise is reduced via software to lessen graininess. LED flash is strong so it’s not suitable for close-up shots.

Engadget’s LG Optimus 2X sample images gallery

Samsung Galaxy S2

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One thing which is clear from the sample shots of the SGS2 above is that photos are sharp and fully-detailed to the point that you would also see the graininess in them when blown up. However, don’t let these shots full you as the SGS2 has an impressive camera for a mobile device (just like the original Galaxy S) with very-usable indoor photos without the aid of a flash thanks to its f/2.65 max aperture. Images are crisp with natural color reproduction although I would prefer a bit more contrast on some of the shots which can be arranged with the SGS2’s built-in pre-and-post processing settings.

Engadget’s Samsung Galaxy S2 sample images gallery

HTC Sensation

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The HTC Sensation is one of the fastest shooting Android phones around (SGS2 is also one by the way). The photos from the HTC Sensation looks really good but that’s because what you see here are low-res photos (800×600). Looking at the original size, you would see blotches of softness which the Sensation applies to the photos to reduce noise. Things can get too oversaturated here which works for some people or environment and details are preserved.

Engadget’s HTC Sensation sample images gallery

HTC Sensation XL

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The Sensation XL is probably the most promising phone from HTC in terms of camera quality due to its f/2.2 lens which is the largest aperture setting among the phones in this lineup. It also has a wider angle lens which is rare for camera phones, you’ll get good landscape but a bit of lens distortion on closeups. You’ll get good balance on highlights and shadows with this device but just like the Sensation though, photos tend to get too saturated with a warmer hue.

Engadget’s HTC Sensation XL sample images gallery

Cherry Mobile Magnum 2X

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Ok what can we get from these images taken with the Magnum 2X’s and its paltry 5-megapixel camera. A bit washed out colors with overexposed highlights. A lot of noise reduction done losing details in close crops. It’s not that bad really if you’re willing to save the images in low resolution. Actually images are very usable for Facebook use. Close up shots are decent as well.


So what do you think? Among the phones listed, I think the best output belongs to the Samsung Galaxy SII just because photos are crisp and clear with not much color manipulation done by the camera. A close second (or probably first depending on your color taste) is Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Arc/Arc S followed closely by the Sensation XL.

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  • bong b.

    Unfair sa iba brand kasi dapat i- consider yung lighting ng subject. In my humble opinion inconclusive. Sana isang subject lang then same conditions pag take ng pic sa bawat phone.

    • wewe

      I Agree with bong. Very inconclusive!!!!

    • yup… that’s why i mentioned at the start that this post only takes into consideration sample photos from the phones gathered over time. unless we have all phones at the same time, hindi natin talaga magagawan ng maayos na shootout. pero kahit na, according to a more comparative test of smartphones (not just Android phones) ng gsmarena, SGS2 pa rin ang nangunguna sa Android phones.

      • Widget City

        like calvin!:) well honestly speaking SG2 really is the hot runner even sa sellout. averaging at 12units per day at widget city alone:)

  • JmBalicano

    While it’s agreed that shots of the same subject under the same lighting conditions should have been taken between the phones for readers to make a proper comparison, the results are pretty much in line with the results of other reviews that are out there.

  • Anonymous

    HTC Sensation

  • More SGS2 Stuff:

    Hmm I hope we can get our hands on the Moto Razr with 13mp snapper that’s headed to China. @[email protected]