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iPhone 4 vs. Droid X: A Head-to-Head Comparison

No two phones are hotter right now than the latest Apple handset and Motorola’s new Android phone.

By Ginny Mies, PC World
June 25, 2010 10:52 AM ET

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Still Camera

The Specs: The iPhone 4 sports a 5-megapixel camera sensor with an LED flash, which is a nice upgrade from the iPhone 3GS's 3-megapixel snapper with no flash. The camera supports tap-to-focus in shooting mode as well as photo geotagging.

On paper, the Droid X's camera seems a bit stronger. It has an 8-megapixel display with a dual-LED flash. There's no tap-to-focus, but there is a face-detection feature that will automatically focus on a (human) subject. In addition to an Auto mode, the Droid X has a handful of basic scene modes that you can adjust based on the shooting environment: Landscape, Portrait, Macro, Sports, Steady Shot, Sunset, and Night Portrait.

Testing Methodology: The PCWorld testing methodology for the iPhone 4 and Droid X's cameras is a truncated version of our regular testing methodology for point-and-shoot cameras. We affixed each phone to a tripod and shot two images with the flash turned off:

1. One still-life scene with a color chart and delightful random objects to rate exposure quality and color accuracy.

2. A target chart and printed text to evaluate sharpness and distortion levels.

Here are the still life shots from the iPhone (left) and Droid:

Below are the text and target charts, again with the iPhone on the left:

The Winner: iPhone 4. Here's evidence that megapixel counts rarely matter: Apple's 5-megapixel iPhone 4 beat out the Droid for overall image quality in our tests, serving up well-exposed, brightly colored images in our lab tests. However, the iPhone 4's image quality did lag behind the competition in two categories: sharpness and visible distortion. The 8-megapixel Droid X scored closely behind the iPhone 4 in all tests, however and even beat the iPhone 4 in our sharpness tests.

Video Capture

The Specs: Both the iPhone 4 and the Droid X boast HD (720p) video recording up to 30 frames per second with audio. The iPhone's tap-to-focus for still photos also works with video. And of course, the iPhone 4 also has the front-facing video camera; switching between the two cameras is as simple as tapping an icon in the upper right-hand corner. The Droid X's camcorder has three microphones allowing you to choose from four different audio recording modes: Everyday, Outdoors, Narrative and Subject. You can also use the flash as a light if you're recording at night or in a dark environment. The Droid X also has a handful of shooting effects like a sepia tint, black and white, negative and more.

Testing Methodology : We tested the camcorder capabilities of the iPhone 4 and Droid X's in the same way we test pocket digital camcorders. Tony Leung in our Lab records a 1-minute video of a toy train and Ferris wheel to gauge several aspects of the video quality: smoothness of motion, color accuracy, and artifacting. We shoot the same scene twice, with each camera in the same tripod location at its highest video-quality setting: once in bright indoor lighting, and again with the overhead lights turned off and a floor lamp turned on behind the camera. Once we've shot all of the footage, our panel of judges rates each clip for its overall quality. We also play an audio clip through speakers in the scene to determine how well each camera picks up sound.

Originally published on www.pcworld.com. Click here to read the original story.

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