Cameras on smartphones are getting more advanced. Consumer Reports just tested the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, two phones that claim to offer superior images. Both cost $100 with a two-year contract.
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is bulky and awkward to hold. It does have a 10X optical zoom lens and a powerful flash for taking pictures in low light. But in Consumer Reports’ test lab, the Samsung didn’t deliver. The zoom lens is clunky to operate, and overall images were not impressive in low light.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 did much better. The digital zoom lens gives astoundingly sharp photos with great detail even when enlarged. And in low light, the Lumia takes photos that are much less grainy and shadowy than most cell phones.
The Nokia Lumia 1020’s camera is among the better smartphone cameras Consumer Reports has seen. In fact, it’s better than some point-and-shoot cameras tested. But for truly professional pictures, no cell phone yet can compare to a SLR.
Consumer Reports tests show the Nokia Lumia 1020 shoots very good video in well-lit conditions, but isn’t great in low light. So if you take a lot of video with your phone in dimly-lit situations, consider the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or the iPhone 5s, both of which performed very well in video tests under all lighting conditions.
Complete ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars and trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.