We’ve pitted the Lumia 920 against the Apple iPhone 5 in the past (read here) and now it’s time for the showdown between the 920 and the HTC 8X. The reason why this shootout is more exciting is because if you’re in the market for a high-end Windows Phone 8 handset, you’ll be stuck deciding between these two handsets. Both of them are based on the Windows Phone 8 platform, have an 8MP BSI camera (8.7MP for the Lumia) and more importantly, are priced very similarly in the Rs.35,000 to Rs.40,000 price bracket.
Looking at the camera specifications, both the handsets have an f/2.0 aperture, which means the sensor should be getting the same amount of light. The factor that will determine a winner will be the type of optics used along with the image processing engine. All settings were kept at ‘Auto’.
Our first test was shot indoors under standard ambient lighting. Here we get a chance to see how the cameras cope up with a variety of textures and colours. This was cropped at 100 percent zoom.
Better colours from the Lumia, but the sharpness level is better on the 8X
As far as contrast goes, the Lumia 920 does a much better job here and the colours really pop, especially the reds. However, the 8X is a lot sharper and if you zoom into the image, the text on the motherboard is a lot clearer and more focused. The 920 tends to smoothen the edges a lot.
Dynamic range isn't very impressive on both the cameras
In the next test, we check the dynamic range of the cameras. Both the handsets perform pretty average here, but once again, we have slightly better colours from the Nokia. The HTC picked up a purplish tinge on the floor, whereas the 920 had a lot more neutral colours.
Black levels and contrast are much better in the Lumia 920
The next shot once again shows the superior sharpness level of the 8X, but the colours are still a lot more natural on the 920. The HTC does manage to pick up a good amount of detail, which is quite good. The black levels are also a lot better in the 920.
Once again, the Lumia 920 takes the lead
The Lumia 920 has a higher saturation level here as compared to the 8X. This does not necessarily mean more accurate colours (yellow box in image). The white balance is also more towards the cooler side, which is why we have a slight bluish tinge in the trees in the background. The area marked in red shows that 8X tends to blow out the highlights, creating a burnt-out effect.
The Lumia 920 performs very well in macro shots
Finally, we have a macro shot test where the Lumia 920 simply blows the 8X out of the water. We actually had great difficulty in getting the 8X to focus on close objects. The Lumia 920 doesn’t have this problem as you can manually set it to ‘Close Up’ mode if needed. The Nokia 920 also has a much shorter focusing range, which means you can get much better close-ups.
The bottom line
The winner of the shootout is pretty clear. In fact, it’s barely a competition. The Nokia Lumia 920 aces the 8X when it comes to macro shots, colour reproduction and contrast, irrespective of the lighting condition. Our one issue with the 920 is that it tends to smoothen the image quite a bit, which causes loss in detail, especially if you zoom into an image. The HTC 8X, on the other hand, has very good sharpness levels by default; you can even adjust it (unlike the 920) through the camera settings. We also noticed that the 8X tends to beep each time you half-press the shutter button, even though it doesn't focus accurately. This is not the case with the Lumia. With the price difference between the two phones being quite small, the choice is quite obvious if the camera plays a bigger role in your buying decision.