The $199.99 HTC Titan II (AT&T) is the first smartphone sold by a U.S. carrier to boast a 16-megapixel image sensor. It also has a host of scene modes and granular manual settings that offer plenty of fine-tuned control.
That said, the less-expensive $99.99 Nokia Lumia 900 (AT&T) is no camera slouch, either. It packs a respectable 8-megapixel sensor plus fancy Carl Zeiss optics. But can the Lumia best a phone that costs $100 more at its own camera game?
To get an answer, we put both the HTC Titan II and the Nokia Lumia 900 through a series of photo tests that we typically use for more-capable point-and-shoot standalone cameras. The results were quite surprising. First let me say that both handsets delivered images rivaling dedicated devices. Of course, real cameras will always perform rings around camera phones, at least for now. Still, the gap between the two product categories has never been this narrow.
During testing, Josh Goldman, CNET's resident point-and-shoot camera expert, and I used both phones to snap pictures of a challenging indoor still-life scene at various ISO settings. We also took the action outdoors on a particularly lovely spring day to challenge the HTC Titan II and Nokia Lumia 900 under real-world conditions.
Ultimately we confirmed that while both smartphones have fast shot-to-shot speeds of less than a second, the HTC Titan II felt much more nimble -- especially with burst mode enabled. Additionally, the Titan II's HDR function powered by a backlit sensor produced much more detail in dark areas. The phone also re-created colors in warmer, more-lifelike hues, and the Titan II performed like a champ under low light compared with the Nokia Lumia 900.
The HTC Titan II had a skill for getting up close and personal as well, with its macro mode able to deliver sharper images. The Nokia Lumia 900's macro setting on the other hand had trouble with the same test we threw at it. Don't just take our word for it. Check out our HTC Titan II versus Nokia Lumia 900 test images to see with your own eyes.