The cameras on both the Samsung Galaxy W and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo V have a raw resolution of 5MP and both do things like geotagging, touch focus and face and smile detection.
The Neo V does have 3D sweep panorama mode if that's important to you. There are third-party apps in the Android Market that can do a nice panorama too. Plus you need a 3D Sony TV set to appreciate the 3D in the Neo V's panoramas.
We have prepared crops that show the relevant parts of each chart we've shot, but you can view the full images in our Photo Compare Tool. We'll use the Samsung Galaxy Ace, which is slightly lower-end but priced the same as the Neo V.
The first chart is a best-case scenario - it gives each camera a chance to show off its capabilities with its simple black lines on white background.
We expected the playing field to be level, but the Samsung Galaxy W produced cleaner looking images. It has a notable advantage in both horizontal and vertical resolution. Photos from the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo V look more processed.
The Galaxy W solidifies its advantage in our second chart - noise reduction is slightly gentler to the white noise patch and the gravel and grass patches. The Neo V photos show some color noise and it's trying to artificially boost contrast, and it's overdoing it. Photos from the Galaxy W also show cleaner lines between the color squares, while in the Neo V's photos colors appear to bleed into each other.
Finally, the third chart shows a more realistic scene. The Samsung Galaxy W shows good contrast, while the photo from the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo V looks seriously washed out for reasons unknown. The Galaxy W oversaturates the colors, but the end result is more pleasing than the Neo V's photos, which had less detail too (take a look at the hair and the flower).
The Samsung Galaxy W has an advantage in all three camera tests and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo V left a lot to be desired. By the way, judging by these tests, we can almost safely assume the Galaxy Ace and the Galaxy W use the same camera module.
As we've seen several times already, there can be huge differences between 720p videos captured by different phones. So, while the Samsung Galaxy W and the Sony Ericsson Neo V both shoot 720p videos @ 30fps, we'll need to carefully examine samples from both.
We're throwing the Nokia Lumia 710 into the mix, which is currently priced the same as the Galaxy W and has proven to be a standard-setter at 720p video.
We've prepared crops that show the relevant parts of the image, but you can also view the full images here.
Let's do the synthetic resolution chart first again. The difference in resolution isn't as clear as in the still camera, but it's still in favor of the Samsung Galaxy W. The black lines and numbers are crisper and there's a good deal of jaggies on diagonal lines. Still, both phones are far from what can be achieved with 720p resolution as the Lumia 710 shows.
The white background of the chart also reveals a pink spot.
In the Ferris wheel setup, the Samsung Galaxy W resolves the grass a lot better. Colors are slightly off, but the image isn't as washed out as the Neo V's (same problem as in the still camera). The Xperia also shows more jaggies, we're not sure if it's worse downscaling (making a 720p image from the 5MP sensor), the lower bitrate or both.
With the Lumia 710, the grass looks great and you can even read the small banner ("bird's eye view"), which is completely illegible in videos from the other two phones.
Under low lighting, the comparison remains the same. The Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo V produces videos with rather low contrast, and the Nokia Lumia 710 videos are a bit too contrasty, it's still has the best video.
What matters however is that the Samsung Galaxy W retains its advantage over the Neo V.
Note that we didn't use the LED video light in this test, which is something that might help in low-light close-up shots.
Both the Samsung Galaxy W and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo V nail their target of 30fps framerate. The Neo V's records video with a bitrate of 6Mbps and stereo sound at 128Kbps. The Galaxy W doubles the video bitrate, but only does mono sound at 64Kbps.
You can put this down as another win for the Samsung Galaxy W - it shoots noticeably better videos. It's possible to get better 720p video at its price point, but a casual user should be quite happy with it.