The video cameras of both phones have user interfaces identical to their still cameras and in turn, practically identical to each other.
LG Optimus G Pro camcorder UI • Dual recording • Live effects
Both Optimus G Pro and Galaxy Note II support image capturing while video recording. The Galaxy Note II captures 6MP images (its maximum resolution in 16:9 mode), while the Optimus G Pro snaps only 2MP (that's barely a feature as that's the resolution of the individual frames in the video).
Samsung Galaxy Note II camcorder UI
Both Samsung Galaxy Note II and LG Optimus G Pro support touch focus during video recording. You just need to tap somewhere on the screen of the Galaxy Note II to focus there and the phone turns off the auto-focus until you re-enable it with a dedicated virtual key. The Optimus G Pro does this in a different manner - after you tap to focus somewhere, the auto-focus doesn't turn off, so when you switch the scene you won't have to worry about anything.
The one thing the Galaxy Note II does better is it can pause during video recording so you can have multiple scenes in the same video file.
The LG Optimus G Pro counters with one of the coolest video-related features we have seen recently - dual video recording. The LG flagship can record 1080p videos at 30fps with both of its cameras simultaneously. It looks a lot like video calling with the video feed from one camera filling the screen and the other shown in a small window. You can tap the viewfinder to swap the cameras, even during video recording. You can also resize and move the small window. That kind of recording really helps you become a part of the scene rather than just a witness.
The Galaxy Note II also feature a front-facing camera but its video recording is limited up to 720p@30 fps and can't do dual-recording.
Finally, the Optimus G Pro offers HDR video recording unlike the Galaxy Note II. It does improve the dynamic range but we'd recommend against using it - the contrast of the videos is nearly ruined, and it smears much of the fine detail, while adding noise and messing up the colors.
Both phones record video at up to 1080p@30fps in .MP4 files and use almost identical bitrate - 17Mbps. The Optimus, however, goes a bit higher with the audio bitrate (160Kbps vs. 120Kbps).
Unfortunately, for the LG Optimus G Pro, despite the fact that the camcorder specs are identical, the captured videos are quite different.
The Optimus G Pro videos are smooth at 30fps but the level of fine detail is lower than the best 1080p shooters, the sharpening is strong, the dynamic range is on the low side and the colors are off. The hunting for autofocus and the shifting of automatic exposure are trigger way too often.
Samsung did a commendable job with the Galaxy Note II video recording and the results are way better than those of its competitor today. The resolved detail is nothing short of excellent, the frame rate is steady, even small details and movements are captured (like the blades of grass swaying in the wind) with very little noise. Colors are a bit oversaturated like in the still images, but that tends to be better accepted in videos.
So, despite the LG Optimus G Pro offers more features in the video camera department, the Galaxy Note II is the better when comes to actual results. And we can't see how often someone will use the dual video recording with the Optimus G Pro, while the pause option on the Galaxy Note II is a welcome perk.
You can watch the video samples we captured, just don't forget to pick 1080p and view them in full screen. Again the samples were captured some time apart, but the lighting conditions are similar enough to make them comparable.
You can also download 1080p@30fps untouched samples taken with the LG Optimus G Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Note II.
Again, you are welcome to take a trip to our Video compare tool and see how the two compare there in the controlled environment of our studio.
LG Optimus G Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy Note II in our Video compare tool
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note II. While the dual-recording may be the coolest feature of the season, the quality of the videos produced by the Note II is notably better than those shot with its competitor.
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