When it comes to capturing and sharing on-the-spot videos of dogs catching frisbees and your two year old dunking on high school kids at the schoolyard, does resolution matter? All the "HD" in the world doesn't mean a thing if your videos come out dark, pixelated, and herky jerky. I grabbed the three newest flagship Android devices, recorded the same footage with them all, and uploaded directly to YouTube. The results speak for themselves, but bear in mind that this is just one test conducted in a very unscientific manner by a guy who knows a lot about phones but not nearly as much about videography.
I took the HTC Evo 4G (Sprint), Droid Incredible (Verizon) and myTouch 3G Slide (T-Mobile) to a shopping center parking lot on a bright, partly cloudy day. All three phones were set up on the roof of my car, and I then hit Record and yapped into the cameras as cars drove behind me and the blue and white sky loomed large over my shockingly reflective bald head. All three phones were set to max resolution/quality and default image settings. The videos were then uploaded directly from phone to YouTube over the same WiFi network. The footage, and a few notes, is embedded below:
Probably my favorite of the bunch. Excessive shadows on my face seemingly due to focus point and contrast settings, but the clarity of the image, depth of field, and color saturation is great. Video playback on the device is stunning, and judicious use of the imaging controls should help with color/shadow issues. Comparing this to my standalone Canon HD camcorder isn't a fair fight, but it's not as one-sided as I thought it'd be. Evo struggles with motion smoothness and artifacts when compared to the Canon, but does really well for a cell phone.
A good number of YouTube commenters prefer Incredible's video to Evo's, largely because this video exhibits better contrasting and more natural colors. Smaller resolution means less sky in the frame, but the clouds you can see look clear and natural. Colors don't pop as much in this clip as they do in Evo's footage, but the sky, cars and my face all look good. The quality here is certainly passable, and the mic seemed to deal with wind noise a little better than Evo's did.
myTouch's VGA resolution is notably smaller than its competitors, and this sample suffered from being shot at the worst angle of the three relative to my face. That said, myTouch yielded a crisp image, warm, balanced colors and decent sound. However the footage suffers from arguably the worst motion lag/jerkiness of the three clips.
What say you? Which of the three clips looks the best, and does camcorder quality even really matter when deciding what smartphone to buy?