The Sphere during CES 2024: Android vs. iPhone

by NEW YORK DIGITAL NEWS


The Sphere caught many CES 2024 attendees’ eyes as it glittered in the Las Vegas night like a shiny marble. When I visited the world’s largest spherical arena, I happened to be lugging around my iPhone 14 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Wouldn’t it be a great idea to test both cameras’ capabilities in capturing The Sphere? That’s what I wondered, and that’s what I did. I took pictures of the structure, outside and inside, with both phones’ wide lenses.

iPhone 14 Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra wide lens chart


Credit: Kimberly Gedeon/RapidTables

Given that the iPhone 14 Plus sports a mere 12 megapixel wide lens and the Galaxy S22 Ultra offers a 108 megapixel version, the latter seems like the clear winner.

But not so fast.

The iPhone 14 Plus’ wide-lens aperture is superior (f/1.5 trumps f/1.8 because a smaller f-stop number infers better light gathering). Plus, the size of the iPhone’s pixels appears to be larger and better.

So how does this all translate to actual photos?

The Sphere (outside)

On its vast outside, The Sphere boasts a gigantic, eye-catching display that sometimes advertises brands. At the time I was at the Sphere, it was blasting a Samsung Galaxy ad, aiming to get us pumped for the upcoming Unpacked event.

Here’s what happened when I used my iPhone and Android to snap a photo of the Sphere:

Picture of the Sphere from the outside

Left:
Outside of the Sphere (iPhone)
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon

Right:
Outside of the Sphere (Android)
Outside of the Sphere (iPhone)
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

I asked Jason England, Tom’s Guide’s Managing Editor of Computing and an expert in mobile devices, to give me an analysis on the photos. Long story short, England prefers the Galaxy S22 Ultra in this round.

“When it comes to nighttime photography, Apple’s approach is to try to balance all the light sources, translating into a flatter photo,” England said. “However, I prefer Samsung’s here as there’s more depth and dimension to the shot of the sphere and surrounding lights.”

Winner: Android

The Sphere (inside)

Inside was Darren Aronofsky’s “Postcard from Earth,” an immersive, multi-sensory experience splashed across the venue’s bowl-like insides. I snapped multiple pictures showcasing different parts of the “Postcard” experience.

Earth

Snapshot of "Postcard from Earth"

Left:
Inside The Sphere (iPhone)
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

Right:
Inside The Sphere (Android)
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

A gorgeous image of the earth appeared — and in this shot, England preferred the iPhone.

“There is a better balance of color across the iPhone’s picture,” he said. “Samsung’s computational photography seems to take the dominant color of a scene (i.e., blue in this case) and alter the hue of the entire shot with it. This explains the cooler hue of the planet that virtually eliminates the green of the land.”

Winner: iPhone

Flowers

Inside the Sphere, taken with an iPhone

Left:
Inside the Sphere (iPhone)
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable / Darren Aronofsky

Right:
Inside the Sphere (Android)
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable / Darren Aronofsky

England gave another win to the iPhone here, for this flower shot. “Samsung’s focus on boosting vividness means more intricate details on the flowers are lost,” he said. “The iPhone’s balanced palette, on the other hand, keeps the veins’ clarity for the flowers.”

Winner: iPhone

Church

Inside the Sphere, taken with an iPhone

Left:
Inside the Sphere (iPhone)
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable / Darren Aronofsky

Right:
Inside the Sphere (Android)
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable / Darren Aronofsky

But it wasn’t all bad news inside for Android, which England felt delivered the better photo of this virtual church.

“The snapper in the S22 Ultra does a good job of balancing the various light sources in the church and preserving the detail, whereas the darker areas on the iPhone’s picture remove the intricacies in the shadows.”

Winner: Android

Final thoughts

It looks like the phones are tied here, with Android winning the outside round and Apple winning inside. Of course, this is just England’s perspective: check out the photos and decide for yourself.

As for my thoughts: There’s a reason why I had two phones in hand. Both the iPhone 14 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra have strengths and weaknesses. If I want to take pictures of things —product shots, must-see attractions — I reached for my iPhone. To my eyes, the photos are more true-to-life, capturing minute, rich details that the naked eye doesn’t notice.

However, if I want to take selfies, or other people-based photos, I opt for the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. The iPhone 14 Plus photo software tends to oversharpen faces, but the Galaxy S22 Ultra appears to smooth out flaws and bring out subjects’ undertones.

Your megapixel mileage may vary.





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