With the Nokia X20 5G being introduced to more markets, I decided to make a camera comparison between this latest offering from HMD Global and the Vivo X70 Pro+. The Nokia X20 5G costs a third of the asking price of the Vivo X70 Pro+, thus the comparison might be unfair. Nevertheless, the Nokia X20 5G is a capable device with a hefty price tag for what it offers, and more emphasis have been given to the camera department this time. If you have seen my previous reviews, the Nokia X20 5G camera produces decent image quality though the colors can be muted at times. But , it does well in RAW capture , even edging the Nokia 8.3 in certain scenarios. While I personally feel that the move by HMD Global is in the right direction, pricing seems to be the constant issue which may shun away curious buyers. The Vivo X70 Pro+ represents among the best Android device in the market at the moment and it also boast collaboration with Zeiss, a long time partner of Nokia. It comes with everything you would expect from a top tier device. But as usual, my interest is in the camera department.
The Nokia X20 5G has a 64MP main shooter, assisted by a 5MP ultrawide camera, and a 2MP macro and 2MP depth sensor to complete the quad camera arrangement. The Vivo also boast a quad camera setup , with a 50MP primary shooter at f/1.6 with OIS, an 8MP periscope telephoto with OIS, a 12 MP telephoto sensor at f/1.6 with OIS and a 48MP ultrawide sensor with gimbal OIS. It also comes with Zeiss optics, Zeiss T* lens coating, and is capable of shooting at 8K/30 fps.
This will be the first part of a series of review comparing HMD made Nokia devices to a high end device made by another major brand with access to Zeiss technology. As there is no clear sight of a premium offering by HMD Global at the moment, I do hope that when it arrives, it should be offering more than the competitors. As each Nokia devices under HMD Global has different approach to the camera with different algorithm, I will be comparing them in detail with Nokia 9 Pureview, Nokia 8.3 5G and the Nokia 8.1 in the weeks to come to better understand the areas that needs improvement.
As usual, the opinions and the observation stated here are my own and the camera are shot in auto settings unless indicated.
The primary shooter of both the devices produce good quality image in bright conditions. The Zeiss T* coating does reduce glare which can be appreciated more in the second image though it may not be a deal breaker to some. As mentioned earlier, in terms of details, both camera does well. However, the colors from Nokia X20 5G appears flat while that from Vivo X70 Pro + appears more vibrant and pleasing and better represents the actual scenario.
Primary Camera at Full Resolution
Both cameras are capable of shooting at full resolution with the Nokia X20 5G able to capture 64MP stills and the Vivo X70 Pro+ capturing 50MP stills. Unlike on the Nokia 8.3 5G where the image can appear darker at full resolution, the Nokia X20 5G is able to maintain the color and brightness of image without much distortion and produces better detailed image. Though the details are better than the pixel binned ones, the Vivo X70 Pro + algorithm produces are more vibrant and lively image though in this scenario I prefer the more natural looking tones produced by Nokia X20 5G.
When it comes to ultrawide image, the Nokia X20 5G produces decent image which is useable in bright scenarios but falls behind the superior sensor used on the Vivo X70 Pro+ which gives better detailed and better colored images. But given the sensor of the Nokia X20 5G is just 5MP, HMD Global did a fantastic job of bringing out the best of what the tiny sensor could do. However, the color profile changes so much than the primary sensor that it might bother some. On the contrary, the color shift on the Vivo X70 Pro + is negligible and the output of both primary and ultrawide seems to be consistent.
The portrait mode does take some practice to get proper separation of the subject and its background. The Zeiss modern mode on the Nokia X20 5G is shown here which does a good job overall though edge detection would need some improvement. But how deep is the integration of Zeiss in the final camera output? On the Vivo X70 Pro + there are various Zeiss portrait modes such as Biotar, Planar , Sonnar and Distagon. From my observation, the Vivo X70 Pro + captures the image first and takes a second or two to apply Zeiss specific algorithm and the resultant image are among the better ones I have seen from smartphones. The image has good depth separation, better color and better edge detection. Of course at this juncture, the question is , is it better than the Nokia 9 Pureview? That review will be coming later.
The image above is from broad daylight while the one at the bottom is from a less bright scenario. I am surprised that under bright light the 2MP Macro camera from the Nokia X20 5G was able to capture a well detailed image. Under less light situation, the Vivo X70 Pro+ was able to produce a better image. There is no dedicated macro camera on the Vivo X70 Pro + so I suspect it is using the ultrawide sensor instead to execute this.
When it comes to RAW capture, the images from the Vivo X70 Pro + seems to have better HDR but looks processed to a certain extent. The ones from Nokia X20 5G lacks HDR but that is whats expected from RAW capture where images are captured as per what the sensor originally captures them without any processing. The output from Vivo looks similar to what the Nokia 9 Pureview captures which is able to capture HDR image due to its hardware setup by default.
When it comes to lowlight, the Vivo X70 Pro + is the best out there so not much to say about this. While the output from Nokia X20 5G is good, it appears noisier and lack details. Observing how the Vivo X70 Pro+ executes the lowlight capture, I can conclude that it automatically captures using night mode even without activating it which might give it some unfair advantage here.
When it comes to the ultrawide sensor output under lowlight, the image from the Nokia X20 5G is not useable as the tiny sensor produces image that lacks details and distinctions.
Again, in this battle of David vs Goliath, I have to give it to Nokia X20 5G to produce a decent and respectable night mode image when compared to the king of night mode photograpy.
EXTREME NIGHT MODE
That is all the Nokia X20 5G was able to capture under extreme low light scenario while the output from the Vivo looks unreal. From what I observed, the night mode is dynamic on the Vivo X70 PR0+ as the shutter speed differs based on the the amount of light available as opposed to the static algorithm from Nokia. In my test, under ample lighting the Vivo keeps the shutter open for about 2-4 seconds and in extreme situation like shown above it goes as long as 10 seconds! While this can be manually achieved with the Pro mode on Nokia X20 5G, having a dynamic low light algorithm seems to be more intuitive.
The Nokia X20 5G chipset limits it to 1080p 60FPS video recording while those on the Vivo X70 Pro + is able to go up to 8K 30FPS.
To even out the test, the daylight video is shot at 1080P 60FPS on both device. For the night video, lesser resolution usually is used to gather more light from each pixel, but even at 4k 30 FPS, the Vivo captures better light and details compared to the 1080P output from Nokia.
With OZO capture on the Nokia X20 5G, which one do you feel is better?
The link above has more samples from both the device and also side by side comparison for those interested to see details at pixel levels.
I hope you enjoyed this review as much as I did writing them. More reviews to come with other Nokia devices in the near future.