The 411

There’s been a superfluity of hubbub and a plethora of hullabaloo surrounding the T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide’s revolutionary new 8-megapixel camera. T-Mobile reps have even touted the myTouch 4G Slide as not only the greatest camera phone ever created, but as a viable replacement for your trusty old point-and-shoot camera. The horror! Some of you expressed your disappointment in my Smartphone vs. Digital Camera article, demanding visual comparison tests that proved a phone camera could not match the likes of an average point-and-shoot compact camera. Consider that article my mulligan, as this one is chock full of visual comparisons based solely on image quality.

I pinned the T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide against the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX10. Both have back-illuminated CMOS sensors, Panorama Sweep, and HDR, so this head-to-head is about as close as you can get regarding camera abilities. Of course, the Sony was far more capable when it came to manual controls, and its video quality trounced the myTouch 4G Slide, thanks to the camera’s 1080i AVCHD. But if you’re entranced with still image quality alone, and are toying with the prospect of killing two sparrows with one bowling ball by purchasing the myTouch 4G Slide and sending your point-and-shoot away on an indefinite vacation, then you’ll want to read this first.

The Rules

I shot with the T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX10 in identical photographic environments. Both devices captured images at the highest quality available. Multiple shots were taken with each gadget, and the most optimal representation of the camera’s ability was chosen. I shot like a typical point-and-shooter, delving into Scene modes and relying primarily on Auto Mode.

The images embedded in this article should be clicked on and viewed at their full resolution in order to obtain the full merit of the tests.  (click any of the images for much larger views.)

Round 1: Portrait

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In bright light, I have to give the T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide credit for its razor sharp rendering of lines and edges. In fact, the myTouch 4G Slide exhibits slightly less noise and better sharpening than the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX10. However, the Slide’s color palette resides quite far from the mark, and I attribute that to a poor Auto White Balance system. It’s most evident when viewing the rear wheel of the Thunderbike. Notice how the swingarm (metal frame holding the rear wheel in place) is laced with a pinkish hue while the WX10’s picture is devoid of any color aberration. In this case, both cameras tie the round.

TIE – T-Mobile myTouch 4G and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX10

Round 2: Macro

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Even in Macro mode, the myTouch 4G Slide’s Auto White Balance failed to dial the Kelvin properly. The detail is outstanding for a camera phone, and even edges out the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX10, but the color debacle renders the Slide the loser of this round. Just compare the greens alone, and it’s more than palpable.

WIN – Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX10

Round 3: HDR

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HDR is breeding like bunnies across the consumer camera landscape, and both gadgets have it. With a traditional HDR mode, the camera is capturing three images at different exposures and then blending them together to quell blown highlights and expose deep shadows. What I found with Sony’s HDR mode is that it provided a more even tone across the entire image, but rendered it too flat—more artistic. The myTouch 4G’s HDR mode worked wonderfully, though I could discern sharp color gradation in the sky at full resolution. Also, Sony wins with the better color palette, though I like the Slide’s image better. This is another tie, but only because the Sony was capable of matching the Slide’s HDR image by shooting in regular Auto mode, without the need for HDR.

TIE – T-Mobile myTouch 4G and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX10

Round 4: Panorama

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Panorama Sweep mode is an exceedingly convenient and effective way to capture wide angle panorama shots and let the camera do all the blending. All I had to do was press the capture button and rotate the camera until the entire image was saved. Both gadgets were finicky when it came to the sweep action. The Sony only gave me a certain window of time to get my full sweep in, and the myTouch 4G Slide was the same way. If I didn’t get my full sweep in, the rest of the uncaptured image would appear as a black bar. After many attempts, I can safely say that the myTouch 4G Slide produced a better panorama shot than the Cyber-shot DSC-WX10. At full resolution, there is no contest. The Sony is actually embarrassing to look at.

WIN – T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide

Round 5: Indoor

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Many phones and entry-level point-and-shoots will exhibit a “haze” of sorts within an image that features high contrast. Take this shot, for example. Taken inside a café, the chairs are well lit, but the blown white sky is hectoring the image profusely. As a result, the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX10 spews a heft of hazing throughout the image while the T-Mobile myTouch 4G refrains from the likes. At full resolution, it’s astounding how hazy the Sony’s shot is. The T-Mobile myTouch 4G wins this round as well.

WIN – T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide

Round 6: Low Light

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This is the make or break round. Both gadgets have back-illuminated CMOS sensors, but the T-Mobile myTouch 4G does not possess the sensitivity needed to battle a point-and-shoot. The pointillism exercise apparent in the Slide’s image is its definitive white flag, due to the rambunctious smattering of noise. Meanwhile, the Sony produces a highly impressive image with reduced noise and fantastic detail. The Sony wins by a telephoto lens length in this race.

WIN – Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX10

Round 7: Flash

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This is a bit of an unfair advantage on the Sony’s part, but both gadgets are equipped with flashes, so let’s do this thing. Obviously, the Sony wins here. In extreme low light, the camera was able to use its Focus Assist light to track down the flowers and lock right in. The brightness of the flash is significant as well, though I wish the camera offered the ability to adjust the intensity via increments. The myTouch 4G Slide looks fairly rough. It’s out of focus, colors are too warm, and the flash is not bright enough.

WIN: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX10

Gadgetmania Wrap-up

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX10 wins this match, 3-2 against the T-Mobile myTouch 4G. It all came down to the Slide’s inadequate low light sensitivity/poor ISO performance, weak flash fire, and an inaccurate color palette. Of course, the Sony deserves a piledriver for its slight lack of detail at full resolution and hazing throughout heavily contrasted areas, but overall, the point-and-shoot still reigns supreme, flaunting its lustrous championship belt for all to see within the phone circuit. However, the myTouch 4G Slide gave the Sony a bonefide run for its money, and the phone proved that camera technology has a future within the cell phone world regarding still image quality.

In the end, I would still opt for a point-and-shoot any day of the week over a phone. Optical Zoom, Shutter, Aperture, AVCHD Video recording, powerful Flash, much better physical controls…I could go on for days. The T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide is, without a doubt, the best camera phone on the market, but it got the People’s Elbow when stacked up against an average point-and-shoot camera. Brother!