Our low light studio test scene triggers very different exposure values on the cameras. The HTC One, Nokia Lumia 920 and iPhone 5 all opt for a 1/15 sec shutter speed and keep the ISO in the same ballpark (HTC: 445, Nokia: 640, iPhone: 500) whereas the Samsung prioritizes faster shutter speeds in order to avoid camera shake and combines a 1/30 sec exposure with ISO 2000.

Thanks to its optical image stabilization system the HTC's approach works well, at least for static subjects. The same is true for the Nokia Lumia. However, the iPhone has to make do without this feature which means you're more likely to end up with camera-shake induced blur in your low-light images. The iPhone also has produced a slightly darker exposure than the competition.

In this low light scene the HTC image is a touch brighter than the rest and relatively clean, but the low 4MP pixel count means that despite the clean output it can't capture any additional detail over the Samsung or Apple devices. Given the high ISO level it's no surprise the Samsung image shows the most noise and noise reduction artifacts in this comparison. However, its high pixel count still means that, at least in high contrast areas of the frame, it shows more detail than the competition. This is easy to see in the vertical resolution bars in our test scene. The iPhone does a decent job at preserving at least some low-contrast detail. The images rendition is pleasant with grainy luminance noise and very little chroma noise. The Nokia image is extremely soft, with virtually all low-contrast detail gone.