It looks like Nokia's controversial marketing move, which involved using pro DSLRs to "simulate" low-light shooting, was even less necessary than the smartphone maker may have thought. During our visit to the company's Tampere, Finland research and development complex, we were given access to a comprehensive testing suite, enabling us to shoot with a Lumia 920 prototype and a handful of competing products in a controlled lighting environment. Technicians dimmed the lights and let us snap a static scene with each handset at just 5 lux -- a level on par with what you may expect on a dimly lit city street in the middle of the night. The 920 took the cake, without question, but the iPhone didn't fare too poorly itself, snatching up nearly as much light as the Nokia device. The 808 PureView also performed quite well, but the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III yielded unusable results.
It's one thing to snag proper exposure, though -- capturing sharp details with little noise and superior color balance is an entirely different beast, and the Lumia managed to do just that, as you'll see in our 100-percent-view shots further on. Later in the evening we hit the streets of Helsinki for a real-world shootout. The 920 did present some issues with exaggerated shake and other rapid movements, but it offered up excellent results overall, even in scenes that were too dark for us to make out any details with our own eyes. Our nighttime shoot can be found in the gallery below, followed by plenty of comparison photos after the break.