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Pixel 3 vs. iPhone XS vs. Note 9 vs. Pixel 2: Smartphone Camera Shootout

Julian Chokkattu / Digital TrendsGoogle's Pixel 3 is one of the best camera phones you can buy, but the competition…

 Case 2018 smartphone camera shootout Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

Google’s Pixel 3 is one of the best camera phones you can buy, but the competition is stiff. The iPhone XS can take equally great photographs – sometimes even better &#821

1; than the Pixel 3, while the Note 9 often excels in low light.

Can you really tell the difference? See for yourself. We’re comparing a handful of photos from the Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9, and the Pixel 2 XL (for those of you thinking about upgrading). If you have an iPhone XS or a smaller Pixel 3 or Pixel 2, expect the same image quality because the cameras are exactly the same between the smaller and larger phone.

A few notes: These smartphones all take excellent photographs, and we I’m going to be nitpicking to find the best. Vi brukte de automatiske indstillingerne for hvert skud, fordi det er hvordan de fleste mennesker tager billeder i det virkelige liv. Du kan også ikke være enig med noen av våre vinnere her, og det er helt OK. Det er tekniske grunde til at like et fotografi om en anden, men det er også et meget subjektivt valg. Dette er heller ikke det mest videnskabelige testet, men vi prøvde å gjøre vårt beste.

Daytime

From top left to bottom right: Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3 [19659008] You can expect almost any smartphone – even most budget phones – to take killer photos in broad daylight. All of these phones excel here in this photo of the downtown New York City skyline, but there are differences. Det er utrolig tøft å velge en vinder, men våre minste favoritter er iPhone XS Max og Note 9 fotografier. The iPhone photo has a bit too much of a blue hat throughout, making the sky look a little unnatural and the buildings a tad washed out. The Note 9 photo has warmer tone buildings, but everything is slightly overexposed – look at the clouds, and you’ll see a lack of definition compared to the other photos. That being said, the iPhone XS photo has the best detail. Take a look at the Venmo billboard on the bottom left corner. You can read the Venmo logo on the card easiest on the iPhone XS.

But the Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 3 XL photos have a good contrast, which is why we like them the most. We like the Pixel 3’s blue sky, and it has the best-looking clouds. We also like the Pixel 2 photo’s buildings, which are slightly brighter. Ef við þurftum að velja mynd, deila myndinni með Pixel 3 XL.

Winner: Pixel 3 XL

From top left to bottom right: Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max , Pixel 2, Pixel 3

It’s a little easier for us to choose a winner here, and it’s the Pixel 3 XL again. The Note 9 and iPhone XS Max photos have too much of a yellow hat, taken from the walls, that extend to every part of the photo. Even the skin tone of the girl is unnatural, and the clothes have a yellowish hat. Zoom in on the face, and there’s some visible noise.

The Pixel 2 XL loses out because the photo is blurry overall. We’re not sure if it was due to camera shake or something else, but the optical image stabilization in the phone should have compensated for slight movement. That brings us to the Pixel 3 XL. The subject sharply sticks out from the background, thanks to the more natural colors in the photo. There’s excellent detail from the denim jacket to the subject’s face – and while some noise is still visible, it’s not as noticeable as the Note 9 or iPhone XS photo.

Winner: Pixel 3 XL

From top left two bottom right: Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

In this portrait photo – which was not captured with Portrait Mode – we see how each of these phones handle several components, from skin tone and depth two detail and color. De mest detaljerede fotos kommer fra Pixel 2 XL og Note 9 – zoom in, og beviset er klart. The most natural colors are in the Pixel 3 XL photo; The subject’s skin tone is too red in the Pixel 2, iPhone, and Note 9 photos. The photos with the best natural depth are from the Pixel 2 and the iPhone XS Max, but the Pixel 2 XL photo has too much of a red tone throughout.

Overall, we like the iPhone XS Max photo the most. The colors are not as natural as the Pixel 3 XL photo, but it does a better job than the rest.

Winner: iPhone XS Max

Indoors

From top left to bottom right: Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

This is a tough one. Once again, we love the Pixel 3 XL photo the most. It’s incredibly detailed with great white balance, very little noise, and the lights are well exposed. The Pixel 2 XL photo is not as sharp, and the Note 9 photo feels flat because it lacks punchy colors and the lights are overexposed. That brings us to the iPhone XS Max photo. Det er den mest representative av hvad det store loftet egentlig lignte, men det går over bord i å gjøre alt ser litt ut til oransje. The glasses on the bottom right shelf, for example, were more white in reality.

Look back at the Pixel 3 XL photo now, and it looks a little too cold. It’s not as festive or fun as the iPhone photo. Vårt favoritt ville være et sted i mellem, men siden vi skal vælge en vinder, vi ville gå med Pixel 3 XL foto og redigere det til at varme det op en smule før at dele det på sociale medier. We would prefer to do this than the tone down the iPhone photo because the Pixel 3 XL photo has really more detail – zoom in on the single big light in the middle left of the photo. Look at the steel bar. There is more detail and less grain on the Pixel 3 photo. It’s the best one to edit.

Winner: Pixel 3 XL

From top left to bottom right: Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

These photos were captured at the New York Coffee Festival, where the space is packed to the surf with people holding cups of coffee. Det er en god måte at se om disse telefoner kan tage billeder hurtigt i billeder og ikke producere en blurry foto, fordi du ofte beskæftiger dig med dårligere belysning og mange folkmængder som flytter rundt omkring dig. We tried to minimize our movement as much as possible.

Zoom in on the coffee beans, and the Pixel 2 XL – the only 2017 phone on this list – does the best job. It’s the sharpest, and if you zoom out a little more, it has the most natural-looking beans. We’d say the Pixel 3 and the iPhone XS come in second and third place, respectively. The Pixel 3 is sharper than the fuzzier iPhone XS photo, but it also cranks the saturation but a little too high.

Winner: Pixel 2 XL

From top left to bottom right: Galaxy Note 9, The Note 9 Layer – The Beans look relatively sharp, but the tablecloth looks like it’s fading out of existence for some reason. iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

First off, do not take the sharpness of the spinning wheel in this photo into consideration. Het was spun in een paar foto’s, en het kan wellicht zijn gestopt in anderen, dus we rekenen het niet als een belangrijke factor hier. We like the neon sign in the iPhone XS Max photo the most, because it handles noise reduction the best, but there’s a lack of contrast here that makes the black wall not as black as we would like. The Pixel 3 XL and Note 9 have the best details – look closely at the globe and you can almost make out “Mediterranean Sea” on both these photos – but the former is a tad too saturated.

The Pixel 2 XL has the most natural colors throughout, but zoom into the neon sign and it has trouble with noise reduction. The Note 9 deals with the neon sign well, but there’s a lot of grain creeping in through the rest of the photo. Hvis du ser på folket i alle disse bildene, er det Pixel 2 og Pixel 3 som har minst korn og offer mere detaljer. We think the win goes to the Pixel 2 for having slightly more natural colors, because the Pixel 3 is a little more saturated. This is a tough photo to judge because they all do a solid job, but also because people are constantly moving at this stall.

Winner: Pixel 2 XL

Low light

From top left to bottom right: Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

The iPhone XS Max stands out here. It lights up the scene well, it’s not too grainy, and it’s sharp. The Pixel 3 XL and Note 9 photos are certainly moodier, but the former is blurry, and the latter cranks up the saturation too high and does not light up the wall above the sign at all. The Pixel 2 XL photo is simply overexposed and grainy.

Winner: iPhone XS Max

From top left to bottom right: Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

Each of Disse bilder har flaws, men det er bare et som simpelthen ser fantastisk ud: Pixel 3 XL. Zoom in on the building to the right, and you can see it clearly has the best detail of the lot, with the least grain. The colors are also wonderful. The only flaw here is the sky on the left side is just a tad overexposed. The Note 9 comes very close, but it completely masks the buildings in the foreground. The iPhone XS Max has a great sky that is not overexposed, but the whole photo is drenched in yellow hues and looks murky. The Pixel 2 XL photo has a bluish tint, and it overexposes the sky on the left far more than the Pixel 3. You may have a favorite look here, but we can not stop staring at the Pixel 3 photo.

Winner: Pixel 3 XL

From top left to bottom right: Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

Let’s take out the Pixel 2 XL and Note 9 out of the running here. The Pixel 2 photo is too blurry, and the Note 9 – while sharp in some areas – loses detail in others, and it overall has too much of a strong orange hue. We think the iPhone XS Max photo has stronger detail here about the Pixel 3 XL: Look at the edges of hair around the dog and you’ll find you can identify individual hairs on the iPhone photo a little better. That being said, the iPhone XS photo is much darker.

With a bit of brightening, the iPhone XS Max photo is the strongest choice here. Men hvis du ønsker å dele et billede uden nogen redigering, Pixel 3 er den vej at gå. We are giving the iPhone XS the win here, because it has the best detail.

Winner: iPhone XS Max

Food and Portrait Mode on Food

From top left to bottom right : Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

This bowl or windows was delicious, and it’s something we had to photograph. The Pixel 3 XL takes the cake for having the best detail. Look at the bowl in the back and you’ll see it white balanced it and the wall really well. The Pixel 2 XL photo comes second, and while the colors are a little more realistic than the Pixel 3, the detail is not as strong. The bowl in the back is much darker, but we do like how it spreads the reflection of the neon light in the broth. The iPhone XS photo is not as sharp and has a lot of noise, and the Note 9 photo is sadly a bit of a joke.

Winner: Pixel 3 XL

From left to right: iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

If you try to take a Portrait Mode photo of food in not so great lighting, you’re going to have a very tough time with the Note 9 and iPhone XS. In fact, the Note 9 simply said it could not take a photo due to lighting conditions, which is why it’s missing here. The iPhone XS almost did not make the cut, but we managed to get it to work after moving a good distance away from the bowl of windows. The end result is decent photo, but it was not the original effect we were going for. The Pixel 2 and 3 did not have any problems. Both are sharp, with the Pixel 3 having slightly punchier colors. We are giving it a tie between the two here.

Winner: Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 2 XL

Portrait Mode and Selfies

From top left to bottom right: Galaxy Note 9 , iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

We’ve always found Google’s Pixel phones to have the best self-cameras around, and that rings true here. The iPhone XS and Note 9 are knocked out easily. The iPhone photo is too soft, though it has nice colors and the best HDR work in the background. The Note 9 is also too soft, but it’s overexposed in the back, with poorer colors. Det er vanskelig å krone en vinder mellom Pixel 2 og Pixel 3, men vi liker de mere naturlige farver fra den nyere telefon. Both are equally well detailed though.

Winner: Pixel 3 XL

From the top left to bottom right: Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

The Pixel 3 XL and the iPhone XS Max comes very close here, but we have to address the different styles of portrait mode between the two. Apple follows a different strategy with Portrait Mode across Google. You get a radial blur, with bokeh forming around the subject’s face and getting stronger further away. Google, on the other hand, tries to get the subject completely in focus. Apple has a more traditional approach, but we like Google’s just as much because there’s a stronger emphasis placed not just on your face, but what you’re wearing.

We’re taking out the Note 9 here because the subject’s face is blurry and overexposed. While the Pixel 2 XL does a solid job, it messes up the hair over on the left side of the face. It adds a slightly less realistic color tone to the face. We like both the iPhone XS and Pixel 3 photo. Both have lots of detail, and you can see the radial blur circling around the subject’s face in the iPhone photo, while everything about the subject is in focus on the Pixel 3 photo. So why does the iPhone XS get the win?

Winner: iPhone XS Max

From left to right: Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3 [19659008] This one’s easy. It’s a low-light photo taken with the selfie camera with Portrait Mode. Let’s take out the Pixel 2 XL for being blurry. The Note 9 is out too, as detail is not as strong and the background is overexposed. The iPhone XS does a great job, but it’s grainy and not as sharp or bright as the Pixel 3 XL photo, which takes the cake.

Winner: Pixel 3 XL

From top left to bottom right: Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

Three of these Portrait Mode photos are excellent. Can you guess the loser? Sorry Samsung, the Note 9 photo is simply overexposed, and it has an unnatural hue. Alle tre of the rest of the phones offer strong detail, with accurate cutouts of the subject. Mens de Pixel 2 XL gør det bedste job ikke overbelyser lyset som rammer den faglige hoved, det kommer i tredje for baggrunden, som har en røddish hue. It comes down to the iPhone XS and Pixel 3 photos, and this is going to heavily rely on personal preference. We love the airy, cinematic look of the Pixel 3 photo.

All of these photos were taken in the same spot. The iPhone XS and Note 9 cameras just zoom in closer to Portrait Mode photos. Either the Pixel 3 or iPhone XS could win here, but we’re giving the edge to the Pixel 3.

Winner: Pixel 3 XL

From top left to bottom right: Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

Here’s another easy win for Google’s Pixel 3 XL. The iPhone XS and Note 9 asked us to step back to get Portrait Mode working, but the end results are quite poor, especially the Note 9. The iPhone XS does a little better, but it’s still dark with weak details, and some parts of the blur are messed up. The Pixel 2 does a great job, like the Pixel 3, but it’s a little darker. The Pixel 3 wins.

Winner: Pixel 3 XL

Zooming in

Google’s Pixel 3 has a new feature called Super Res Zoom. Instead of adding a second camera for optical zoom, Google uses artificial intelligence to enhance digital zoom by reducing noise and increasing brightness. The results are often surprising. Most of the time it can not beat the 2x optical zoom on the Note 9 or the iPhone XS – especially in well-lit scenarios – but zoom in all the way and it’s a different story. The Pixel 2 XL will not get Super Res Zoom.

From top left to bottom right: Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

We do not recommend zooming in all the way on your smartphone camera, because the results do not often look good. Even with the Pixel 3 XL’s Super Res Zoom, do not expect to get amazing photos amazingly. That being said, we are surprised at how well some phones performed over others. The worst in this grouping is the iPhone XS Max. It’s too fuzzy overall. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 2 photos are similar with strong contrast, but the trees in the Pixel 2 photo are too dark. The Note 9, we think, does the best job here. It’s not as saturated as the Pixel 3 photo, but it manages to capture the detail in the letters of the words. Samsung Nets its first win!

Winner: Galaxy Note 9

From top left to bottom right: Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS Max, Pixel 2, Pixel 3

Here we test the digital zoom on the Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 2 XL on optical zoom on the Note 9 and iPhone XS. This is a subject that was moving, so it’s tougher all around for the Pixel phones, especially since both cameras on the XS and Note 9 have optical image stabilization. We attempted a similar 2x digital zoom on the Pixel phones. We’re removing the Note 9 from the race here, because the photo is blurry. The iPhone XS does a good job, but the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 edge out with slightly more detail on the man’s left hand.

Winner: Pixel 3 XL

Conclusion

The Pixel 3 is the best camera phone, at least according to to this test. Men husk at det var 10 vinster, de marginene var små for mange, og iPhone XS var ofte tæt på. Apple’s phone comes second with four wins, the Pixel 2 got three, and Samsung’s phone only got one. All four cameras took some stunning photos, and while having many more photos to share, we are calling an end to this comparison for now. We’ll be taking more comparisons over the next few months and you’ll be able to find them here.

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Faela