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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Vs Huawei P30 Pro Vs Google Pixel 3XL Vs iPhone XS Max: Cameras Compared
Smartphone cameras have evolved to a point where you can shoot DSLR-level portraits, capture clear pictures of the celestial objects like moon, and record professional-grade videos that were once only associated with high-end dedicated cameras. Today's smartphone cameras offer pro-grade performance and do not even require dedicated lenses or whole kits to carry around.
The journey from 0.3MP VGA cameras to the massive 48MP or in fact 64MP mobile sensors is no less than a feat. The evolution of smartphone cameras is perhaps the most exciting than any other technology feature.
But this it is not an overnight success. The leading technology brands have spent countless hours in R&D to develop such mobile camera sensors that can put even some of today's high-end point and shoot cameras to shame.
Having said that, the launch of Samsung's latest Galaxy Note 10 series has further intensified the competition in the flagship smartphone category. In addition to the all-screen design, new improved S Pen and best-in-class specs, the new Galaxy Note 10 series also features a newly developed top-of-the-line camera hardware.
Starting with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, the smartphone boasts a triple-lens camera setup. The 3-lens camera assembly comprises a 16MP ultrawide angle lens with F2.2 aperture. The ultrawide lens covers 123° field-of-view and has a 12mm-equivalent focal length.
The second lens in the configuration is a 12MP wide-angle lens with 27mm focal length offering 77° field-of-view. It is equipped with dual-pixel phase detection, supports OIS and offers a variable aperture of F1.5/F2.4. The third lens in the 3-lens camera setup is again a 12MP lens of telephoto nature with 52mm- equivalent focal length working on F2.1 aperture.
This lens also supports OIS, covers 45° FOV and offers 2X lossless zoom. If you go for the Galaxy Note 10+, you will get an additional sensor at the back, which is essentially a ToF sensor. It is a 3D VGA camera to sense the depth of the environment.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 price in India is Rs. 69,999 for the 8GB RAM + 256GB storage variant.
Apple iPhone XS Max
The iPhone XS Max offers a dual-lens camera setup featuring two 12MP sensors- one wide and the other a telephoto lens. The 12MP primary sensor has a pixel size of 1.4µm and works on f/1.8 aperture lens. The 12MP sensor has 26mm-equivalent focal length, supports PDAF and is optically stabilized. The second 12MP telephoto sensor works on f/2.4 aperture, offers 2X optical zoom and is also OIS-enabled. The 1/3.4" sensor also gets PDAF.
Apple iPhone XS Max price in India is Rs. 1,09,900 for the 64GB ROM variant.
Google Pixel 3XL
Google Pixel 3XL brings the simplest camera setup, yet it is highly recommended. The smartphone offers just one camera- a 12.2MP sensor working on F/1.8 aperture. The 1/2.55" sensor offers an equivalent field of view of a 28mm lens. It supports both optical and electronic image stabilization and also gets dual pixel Phase detection autofocus.
Google Pixel 3XL price in India starts from Rs. 51,499.
Huawei P30 Pro
Huawei P30 Pro brings the most interesting camera setup among the lot. The handset boasts a quad Leica-powered camera setup working on Huawei's 4th gen. ISP algorithms. The first lens in the four-lens camera system is a massive 40MP SuperSpectrum sensor. This sensor has a very bright aperture size of F/1.6 and can touch the industry-leading ISO rating of 4,09,600.
The optically stabilized lens has 27mm-equivalent focal length, works on a sensor size of 1/1.7-inch and comes with the world's first RYYB color array filter. Unlike the conventional RGB subpixel arrangement, the newly developed sensor on the P30 Pro captures both green light and red light on the visible spectrum. This allows for a 40 % boost in the overall light intake to frame shots.
The 40MP Leica-powered lens is paired with a 20MP ultra-wide angle lens. The ultrawide angle lens works on F/2.2 aperture with 16mm-equivalent focal length giving out 107-degree field-of-view. You also get an 8MP OIS-enabled telephoto lens working on F/3.4 aperture value with 125mm-equivalent focal length. The 4th lens in the setup is a TOF camera to sense the depth information.
Huawei P30 Pro price in India is Rs. 71,990.
Who Wins The Battle?
Now when you know the specifications and the camera structure of all the handsets, let me break it down to translate everything into real-world performance. Huawei P30 Pro brings the most feature-rich camera setup that can capture 5X lossless zoom pictures. The iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 10 and the Google Pixel 3XL can only touch 2X optical zoom. What this means is that Huawei P30 Pro allows you to capture better shots of subjects placed farther than the other three handsets.
Huawei P30 Pro Can Capture Distant Objects Like No Other Smartphone
The prism-based complex structure of Huawei P30 Pro also allows you to zoom in to distant objects (like Moon). No other handset can perform such high-range digital zoom shots. Moreover, the P30 Pro is also the only smartphone in the lot that can capture some stunning macro shots. The handset makes this possible with its 20MP super-wide angle lens that offers a minimum focus distance of 25mm.
Google Pixel 3XL Delivers Most Natural-Looking Images
Google Pixel 3XL wins on many other grounds. The images shot on Pixel 3 XL look the brightest and also get the correct lighting, almost every time. Moreover, if you prefer true-to-eyes colors with absolute pleasing color tones, Pixel 3XL offers the best camera in the lot. However, it struggles to match the low-light camera performance delivered by Huawei P30 Pro.
Huawei P30 Pro Triumphs Pitch-Dark Situations, Pixel 3XL Wins Low-Light Performance, iPhone XS Max Is No match
The Huawei's smartphone takes the low-light camera performance to the next level as its primary sensor can touch an impressive ISO range of 4,09,600. No other handset can match the low-light camera prowess of the Huawei P30 Pro when the images are shot in pitch dark situations.
However, the Google Pixel 3XL comes out as a winner when you have some level of natural low-light. Huawei P30 Pro only takes the cake when the light conditions are really unfavorable.
On the other hand, the Apple iPhone XS Max just fails to match the low-light camera performance on the other two smartphones. Low-light shots from Apple iPhone XS Max are super noisy and lack details. If you want an absolute killer low-light camera smartphone, Huawei P30 Pro is the handset you should invest in.
Portraits- Apple And Huawei P30 Pro Come Very Close
When it comes to close up shots and portraits, all three smartphones perform an excellent job. As all the three handsets work on different sensors and apply different software algorithms, the final image output varies accordingly. Here, Apple and Huawei come very close. The portraits shot on the Apple iPhone XS Max and the Huawei P30 Pro (in Aperture mode) look the most natural and show a very consistent and pleasing bokeh effect.
The Google Pixel 3XL comes close to the iPhone's depth effect but the images show exposure issues and amplified contrast levels.
Huawei P30 Pro only struggles when you are trying to capture bokeh shots of non-human subjects. The bokeh around the non-human subjects looks quite unreal. Overall, we would once again recommend the Huawei P30 Pro for portraits as its camera offers a slight edge over the other two due to the additional ToF sensor.
It remains to be seen how the Galaxy Note 10/10+ captures the bokeh effect. The Galaxy Note 10+ also gets an additional ToF sensor, which means the fight for the portraits will be between the Galaxy Note 10+ and the Huawei P30 Pro.
Google Pixel 3XL Is The Selfie Winner
When it comes to the front-facing camera, the Pixel 3XL wins the fight hands down. The front-facing camera on the Pixel 3XL manages to deliver the best-in-class portraits with excellent details, pleasing depth-of-field effect, and unbelievable skin tones and textures. Pixel 3XL also allows you to capture wide-angle selfies as the handsets feature a dual-lens 8MP camera setup at the front.
Once again, Huawei captures the best-in-class wide-angle shots as the Google Pixel 3XL and the Apple iPhone XS Max does not feature an ultrawide angle lens. However, Huawei needs to improve the post-processing for the wide-angle shots. The Galaxy Note 10 also brings a wide-angle lens and we will compare the output from the two (P30 Pro and Galaxy Note 10/10+) to find out who wins the fight.
Apple iPhone XS Max Is The Best Camera Smartphone for Video Recording
Apple iPhone XS Max comes out as the clear winner to shoot the videos. The footage shot from Apple iPhone XS Max is the most stabilized and show the most accurate and true-to-eyes colors. Audio is also recorded at its best on the Apple handset.
The second spot is grabbed by the Google Pixel 3XL for its near natural-looking color tones. However, the Huawei P30 Pro fails to impress as a video-recording device.
The only area where it has an edge over the other two smartphones is the slow-motion videos. The Huawei P30 Pro can record 960fps super-slow motion videos whereas the other two handsets can only capture standard slow-motion videos.
Once again we are yet to test the video recording capabilities of the Galaxy Note 10 series. Samsung made some bold claims for the Galaxy Note 10's video recording abilities and we cannot wait to compare the output with the other handsets.
It is quite difficult to give a clear verdict for the best camera smartphones compared above. Every device has its limitations and areas where it excels. One thing is quite clear though-- the Huawei P30 Pro packs in the most number of features and clever tricks under its sleeve. It can shoot super macros, set a new benchmark to capture distant objects and take super wide-angle pictures.
Google Pixel 3XL, as always, brings ease of use and delivers brilliant images with just one camera. The images captured on the Google Pixel 3XL turns out to be realistic and most pleasing to eyes. It also captures the best-in-class selfies.
As far as the Apple iPhone XS Max is concerned, it is the best handset to record videos. The video footage recorded on Apple's flagship handset is unmatched. Moreover, the iPhone XS Max also captures stunning portraits; however, it fails to impress as a low-light camera smartphone. The Huawei P30 Pro is the low-light champion.
In the end, it remains to be seen how the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 series handsets perform in our camera tests. Samsung has made some noteworthy changes in the camera hardware and software of the new Galaxy Note devices and it will be interesting to compare the camera output of the Note 10/10+ with these three handsets. Stay tuned for our detailed camera comparison of the best flagship smartphones in the market.