Those of you who have read our HTC U11 review already know what makes this smartphone worth owning. It is fast, it is loud, it is shiny, and right on top of this stack of goodies is one of the best cameras you can get on a smartphone today. And we only used "one of" there because we've yet to compare its 12MP shooter against those on other high-ends. Actually, that's what we're about to do right now. We took a Galaxy S8+, an iPhone 7 Plus, and and LG G6 out for a camera shootout against the HTC U11, and we're now going to comment on the results. 

But before we proceed, here's a quick look at the specs:

Camera Specs
HTC U11Samsung
iPhone 7 PlusLG G6
aspect ratio
Sensor and
pixel size
Focus and
Dual-pixel AF
Dual-pixel AF

At a glance, all four phones appear to be in the same technical ballpark. All of them pack 12MP image sensors, so they should all produce equally clear and detailed photos, right? Well, not necessarily. Аs the rest of the numbers indicate, the HTC U11 and the Galaxy S8+ have larger sensors, larger pixels, and wider apertures, meaning that they absorb more light and with greater fidelity. This should translate to clearer images with less noise, especially in low-light situations. Now let's see if that's the case.

Scene 1: The pond in the park

Let's start with a set of images that I took in the late afternoon, about an hour or so before sundown. What's interesting about the photos is that they show how the image you end up with depends not only on the camera hardware, but also on its software – image processing algorithms don't always go for the most faithful appearance if they decide that a few tweaks could make a certain scene pop. For example, notice how the Galaxy S8+'s photo is more colorful than the rest. Too colorful, perhaps. 

The HTC U11 and the iPhone 7 Plus deliver a much more natural representation of the scene. While the iPhone has captured the highlights in the trees a bit better, the U11 shines with the amount of detail it has preserved. Meanwhile, the LG G6 has produced a slightly colder photo, neutralizing the natural warmth of the setting sun, so we have to knock down a few points for that.

Scene 1: score
HTC U118.0Galaxy S8+7.0
iPhone 7 Plus8.0LG G67.0

Scene 2: The field of flowers

As it did in the previous scene, the HTC U11 sticks to a natural image representation. In fact, its photo is the most pleasing to look at with its neutral tone. The other phones didn't do so well. For example, the G6's photo could use a bit more warmth, while the shot out of the iPhone has an excessive amount of contrast. But our least favorite image of all is the one shot with the Galaxy S8+ – unnecessarily saturated beyond all boundaries. 

Scene 2: score
HTC U118.0Galaxy S8+6.0
iPhone 7 Plus7.0LG G67.5

Scene 3: Fun by the fountain

We're starting to notice a pattern here. Once more, the HTC U11 delivers a detailed, faithful image – the blueness of the fountain blending with the warmth of the setting sun have been captured very accurately. Meanwhile, the iPhone is a little heavy on the contrast, and even though its image looks fine, details in the shadows appear to be missing. The LG G6, again, went for a slightly colder look than it should have. As for the Galaxy S8+, its photo looks pretty good this time around. The only thing we would have changed about it if we could is the amount of sharpening – there's a bit too much of it in the shot.

Scene 3: score
HTC U118.5Galaxy S8+8.0
iPhone 7 Plus8.0LG G68.0



1. Podrick

Posts: 1285; Member since: Aug 19, 2015

Popcorn time!

57. w1000i

Posts: 247; Member since: Jul 22, 2015

HTC 11, should get even higher.

2. ph00ny

Posts: 2031; Member since: May 26, 2011

Are you guys not looking at your own crops?

22. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Technically not.

3. nikhil23

Posts: 442; Member since: Dec 07, 2016

I like the pic from S8+ in the first picture. IP7 did a good job in scene 2 where S8+ pic looked a little overblown. I like s8+ and U11 in scene 3. They have more details in shadows

4. Nitmare64

Posts: 12; Member since: Jun 28, 2017

I swear! Not only the ratings are not accurate according to the Pictures. Im sure they just make these "Articles" to piss people off! Click Bait!

12. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Yeah, these kind of articles are completely subjective, and are good as useless with only 1 person's perspective. Was wondering why they simply can't make a blind camera comparison like GSMArena, but as you say, probably just clickbait.

26. strbckboy

Posts: 20; Member since: Jul 13, 2016

Blind camera comparisons are extremely subjective, as well. There is no way to know what the scene actually looked like in person. It's east to look at a photo that makes colors or light look unrealistic, and say that it's the best picture. I want a camera that captures the scene in the most accurate way. You can always edit later...

41. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Blind camera comparisons allow everyone give their unbiased opinion of which photo they think is best, regardless of what the scene is. If you think one photo is more "natural"/"accurate" than others, you simply select that one and move along. Doesn't really matter what the "real" scene looked like in the dark or on a very sunny day if the photo of the scene is sh*tty to most.

55. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

You must be new here but iPA had a very traumatic experience with blind camera tests. The Nexus 6 demolished the iPhone 6 plus in one of their blind camera tests and they then tried to cover it with a subjective piece to keep from getting blacklisted by Apple. This was after all the "reviewers" wrote of the Nexus 6 camera and praised the hell out of the iPhone camera. Original defeat Subsequent defense

50. ecmedic4

Posts: 520; Member since: May 02, 2013

Very good point. We don't know what the scene looked like to the naked eye. Plus not to mention not everyone is gonna be using the same computer/tablet to view this site and the pics. They could look markedly different between a non high res screen vs a HD screen. So as you said, its all subjective. The author is the one to best decide which pics look best as they are the one that know what the scene looked like in person and can compare it to the pics. Ppl get way too bent out of shape over these comparisons to the point its ridiculous. Pick the phone that best suits you and don't worry about what other ppl decide. Glad to see a level headed commentor thank you.

56. Nitmare64

Posts: 12; Member since: Jun 28, 2017

Its funny how our thumbs up just "disappeared" lol

28. ebilcake

Posts: 1229; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Pretty much.

5. maherk

Posts: 6877; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

It still boggles my mind how you don't do any tests on moving objects. That's a main criteria that many reviewers fails to test. Those who have kids or pets would love such tests.

32. miketer

Posts: 520; Member since: Apr 02, 2015

The XZ Premium would have the cake here for moving objects, if it was in the mix.

44. maherk

Posts: 6877; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

My bet is on the U 11 and S8, they have the fastest focus speed out of the bunch.

45. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

Focus is not only to point, remove and point again to see how fast it look good. Also when you want multiple shots.. Xperias are faster than Galaxies

48. maherk

Posts: 6877; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

You might be correct on this matter, it has been a while since I owned a Sony smartphone, the last one I bought was the Xperia S. I can speak about my experience with the S7, Note 7, and S8 cameras, and I never missed a shot of my babies, it focus almost immediately that I never ended with a blurry picture when they're running or moving.

6. Tipus

Posts: 869; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

So galaxy s7 was better than iphone 7 in photo comparison, but s8+ with same camera is not? Make up your mind PA. Bias is strong in this one :))

13. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

S8 and s7 do not use same sensor. Specs are the same.

21. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Clearly the S8 takes a better picture over the iPhone 7 most of the time, but not all of the time. But in 2 of the photos where they scored the iPhone over the S8, is pure B.S.! Like with the very firat. The U11 an iPhone were maybe more color accurate, but the S8 made the picture look more alive. the U11 and iPhone makes the leaves look dull. The S8 actually catches the sun shining on the leaves making them lively. With the flowers I also still take the S8.

51. ecmedic4

Posts: 520; Member since: May 02, 2013

No it wasn't pure B.S. your just butthurt that the S8 scored lower. Just because your opinion is different from the authors doesn't make you automatically right. Thats why its called an opinion. I for instance would rather have a more color accurate picture of a scene than one with overblown colors, as I want the pic to represent what I saw with my own eyes. Also the flower scene, the S8 was way too bright, your totally showing your bias for samsung and hate for Apple with that comment. It looked like crap and doesn't represent the scene at all. But again your entitled to your opinion, but it doesn't make it a universal opinion.

7. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

G6 and i7+ should not be included. If the test is for the Best available

16. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

i7+ I can understand that, but G6, it's definitely one of the best available, just like the LG G5:


Posts: 652; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

True, and the G5 actually still outperforms the G6 in many scenarios.

23. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Care to elaborate the scenarios in which the G5's camera outperforms the G6? Just curious.


Posts: 652; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

Under "Image quality" PA themselves state that the G6 lacks detail when compared to the G5: If you don't believe them, I implore you to compare some of my rather appealing G5 shots to everyone else's impetuous G6 cat photos on XDA:

27. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

Pixel and XZ Premium instead of G6 and i7+... Even gsmarena admits XZP was better than u11 in most situations, mainly auto mode

46. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

Read the comments.. People say XZ has iso 8000 for daylight shots.. They say EXIF says that. My z3+ never gets above 64 in daylight.. Impossible to reach 8000 .. I do not trust completely

8. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

G6 has 13MP, the board says 12..

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