Best smartphone cameras compared: iPhone X vs Galaxy Note 8, LG V30


Some jokingly call it the iPhone X-pensive or the iPhone 1000-dollars. Others wouldn't mind spending a grand on it, knowing that they'll be getting a technological marvel in return. Whichever side you're on, you'll probably agree with us when we say that the iPhone X is a remarkable phone – expensive, yes, but also exciting, futuristic, and gorgeously sculpted. In fact, Apple's greatest is so good at drawing attention with its design that one might easily overlook that outstanding camera at its back. 

We've already published our in-depth iPhone X review, and those of you who have read it already know that we're thoroughly impressed by its camera. We're now going to find out if the iPhone X camera is better than those on two of its rivals, namely the Galaxy Note 8 and the LG V30
 

Scene 1



Knowing well how these three cameras behave, the first scene in our camera comparison brings us no surprises whatsoever. The iPhone X favors a contrasty look, the Note 8 leans towards a more colorful presentation, while the LG V30 tries to keep things balanced and natural. Frankly speaking, all three photos look great, and it's difficult to pick a winner among them, but we think the V30 has a slight lead here with its neutral and faithful representation of the scene.

Scene 2



Familiar and heart-warming, the fall color palette is in full swing here, complemented by the soothing light of the setting sun. The scene was shot best by the iPhone X, which managed to accurately preserve the view's color tone while capturing plenty of detail along the way. Colors look less vivid in the Note 8's photo, and even less impressive in the picture out of the LG V30.

Scene 3



iPhones are known for their tendency to render a photo with colors warmer than they actually are. This next scene is a good example of that, as to the naked eye, the color of the rose and of the wall behind it are most realistic on the Note 8's and the V30's shot. We're not saying that the iPhone's photo looks bad or anything. It's just not as accurate as far as colors go, and it would still get plenty of likes if shared. Still, the Note 8 and the V30 deserve a slightly higher score this time because of their color accuracy.

Scene 4



Without a doubt, the Galaxy Note 8 has the lead in this next scene. Its photo is balanced and accurate overall, with plentiful detail and mostly accurate colors. The iPhone X, on the other hand, produced a photo with a rather unnatural appearance caused by excessive contrast. Meanwhile, the LG V30 went for a colder look, making my red jacket appear slightly pinkish. 

Scene 5



Some scenes are easier to rate than others. This one, for instance, is a clear win for the iPhone X, all while serving as an example of how good its HDR photos can look. The photo out of the Galaxy Note 8 is also good in a way, but it looks gloomy in comparison, lacking that natural blueness of the hour after sunset. As for the LG V30, its image is cold and lacking in detail in the shadowy areas, even though the phone did use its HDR mode. 

Scene 6



We're now entering low-light territory, starting with a set of photos we took at dinner time. The shot is actually trickier than it looks, as the restaurant we were at was illuminated by vintage incandescent bulbs, which are known for their warm light. Here the iPhone X took the most color-accurate image, while the V30 and the Note 8 introduced a slight greenish tint to their photos. Details, on the other hand, are exceptional with all three phones – not a surprise really since most phones do really well in closeups. 

Scene 7



And here's another great shot out of the iPhone X. If we take a closer look, we can see that the Galaxy Note 8 may have picked up a bit more detail, but that has been sharpened more aggressively. Overall, the iPhone's photo comes closer to reality with its color tone, and that's what makes us favor it more. The photo out of the LG V30 is gloomier. It could have really used some more exposure to liven things up a bit. 

Scene 8



We'd say that the Galaxy Note 8 has the upper hand this time around. At a glance, it seems to be tied with the iPhone X, but a closer look reveals that the Note 8's image is clearer and a bit more detailed. The LG V30, again, took a slightly darker image overall.  

Scene 9



Picking a winner in this final scene is a bit harder than usual. On one hand, the iPhone X took a livelier photo, but the area around the lamp has suffered. The Note 8 exposed the image in a way that makes the light easier to discern, but the image isn't as bright overall. In any case, we'd say that the LG V30 is behind the two. As in the previous two low-light scenes, its photo could have really used some more exposure to bring out those details in the shadows.

Conclusion


Our previous camera comparison put the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 ahead of the iPhone 8 Plus, with only a tenth of a point's difference between the two. This time around it's the iPhone X in the lead, followed by the Galaxy Note 8 which is only a tenth behind. This does not necessarily confirm that the iPhone X is a better shooter than the iPhone 8 Plus. Rather, it reaffirms a statement that we've made already based on the negligible difference in the score: as far as every-day photos are concerned, the iPhone and the Note 8 are pretty much equally great as cameras and are highly unlikely to let you down regardless of which one you pick. 

As for the LG V30, we feel like its camera has plenty of potential, and its hardware configuration goes to back up our words. However, it seems that something's holding it back from matching the results the iPhone and the Note 8 can achieve. That is most noticeable in low-light situations, where the V30 tends to take images darker in appearance, as well as in situations where HDR is applied. Perhaps a future software update can fix this? Until then, we guess the latest iPhones and Galaxies will share the spot as best cameras on a phone right now.

Final score
iPhone X7.9
Samsung Galaxy Note 87.8
LG V307.3

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96 Comments

1. Diego!

Posts: 880; Member since: Jun 15, 2009

I was worried about the score iPhone X got in your review but after reading this article and watching the pictures I feel relieved things got back to normal. *Ironically speaking*

15. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

That last one did it for me. Calling the Note 8 image not as "lively" just made it plain and obvious that they had a mission here. The fact that it is not more lively than the iPhone image is because it is exposed correctly compared to the blown out mess that is the iPhone image.

18. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

First was: Better and brighter display than Note 8 Now: Better camera than Note 8 Guess what will be next!

92. cheetah2k

Posts: 2297; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

That 0.1 hahahaha!

28. jacky899

Posts: 431; Member since: May 16, 2017

From my own comparisons, having both phones in hand. The Note 8 photos actually seem more "lively" because of the more saturated colors compared to Iphone X's more realistic colors. However, Iphone X photos capture a tad bid more detail and textures but I was hoping it would be more because the Note 8 is pretty bad with details when zoomed in. Overall photos from both cameras aren't too much different. I prefer the Iphone X photos just a bit more because I prefer detail over color.

80. nottolate

Posts: 52; Member since: Jun 01, 2014

"Iphone X photos capture a tad bid more detail and textures" You should check your eyes. As I have noted several times lack of detail is precisely what keeps Apple out of the game. Were it not for that they would be in it. Every Iphone camera iteration lacks detail. Look at the 2 fellows in the background to the right of the ship.

82. Kaostheory

Posts: 18; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

Are you comparing on the phones screen or a calibrated monitor? Obviously the phones displays will affect the pics.

94. ramdroid

Posts: 138; Member since: May 21, 2016

that's weird. because everyone else on the planet tested both phones agreed on the fact that iPhones this year produces the saturated images

47. Cicero

Posts: 1149; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

Check the pictures with the light bulb (img. 25 and 26) and you will find iPhoneX like a toy camera. I really do not understand why in this photo scene iPhone have the greater score and not the worst one. Everybody can see this is an arranged test for iPhoneX to win. Shame on you PhoneArena. You lost your credibility.

61. airoid

Posts: 132; Member since: Dec 13, 2016

Yes the last one (light bulb). V30 is the best, iPhone x and note 8 has too much flare around bulbs. Must be blinded lol

64. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

You can't see any detail under the desk in V30, Note8 got perfect exposure balance in that scene

89. Anchor

Posts: 160; Member since: Jun 16, 2017

Lol, that's like saying a wh**e lost their virginity. It's already too obvious

16. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

I have never doubted that iPhone X will win this one here. More to come!! iPhone X is such messed up device, that really needs more of those, so no matter what, ppl to thing, that it's the best smartphone on the market(it's not at all)

62. Skimshaddy

Posts: 126; Member since: Feb 23, 2016

Pretty good for the Note 8. I haven't seen or play with the Note but I thought the Special Edition iPhone Prototype X/Notch whatever they call it going to blow it out but I am wrong.

68. cocoy

Posts: 464; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

In scene#9 note 8 is a clear winner, it has a great balance of exposure. While on the scene number 2 I don't think the iPhone 8 deserves a 1 point lead over the note. I think 8.5 is enough.

2. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

First time I've seen one of these and preferred the punch and detail of the iPhone images on the whole, last image looks like poor exposure with the light - depends where they set the focus though...

3. jellmoo

Posts: 2660; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

If only Google had released a device or two with highly regarded cameras...

6. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Completely ridiculous it's not included, invalidates any result.

4. Landon

Posts: 1247; Member since: May 07, 2015

The Pixel 2 should be included in this comparison.

27. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

It will probably destroy all the competitors.

5. dnomadic

Posts: 441; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

This shows that photography scores are really dependent on scene selection. If there more photos with bright backgrounds the iPhone would lose tremendously. In these photos, subjectively speaking the note 8 and iPhone x are basically even, as stated... Some scenes I though the Note 8 should have scored higher but no one can say that that an even score is not realistic.

8. GdgetXpert1337

Posts: 117; Member since: Oct 31, 2017

iphone x best still camera shooter in smartphone in world as confermed by DXOmark, not best at vidoe but best at still photos

32. dnomadic

Posts: 441; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Not really.... Look at the individual elements. When looking atthe individual elements that make up a photo (imaging) it is not the best it is thoroughly destroyed by the Pixel...texture, exposure, contrast, focus all Pixel and I think the Note 8 as well.... What it does well is the Zoom, which Pixel doesn't have, and bokeh ( but if they included front camera bokeh the score would be much lower). When focusing on the primary lens, the Pixel is light years better...as per DXO (Check the scores)

53. GdgetXpert1337

Posts: 117; Member since: Oct 31, 2017

I don' care about ur analysis, DXOmark said iPhone X is bes phone for still ever, DXOmerk literaly say iPhone X is best for stills on a smrtphone, Pixel 2 best at video recordeng, jus go to there websight

69. dnomadic

Posts: 441; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Look at the elements that were included....some have nothing to do with picture quality.... The ones that truly effect day to day shooting the Pixel is generally better...its on their site not my analysis.

91. Man_Utd

Posts: 190; Member since: Feb 03, 2015

GdgetXpert1337 is your typical iPhone user. All they care about is what someone else feeds them, rather than actually reading and critically thinking. My favorite line, "I don' care about ur analysis, DXOmark said iPhone X is bes phone for still eve"

37. twens

Posts: 1184; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

Nice observation. I've personally studied a difference in the cameras on the two variants of the note 8. The Exynos takes a bit Sharper image than the SD but I still went with the SD bcos it was much smoother in my experience. As for the iPhone it has never done well in bright skies. It always blows out the highlights. All the same phone cameras are now pretty neck and neck. They all have their strengths and weaknesses.

7. GdgetXpert1337

Posts: 117; Member since: Oct 31, 2017

Congrat Apple on having bes still camera shooter in smartphone today, confermed by DXOmark, it really is amazing camera

9. lazarus_26

Posts: 39; Member since: Sep 29, 2014

I wish you put pixel 2 in this comarision. BTW it was informative.

10. hmd74

Posts: 542; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

No Pixel 2?! Really?!

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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