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.
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.We've already published our in-depth
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This story is part of:Camera comparisons (23 updates)
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