Blind camera comparison: Galaxy S9+ vs iPhone X vs Pixel 2 XL vs Note 8

Blind camera comparison: Galaxy S9+ vs iPhone X vs Pixel 2 XL vs Note 8
Samsung says that its new Galaxy S9 series “redefines” what a phone camera is.

In a way it does: the S9 and S9+ are the first modern smartphones with a variable aperture lens that can open as wide as f/1.5, the widest ever on a smartphone, and this makes it possible to capture a ton of light at night and allows shooting videos at nearly pitch dark conditions. At the same time, this f/1.5 camera is only used in those super low light scenes, while the majority of time the phone shoots at its other, f/2.4 setting that captures actually sharper photos.

How well does this setup work in real life?

That's what we wanted to find out, but rather than give you our opinion, this time we wanted to see what you, our readers, think. It's time for a blind camera test!

For this blind camera test we used the following phones:

We have downsized the photos to 1600 pixels for easier viewing and we have scrambled the order of the phones for every scene. Right now, all you have to do is pick the photo that you like the most and stay tuned to We'll reveal the results in just a few days.

Day Scene 1: Early spring at the beach

The first scene we shot was at the entrance of a beach bar in early spring. The dark hallways contrast with the bright and cheerful skies and bar, a perfect test for the phone's auto HDR capabilities.

Which photo do you like the most?

A = Galaxy S9+
B = Galaxy Note 8
C = iPhone X
D = Pixel 2 XL

Day Scene 2: Church walls on a sunny day

In this picture of an old church, you can clearly see the different ways the cameras interpret color.

Which photo do you like the most?

E = iPhone X
F = Galaxy S9+
G = Pixel 2 XL
H = Galaxy Note 8

Day Scene 3: HDR to the test

Another high-dynamic scene, this more solitary beach scene highlights good and bad HDR one more time.

Which photo do you like the most?

I = Galaxy Note 8
J = iPhone X
K = Pixel 2 XL
L = Galaxy S9+

Day Scene 4: Spring colors

The green grass and blue skies are something that will inevitably end up in your pictures, and here is how different phones capture this scene.

Which photo do you like the most?

M = iPhone X
N = Pixel 2 XL
O = Galaxy S9+
P = Galaxy Note 8


All four phones support Portrait Mode in one form or another, but the differences really come to light when you try to take a portrait photo at night. Here are the results.

Which photo do you like the most?

Q = Galaxy S9+
R = Note 8
S = Pixel 2 XL
T = iPhone X

Night Scene 1: Neon lights

The first of four night scenes, the neon lights are a challenge for every smartphone camera.

Which photo do you like the most?

U = iPhone X
V = Galaxy S9+
W = Galaxy Note 8
X = Pixel 2 XL

Night Scene 2: Sea garden

Once again, when night settles, smartphone camera don't perform as good as during the day. But which one is best?

Which photo do you like the most?

A1 = Galaxy S9+
B1 = Pixel 2 XL
C1 = Galaxy Note 8
D1 = iPhone X

Night Scene 3: Fancy restaurant at night

The bright lights are a particularly challenging thing to photograph at night.

Which photo do you like the most?

E1 = Pixel 2 XL
F1 = Galaxy S9+
G1 = iPhone X
H1 = Galaxy Note 8

Night Scene 4: More night colors

One last night-time picture. Pick your favorite below.

Which photo do you like the most?

I1 = Pixel 2 XL
J1 = iPhone X
K1 = Galaxy S9+
L1 = Galaxy Note 8



1. MroziQ

Posts: 32; Member since: Jul 02, 2015

Voted. I own Note 8 but this camera results (especially in s**tty light) will decide if I will change my Note or not.

7. Cat97

Posts: 1861; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

I own every phone in this comparison and this camera results will decide which one of them I will wear tomorrow.

27. PhoenixFirebird

Posts: 122; Member since: Oct 10, 2016

I wish I could buy like you guys

21. peace247 unregistered

this is the most difficult vote till now.... honestly, the difference is so minute that it doesn't matter. i can only judge the pixel photos in the night shots bcos of the vibrant colors of neon light.

3. bucknassty

Posts: 1325; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

Hardest comparison yet... really need a DSLR comparison and a focus point indicator... the biggest differences are at night but all look acceptable. the inside shots are hard due to the fact we do not know the color temperature... but that could be said about a lot of shots

4. aspleme

Posts: 30; Member since: May 18, 2014

Really? On Night Scene 1: Neon Lights... you're really going to reuse a photo from a previous article about night photography? We know Pixel is best with neon lights already.

18. bucknassty

Posts: 1325; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

that pixel killed those neon lights... i am really interested for what they can do to the pixel 3

5. bucky

Posts: 3778; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Man, a lot of you guys love yellow pictures.

12. cmdacos

Posts: 4110; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Apple trained us to like warm and soft colors

15. bucky

Posts: 3778; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

nice try. you know exactly who is producing the yellow colors.

23. cmdacos

Posts: 4110; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Don't disagree but 2 years ago the situation was 100% reversed where Apple was outing yellow toned pictures on 6s and 7 but now that their pics arent as soft, it's apparently bad, lol.

26. bucky

Posts: 3778; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

I agree with you in this case. That's why nothing competes with the pixel nowadays. Id rather see less clarity when zooming in then messing up colors.

6. mimicryXD

Posts: 175; Member since: Apr 03, 2015

Pixel 2 XL will win this.. SuperSafTV already made a camera comparison and no surprise Pixel 2 XL wins against the S9 so easily.

8. bucky

Posts: 3778; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

I’m no samsung fan and the Pixel is definitely better, but don’t judge based on SuperSaf of all people.

33. rsiders

Posts: 1934; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Yep and Google camera port pretty much levels the playing field between the two.

9. grk007

Posts: 21; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

It will be Pixel 2 XL vs S9 Plus

10. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

I hope in the results, please post Exif data.

16. Victor.H

Posts: 1056; Member since: May 27, 2011

Will do, of course.

31. AmashAziz

Posts: 2898; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Please change the gallery viewer for your articles. Really is a mess on phones. When I click on the photo, it changes to a full view and I have to again and again switch back to to a windowed view for the gallery, to scroll down to the next set of images. Plus, even in the full view the images appear really small and I have to zoom in on every pic to view it properly. Quite a nuisance if you ask me. For once, take the feedback of your customer. You guys seem to be too slow to acknowledge and fix issues with your site. Such as not banning the colossal amounts of trolls or reducing the no. of ads and popups on your site. Apparently, the more successful a company becomes, the less they listen to their customers. So sad! I hope you will soon make the above listed changes since I am not the only one to ever list them.

11. cmdacos

Posts: 4110; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Odd that many chose the option which had the most saturated color scheme so often. I was always told people hated that, lol.

30. Penny

Posts: 1847; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

It's pleasing to the eye at first glance, to most people. I don't mind some saturation as long as two things are true: - It's not entirely inaccurate in terms of color balance - The dynamic range doesn't suffer by the processing being too contrasty Dynamic range and more natural sharpening are probably key for me. Leaves you the most flexibility in post.

13. sme4192

Posts: 21; Member since: Nov 30, 2017

all pixel photo have alot noise why you wrote them?!!!! pixel photos is worstest betwwen them

14. Tondern

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 23, 2015

I find it hard to judge on colours because everyone has different vision and preferences, but I tried to vote for the pictures that retained details across the board and less grain.

17. Lememurilo

Posts: 50; Member since: Oct 13, 2014

The smartphone S was a pice of s**t in the portrait test, but the people voted only because is the Pixel, same with the neon tests... Its not a truly blind test.

19. Subpixel

Posts: 51; Member since: Feb 22, 2018

Day Scene 1 - A - S9 Day Scene 2 - F - S9 Day Scene 3 - K - Pixel 2XL Day Scene 4 - O - S9 Portrait - Q - S9 Night Scene 1 - X - Pixel 2XL Night Scene 2 - B1 - Pixel 2XL Night Scene 3 - E1 - Pixel 2XL Night Scene 4 - L1 - Pixel 2XL

29. Trex95

Posts: 2380; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Q1 is S9 plus Portrait 4T is iPhone X Portrait

20. therealestmc

Posts: 679; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

I don't care which ones wins. They are all great shooters. I am more concerned about the performance in terms of speed and smoothness of the phone than the camera these days.

22. kkmkk

Posts: 699; Member since: May 06, 2013

the pixle2 will win I bet 1000$ on that

24. cmdacos

Posts: 4110; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

It should. It's the best point and shoot smartphone camera on the market currently.

25. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

last one , first picture is awesome others are looking kinda same

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

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