Galaxy Note 10+ barely snags victory against iPhone XS Max and Pixel 3 in camera comparison


The Galaxy Note 10+ is the hottest release this season, and while its camera is almost identical to that of the Galaxy S10, this still means it's an absolute high-performer.

You know how we are, guys – a new flagship comes, we just can't help but stage a heated camera comparison. And we know you love these fun little shoot-outs, which is why we've made sure to bring you one featuring the Note 10+ faster than anyone else in the galaxy.

This is a three-way camera comparison between the absolute finest pocket cameras: the Galaxy Note 10+, iPhone XS Max and the Pixel 3, and we've prepared some awesome scenes for you to enjoy. Can it get any better than this? No? That's what we thought. Let's go!


SCENE 1: GRAND MASTER V


scores (1-10)

A man known by many names. On his passport, it says Victor Hristov. On YouTube, he's better known as Vic Christoph. And God only knows what the hot senoritas he dances his salsa with call him! Being the writer and coproducer of this beautiful camera comparison, I'll allow myself to add one more name to the list: Grand Master V! No idea how he feels about it; guess I'll find out on Monday.

The Galaxy Note 10+, being the central figure in this comparison, makes a strong debut by taking the first round! It offers the best definition, richest colors and most pleasurable exposure of the three participating phones. The iPhone XS Max is a close second, being pretty solid itself, but it's photo is just a little bit muted, compared to that of the Note 10+. A very close third is the Pixel 3, which delivers almost identical result to the XS Max, but ever so slightly duller.


SCENE 2: "$10 IF YOU STOP IT WHILE WE'RE AT THE TOP"




The great thing about Ferris wheels is that whatever happens up there, stays there. Remember that, folks.

Pretty much the same observations as in Scene 1 are valid here. The Note 10+ keeps the lead with rich colors and spot-on exposure. Then comes the iPhone XS Max, and then the Pixel 3, each of which toning things down somewhat (for no apparent reason). All three phones have done a good job with the HDR processing, but the Note 10+ excels.


SCENE 3: HEARTBREAKER




While his friends refer to him as Rado, ladies typically call him 'Yes, sir', for some odd reason. Probably the result of spectacular upbringing.

This turns out to be a relatively easy win for the iPhone XS Max – it has captured the most balanced and in-your-face portrait shot of the three. The Note 10+ comes close in terms of color reproduction, but is just too hazy. Meanwhile, the Pixel 3 has come up with artificial-looking colors and bokeh that is just too fake to take seriously. No to mention that its lack of a telephoto camera is evident in the proportions, which are decent, but not entirely correct.


SCENE 4: INFINITY GARDEN




"Man's capacity for destruction is only rivaled by man's capacity to create beauty in the world." – the Heartbreaker

Scene 4 is the first scene where the Pixel managed to edge out the competition by delivering the most well-rounded picture. The dreamy, slightly overemphasized flowers actually work to the benefit of the whole composition. The Note 10+ is not bad as well, although we aren't necessarily fans of the colder profile it's preferred here. The iPhone XS Max decided to hurl itself to the opposite spectrum, churning out an overly warm picture. Deceivingly warm.

SCENE 5: "I'M NOT SHORT; HE'S TOO TALL"




What we observe here is Einstein's theory of general relativity in full effect. There is no such thing as short, tall, skinny, fat, dumb, or smart. Everything is relative, there's always a bigger fish in the sea! For example, we could make a case that Vic is taller than me, but on the other hand, I'm taller than....... you know what, forget it. Lamest theory ever!

Ladies and gents, it's a scientifically proven fact that selfie cameras on smartphones suck. They are too wide, distort your perfectly shaped head and make you look like a banana. True, we may be sharing 60% of our genes with the yellow fella, but still! That's why we'd congratulate the Pixel 3 for having a working portrait mode for selfies. Take a look at the three photos and you'll find dramatic differences between the proportions. Initially,  the pics from the Note 10+ and XS Max may look alright. But then you look at the Pixel's photo and tears begin to flow, as you realize that all this time, we've been doing selfies wrong.

SCENE 6: BELLA FIGURA




You've got to give it to Italians: they may be making the crappiest cars on the planet, but they sure have the best food!

We can't really pick a winner between the Galaxy Note 10+ and the iPhone XS Max here – there doesn't seem to be any meaningful differences in this scene. The Pixel 3, however, has botched things by underexposing and making everything more yellow than it needs to be.

SCENE 7: MOONWALK




So Vic and I are just strolling around in the evening, looking for great scenes to capture for the camera comparison. A gentle summer breeze casually cooling our ripped bodies. And all of a sudden – a breathtaking view of the bright, clear moon over the sea. At that moment, it dawned on us: we're just two apex predators on top of this world.

Both the Galaxy Note 10+ and Apple iPhone XS Max performed respectably in these less than ideal conditions, with the iPhone bringing in the faster and cleaner results. The photo from the Pixel 3, on the other hand, is too lo-fi. It's needlessly yellow and noisy.

SCENE 8: SUMMER VIBES




While we were busy conquering the world, others were chilling out at the beach, socializing and having fun. Oh well, you know what they say – it's lonely at the top!

The Galaxy Note 10+ is killing it here with well-balanced colors and decent, realistic exposure of the scene. The iPhone XS Max has managed to keep up with the colors part, but its photo has turned out a bit darker. The Pixel 3? Well, you can see the orange results for yourselves.

SCENE 9: V IS FOR VICIOUSLY HANDSOME




Here's the thing, guys: there is handsome, and then there's viciously handsome. There's nothing wrong with regular handsome, but if you want to be a Grand Master or a Heartbreaker, you've got to step your game up! And as with most things in life, it all starts with a magnetic selfie.

The Pixel 3 has solidified itself as the ultimate selfie machine. Here again, it's made the most with what little light was available on the spot. It's produced a perfectly usable selfie with pleasant color and exposure. The iPhone XS Max is not bad at all, but it's obviously darker than ideal. Finally, the Note 10+ is brightly lit, but there's a bit of a watercolor vibe to it that fails to present the subject in the best possible light. Think of the hundreds of likes you're going to miss out on because of this.


FINAL SCORES



Well, that's it, folks. We've reached the end of the comparison, and now all that's left is to look at the final scores.

Keep in mind that as with most other camera comparisons, these scores reflect the performance of the cameras in these particular scenes. They don't necessarily mean one camera is 100% better than the others. With that said, the ratings seem quite revealing.

What they reveal is that all three cameras are insanely great! However, what we also found this time is that the Pixel 3 stumbled a bit in some of the scenes, typically by returning overly warm colors and suspiciously low exposure. We're telling you, guys, those algorithms can be too smart for their own good sometimes!

The Galaxy Note 10+ tended to outperform its competitors most of the time, although not by much, which we think the final scores illustrate with stunning accuracy. Almost without error, it delivered a tasty balance of rich colors, crunchy definition and eye-watering exposure. The close second, the iPhone XS Max, remains the fastest and easiest camera to use if you just want great results with zero understanding of the whole photographic process. It has the occasional underexposed or overly warm shot, but most of the time it's spot on.

What's your take on this comparison? How would you rank the three rivals? Share your opinion in the comments!

FEATURED VIDEO

98 Comments

1. LawnBoy

Posts: 189; Member since: Feb 23, 2019

Pixels always have the best cams. APPLE is always second tier. Why bother teating them?

51. technut

Posts: 205; Member since: Aug 03, 2012

Judging by the pics, I think Note was the top spot, closely followed by the Pixel and iPhone was clearly the loser.

54. cheetah2k

Posts: 2256; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

81. thxultra

Posts: 457; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Especially scene 3 I don't know how the pixel wasn't chosen as the best of the three on this shot. To me it is clearly sharper. Both the Iphone and Samsung look over saturated to me. I even bought a note 10 but think the Pixel has the best pictures.

111. cpike84

Posts: 12; Member since: Jul 08, 2019

I agree, scene 3 the Pixel has by far the more accurate and true to life color representation. It should win that shot by a wide margin. I also picked up a Note 10 Plus and took a couple comparison shots, and even my nearly 2 year old Pixel 2 XL takes more accurate photo's. If the screen and speakers on the Note 10 Plus weren't so darn amazing I would have already returned this phone. I'm still going back and forth on whether I will keep the Note or return it and wait for the Pixel 4 XL.

2. User123456789

Posts: 918; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

I love how iphone turns skin into yellow and sky looks like those blue t-shirts that were washed 1000x already to the point purple hue shows up. Not a problem to PA I suppose.

88. Kibzara

Posts: 123; Member since: Feb 24, 2016

my thought, exactly...

3. cmdacos

Posts: 4208; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

A camera comparison on PA? Nope not going to bother even reading it. Anyone that changes the field of view (and in turn changes the color spectrum of the shot) shouldn't be doing camera comparisons.

4. seantn4

Posts: 51; Member since: Dec 11, 2018

Scene 6 the Note should score higher than the Max. Look inside the room with the lamp. More details on the note than iPhone. Plus the neon lights look better on the Note on that scene.

5. Reza27121986

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 03, 2019

In scene 3 pixel pic looks much better

42. Marienx

Posts: 120; Member since: Aug 27, 2013

It exposed his true look without adding any beauty features to it.... He hated been exposed like that as the camera is perfection, therefore, he rates it bad.

7. yalokiy

Posts: 999; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Scene 3, Samsung too hazy, iPhone skin color too orange, pixel too sharp and cold. All should get an equally low score.

8. Wazupmrg

Posts: 168; Member since: Apr 10, 2017

But a win is a win right? If it were the other way around you'd pronounce apple tops note in photo showdown. But since you need to admit Samsung again beat Apple, you need to downplay it. Again.

9. splus

Posts: 160; Member since: Nov 26, 2011

What a flawed comparison! Pixel obviously comes on top (just look at the scene 3, you can see the details like the arm hair on Pixel, but can't see anything on Note, and Note has highest mark). Note overall isn't really better than the iPhone...

29. Cicero

Posts: 1129; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

There are a lot of scenes where tje Pixel is out of reality and PA gave a high score. It can be seen from the moon that Pixel take it wrong. PA is indulgent with Pixel.

10. blingblingthing

Posts: 963; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

Barely snags victory against the XS and Pixel? So is winning not important anymore? You expected the other two phones to win?

12. CTHR100

Posts: 21; Member since: May 12, 2017

All the skin tones on the xs maxx look yellow/orangeand wrong. People aren't that close to bananas nor fruit in color tone.

14. cmdacos

Posts: 4208; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

That's the natural look iphone owners love on iPhone ;) Everyones related to Trump I guess.

13. CristianGMoraru

Posts: 6; Member since: Apr 27, 2019

where the P30 PRO at ?

21. Silva5

Posts: 19; Member since: Aug 15, 2019

Probably too busy spying on people

34. yalokiy

Posts: 999; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Don't worry, Trump just allowed them to spy for 90 more days.

45. pimpin83z

Posts: 541; Member since: Feb 08, 2019

No need to include as its pics don't compare.

15. Xavier1415

Posts: 190; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

I never trust these anyway they can always change the settings in each shot to make whoever looks better or worse on purpose

25. User123456789

Posts: 918; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

On youtube it probably happens

16. AngelicusMaximus

Posts: 696; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't really matter anymore. They're all good enough. None of the flagship phones nowadays have "bad" cameras. Sure you might have your gripes with certain things that certain ones do, but at the end of the day, they're all more than passable.

35. yalokiy

Posts: 999; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

I would still pick note 10+, as the three camera setup offers much more versatility.

97. AngelicusMaximus

Posts: 696; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

And that's perfectly fine. I would too. I'm just saying that the camera isn't the deciding factor for me.

17. Syedafzal.shah

Posts: 10; Member since: Sep 07, 2017

@Rado Slavov Loved your way of comparing. Few things that I wanted to see. Should have included P30 pro. Also the camera samples in Night with and without the Night mode would have been great to see.

20. Ray.S

Posts: 457; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

Thanks man, glad you enjoyed it! We might have something dedicated against the Huawei soon. Thanks for the feedback.

18. strawberry

Posts: 106; Member since: Feb 20, 2019

not surprised that samsung fanboy starting all their defence to say Note10 the best. lol

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

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