Google Pixel 4 XL vs iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 10+: Low-light Camera Comparison

Google Pixel 4 XL vs iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 10+: Low-light Camera Comparison
Which phone has the best camera in 2019?

This is the question that many people will be asking themselves before spending a $1,000 on a new flagship, and we were just as curious so that's why we took three of the best contenders for the camera title on a trip at night when the light gets scarce and the conditions for capturing a good-looking photo are the most challenging.

We have the Google Pixel 4 XL, the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+.




For this comparison we will be looking mostly at portraits since we feel this is the best way to take pictures of people to make them stand out from the background. So... let's get started!

Scene 1




The Google Pixel 4 XL sets a high bar for the others to clear from the get-go: the camera captures a good-looking image effortlessly, it was quick to focus and the end result is a picture with an outstanding amount of detail and white balance that looks good (maybe just very slightly on the colder side).

The iPhone captures a good-looking image, too, a big improvement from earlier iPhones where such a photo would be hard to even focus and capture right. However, it loses out in terms of detail and the white balance is off: the picture has a very noticeable yellow-ish tint to it. You will see that this is the "signature" Apple look that is consistent in all of the pictures. Some people may like it as an artistic rendition, but it's definitely not the proper white balance for this photo.

The Galaxy Note here has captured a decent image, but decent doesn't compare well with the other two and the Note loses out in terms of detail and it was having trouble focusing.

Detail close-up

We will also be providing crops that will better illustrate the differences in detail. In this case, the Pixel blows the other two out of the water with a much cleaner detail.



Scorecard:
Pixel 4 XL: 7
iPhone 11 Pro Max: 6
Note 10+: 5.5

Scene 2



The differences in white balance are incredibly obvious in this second photo as you can see the trench coat of our model appear in a different shade and the Pixel is once again the phone to capture the most realistic photo of the three. We should say that white balance on the Pixel is still a slightly on the cold side, but nowhere nearly as skewed as the detour towards warmer, yellowish colors that the other two phones have taken.

Detail close-up



Once again, the Pixel captures far more detail than the other two, the differences are just plain to see. The Galaxy Note has failed to acquire proper focus even though we gave it extra time and we even manually tapped on our model to get focus.

Scorecard:
Pixel 4 XL: 8
iPhone 11 Pro Max: 6.5
Note 10+: 5.5

Scene 3




We are seeing the same theme repeat itself once again here: the difference in white balance with the colder, but more realistic tones on the Pixel against the warmer, yellowish tonalities on the iPhone and Galaxy, as well as the cleaner and more refined detail on the Pixel versus the mushy one on the other two.

Detail close-up



Scorecard:
Pixel 4 XL: 8
iPhone 11 Pro Max: 6.5
Note 10+: 5.5


Scene 4



In this next shot you can see clearly the definition in the skin detail and the really nice and sharp detail on the Pixel, which truly stands out. The iPhone photo, on the other hand, paints the white T-shirt on our model yellow and we are again witnessing the same white balance issues. The Galaxy features nice colors, but it captures a soft photo that does not have too much detail.

Detail close-up


Scorecard:
Pixel 4 XL: 7
iPhone 11 Pro Max: 6.5
Note 10+: 5.5

Scene 5



We see the same color approach in this next shot too, but here we would rank the Pixel a little bit lower for the slightly underexposed face of our model, while the other two phones - the iPhone and the Galaxy - present us with a better exposed photo.

Scorecard:
Pixel 4 XL: 7
iPhone 11 Pro Max: 7
Note 10+: 6.5

Conclusion and Final Score



So... it's time for conclusions: which phone is the best one for taking photos in the dark?

Total Score:
Pixel 4 XL: 37
iPhone 11 Pro Max: 32.5
Note 10+: 28.5

In our experience, for yet another year, this is the Pixel. The new Pixel 4 XL renders clear detail even in the dark and it features the most accurate white balance among other smartphone rivals.

This year, the iPhone has come closer to the Pixel than ever before in terms of low-light photo abilities. While previously with iPhones, you would find it hard to even focus on your subject at night, this year, it's improved a lot. But Apple insists on capturing images with a yellow-ish white balance, a look that some may like, but that is technically not the realistic image.

Finally, the Galaxy Note 10+ really is the third phone in this comparison. It is far behind the other two when it comes to the amount of detail it captures and all of its shots look almost blurry, with mushy detail. Rumors point to a brand new camera system that Samsung will adopt early next year, but at the end of 2019, the Galaxy Note is a step or two behind Google and Apple in the low-light photo game.

And that wraps up our comparison. We are yet to explore the camera of the new Pixel 4 XL in detail and we will be updating you with more photos and impressions soon.

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