Google Pixel XL scores a solid victory against iPhone, S7 edge in our blind camera comparison

Earlier this week, we invited you to participate in a blind camera comparison – a race where you, dear readers, got to pick the winner based solely on what your eyes liked best. The phones that competed for your vote were the iPhone 7 Plus, the Google Pixel XL, and the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. No doubt about it, all three are among the best shooters money can buy right now. The S7 edge, in particular, has been victorious in a great deal of camera comparisons we've hosted in the past. However, it fell short of winning the gold this time around.

By collecting nearly 18,000 of our readers' votes and winning in 4 out of 5 scenes, the Google Pixel XL is the undisputed winner of this blind camera comparison. In fact, it collected more votes than its opponents combined! In second place, we have the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, which got a respectable 8226 votes, and the iPhone 7 Plus got the bronze with a total of 3990 votes. 

While the lead of the Pixel XL is impressive, it comes as no surprise that its images were liked by such a large number of readers. Its HDR+ mode, which is enabled by default, allows it to produce lively images with wide dynamics range. In scene 1, for instance, the Pixel's image has much more detail in the shadows. In scene 2, only the Pixel managed to capture the sky without overexposing it, and its colorful representation of the third scene easily grabs one's attention.

So, are you surprised by the results? Were you expecting the Pixel to win by a mile against its opponents? Let us know in the comments below!

Scene 1: The windmill

Scene 1: Which photo do you like best?

iPhone 7 Plus
Google Pixel XL
Galaxy S7 edge

Scene 2: Reflections

Scene 2: Which photo do you like best?

Galaxy S7 edge
Google Pixel XL
iPhone 7 Plus

Scene 3: Flowers

Scene 3: Which photo do you like best?

Google Pixel XL
iPhone 7 Plus
Galaxy S7 edge

Scene 4: Candy

Scene 4: Which photo do you like best?

Galaxy S7 edge
iPhone 7 Plus
Google Pixel XL

Scene 5: Markers

Scene 5: Which photo do you like best?

iPhone 7 Plus
Galaxy S7 edge
Google Pixel XL

The gallery below contains all the images used in this comparison in high resolution, as well as 100% zoom crops for side-by-side comparison of every set of images. You can zoom in with a double-click or use the full-screen mode for a closer look at each photo (desktop only).



1. jellmoo

Posts: 2678; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Dang. Well played Pixel, well played.

27. kumarabhishek591

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 22, 2014

This is year iphone camera has been a major disappoint. Apple should have upped the game with new larger sensor than using the same one with F1.8 Aperture.

33. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Ur comment tells you donot know much about iphone cameras. For your info, iphone 6s uses an f2.2 one. The 7 has a new f1.8 sensor.

37. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Amash 1.8 is the lense not the sensor. So before speaking... i would make some research.

45. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Yeah u are right.....i allso need to know before speaking. Thnx for correcting me. Though i mistakenly wrote sensor there, shoud have been aperture

85. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

You can't judge a camera with 5 photos. Btw Pixel's colors look very saturated and yellowish. I'll wait for other sites to do the same (+video) and then deside

39. WPX00

Posts: 513; Member since: Aug 15, 2015

You don't know anything about cameras. The sensor on the 7 is not new. It is the same Type 1/2.9" sensor, with 1.22um pixels, simply with OIS and a wider aperture on the lens, both upgrades that are done without physically changing the sensor's internals. Type 1/2.9" is quite small, and so is 1.22um. S7 uses a Type 1/2.55" sensor with 1.4um pixels, Google a 1/2.3" sensor with 1.55um pixels.

46. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Wpx00 I by the way know all that you wrote above. By new I meant that the camera module is not the same one as in the 6s. I guess each and every small info isn't needed to call the camera 'new'.

55. kumarabhishek591

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 22, 2014

i hope wpx00 made things clear fanboy

36. jellmoo

Posts: 2678; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Not a disappointment so much as the competition being particularly fierce.

57. emmawilliam834

Posts: 241; Member since: Feb 09, 2016

Not well played, After the Lens flare issue now pixel owner are facing Bluetooth connectivity issue Google is aware about the issue, and has even reached out to the affected people. This issue first cropped up with Nexus phones when Marshmallow was rolled out, and a software update fixed the issue later.

87. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

All new phones have issues, show me one that doesn't. And to be fair, the issue with lens flare on the Nexus is different than on the Pixel. If you use tap to focus and tap on the light source, it goes away. Regardless, other major smartphones have had similar issues, like the iPhone and Galaxy series. You're knocking the Pixel when other similar phones aren't immune to it either.

65. phonearenarocks

Posts: 607; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

I still feel S7 is a better performer and give it the win, thanks to its low light performance. The pics in bright light are more or less close.

93. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Does Pixel have OIS ?????

2. adsg48

Posts: 79; Member since: Apr 18, 2015

The result is quite expected ... please comapare Pixel XL vs V20 camera

43. BoardDWorld

Posts: 117; Member since: Aug 17, 2016

I want them to compare the Pixel / XL to the to Mi5s, same sensor but $300 vs $800.

48. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Just so you know Sensor is nothing without good software and Pixel deliver on software side much more than any others android ( for camera software ) OEM.

73. BoardDWorld

Posts: 117; Member since: Aug 17, 2016

Xiaomi have very good software supporting all hardware features, better than most brands in fact. Gsmarena Pixel review just went live and the Mi5s is taking slightly better daytime photos, slightly worse night photos.

83. dazed1

Posts: 812; Member since: Jul 28, 2015


86. albie1937

Posts: 23; Member since: Feb 05, 2012

EXACTLY! I believe the V20 will smoke all of them.

94. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Don't be so exited. Those polls are easy to be manipulated. No one knows how many pictures are made with those phones, and how they are picked to be on the poll. BTW does Pixel have OIS?

3. pmsap

Posts: 105; Member since: May 26, 2015

Nice but Pixel is over-saturating stuff a bit. But if that's what the market wants, they deliver.

4. Awalker

Posts: 1986; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

That's what makes the photos pleasing to the eye.

18. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

What I would like to know is which photos in each situation match real world? I don't want a camera that artificially over-saturates. Also.. WTF Apple.. holy crappy color!

29. mazallah

Posts: 22; Member since: Jul 29, 2016

I'd rather have mild over saturation then a blueish tone like on the nature photo on IP7 tbh, completely worthless phone that only relies on its brands popularity and the iOS. I'm not an apple hater FYI, i hate companies that make the same s**t over and over. With HDR+, Pixel XL was certain to win with eaze. It's in a completely different league compaired to the other 2 phones.

49. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

So you saw the real place in real life? We tested the pixel in store and the colors are not as over saturated as the S7. Its a bit more saturated than my LG G5.

71. chenski

Posts: 789; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

Your right, it used to be samsung who oversaturates the most thats why it won a lot of blind cam, now the pixel oversaturates a lot as well, i think most samsung fanboys mistaken it for s7 which causes the result of the votes ahaahahaha

81. vincelongman

Posts: 5814; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

The Pixel isn't really over-saturating much The reason they apear more "over-saturated" is because the Pixel isn't overexposing like the S7 and iPhone as it has far wider dynamic range Also the iPhone is often under-saturating to compensate for its lower dynamic range e.g. iPhone Pixel The Pixel can still accurately capture the red and blue of the open sign while the iPhone can't, it under-saturate it (and overexposes it too)

88. Scott93274

Posts: 6043; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Check out this shot by the Pixel... absolutely amazing.

89. vincelongman

Posts: 5814; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yep, amazing shot! The Pixel really shines at low light and high dynamic Especially when there's lots of colors like in that pic

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