Google Pixel XL vs iPhone 7 Plus vs Galaxy S7 edge blind camera comparison: vote here!

Voting for this blind camera comparison has ended.

The day was October 4th. The place – San Francisco, California. Before a countless audience of journalists and tech enthusiasts, Google announced the Pixel and Pixel XL – its first in-house-developed Android-powered smartphones. Their best feature? Well, it's hard to pick a favorite, but the camera has to be somewhere near the top. We got to review the Pixel XL already, and the photos it produced were overwhelmingly impressive.

But is the Google Pixel XL as capable as the top shooters out there? That's the question we'll try to answer with this blind camera comparison – a camera comparison where you, valued readers, get to name the winner. The 5 sets of photos you'll find below were taken with the Google Pixel XL, the iPhone 7 Plus, and the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. All we ask from you is to take a look at the images and to vote for the one you like best. That's it! We'll take care of announcing the winner in a few short days. 

And by the way, we've made sure to clear all camera information from the image files, so don't bother looking for it. Also, be aware that we've shuffled the images around, so their order in each scene is completely random. That said, let the voting begin!

Note: At the end of this post you will find a gallery with all of the images used in this comparison, in case you find that viewing option more convenient. 

Scene 1: The windmill

We'll start with a scene that's great for testing the cameras' dynamics range. On the right, the sky is still brightly lit by the afternoon sun, while on the left, a shadow is cast on the windmill's wall. Detail is also plentiful, so we've included 100% zoom crops from every image for closer inspection.

Scene 1: Which photo do you like best?

iPhone 7 Plus
Google Pixel XL
Galaxy S7 edge

Scene 2: Reflections

Only minutes later, we saw how the sky, illuminated by the warm setting sun, was being reflected by the stream's gently moving surface. Of course, we took a shot to share the view with you! It appears all three cameras had their own way of "seeing" the scene, and it's up to you to decide which image looks most appealing.

Scene 2: Which photo do you like best?

Galaxy S7 edge
Google Pixel XL
iPhone 7 Plus

Scene 3: Flowers

Our brief walk around the park brought us to this patch of flowers, which looked ideal for camera testing. Since the color tone of the afternoon sun can be tricky to capture accurately, it comes as no surprise that the three images look so wildly different. You pick the one that you find most natural and most detailed.

Scene 3: Which photo do you like best?

Google Pixel XL
iPhone 7 Plus
Galaxy S7 edge

Scene 4: Candy

Halloween is right around the corner, and our stash of treats is ready to be given away. Here's a sneak peek at what kids can expect to find in their bags if they come trick-or-treating on our door. 

Scene 4: Which photo do you like best?

Galaxy S7 edge
iPhone 7 Plus
Google Pixel XL

Scene 5: Markers

And finally, here's a set of photos testing the low-light performance of all three phones. As expected, color accuracy and detail sharpness have suffered a bit, but overall, all three photos have turned out pretty well. You tell us which one you find best.

Scene 5: Which photo do you like best?

iPhone 7 Plus
Galaxy S7 edge
Google Pixel XL

Below you will find a gallery containing all of the images used in this comparison, in case you find that a more comfortable viewing option. Don't forget that you can zoom in on the images for a closer look.



1. Subie

Posts: 2427; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

It's amazing the colour difference and white balance between the three... Shows how important post processing is.

13. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

Most of the difference is because google is using HDR by default in all images. If you turn on HDR on S7, the images will be closer than you think.

14. Subie

Posts: 2427; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

HDR takes multiple exposures with different shutter speeds. That doesn't account for difference in white balance, color saturation etc. during processing. Look at the flower picture, all three are quite different.

16. MrAnonymous

Posts: 95; Member since: May 25, 2014

While you turn hdr mode on, some mobile phones will booost up the saturation.. Eg., my oneplus 2. This could be the reason one of them is waaay tooo saturated!

18. Subie

Posts: 2427; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Ok, but what you're saying is still about the processing of the raw data, which is what my first post is talking about. And when you look at the picture of the flowers - that has white balance and color temperature written all over it.

25. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

White balance and color temperature are the same.

24. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

HDR changes the dynamic range. That adjusts the colors and saturation automatically. Not the white balance though. The iPhone picture is really undersaturated because it's calibrated for DCI-P3 color space. That was a really weird decision on Apple's part which I can't figure out yet.

29. Subie

Posts: 2427; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Proper hdr changes the dynamic range of luminance in the photo by combining images taken with different shutter speeds. In digital photography the colors tones and saturation are up to the person or computer doing the processing. And I do agree with post 25.

30. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

Luminance changes colors. Colors will look washed out if you have low dynamic range and some parts of them are getting clipped.

32. Subie

Posts: 2427; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Are you telling me that washed out or clipping is what's going on in scene #3? If so then I have to completely disagree and that brings me back to my first post.

41. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

Dude, you are really bad at comprehension. I said that luminance changes colors. Higher exposure makes colors brighter and they are not the same colors anymore. At higher exposures, black looks like dark grey. If you still don't get my point, let's just agree to disagree and end this.

36. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

wish you could change your vote because after looking at the high-res photos I changed my mind out 1 and 2.

45. jontaylor07

Posts: 169; Member since: Oct 12, 2015

This is why you review information then vote.

2. CoastCity

Posts: 257; Member since: Mar 07, 2014

Most of those photos look unreal and off

6. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

To tout it unreal and off, you'd have to first see the scene with your own eyes, which I believe is not happening or didn't happen.

46. jontaylor07

Posts: 169; Member since: Oct 12, 2015

Some things just look surreal, or off. Even if you're seeing it with your own eyes. That's a valid feeling people get.

3. IronTech

Posts: 153; Member since: May 27, 2016

I'm not voting as PA doesn't always value your votes. I know, two day later, PA will write a photo comparing article putting iPhone on the top again. Don't waste your time, dear PA readers.

7. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

"The election is rigged!" LMFAO.

9. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

I guess Trump won in this case, lol.

42. BoardDWorld

Posts: 117; Member since: Aug 17, 2016

It's true, you can see the very obvious iPhone 7 photos that still have their absolutely washed out water colour look after so many years (since iPhone 5). iPhone is going to be way behind here and iPhoneArena is going to tell you that public opinion has it all wrong, unless they're getting paid more from Google in which case it is the clear winner anyway. Can't wait to see the IMX378 reengineered as an Exmor RS.

53. DoggyDangerous

Posts: 1028; Member since: Aug 28, 2015

Imx378 is already Exmor RS. There was an article on XDA about imx378. In which Sony told XDA that unlike imx377, imx378 is exmor rs.

54. BoardDWorld

Posts: 117; Member since: Aug 17, 2016

Oh right, wiki has it corrected now. That's so strange as night scenes from the IMX378 very much resemble other Exmor R's (no stacked image processing circuit), lots of noise... This seems very unusual as a stacked high speed IPC with the same footprint as this enormous sensor should yield incredible night scenes.

38. TerryTerius unregistered

All of these are pretty much rating which photos you subjectively like more. There isn't really a correct answer. Preferring the S7 or Pixel is just as legitimate as preferring the iPhone 7.

47. jontaylor07

Posts: 169; Member since: Oct 12, 2015

That's one way to put it. Just like EPA fuel economy ratings are subjective, because 14 may be your favorite number so you may prefer it over 32. But obviously when we think critically about it, we know that these phones are made to sell, people will buy the one they like best, and the one the most people like (and buy) is the winner, in many respects.

4. Marduch

Posts: 81; Member since: Feb 04, 2015

I ´d really, really like to vote which is the best PHOTO (not the picture itself), but how to do it properly without knowing the real scene??

15. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Doesn't matter as most people will just vote for the S7 instead since its pretty easy to tell apart which is a samsung one. Most people on PA are pretty biased towards samsung. That much is clear by now. They'll Just choose the most saturated ones instead of the best all around. Btw, why don't you give us a sample of what the real scene looks like with a high-end DSLR? This is flawed from the beginning tbh

17. Marduch

Posts: 81; Member since: Feb 04, 2015

Yes, that was suggested by myself below as well. And I would propose not to identify which one is the DSLR. Maybe some would be really surprised with the results! ;) It would maybe show that all the Samsung photo magic is in a certain manner just a glossy catchy fake;)

22. tedkord

Posts: 17473; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Yes, that must be it. That also explains why the iPhone fans at iMore also voted for the S7 over the iPhone 7 in a blind camera comparison. Got it.

33. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

That's not what phonearena and gamarena said about the comparisons.

34. tedkord

Posts: 17473; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Blind comparison? Yes, PA did. I have no idea about the other site.

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