Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs iPhone XS Max vs Galaxy Note 9: Camera Comparison!


The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the newest camera beast in town, a phone with three cameras on its back that give you unprecedented freedom to shoot. But how does the Mate 20 Pro camera compare against two of the best cameraphones around, the Apple iPhone XS Max and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9?

This calls for a proper camera comparison, so let's get started.


First, let's get the specs out of the way: on the Mate 20 Pro we have a main, 40-megapixel f/1.8 shooter, a secondary, 20-megapixel ultra-wide angle, 16mm lens, and a third, 8-megapixel telephoto camera with 3X zoom for an equivalent of 80mm focal reach. The iPhone XS Max and the Galaxy come with dual rear cameras, a 12MP main one and a 12MP telephoto one on both phones, and both cameras have optical image stabilization.

With all this handy knowledge in mind, let's take a look at the actual photos, shall we?

1. London 101, The Gherkin


One of our favorite buildings in London, The Gherkin, officially known as 30 St Mary Axe, is an egg-shaped skyscraper that peeks through the old Victorian buildings and provides that contrast between new and old, modern and traditional.

Take a look at how our three phones captured it in photos below:


2. Zoom in (2x)


The Mate 20 Pro comes with a native telephoto lens with 3x zoom, but most other phones out there ship with a 2x optical zoom, so we decided to focus on the 3x and 5x zoom capabilities of the Mate later on and first compare how images zoomed in two times compare. We first have the image and then, a 100% crop so that you can take a closer look at the resolved detail.


3. The Shard


The Shard is a tall pyramid that rises high and almost seems to pierce the London sky. The view from the inside is really something special, but here we take a picture of it from the other side of the Thames river.


4. Cozy Café by the Thames


These cozy cabins by the river seemed like the perfect place to enjoy a meal with friends and an amazing view. Me? I was taking pictures.


5. Tower Bridge


Tower Bridge is probably the most iconic bridge in London and these three phones captured it in a slightly different way.


6. The London Wall


Finally, I love this shot of the London Wall with the new skyrises in the background and the green grass below. It's truly a good depiction of the eclectics that you see around here.


7. Seflie time


Of course, I had to take a couple of selfies at those places. Notice the difference in color and how some phones are doing a better job than others at keeping the background details that are so important here.


8. One more selfie


And one more selfie. Here, the Mate obviously couldn't focus perfectly, but I took three different shots hoping and none of them was in perfect focus, so it is what it is. Notice the differences and see which one you like better.


Final Words


Finally, it's clear that the Mate 20 Pro delivers with a great camera.

We still need to use it a lot more to get a better idea of how it performs, but this first test showed promise. Did it match the iPhone XS Max with its incredible new Smart HDR function? We still like the colors from the iPhone a bit better, but often times we would take an image from the Mate 20 Pro over one from the Galaxy Note 9.

What about you? Which of these phone cameras you liked best? Let us know in the comments right below!

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41 Comments

1. Bankz

Posts: 2531; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Huawei mate 20 pro - "Kill them all"

2. maherk

Posts: 6775; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Even though my P20 Pro will be gone once this bad boy gets released, I just hope for the sake of P20 owners, that Huawei pushes an update that fixes the overexposed selfies. I didn't have high hopes for the front camera on the Mate 20, but I'm glad they finally addressed it.

5. darkkjedii

Posts: 30973; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

It takes great pics.

10. BLUEBLASTER

Posts: 926; Member since: Feb 23, 2014

Are Huawei good with software updates? I know the Mate 20 Pro comes with Pie but what about for the future?

15. maherk

Posts: 6775; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

From my experience, it has been better than Samsung's tbh. My P20 is running the latest 154 update with September's security patch. The past month and so, I received 3 updates in total. The camera keeps on improving, which was already great, they added gpu turbo, battery life has been crazy good, and DJ has few screenshots that I sent him few weeks ago that backs those claims. I bought my P20 Pro thinking that I'm going to use it for few days or weeks at max, enjoy it's camera and hate the rest of it, then switch back to a Samsung phone or the Pixel 2 XL, but here I am, loving my P20 Pro and only ditching it for the Mate 20 Pro. I just wish tech reviewers are more fair when comparing these phones, because they don't get the love they deserve.

20. darkkjedii

Posts: 30973; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Yes I do, and I back those claims. That phone is sick bro.

24. maherk

Posts: 6775; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

You should order the Mate 20 Pro from overseas ;)

25. darkkjedii

Posts: 30973; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I’d check Cellular Superstore first. They’d import it, and sell it cash...no tax. I know the guy who owns it, and he’s just money hungry lol. I’m gaining interest in that phone.

26. maherk

Posts: 6775; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Is he the same guy who bought my Note 7?

38. darkkjedii

Posts: 30973; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Yep lol. He makes the sickest deals. Cool dude.

41. GalaxyLeads_iCrapFollows

Posts: 216; Member since: Nov 29, 2017

Do not buy this chinese pos phone. It will not be supported by your carrier. The best Android or smart phone on the market is the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Note 9. Or just wait for the revolutionary S10.

3. FreshPrinceOfH

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 31, 2017

Iphone colours are so unrealistic.

6. AmashAziz

Posts: 2898; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Dude, we don't even know how the actual colours look like. So we can't judge one phone's colours based on the other two.

16. drmagwai

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 16, 2018

I work opposite the shard I know the area really well. The iPhone colours are not accurate.

32. Marcwand3l

Posts: 426; Member since: May 08, 2017

They are definitely not as warm as in the iphone images. The color balance on the Mate 20 and Note 9 images was definitely more true to life.

36. FreshPrinceOfH

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 31, 2017

I've seen grass. It doesn't look like that.

4. errnope

Posts: 43; Member since: May 23, 2018

Basically if you want to take a picture of clouds, buy an iPhone. Else you'll lose them. If you want to take a picture of things, find the camera with the colour temperature you like. Very little between N9 and M20 for me. Just down to colour, as I say. Difficult to know without being there, but I'd say M20 is most true to life.

7. AmashAziz

Posts: 2898; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

I agree.

33. Marcwand3l

Posts: 426; Member since: May 08, 2017

>Basically if you want to take a picture of clouds, buy an iPhone. Else you'll lose them.

8. alanrock

Posts: 304; Member since: Oct 04, 2018

not bad Huawei...not bad at all.

9. devorama

Posts: 19; Member since: Aug 06, 2012

Can it shoot 40MP images? Or is that only for better resolution when zooming? Any photos from the telephoto lens or wide lens? Do raw images reflect the AI processing?

19. Victor.H

Posts: 1056; Member since: May 27, 2011

Default resolution is 10MP, but you can also shoot 40MP

11. jjface

Posts: 229; Member since: Jun 07, 2017

So sick of cameras on phones these days. The colors are all over the place. Why are these three 3 cameras so vastly different with color reproduction. I guess no one wants realism any more. You really do need to use a dslr to compare PA. I mean take the first shot - you might think the note 9 is way too cold and boring but it may have been the most accurate and the other two were just messing with the colors. Probably the case knowing these 3.

12. Bobbii

Posts: 43; Member since: Jan 18, 2017

Night time phones will differentiate them easily.

13. tigmd99

Posts: 26; Member since: Nov 12, 2013

For me, iPhone smart HDR makes it better than the others. Shadows lifted. Highlights well controlled. The others, esp Note 9, just look dreary and heavy doses of contrast! Remember, you can always ADD contrast post-processing...but you canNOT recover shadows.

17. drmagwai

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 16, 2018

You can recover lots of usable stuff from the shadows if your phone allows you to save the raw file.

34. Marcwand3l

Posts: 426; Member since: May 08, 2017

>but you canNOT recover shadows.

37. FreshPrinceOfH

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 31, 2017

This is not true. You are actually always supposed to shoot under not over. You can recover from dark areas by increasing exposure. The information is still there. You can't recover detail from over exposed areas because the information is lost.

39. ryebanana

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 19, 2018

This is very wrong information you are putting out there. Clipped highlights are irrecoverable. There's no getting them back. Shadows are recoverable but you lose image detail (a camera's sensor stores less information in the blacks than the whites). What you SHOULD do for correct exposure and maximum post edit capability is to ETTR (expose to the right). This is to say you should expose so that you are just under the clipped highlights limit, and then in post processing you can easily reduce the whites whilst having maximum information in the blacks.

14. Pcworld1976

Posts: 117; Member since: Sep 18, 2018

for Victor the iPhone is always better in everything

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