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

Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs iPhone XS Max vs Galaxy Note 9: NIGHT Camera Comparison!
These days, you need more than just a regular camera comparison to tell how good a smartphone camera really is: what you really want to see is how good the phone cameras perform at night.

That's why we have wasted no time and shot a bunch of photos with three of the best night camera phones out there: the Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs the Apple iPhone XS Max vs the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

Which one has the best camera for low-light, night photos?


You have a triple camera system on the Mate 20 Pro, with a 40MP f/1.8 main camera, a secondary 20MP f/2.2 ultra-wide, 16mm lens and a third, 8MP f/2.4 telephoto lens with OIS, while on the iPhone and Galaxy you have dual camera systems in a 12MP+12MP regular + telephoto configuration. At night, you want to be using the main cameras to have the best performance, and that's what we did. Take a look at the photos right below.

1. Monument Station


Even at night, London doesn't sleep and there were a bunch of people all around us as we framed this shot. Notice that there is a lot of lens flare on some of the pictures, we tried to avoid as much as we could, but it wasn't entirely possible. The Mate here shines with a brilliant photo that captures both the dark sky and the detail in the buildings, but the other two perform fairly well too.


2. The Tube


You see these 'Underground' signs all around London as the 'Tube' is the best mode of transportation in the bustling city. Notice the difference in color and dynamic range in these photographs.


3. The Shard at Night


The Shard is one of our favorite locations in London, rising tall above other buildings, you can see look at your from the little alley ways and this is one such scenery.


4. Tower Bridge at Dusk


The picturesque Tower Bridge becomes even more beautiful when the lights are on at night and we tried to capture this in this photograph.


5. City of London Architecture


Another dark scene and another challenging situation for the small sensor of a phone's camera. See which one did best below.


6. Coat of Arms


This colorful coat of arms was something that caught our attention as we wanted to see which camera does better in capturing the color and the detail here.


7. The Statue with the Dolphin


Finally, this playful statue looked so different when photographed on the phones' screens, so we included it as well.


Final Words


The Mate 20 Pro carries over the strong night performance from the P20 Pro and builds up on its foundation. You still see the familiar notification that asks you to hold the phone a bit longer at night so that it sharpens the photos, while all other phones capture a photo immediately. But those few seconds are worth it as you get a lot of light in otherwise extremely dark scenes.

The iPhone XS Max and Galaxy Note 9 are certainly not behind and sometimes do a better job, but it still seems like more often than not, it is the Huawei Mate 20 Pro that captures the most detailed and most impressive image at night.

What do you think? Which is your favorite camera of these three?

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29 Comments

1. alanrock

Posts: 195; Member since: Oct 04, 2018

night photo are Mate 20 pro territory.

2. PHYCLOPSH

Posts: 631; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

Wow, that Mate 20 is really something... I'd be curious to see how it compares to a more average level performer - say the LG V40 or something like that. I highly doubt many phones could come anywhere close to that level of night photo excellence without a manual mode shot.

17. worldpeace

Posts: 3049; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Yeah, it's dynamic range is great even in low light. Next test they should do Mate 20 Pro vs Pixel 3 XL (and vs ZX3 and V40 maybe? No one interested in these 2 phones, but they're new and we need to test them as well.)

18. Alin03

Posts: 35; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

I am personally interested in these phones.

3. apple-rulz

Posts: 1793; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Ouch! The Mate 20 Pro azz r@pes both the Note 9 and iPhone Max in low light shots. Since I own both phones it appears the Mate 20 also had its way with me :( These Chinese phone makers are definitely in it to win it.

25. PHYCLOPSH

Posts: 631; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

Ah come on now buddy, don't act like you haven't been having your way with yourself long before that Mate 20 came along. You know those Apples aren't really supposed to go in your azz... ;)

29. GalaxyLeads_iCrapFollows

Posts: 184; Member since: Nov 29, 2017

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Note 9 kicks Apple and this chinese pos in the azz

4. Bobbii

Posts: 32; Member since: Jan 18, 2017

I have to say iPhone Xs improves a lot from iPhone X. But...

5. foldablephone

Posts: 52; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

Wow! Well done Huawei. They’ve clearly outdone Samsung and Apple. I just want to now see the comparison to the Pixel 3’s night time camera (Huawei’s AI vs Google’s). Also would like to see night video because video is an area where they have been behind in the past...

7. alanrock

Posts: 195; Member since: Oct 04, 2018

no OIS again on main cam i think...

6. darkkjedii

Posts: 30508; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The 20 Pro means business. Good looking, and packs the hardware and software to challenge the 2 best.

8. luis.aag90

Posts: 267; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

The Mate 20 Pro nailed it. I believe the best camera phone from this year will be either this or the Pixel 3.

9. cmdacos

Posts: 3659; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Killer camera. Looking forward to seeing against the current best shooter in the Pixel.

10. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1499; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

The new iPhone camera really disappoints. The HDR looks worse to me than before, its turning everything yellow, and is smoothing out a lot of detail. Reminds me of the S7. Mean while the Note 9 has better color and detail, but it has over exposed high lights. Huawei Mate is a clear winner in most of these images, at least to my eyes.

11. Joosty

Posts: 459; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

Oh God...Mate 20 P is my next device. The results are unreal..

13. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

A phone being good at a few things, isn't enough to make me switch. And it is especially true if it's things that dont matter to me. The cameras on the Nite 9 is more than enough for me and I dont have to have anything else. Good job on the cameras. You're still not a Nite and not could you ever be. But thanks for being a cheap contender to show the iPhone is seriously lacking fornitsnprice point.

15. Subie

Posts: 2231; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Did you type this comment on your "Nite 9"? ;)

14. umaru-chan

Posts: 314; Member since: Apr 27, 2017

If Huawei can put really big 1/1.7 inch sensor with really impressive f 1.8 apeture why can't Google put bigger sensor or lower apeture in their phone? Pixel 3 with their generic camera sensor able to produce very good result but surely they would have been able to produce much much better photo and video with bigger sensor and lower apeture. I expect Google to put that monstrous 1/2 inch 48 megapixel sony sensor for pixel 4 otherwise they wouldn't be able to retain their best camera phone reputation next year.

24. wabajak13

Posts: 52; Member since: Jan 02, 2018

The larger the sensor, the slower the read out (usually). Google relies on more than 10 frames per second to capture their HDR+ photos I believe. As you require more and more surface area of a sensor to be read at that speed, you run into problems. (Don't get me wrong, I would love to see what google could do)

16. dome888

Posts: 86; Member since: Oct 10, 2012

2019 low light king > mate 20 pro, selfie king > pixel 3 xl

19. Whitedot

Posts: 631; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Hi Vic, how many applea did you for dinner?

20. ALMBO6

Posts: 188; Member since: May 28, 2018

The Mate did very well.

21. J2017

Posts: 64; Member since: Oct 25, 2017

A whole paragraph of equivocating just to tacitly and almost begrudgingly admit the Huawei takes the best photos

22. franzfifty

Posts: 36; Member since: Feb 01, 2018

i think the iphone did very well here. the Note 9 as well. i'm simply not a fan of the paintings the Mate 20 (or the P20) does. Personal preference, but i'd pick the Note 9 or iphone here for the camera. PS: coming from a Pixel 2 XL.

27. J2017

Posts: 64; Member since: Oct 25, 2017

iPhone did horribly especially shot 5

23. Jrod99

Posts: 673; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

Coming on strong. Look out IPhone and especially other Android oems.

26. J2017

Posts: 64; Member since: Oct 25, 2017

Wow, the tribalism is strong with you. The iPhone and note are clearly inferior here.

28. Medevac1

Posts: 14; Member since: Sep 06, 2017

Other reviews I have seen come to a different conclusion, but when all is said and done there are other factors to consider when choosing a phone.

30. redmd

Posts: 1871; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I like it that the Note 9 and iPhone XS Max have keep up with Huawei's venerable Night Mode.

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