Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS vs Galaxy Note 9: Blind Camera Comparison Results

Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS vs Galaxy Note 9: Blind Camera Comparison Results
You have been hearing a lot about the best camera phones of the year, and when it comes to the very finest, three names pop up: the Google Pixel 3 series, the new iPhone XS and XR family, and the Samsung Galaxy series, best represented by the latest Note 9.

But which one of these takes the best photos?

We were as curious as everyone to find out and that's why we went out and shot a bunch of pictures with these phones.

But rather than tell you which phone shot which photo, we just presented all of these photos in a blind comparison. Now, it's time to unveil the results and see who did best.

Daylight Shot #1

Which photo do you prefer?

A - Note 9
B - iPhone XS
C - Pixel 3

Daylight Shot #2: By the sea

Which photo do you prefer?

D - Pixel 3
E - iPhone XS
F - Note 9

Daylight shot #3: Through the woods

Which photo do you prefer?

G - iPhone XS
H - Pixel 3
I - Note 9

Daylight shot #4: A walk in the park

Which photo do you prefer?

J - Note 9
K - iPhone XS
L - Pixel 3

Portrait Mode Tested

Which photo do you prefer?

J1 - iPhone XS
K1 - Note 9
L1 - Pixel 3

Night Shot #1: The Happy Bar

Which photo do you prefer?

M - Pixel 3
N - Note 9
O - iPhone XS

Night Shot #2: The University

Which photo do you prefer?

P - iPhone XS
Q - Note 9
R - Pixel 3

Portrait Mode at Night

Which photo do you prefer?

S - Note 9
T - Pixel 3
U - iPhone XS

Day Selfie

Which photo do you prefer?

V - iPhone XS
W - Pixel 3
X - Note 9

Night Selfie

Which photo do you prefer?

Y - Note 9
Z - iPhone XS
Z1 - Pixel 3

Final words

So that wraps up our blind comparison.

The iPhone won two rounds, the Note - also two, while the Pixel grabbed wins in a whopping six rounds.

Interestingly, the Pixel did not do as good as the iPhone or the Note during daytime, as those two phones split the wins for daylight shots, but it dominated when it came to low-light photography, and also did a great job for selfies.

At the end of the day, the Pixel 3 walks out as the big winner of this blind camera comparison, while the iPhone and the Note split the second place.

Were you surprised by these results? And did you end up voting for your personal favorite?



1. bucknassty

Posts: 1400; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

I still think these test need a standard DSLR pic to compare.... a slight angle difference or a little more light into focus can change the final produced pic... but... you can only do so much with such a small lens... size matters at some point

9. p51d007

Posts: 705; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Yep, it's all about LIGHT gathering, not software "tricks" to enhance the photo. The larger EACH pixel is, not how many pixels, is the key. A GOOD 8MP sensor is capable of producing an A3 size print, but who prints these days?

11. bucknassty

Posts: 1400; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

Depends on your industry... for me in construction, projects are large and when they need a wide angle or a shot from far away, we do not rely on cell phones to capture the photo...

14. Papa_Ji

Posts: 912; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

Yes, we need a DSLR pic as reference.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5-bo8a4zU0&sns=sms And Mate 20 Pro is the best smartphone (from all aspects) money can buy. US GOVERNMENT IS AFRAID OF HUAWEI INNOVATION.

27. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 974; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Chinese innovation lol ok

2. maherk

Posts: 7065; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I was forced to sell my Mate 20 Pro due to LG panel's gluegate and also the fact that BOE panels are just awful. So I went with the Note 9, and I'm so disappointed with the camera's inconsistency. You can snap two pictures in the same second, and you will get two different results. Some of the pictures I'm getting aren't acceptable for a 2016 flagship, let alone a $1000 2018 one, I don't get it how my brother's Note 8 can produce better indoor pictures than my Note 9. Either fix it Samsung, or make it easier for us to flash the gcam.

6. cgraham8

Posts: 19; Member since: Oct 03, 2013

Try turning off Scene Optimizer in the camera settings. I noticed this as well.

7. maherk

Posts: 7065; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Did that, also played with the HDR settings, with zero difference. Downloaded gcam, better pictures, but crashes and lags a lot.

21. yalokiy

Posts: 1124; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Try another gcam version, there are many. I found one that doesn't crash and gets the job done.

3. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Expected nothing less, the pixel, is always the all around best shooter each year. I would have loved to see and underdog like the OP6T in this test going yup against these heavy weights, even if it was just for perspective,

18. srgonu

Posts: 569; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

I have note 8 and tried OP6T for few weeks. I gave up on that because of camera. I do take lot of my kids photos and OP is very bad at capturing motion pictures. Also, most of the pictures taken in daylight look washed out compared to Note 8. Its a great phone with bad camera.

19. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Yet I have the phone and the camera is great, idk what you're talking about man, jk jk I know what you're talking about, the issue was software and not hardware related, the camera was greatly improved on the latest OS version, I've seen owners saying it's now better than the Note 9! colors are a software thing so that can always be fixed, I know it doesn't usually happen but OnePlus has done a great job at improving their camera software this year.

23. eldyagustius

Posts: 182; Member since: Oct 30, 2013

This is what OnePlus had been doing for these several years. If you used OnePlus since 3T, 5T, and 6, you will found it to be not as good as other flagships. In earlier software release during their launching, the camera is better. I don't know why the camera is getting worse after few updates. I don't see any good things pointed out from reviewers about OnePlus camera. Those portrait shots coming from my OnePlus 6 feels cheap, not better than $300 Xiaomi phones. The edge is too soft. Look at those oil painting effect when shooting at low light. Really dumb.

4. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2284; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Looking at the Pixel photos all of them come out way over saturated as the algorithms that they are using try to add more punch to their default photos. In these cases they look very inaccurate. They almost need to be color corrected. Whereas the iPhone pics come out the way in which the colors present themselves within the photos. The good news in all this...all this can be corrected with its camera software filters. Overall, i believe the XS Camera to be the strongest overall. For low light the Pixel wins on a few shots. Every photo of the Note 9 is over exposed.

5. pokharkarsaga

Posts: 561; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

Yes ! Pixel freakin XL won.

8. apple-rulz

Posts: 2198; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Damn, the Pixel kicked Samsung and Apples ass!

10. ALMBO6

Posts: 197; Member since: May 28, 2018

Didn't except less from the Pixel 3, overall best camera as always, too bad the rest of the phone isn't as good as its camera.

12. smoked_2na unregistered

I have only had my Pixel 3 XL for two (2) weeks but still prefer the photos taken with the Nexus 6P. Maybe once I understand better how to use the Pixel that statement will change.

13. umaru-chan

Posts: 377; Member since: Apr 27, 2017

Pixel rules in camera world.

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 31765; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Google ain't kidding with their cameras. No argument from me on these results.

16. dnomadic

Posts: 449; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

I think People preferences differ from mine greatly... I like the pixel in most photos (including daytime photos)... That being said I still like my iPhone XS, ESPECIALLY for video from the main lens.

17. chris2k5

Posts: 291; Member since: Nov 17, 2012

Pixel came in last place in mostly every daylight photo. You know the time of day where most pics are taken...

20. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Meanwhile on MKBHD's blind test.. Pixel 3 defeated by P20 pro on 1st round. iPhone XS defeated by Blackberry on 1st round. Note 9 defeated by Pocophone on 2nd round. You should test Hydrogen One vs Mate 20 Pro vs Pocophone F1 :v

22. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Pixel/Google just proved it dosen't take more then one great camera. Apple and Samsung need to take notes.

24. bucky

Posts: 3797; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Samsung need to work on their colors/post processing and Apple REALLY needs to work on their low light- in my opinion of course. You are definitely right.

25. Taphius

Posts: 109; Member since: Aug 20, 2018

Yeah iPhones really need a low light mode, can't even see a image on the screen in some settings where my other phones (even 6t) are taking shots of it.

26. JCFan1979

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 18, 2018

If you look close at J1, K1, and L1 I'm sorry but many people obviously don't have the greatest eye. L1 for the Pixel has all kinds of distortion around the branches and looks awful. The Note 9 did the best job keeping the branches on the left in focus compared to the other 2 which did an awful job messing them up.

28. propov

Posts: 7; Member since: Dec 06, 2018

During the day even 100 euro phone can make good photos. But real camera test is in low light.

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