Google Pixel 2 XL crushes Galaxy Note 9 in night-time blind camera test

Google Pixel 2 XL crushes Galaxy Note 9 in night-time blind camera test
The new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has one of the best cameras ever put on a smartphone, but how does it fare against arguably the best phone for night-time photos, the Google Pixel 2 XL?

Well, we decided to leave the decision of which phone takes the better night pictures to you, our readers, and that's why last week, we gave you the photos from both phones, but stripped from all information about which phone took which photo.

The results are now in and it's time to take the blindfold off.

And this time, the results are quite convincing: the Google Pixel 2 XL crushes the Galaxy Note 9 when it comes to night photos.

Out of the seven different scenes that we tested, the Pixel 2 XL won 6 with an overwhelming margin and lost only one to the Note 9 (and then, they were nearly tied). Take a look at the pictures below.

Scene 1: Night Lights

The neon lights are a perfect test for the dynamic range of these two cameras and it's something that we commonly see and want to photograph at night.

Which photo do you prefer?

A - Pixel 2 XL
B - Note 9

Scene 2: The Alley

Darker alleys and different light, but still a night-time scene.

Which photo do you prefer?

C - Pixel 2 XL
D - Note 9

Scene 3: Main Street

Here, we have a busy restaurant on the main street and it's again lit in its own interesting way with a few neon signs as well.

Which photo do you prefer?

E - Note 9
F - Pixel 2 XL

Scene 4: Dark Road

The dark trees on one side on the road and the few buildings on the other contrast, but which picture is better?

Which photo do you prefer?

G - Note 9
H - Pixel 2 XL

Scene 5: Portrait

We love taking portrait pictures at night, but there are some big differences in the actual quality.

Which photo do you prefer?

I - Pixel 2 XL
J - Note 9

Scene 6: Selfie

And of course, we need to have a selfie to compare!

Which photo do you prefer?

K - Note 9
L - Pixel 2 XL

Scene 7: Group Selfie

This one is a group shot with the front camera.

Which photo do you prefer?

M - Note 9
N - Pixel 2 XL

Final Words

So... are you surprised with these results?

And how much do you rely on your phone for your photos, especially at night?

Related phones

Pixel 2 XL
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2880 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3520 mAh
Galaxy Note 9
  • Display 6.4" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2800 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh(29h 3G talk time)



1. Boast_Rider

Posts: 536; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

Superior sensor, superior lens, on sensor DRAM, better SoC for better ISP and yet the Note 9 loses due to s**tty software. It can't get more embarrassing than this. Not to mention that even the 2 year old OG pixel already has android Pie and the note doesn't, and won't get till maybe March. The Note is the pinnacle of hardware evolution, and the example of how bad the software(and lack of updates) can ruin a phone.

7. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

The biggest disgrace in the history of smartphone comparison. Lmao. The pixel, WTF?????? How I wish they had a surprise for us in the design department. This would have been IT.

22. rubyonrails3

Posts: 375; Member since: Oct 01, 2014

Note 9 is close to perfect phone, its just the camera which is lacking. I had all samsung flagships from Note 4, every time I buy Samsung phone hoping camera would be better but there processing is same. Now I carry 2 phones one Pixel 2 XL for pictures and for rest Note 9 as it have one of the best multimedia experience. though It seems Samsung need to get rid of those navigation buttons they feels slow now and old

65. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Not surprised at all by these results. I saw this coming 100 Kms away.....lolzzzzzzzzz. Note 9 is rather NO 9.

88. GalaxyLeads_iCrapFollows

Posts: 216; Member since: Nov 29, 2017

Note 9 camera is not lacking. The Pixel 2 might just be slightly better in the rear camera. Everything else, the Note 9 blows the Pixel 2 and the upcoming Pixel 3 out of the water. I see absolutely no sense of buying a Pixel phone over a Galaxy phone.

110. MobileNico

Posts: 95; Member since: Aug 26, 2012

Faster updates and better software. Not to mention the front AND rear cameras excel far beyond what Samsung has put out. But hey, Samsung makes great devices as well. I'm all for competition in the market, but there's no compelling reason to purchase a Galaxy over a Pixel phone IMO.

124. tntwit

Posts: 82; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

S Pen. A big, compelling reason in my book.

23. vincelongman

Posts: 5728; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Can't wait to see the Pixel 3's camera Hopefully they are using PVC 2 more

2. Lukino

Posts: 31; Member since: May 04, 2018

I can't believe. Omg. O.o

37. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Omg, I just realized that this was the pixel 2 XL and not the pixel 3 XL, looooooooooooooooooooooooool.

3. mootu

Posts: 1530; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

Oh dear!, this one wasn't even close.

8. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016


4. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

I dont care who wins. PA could give option to download full samples. GSMArena does, than you see how awful pixel and iphone are in these situations.

5. maherk

Posts: 6966; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I know I'm going to get criticized for what I'm going to say, but how come that only in PA's tests the Note 9 is a terrible low light shooter? I would get it if somehow you managed to take good shots on both phones with the Pixel taking the upper hand, but the pictures we see here that are taken by the Note 9 are trash, overexposed, flat, noisy, and blurry. I owned an S9 and I've seen tons of Note 9 reviews so far, and only you were able to come out with such an awful pictures.

9. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Or maybe the pixel made the note 9 look trash? Could be possible, don’t you think. Anyway, reserving judgement till I see another blind comparison with the huawei p20 pro.

10. maherk

Posts: 6966; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

No, they will look trash even when compared to a mid-ranger. You can search the web for Note 9/S9 low light tests, and I can assure you that you won't find another website where the Note 9 comes out as a terrible low light shooter. Just like their battery tests, something is not right.

21. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

You might have a point though. Let’s Keep our fingers crossed for comparisons on other sites.

30. Matix

Posts: 11; Member since: Aug 05, 2016

Also as you can clearly see situations in photos were always better for pixel which has propably better dynamic range, and there wasn't any photo in very dark conditions where note 9 comes on top clearly

29. apple-rulz

Posts: 2198; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

You are one of the usual idiots that every time a Samsung product loses, thinks that there is malfeasance on the part of phonearena. Why do you stay at a site you don't trust?

49. notmyresident

Posts: 12; Member since: Feb 12, 2017

Yeah, Samsung flagships always take potato quality pictures in PhoneArena's comparisons. Heck these shots look worse than my Note 4's. I was seriously suprised that the Note 9 beat the iPhone X in the last one, no Samsung phone has beaten an iPhone in a PA camera comparison. Look at any other review and you wont see rubbish pictures like these.

109. geegab

Posts: 7; Member since: Aug 22, 2018

absolutely agree. Something is not right. I too, own an S9+ and it never had those terrible quality photos in low light.

27. Victor.H

Posts: 1079; Member since: May 27, 2011

Here are the full resolution photo samples, just in case you want to see them (we don't upload them because they make the webpage too heavy): Of course, there will always be different tests, what we have tried to do here is do our best to show NIGHT performance on both phones and to ensure that we have good shots with a proper, clean lens and equal conditions on both phones.

39. umaru-chan

Posts: 371; Member since: Apr 27, 2017

Victor, I think its time you guys take harder stance on people who always whine and accuse of Phonearena of biased against Samsung whenever their favorite brand loses in any kind of competition or whenever you guys post any negative news related to Samsung. Limit their accounts for a few weeks or even better ban their accounts for ever. That will teach these pathetic people to accept different outcome. Yes, I understand the right to free speech but that doesn't mean you guys should let these pathetic annoying people say whatever they want and ruining the comment section every time you guys mention Note 7 in the articles or Note 9 not having that great of a battery life despite the huge battery or not mentioning displaymate's or dxomark's test result. I mean WTF, you guys made it clear that Phonearena don't publish these sites result for any phonemaker yet they can't help but whine in the comment section. So, Please take harder stance against these people who repeatedly do these same thing again and again.

48. maherk

Posts: 6966; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

While they're at it, they should also take a harder stance on stalkers. I mean why should they stop at people who are critical about them? Ban those who complain about some of your articles, and also ban those who complain about those who are complaining. Like seriously dude, you have nothing better to do in your life than cry and childishly attack me under each comment I post?

50. hboy857

Posts: 367; Member since: Jun 03, 2013

Maherk, You'll be first one to get banned from this site if Phonearena gets serious about taking harder stance on stalkers since you are infamous for stalking Samsung haters. I remember you stalking Kumar obsessively. You also stalked Flash or did you already forgot your stalking history? Your obsession with Samsung hater (especially Kumar) is/was unhealthy. It's kinda funny when the stalker talk about taking a stance against the stalker.

51. maherk

Posts: 6966; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I would LOVE it if you came back with links that shows I'm stalking someone for their opinion. Not just link or two, I want a proof that shows I'm a stalker. And ffs, make up your minds you trolls, last week I was a Huawei fanboy, now I'm a Samsung fanboy who stalks Samsung haters. And Kumar? Like seriously, are you joking or are you straight up crazy? There is a reason why Kumar was banned and I am still here. He stalked everyone on this site, throwing tantrums left and right, cursing anyone who disagrees with him. Or maybe the fact that he was desperate to know who DJ really is, begging for his YT channel, then going after him and his wife after failing to get a clue about his personal life. But oh well, maybe this is his alternative account and that's the only way he can defend himself.

54. hboy857

Posts: 367; Member since: Jun 03, 2013

I here long enough (Since 2013) to know that you are a pathetic Samsung boy who stalks anyone who dared to say anything against Samsung be it a commentators or the writers in this site. Your new acting works well on some people but not for everyone. Please, don't show me your phones that are not made by samsung to prove that you are not a samsung fanboy anymore. Kumar was a toxic guy no one here is going to disagree with that but it is also a fact that you stalked him and flash obsessively and reminding you of your stalking of other people doesn't make a person other people's alt account, it's a reminder of your past behaviors.

57. maherk

Posts: 6966; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

What's ironic is that you're calling me a stalker, while admitting that you used to stalk me and even have specific memories that happened few years ago lol Flash news budd, I never ever denied the fact that I was a Samsung fanboy, a blind one tbh. Matter of fact, it was only few weeks ago that I left a comment talking about that, and how dumb I used to sound. Feel free to search for it. But guess what, people grow up, they change, they realize that blindly following huge corporations is bizarre and stupid. Bottom of the line, don't call someone a stalker while admitting you used to stalk them.

60. hboy857

Posts: 367; Member since: Jun 03, 2013

Wow, the hypocrisy of a pathetic samsung fanboy never failed to impress me. Reminding him of his past behavior (stalking) now turning me into his personal stalker. LMAO. It couldn't be that one has good memory and remember the stalker who used to stalk everyone here who said negative things to Samsung and thus draw attention to other people and as a result people remember that person. NO, no, no, the only possible reality is that the person had to be maherk's stalker to remember his past action. :) First implying I'm Kumar's alt account and now I've gained a new title - maherk's personal stalker. LMAO. I guess Everyone here automatically turn into maherk's personal stalker whenever they pointed out maherk's hypocrisy and lies.

68. umaru-chan

Posts: 371; Member since: Apr 27, 2017

Dude, you rock. You should comment more often here. With each of your comment here you humiliate and expose the hypocrisies, lies and fakeness the Original stalker here on PA. "Everyone here automatically turn into maherk's personal stalker whenever they pointed out maherk's hypocrisy and lies" - Yup, you pretty much sum up everything about the Original stalker. I hope the creepy Original stalker and his american lackey don't reply to my post.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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