Camera comparison: Galaxy Note 9 vs iPhone X, LG G7, OnePlus 6

Camera comparison: Galaxy Note 9 vs iPhone X, LG G7, OnePlus 6
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9: there are many great reasons to pick one. The swift performance, the gorgeous screen, the large battery, and the helpful S Pen stylus are all there on the list and are sure to attract a lot of smartphone enthusiasts ready to part with a grand to own Samsung's greatest phone. But the key feature we'll focus on in this article is the Galaxy Note 9 camera, and more specifically, we'll see how it performs against several of its competitors – the iPhone X, the LG G7, and the OnePlus 6.

This is the kind of comparison where we examine the ability of a phone to take every-day still photos. We won't go into video or Portrait Mode territory, and we won't be involving selfies or the phones' secondary cameras (although we might in a future article *hint hint*). The thing is that although modern smartphone cameras come with all sorts of bells and whistles, taking regular old-fashioned pics is still their most frequent use. Now we want to see which of these four phones is best at it.

Scene 1



This is how our walk around town began: with a visit to the park's pond – a spot where children and grown-ups gather to test their paddle boat maneuvering skills. But we resisted the urge to join the action. 

Anyway, the four photos that we took turned out quite alright. Spotting any substantial differences in quality is tricky without zooming in for a closer inspection. We can point out a few, though: the OnePlus 6 handled the dynamics of the scene better than the rest, evident in the presence of more detail in the highlights and by the fact that the sky in its photo is actually blue, not white. 

Now let's look at those details. Here are crops from all four images at 100% zoom:


As we've said many times before, having lots of megapixels doesn't always translate to more detailed photos. In our case, the 12MP iPhone X camera has captured a clearer, more detailed photo than the 16MP one on the LG G7.

Scene 2



We often include a set of shots like these because smartphone cameras tend to have a hard time capturing bright, saturated colors faithfully. True, all of the images we're comparing here look pretty, but only one of them represents the color of the rose realistically. That's the camera of the iPhone X. Again, we're not saying that the other three images are unusable or something, but they've skewed the hue of the rose in a way that makes it appear pinkish, not red.

Scene 3



It didn't take us long to pick a favorite in this particular scene. That would be the OnePlus 6, which is the only phone who captured my face in a way that I can see it. We're not sure if there's some HDR action going on or a face detection algorithm taking charge of the exposure control, but the OnePlus 6's image is easily the most likeable.

Scene 4



This quartet of daytime shots once again puts us in a situation where we can't pick a winner right away. All four images look pretty good, with only minor differences setting them apart – the slightly narrower field of view of the LG G7, for example. 

But zooming in for a closer inspection shows that the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 could have toned down the highlights a bit to better capture the color of the awning.

Details are plentiful in all four images, although the LG G7 is slightly behind its rivals when it comes to detail capturing, while in this case, the OnePlus 6 appears to be ahead of the pack. 

Here are some crops at 100% zoom:

Scene 5



We're now stepping into low-light territory, and the Galaxy Note 9 is making a strong entry. Its photo instantly grabs the attention with its warm and vivid look. It is also worth noticing how well detail is preserved in the highlights, while the presence of the trees in the shadows can be clearly seen. 

Scene 6



Capturing this scene properly is more difficult than it seems. The restaurant in the background is dimly lit, but the sign in front is brightly illuminated, so setting the optimum exposure values would be rather tricky for any camera. This time around, it is the OnePlus 6 that did the best job, presumably with some clever software algorithm helping out by toning down the highlights. The Galaxy Note 9 and iPhone X deliver usable images as well, sacrificing some of that detail in the highlights in order to capture the shadows more clearly. The LG G7, however, wouldn't impress anyone with the dark image it delivered. 

Scene 7



As good as all these four cameras may be, this situation right here proved quite the challenge. The shot out of the OnePlus 6 looks a bit colder, the one from the iPhone X is a bit too warm, and the LG G7... well, that greenish blue sky we have in its photo isn't exactly natural-looking. As for the Galaxy Note 9, its image may not be flawless either, but it appears to be the best of the bunch. And if you take a closer look at the greenery in the foreground or the windows of the restaurants, you'll see that there's quite a lot of detail captured there. 

Scene 8



This was an easy win for the Galaxy Note 9 in this round of our comparison. The photo it produced easily pops out with its vivid colors – and do note how the neon sign on the left has retained its real color instead of ending up overblown as it did in the rest of the shots. The lanterns on the right are captured more clearly as well. Although it feels like the Note 9's software is somehow prettifying the scene, while phones like the iPhone X and the OnePlus 6 – which took nice photos too, by the way – have gone for a tamer, less flashy look. 

Conclusion


Okay, so what are the conclusions we can walk away with? One is that the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 can take great photos, especially in situations where light is scarce, putting that larger sensor and wider aperture to good use. Its competitors, however, are not lagging behind. In fact, the OnePlus 6 seems to be well capable of matching – and at times exceeding – the Note 9's camera performance. And that's remarkable for a phone costing half as much.

Looking at the images above, we'd say that the Note 9 and the OnePlus 6 are tied for the first place in this comparison. Indeed, the Note 9 had the lead in the later rounds with its solid low-light performance, but the OnePlus 6 was also a great performer overall, including in daytime shots. The iPhone X is right up there with the top cameras as well, also delivering commendable results. And looking at how well a 1-year-old iPhone performs, we can't wait to compare Apple's upcoming generation of iPhones against the latest flagships from the Android camp. 

As for the LG G7, LG's flagship phone does not disappoint with its camera performance, but its camera can definitely use some improvements if it is to go head-to-head with other top high-ends – improvements both in the hardware and software department. LG's use of a smaller-than-average image sensor is likely what's causing the G7's photos to be less detailed, and the tendency for darker-looking low-light shots could be attributed to a less-than-ideal software configuration.

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36 Comments

1. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

I still wonder why PA always brings LG. Even Mi8 does better. Not surprised to see Androidhealines and GSMArena say that V30 does better than G7.

9. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

They try to always have Samsung and Apple as the main cameras in their comparisons. They avoid cameras that would embarrass those two such as the Pixel 2 camera. They also have LG because they want a whipping boy in the mix to make it seem like the others are so much better.

23. Jango

Posts: 376; Member since: Oct 24, 2014

The P20 Pro would've been a good contender, along with Sony's dual cam latest flagship. Missed opportunity. Other than the flower and the portrait of the author, the iPhone did visibly worse...alongside the LG.

32. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Mi8 is much better, it even beat iPhone X, OP6, and Pixel 2 on DxOrank.

35. wesley.

Posts: 217; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

FYI dxomark is a load of BS.

2. DefinitiveKid

Posts: 264; Member since: May 15, 2013

Wow, great job Oneplus! I'm especially impressed with scene 6, how everything is properly exposed, most notably the signboard.

3. cmdacos

Posts: 4275; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

"THE GALAXY NOTE 9 FOUND ITS MATCH IN THE ONEPLUS 9" The future is here folks. At least for one plus...

4. darkkjedii

Posts: 31347; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I think the Note 9 barely won, followed by the OnePlus, LG, and the X.

7. darkkjedii

Posts: 31347; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Took another look, and my rankings stayed the same.

5. maherk

Posts: 6967; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I'm sorry, but why the hate towards Sony? We all know the G7 is mediocre when compared to the rest of the flagships released this year, so why not replace it with the fantastic XZP2? It will definitely go toe to toe with the other 3 phones in daylight situations, and absolutely take over in low light conditions.

8. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

Check the G7 cam review of Android Headlines. They compare G7 against XZ2 and P20 Pro. XZ2 humiliates G7. U12+ does much better than note9 ( check note9 review, samples against u12 and p20 pro)

6. jinroh47

Posts: 13; Member since: Sep 26, 2014

where is pixel 2XL?

10. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

They never use the 2XL in comparisons. Everyone else raves it yet PA leaves it out which is why I feel any of their tests are bogus.

19. cocoy

Posts: 464; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

Because it will definitely win which they don't want to because Google will not pay them for its promotion. It will humiliate Note 9 and iPhone X in the test which isn't favorable for the site.

20. cocoy

Posts: 464; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

Because it will definitely win which they don't want to because Google will not pay them for its promotion. It will humiliate Note 9 and iPhone X in the test which isn't favorable for the site.

29. adecvat

Posts: 649; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

A week ago Pixel 2 crushed Note 9.

11. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Note 9, OP6, iPhone and then LG

12. mimicryXD

Posts: 175; Member since: Apr 03, 2015

why PA dont include the xz2p in this comparison??!! LOL! looks like someone got PAID! indie reviewers already made a comparison and Xz2p beat leading brands like s9+ and p20 pro.

15. I_have_boxes

Posts: 74; Member since: Jun 02, 2018

I just don't understand LG. All they would have to do is combine the 1/2.6" camera from the G5 with the software from the G7 and it would be excellent. I was very close to getting a V35, but then changed my mind when I realized I could get more detail with my G5. And no wonder, with their new phones using a 1/3.09" sensor.

37. emjoigently

Posts: 154; Member since: Aug 22, 2017

They seem to have decent processing chops, but damn LG, use a bigger sensor.

16. I_have_boxes

Posts: 74; Member since: Jun 02, 2018

Double post, sorry.

17. kevin007in

Posts: 327; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

g7 is overexposing almost every shot

18. perry1234

Posts: 650; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Horrified at LG’s showing. I think we all can agree that LG’s main cam is mid tier at best. Should include Pixel 3 ,Note 9, iPhone XS Plus or whatever is their best, XZ2 Premium, U12+, and OP6T in a future comparison.

22. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

I can't see details well enough but clarity wise I liked a lot of the one plus pics.

24. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Funny how every web site and YouTube channel can take mu h better, clearer, sharper photos vs this site. It's pretty obvious iOS they dont like Samsung. But purposely making sure they bust a Galaxy at every turn is really getting stale. The Galaxy takes far better pictures than this. You all really news ro learn how to take pictures.

26. Aruminiumaian

Posts: 209; Member since: Jul 22, 2017

Apple has improved iPhone X's camera with recent software updates (better portrait mode and HDR) and in daylight it's on par or even better than Note 9 in some cases. At night Note 9 really excels though, in this area only P20 Pro and Pixel 2 XL can compete with the Note.

25. R-vjn

Posts: 301; Member since: Jan 07, 2013

I have no idea why LG would still use those tiny 1/3.1" sensors. The G4 & G5 were spectacular with the 1/2.6" units..

27. Aruminiumaian

Posts: 209; Member since: Jul 22, 2017

Where are XZ2 Premium, Pixel 2 XL and P20 Pro? Those phones deserve to be mentioned far more than iPhone X and G7 do.

30. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Yeah right lol.

38. emjoigently

Posts: 154; Member since: Aug 22, 2017

Well, it answered a question for me. I did want to know about the G7 camera. And now I know.

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