Google Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS vs Galaxy Note 9 vs LG V40: our first camera samples

Google Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS vs Galaxy Note 9 vs LG V40: our first camera samples
Google finally took the wraps off the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL yesterday. Granted, both phones had already leaked to absolute exhaustion, but it was a good feeling to finally see them for ourselves.

As was the case with the previous two generations of Pixel phones, Google took it upon themselves to make the camera one of the most important and advanced features of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. This was done not only through optics and improved hardware alone, but thanks to Google's AI-enabled software as well. With many different tricks, such as Top Shot, Super Res Zoom, and Night Sight, all of which enhance your photos through software alone, the third generation of Pixel phones has a strong camera game. But how good are the new Pixels when compared to the other top cameras out on the market? That's a question that we'll have to wait a bit longer to answer, but what we can do right now is show you some of our first camera samples with Google's newest Android flagships!

Disclaimer: The photos featured in this material were taken on a Google Pixel 3 XL unit following the official announcement. We were provided no information as to whether the software running on the unit was finalized. As such, the photos may not be completely representative of the image quality of the final product.

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40 Comments

1. japkoslav

Posts: 1516; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Does Pixel 3 records stereo? I don't really care for the rest of the article, we all know Pixel 3 is the best or one of the best when it comes to image quality.

10. peace247 unregistered

pixel 3 and note 9 are pretty close....iphone x is the worst for some reason... overblown highlights...ugly tint, too warm, looks washed out. lg is ok too.

25. Fred3

Posts: 557; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

Google stated it'll send release camera update after release that'll make a big difference

31. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

iPhone XS photos looks much better to me. They have true to life colors, better exposure and contrast. Pixel 3 pics are unexpectedly dark and lifeless.

32. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I agree there were a couple shots where I thought the Pixel outperformed the note, then one or two the other way around. I also agree that the iPhone camera was the least impressive though.

38. Awalker

Posts: 1981; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

The iPhone seems to be brightening the scene and blowing things out.

2. Foxgabanna

Posts: 607; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

iPhone looks he best. The note 9 looks the worst for some reason but i feel like moving people are a bad subject to judge camera performance.

5. wabajak13

Posts: 55; Member since: Jan 02, 2018

Its good we all have different eyes because I saw very differently. Including the V40 must have been a joke, it doesnt even come close to the other cameras. And the XS blew out the highlights and looks artifically warm in most of the pictures. But what does it matter they're all way too expensive.

13. rsiders

Posts: 1970; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

The V40 doesn't come close to the others?? Please get a grip with reality. The sheer difference between the worst and best out of all these excellent smartphone cameras is small differences in processing. Statements like the one you made are the real joke.

7. jjface

Posts: 247; Member since: Jun 07, 2017

Seriously? The pixel blows them away. The iphone looks like it has a green/yellow hue over everything. eg Scene 1 - look at what it did to everything in the window. And then does some weird color boosting eg Scene 4 it draws out the pink too much it even made the basketball board pink.

8. maherk

Posts: 6922; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Go get your eyes checked. The Pixel was definitely the best followed by the Note 9. The Xs for some reason is blowing out the highlights while giving a warmer tone to the pictures to compensate for the washed out colors.

11. peace247 unregistered

i guess, u have mixed the names...

19. cmdacos

Posts: 4248; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

I guess if you like overexposed images, the iPhone does great here...

3. andrewc31394

Posts: 297; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

Pixel 3 wins but not by much

35. ProblemSolver15

Posts: 372; Member since: Jun 14, 2010

Missed opportunity to say, "Pixel 3 wins by a notch." FIFY

4. Whitedot

Posts: 823; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Time and again Pixel phone rules. Though others are close.

6. hazard1

Posts: 236; Member since: Feb 11, 2017

Has the V40 software been updated? To be fair LG just updated the camera software. It's not fair to compare it to the others without updating the phone to the latest build.

15. rsiders

Posts: 1970; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Of course it probably hasn't and they made a disclaimer for the Pixel 3 while not acknowledging the same for the V40 because they don't really care about fairness when it comes to LG. Typical.

9. Lanx1998

Posts: 59; Member since: Mar 06, 2017

For me Pixel 3 = Note 9 > XS > V40 Although in some scene I found myself more inclined towards Note 9 but Pixel is still the king of dynamic range in daylight, just look in scene 1 towards windows.

12. UnbreakableAli

Posts: 8; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Damn iPhone Xs put competitors to shame in scene 2, rest of scenes pixel and note 9 were more balanced

14. maherk

Posts: 6922; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

How? The picture lacks dynamic range and it looks green when compared to the rest.

34. errnope

Posts: 43; Member since: May 23, 2018

Look at the mic. Pixel 3 is almost a solid black blob! iPhone picks it up best. But I feel Note 9 wins that photo overall.

37. phonedroid

Posts: 26; Member since: Dec 15, 2017

Iphone makes blacks look grey to me.

17. dnomadic

Posts: 423; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Kind of agree on photo 2, the exposure (artificially brightening the scenes) causes the iPhone to really standout. Otherwise I like the overall Exposure handling by the Pixel 3. I tested the the note 9 and iphon side by side (I'm a phone ho) and on a lot of the pictures the iPhone seems to artificiallybrighten photos, but also has the dynamic range to handle highlights in a pleasing manner (most times). Note 9 (not so much). In handling the Pixel 3 at Best Buy yesterday, it definitely has the best Smartphone Camera (future test will bear witness to this fact)

21. cmdacos

Posts: 4248; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Curious on why you think this seeing as the color tones are off and oversaturated. All subjective of course but this didn't seem like a good shot.

36. phonedroid

Posts: 26; Member since: Dec 15, 2017

Looks to me like iphone xs does not do black very well. Makes blacks look more grey.

16. Cat97

Posts: 1920; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

It is clear to me that the iPhone XS has the best white balance from all, accurately presenting reality as far as colors go.

20. dnomadic

Posts: 423; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Not true. Do your own side by side with the Note 9 and you will see that that statement is false. The Iphone does provide a more pleasing photo, but I have found the colors on my Note 9 are more accurate. I will say that in well lit scenes or scenes with light variations, the Iphone produces the most shareable and pleasing photo (to me that is without question).

22. cmdacos

Posts: 4248; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Lol I saw very different. Excess over exposed shots and colors were way off on most. Unless the not pink phone is actually pink lmao.

18. hmd74

Posts: 540; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

So disappointed The XS was better! Now I can't find any reason to buy the Pixel 3 instead of Note 9. (Updates and stock Android are not a deal breaker for me)

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