Camera Test: Galaxy Note9 vs iPhone X vs Pixel 2 XL vs OnePlus 6

Samsung recently released the new Galaxy Note9 and, as is the usual here on the channel, I figured I’d do one of my camera comparisons with it. In this video, we’ll compare the Galaxy Note9 against the iPhone X, the Pixel 2 XL, and the OnePlus 6 to see which has the best camera.

For this test, I tried to take the same photo on each device in various situations to then we throw them up on the screen, zoom in, and see how each did.

So let’s go for a night out with some friends and take some photos to mimic a real-world scenario.

Photos

So for our first photo, how about our standard “hey, we’re all having dinner photo”. And quickly we can see some common things we usually see in these comparisons. Namely, the iPhone X went cooler in its choice of color (aka bluer) and the Pixel 2 XL, thanks to its crazy software sharpened the hell out of the photo as well as accommodated with its HDR for the difference in the highlights and shadows (see the paper sign in the background for the biggest example of this.

And even though my friend Melissa is going to hate this, let’s zoom in. Her fault for being the middle of the frame. And doing that we can clearly see the OnePlus 6 failing here to keep things in focus. The iPhone X even has a ton of noise in the photo for some reason when this zoomed in. The Note9 though I’d say even though everyone is getting soft at this point, it did a pretty good job. The Pixel though, as usual thanks to that software I mentioned did a good job of post-processing and making everything sharp. I’d almost say though that in this image at least, you can see a decent amount of oversharpening. So between the Pixel and the Note9 depending on how much you like or dislike that processed look.

So in this, we have a tie among my friends, with 3 choosing the OnePlus photo actually and 3 choosing the Note9. I have to say that I think the Pixel 2 XL is the sharpest and I’d probably have chosen that and the Note9 instead of the OnePlus 6, I do really like the brightness the Note9 brought. Most likely this has to do with the faster f1.5 aperture of the dual aperture camera being able to let in more light so we see less shadows versus the Pixel using its HDR magic to just enhance what it was seeing at different exposure levels (making for very nice shadows and highlights but not being able to actually add light into the shadows like the Note9 did. And the iPhone X went cooler as usual resulting in a more neutral looking food photo.

Also, for all of these photos I left the Note9’s new Scene Optmizer feature that recognizes objects and adjusts the color settings off. So what you see here is just the normal auto mode.

Zooming in just confirms everything we could see from the full image, I think.

In this one, we can really see the faster aperture on the Note9 pretty apparently with just how much brighter the entire image is. Whereas, surprisingly actually, the iPhone X went a lot darker.

Zooming in to my poor friends Dara and Jaime who happen to be in the center of the frame this time and we can see an issue I’ve had with the S9 Plus camera and considering┬áthat this is the same camera on the Note9, I’m not surprised its present here. Now, in low light with moving subjects, you expect a bit of motion blur, but I’ve found that the S9 Plus and now Note9 tend to do it a bit more often as we can see from the fact that everyone was moving during all of these shots and yet the Note9 had a harder time keeping Jaime in focus. I believe this has something to do with the fast aperture taking priority so it lowers the shutter speed to accommodate for that and in doing so makes moving subjects harder to get in focus.

Now, when an object isn’t moving however and the light is really low, the Note9 kills it. Clearly by the unanimous vote of all six of my friends choosing it as the winner based on this photo. And I totally agree, It seems the most real life coloring (which was really difficult thanks to colored lights being in the bar), it’s brighter and there’s even a really nice natural bokeh in the background thanks again to that aperture. We also can clearly see the iPhone X going cool as usual.

Zooming in, we can even see that the Note9 is the sharpest here, too.

Lastly, we have this art piece by @gumshoeart on the side of the bar. And just at first glance, we can tell, again the Note9 probably did the best in terms of brightening as much of the image as possible thanks to the aperture, the Pixel 2 XL has the sharpest, with the OnePlus 6 not too far behind and the iPhone X going cooler and with more noise overall.

Zooming in to the gum, this is just further confirmed. I’d even say the OnePlus 6 and Note9 show more detail in the bottom of the shoe while the Pixel 2 XL has more dynamic range again thanks to its software magic and the iPhone X is undeniably falling behind at this point.

There you go guys. Let me know which you liked best in the comments below and why. Thanks for watching!

Join 90k others & subscribe to my weekly, not annoying newsletter for more tech!

* indicates required
  • Justin Martin

    My take it the Pixel 2XL is still the best camera. The OnePlus 6 is a real close second. The iPhone X is the worst.