Camera Comparison: Google Pixel 3 XL vs Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs iPhone XS vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

We pit the four best smartphone cameras you can buy in 2018 against one another.

The Numbers

Before we get to the comparison proper, here's a quick run-down of the spec sheets for the Google Pixel 3 XL, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS and Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

Google Pixel 3 XL

Rear Camera

The Google Pixel 3 XL is equipped with a 12.2-megapixel (f/1.8) single-lens rear camera.

Front-Facing Camera

The Google Pixel 3 XL is equipped with a dual lens front-facing camera that combines an 8-megapixel (f/1.7) lens with an 8-megapixel (f/2.2) wide angle lens.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Rear Camera

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 features a dual-lens rear camera that combines a 12 MP (f/1.5-2.4) variable aperture lens (with dual pixel PDAF and OIS) with a 12-megapixel (f/2.4) telephoto lens (with AF, OIS and 2x optical zoom).

Front-Facing Camera

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 features a  8-megapixel (f/1.7) single lens camera with autofocus.

You can read our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 here.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Rear Camera

On the back, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro boasts a 40-megapixel wide angle (f/1.8) lens, 20-megapxiel ultra wide (f/2.2) lens plus the same 8-megapixel telephoto lens found in the standard Mate 20.

Front-Facing Camera

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro features a 24-megapixel front-facing camera.

iPhone XS

Rear Camera

The iPhone XS features a dual-lens rear camera with a 12-megapixel (f/1.8) wide angle lens with (OIS and PDAF) and 12-megapixel (f/2,4) telephoto lens (OIS and PDAF).

Front-Facing Camera

The iPhone XS features an 7-megapixel (f/2.2) front-facing camera.

You can read our full review of the iPhone XS here.

The Pictures

Round One - Daylight Snaps

iPhone XS SampleCredit: Fergus Halliday | IDG
iPhone XS Sample
Mate 20 SampleCredit: Fergus Halliday | IDG
Mate 20 Sample
Note 9 SampleCredit: Fergus Halliday | IDG
Note 9 Sample
Pixel 3 SampleCredit: Fergus Halliday | IDG
Pixel 3 Sample

Round Two - Wide

Mate 20 Pro SampleCredit: Fergus Halliday | IDG
Mate 20 Pro Sample
iPhone XS SampleCredit: Fergus Halliday | IDG
iPhone XS Sample
Note 9 SampleCredit: Fergus Halliday | IDG
Note 9 Sample
Pixel 3 SampleCredit: Fergus Halliday | IDG
Pixel 3 Sample

Round Three - Night

Mate 20 Pro Sample
Mate 20 Pro Sample
iPhone XS Sample
iPhone XS Sample
Note 9 Sample
Note 9 Sample
Pixel 3 XL Night
Pixel 3 XL Night

The Verdict

Though the Huawei Mate 20 Pro's AI-enhanced post-processing did give it the edge in most daylight scenarios, the improved low-light performance found in the new Google Pixel 3 XL makes for a strong alternative. Realistically, all four of the cameras in these devices are best-in-class.

However, if we had to pick one as our favorite of the bunch - it'd probably be the Mate 20 Pro. The new wide-angle lens, night mode and 5x hybrid zoom just make for a much more versatile smartphone photography experience and much more striking results.

They say the best camera is the one you have with you but if we had to choose, we'd probably choose the Mate 20 Pro.

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Tags HuaweiGoogle PixeliPhone XSGOogle Pixel 3Mate 20 ProHuawei Mate 20Pixel 3 XL

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Fergus Halliday
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