Pixel 3 vs. iPhone XS: Which phone has the best camera and portrait mode?

It’s a camera confrontation between two of the most sizzling telephones of 2018.




How does the camera on Google’s Pixel 3 contrast with Apple’s iPhone XS? In particular, the Pixel 3 has a solitary focal point on the back. Google is wagering enormous that it can prevail over the double camera on the iPhone XS and even the quad-camera setup on different telephones. With camera quality as a standout amongst the most essential choice factors in purchasing another telephone, it’s an ideal opportunity to contrast the single-focal point Pixel and the double focal point iPhone XS.

Keep in mind the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL share a similar camera (as do the iPhone XS and XS Max), so results ought to be the equivalent paying little respect to which measure you pick. Furthermore, the Pixel 3 has two focal points around the front, while the iPhone has one.

I took these lead telephones to the wax works of Madame Tussauds, the spooky San Francisco Dungeon and the Aquarium of the Bay to catch everything from representations to outrageous low-light photographs.

Read CR’s audits of the Pixel 3 and iPhone XS here.

HDR and general photographs on both are phenomenal

It’s called HDR+ or HDR+ Extended on the Pixel 3, while the iPhone XS has Smart HDR. Both work in comparative courses, by consolidating various exposures to help the dynamic scope of your photographs.

Pictures look incredible from the two telephones when you’re shooting in brilliant, open air light. Anticipate that genuine will life hues and satisfying immersion from both. Turning HDR on truly enables spare to shadow and feature detail in your shots, and I figured the two telephones worked to perfection here.In any case, I think the Pixel 3’s photographs look a touch more immersed than those from the iPhone XS’s, especially while assessing on the telephones. I’m not an enormous devotee of oversaturated photographs, but rather you may be. When I take a gander at pictures on a PC screen, hues from the Pixel 3 are somewhat nearer to the genuine scene, however I can in any case observe a distinction.

As usual, your mileage will differ contingent upon what screen you see on.

Representation mode

You’ll be content with representation mode on either telephone and have the capacity to take shocking shots. Both let you change the bokeh (foundation obscure) after the shot has been taken.

The iPhone XS gives you a chance to mimic changing the f-stop on a focal point as you move the slider the distance from f1.4 to f16. The Pixel 3 simply has a standard slider without f-stop increases, however includes the alternative of likewise having the capacity to change forefront obscure and center point.

Pictures from the Pixel look stick sharp and fly off the screen. Yet, the haze impact can be confounded by occupied foundations or wavy hair. I had a couple of cases where I could see a line between the subject and where the haze kicks in, as in the picture beneath. Or on the other hand where the Pixel just got the zone to obscure wrong inside and out.The iPhone XS pictures can look all the more complimenting on appearances since Smart HDR levels out shadows and features. The XS likewise has a more characteristic looking haze that reenacts the falloff from a shallow profundity of-field impact from a DSLR focal point, as opposed to the conspicuous difference among subject and obscure like on the Pixel 3.

The iPhone XS additionally has the alternative of adding diverse lighting impacts to photographs shot in representation mode.



Generally speaking, this class is extremely difficult to separate and results aren’t constantly predictable: for a few subjects I lean toward the Pixel 3, however others, the iPhone XS looks much better.

Super Res Zoom on the Pixel 3 is nearly on a par with optical zoom

With only one back camera, you may think the Pixel 3 is at a quick disservice contrasted with the optical 2x zoom on the iPhone. I did as well, until the point when I took a stab at zooming in on the Pixel.

A component called Super Res Zoom takes a burst of pictures and consolidates them utilizing super goals systems. It kicks in after 1.2x zoom, and it’s noteworthy. As should be obvious in the photograph underneath, the Pixel 3 certainly stays aware of the optical zoom on the iPhone, regardless of whether you’re shooting in splendid, open air conditions or a low-light sinkhole. It holds detail and doesn’t have the equivalent “crunchy” look that advanced zoom generally does.However, it’s not impeccable and on the off chance that you take a gander at pictures at full goals, you will see there’s marginally less detail caught on the Pixel 3’s shot contrasted with the iPhone XS’s. Additionally, Super Res Zoom completes tend to go into disrepair at the most extraordinary end of the scale, so in the event that you have to get extremely close don’t hope to catch each and every detail. In any case, it’s pleasant to have the alternative.

Selfies on the Pixel 3: Like having a perpetual selfie-stick

There are more alternatives for selfie-fans on the Pixel 3. Google’s telephone has two forward looking cameras; one focal point has a 75-degree customary field of view while alternate has a 97-degree wide field of view. This implies you can get much more in the shot just by “zooming out,” regardless of whether that is more individuals in a gathering or a more extensive perspective of the foundation. It resembles a virtual selfie stick for individuals like me who don’t do genuine selfie sticks.

So, you will encounter some slight mutilation when you utilize the more extensive focal point. Faces in favor of the casing can look somewhat twisted (this is run of the mill of some wide-point focal points), and the arm you use to hold the telephone can look cleverly long in the shot.Like the back camera, I lean toward the picture mode from the iPhone XS forward looking camera on the grounds that the haze looks more characteristic. Selfies likewise have a hotter white parity than the Pixel, which you may discover all the more complimenting. A few clients have said that iPhone XS selfies appear to be unique from past iPhones and apply a smoothing impact – see this breakdown for a clarification.


The Pixel 3 really has a facial modifying choice (it’s set to a typical level as a matter of course, yet you can likewise pick the gentlest level) that smooths skin and imperfections. With no facial modifying, I thought selfies investigate honed and a bit of unflattering. In any case, in the event that you need each and every detail caught in your selfies, the Pixel 3 is for you.

Low-light photographs

The Pixel 3 has an edge in low light, delivering photographs with less clamor than the iPhone XS in many conditions. Pictures look extremely sharp and hold heaps of detail.The Pixel 3 does, be that as it may, soak hues (especially the red channel) more than the iPhone XS in low light. Subsequently, photographs look more striking and the additional complexity adds to that impression of sharpness.

At the point when the glimmer discharge on the back camera, to my eyes the Pixel 3 creates a somewhat more normal looking shot. In any case, there isn’t that much distinction between the two. The iPhone XS delivers less emotional shadows, which you may favor.Google likewise has an approaching element called Night Sight that is said to deliver better-looking photographs on the Pixel 3 without blaze. It’s required to dispatch not long from now.

Video quality is all iPhone XS

The two telephones record in 4K, however just the iPhone XS gets to 60fps at this goals.

You won’t be frustrated with video from both of these two telephones in great light. The iPhone XS video looks slightly more honed in general and the introduction moves more easily than the Pixel when lighting conditions change. In addition, the Pixel 3 trims in more on the picture than the iPhone does on its wide-point focal point.


In low light, I found the Pixel 3 truly attempted to bolt and keep up spotlight on subjects. The picture is muddled and loud, with extinguished features and sloppy shadows. See the video on this page for tests.

The iPhone XS looks much better in low light, with far less commotion on the picture and an even presentation. A setting called auto low light FPS (you can discover it in Settings > Camera) consequently drops the edge rate from 30 to 24fps to help enhance low-light video. The distinction between the two telephones in low light is night and day.

This is what else you have to think about video:

Video adjustment: Both are great. I think the iPhone XS looks more normal than the Pixel 3, which still has proof of that “jello” impact (a result of Google’s OIS and EIS blend, called melded adjustment, that can make recordings look hyper-genuine).

Pixel 3 has subject following (called movement self-adjust) so you can tap on the screen to bolt onto kids, grown-ups, pets, fish or anything that moves. It takes a shot at stills however I thought that it was most useful in video.

Both record in stereo, however the iPhone XS sounds significantly more rich and full than the Pixel 3’s track when you tune in earphones.

Moderate movement: You can get to 240fps, yet the Pixel is just at 720p. The iPhone is 1080p.

So which camera is ideal?

Both are awesome camera telephones that have critical enhancements over their forerunners. In the event that I never thought about the photographs, I would be content with either. It’s extremely difficult to shred them on the grounds that for most classes, there aren’t any glaring issues and at times the outcomes aren’t totally steady – particularly to something like representation mode.

It’s likewise extremely intense to isolate the two on the grounds that the computational photography methods on each truly push the cutoff points of what the equipment can do individually. Also, a few highlights (like Night Sight) haven’t been executed yet. In any case, I think the Pixel 3 simply has the edge for generally still pictures, particularly in outrageous low-light conditions, and on the off chance that you like pictures to look ultrasharp and energetic straight out of camera with no altering. For more normal looking photographs and video recording, I would pick the iPhone XS.

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