It was a close call, but Google’s Pixel 2 still offers the best smartphone camera in the market, with the iPhone X coming in second place.
As you may recall, the original Pixel was the best smartphone camera for most of its first year, and it only ceded the title a few months ago, to the Samsung Note8. But Samsung’s time at the top was brief, and when Google unveiled the Pixel 2 family in early October, it announced the devices were now number one.
But the iPhone X was expected to challenge the Pixel 2 for the title, given the emphasis that Apple places on the device’s camera. And sure enough, it did, with the device receiving an overall score of 97, just one point below the Pixel 2’s 98.
“The iPhone X features a very similar dual-cam setup to its sister model, the iPhone 8 Plus, with one difference that improved results in several areas,” the site notes. “The dual 12 MP sensors remain, including the same wide-angle f/1.8 lens with optical image stabilization (OIS) for the main camera. But for the second camera, there’s an improved telephoto lens that features a wider-aperture f/2.4 lens with OIS. The front-facing camera gets an upgrade, too, with new Face ID technologies benefitting selfie enthusiasts, including improved depth-mapping that makes Portrait mode and bokeh simulation possible.”
Those improvements to the front-facing camera led to one wrinkle in DxOMark’s result: If you look just at still photos, the iPhone X’s 101 points barely edge out the Pixel 2’s 99 points. What held the iPhone X back, apparently, was its video score, which was pretty lackluster, at 89. The Pixel 2 scored 96 for video.
That said, both phones obviously take great shots. My personal pet peeve here is low-light shots, and in my experience, the Google phones, from the Nexus 6P through the original Pixel and Pixel 2, are just flat-out superior here. Other users will no doubt want to compare the respective device’s Portrait Modes, and I suspect Apple has the advantage there, thanks to more experience and the devices’ dual cameras. (The lack of a dual camera set up perhaps makes the Pixel 2 score all the more impressive, no?)
Anyway, DxOMark is curiously controversial in some circles, which makes no sense. The company does great work, and as a recent Wired article notes, these guys are the standard for this kind of comparison. As DxOMark says in self-defense, its engineers capture and evaluate over 1500 test images and more than 2 hours of video for all device tests. You can find out more here.
Point being: They can be trusted. And both the Pixel 2 and iPhone X have great cameras.