While unveiling the Pixel and Pixel XL at its event yesterday, Google boasted about how the 12.3MP shooters of the handset have scored the highest rating ever given by DxOMark Mobile to any smartphone camera. In comparison, the website gave the iPhone 7’s new 12MP shooter a rating of 86 points.
A difference of 3 points might not sound much, but at these levels, it can make a lot of difference.
On paper, the 12.3MP shooter of the new Pixel handsets is not as impressive as what the iPhone 7 packs. Yes, the IMX378 sensor used inside the handsets do feature larger 1.55um pixels, but this is paired with an f/2.0 aperture. Additionally, there is no OIS that is known to greatly help in low-light situations and help with stabilisation while recording videos.
However, despite these limitations, DxOMark notes that the Pixel and Pixel XL have the best “image quality scores” they have ever tested. They note that the camera is able to provide a “very high level of detail, with relatively low levels of noise for every tested lighting condition. It also provides accurate exposures with very good contrast and white balance, as well as fast autofocus.” It even says that the Pixel is “one of the best devices (maybe the best)” they have ever tested that is able to properly render poorly-lit scenarios with very low level of noise. As for the downsides, the site notes that the Pixel has inconsistent autofocus, with artifacts appearing in low-light shots.
The impressive performance of the 12.3MP shooter of the Pixel can be attributed to the HDR+ mode that the camera app comes with. Enabled by default, the phone takes multiple shots in this mode and then combines them into one to deliver outstanding contrast and details.
Before you assume that the Pixel offers a better camera experience than the iPhone 7, do note that DxOMark ratings are not really accurate. The publication ranks the Moto Z Force Droid and the Xperia X Performance camera above the iPhone 7, but their camera performance is nowhere near what the iPhone can deliver. And even if the Pixel is able to deliver better image quality than the iPhone 7, the handsets do not offer any kind of optical zoom like the iPhone 7 Plus, which is still a major ace up the handset’s sleeve.[Via DxOMark]