iPhone XS Max vs. Pixel 3, Note 9 and Mate 20 Pro

We’ve seen tonnes of great smartphones hit the market this year, and with the ever increasing quality in hardware, processing and AI smarts, the cameras on mobile devices have never been better. In fact, 2018’s mobile cameras have been almost unbelievably good, especially in low light. Arguably four of the most impressive smartphone cameras belong to the Apple iPhone XS Max, Google Pixel 3, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

To see which was the best, we took them out and tested them in a variety of situations. Shooting portrait, selfies, video and slow-mo as well as regular photos in good and low light situations. To see how they got on, watch the video and let us know which you think came out on top.

Camera specs compared

Apple iPhone XS Max

  • Dual 12MP cameras, both with OIS
  • Primary 26mm equivalent f/1.8 “wide” lens
  • Secondary 52mm equivalent f/2.4 “telephoto” lens
  • 4K resolution video up to 60fps
  • Slow-mo 240fps at 1080p
  • Front camera 7MP, f/2.2

Google Pixel 3

  • Single 12.2MP camera with OIS
  • 28mm equivalent f/1.8 “wide” lens
  • 4K resolution video at 30fps
  • Slow-mo up to 240fps at 720p or 120fps at 1080p
  • Dual front 8MP cameras, wide and ultra-wide
  • Read the review

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

  • Triple 40MP, 20MP and 8MP Leica camera system
  • 27mm, 16mm and 80mm equivalent “wide”, “ultra-wide” and “telephoto” lenses
  • F/1.8, f/2.2 and f/2.4, single OIS
  • 4K resolution at 30fps
  • Super slow-mo up to 960fps at 720p
  • Front camera 24MP

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  • Dual 12MP camera, both with OIS
  • 26mm equivalent, dual aperture f/1.5-f/2.4 “wide” lens
  • 52mm equivalent, f.2.4 “telephoto” lens
  • 4K resolution up to 60fps
  • Super slow-mo up to 960fps at 720p
  • Front camera 8MP, f/1.7

In all the tests involving each of the cameras, we used automatic mode to see how each of their respective processors translated that data into a photo.

In low light, when the conditions warranted it, we used Night Mode on the phones that had it.

Watch, enjoy and let us know which you think produced the best images.

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