Pixel 3 camera proves its might in DxOMark test

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Pixel 3 camera
The Pixel 3 camera has an eye on the competition.
Photo: Google

The iPhone XR is the best single-camera smartphone on the market.

Well, it was for about two weeks. The XR now shares the mantle with Google’s Pixel 3.

Google’s new flagship handset achieved the same ranking as the iPhone XR by the engineers who test mobile phone cameras for DxOMark Image Labs.

Yet, Night Scene Mode, the most heralded feature on the Pixel 3, which could have pushed it past the iPhone XR, was not considered for scoring because the tests are done using only default settings.

Like the iPhone XR, the Pixel 3 scored a 101, the highest among all single-lens smartphone cameras. The iPhone XS Max scored 105 while the one-year-old Huawei P20 Pro remains the highest rated smartphone camera ever with 109.

DxOMark Pixel 3 test score explained

“With the Pixel 3, Google continues to make impressive gains in image processing using computational imaging,” DxOMark wrote in its report released today on its website. “The result is a very versatile camera that people can confidently use in most situations without any manual settings or tweaks.

“In particular, the Pixel 3’s Zoom and Bokeh (Portrait mode) scores have improved dramatically over the previous generation. Overall, it is tied for the top of our single-camera phones with the Apple iPhone XR and beats it, along with nearly every other phone in our database, for Video. The Pixel 3’s scores are behind those of only a handful of multi-camera flagship phones.”

Along with the video, the Pixel 3 “trounces other single-camera phones” with its digital zoom. Rather than add a second camera with a telephoto lens, Google opted to beef up the phone’s computational imaging capabilities, surprising engineers with “remarkable detail.”

DxOMark Image Labs, based in France, has been testing digital cameras for 10 years. Engineers shoot more than 1,500 photos and record two hours of video in a variety of conditions with each new smartphone for the tests.

The reports are great for the careful consumer and no doubt fuel wonky debates over individual camera specs. But does a few points up or down matter to you? Comment below.