Google last week announced its newest flagship smartphones, the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4XL, both of which are meant to compete with the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, Apple’s newest devices launched in September.
In our latest YouTube video, we went hands-on with a Pixel 4XL and an iPhone 11 Pro Max to compare the cameras in the two devices to see how they measure up against one another.
Both the Pixel 4XL and the iPhone 11 Pro have impressive cameras, and when it comes to standard shots taken with the rear-facing image, there’s little difference in quality. Both smartphones are producing some great images, though the iPhone 11 Pro Max tends to create images with a cooler tone while the Pixel 4XL has a warmer overall tone.
Each smartphone does well with highlights and shadows, but the Pixel 4XL has a feature for adjusting these settings in real time while they need to be post processed on the iPhone. The iPhone does have one edge – a third ultra wide-angle camera lens. The Pixel 4XL is limited to two cameras, a standard wide-angle and a telephoto lens, so it can’t quite match the capabilities of the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Google pioneered Night Sight (the equivalent of the iPhone’s Night Mode) last year, and the feature continues to be impressive this year. Night Side and Night Mode are quite similar, and it’s tough to pick a clear winner for low-light photos. The iPhone 11 Pro Max tends to produce photos that look a bit more natural, while the Pixel 4XL offers up sharper, more vibrant night time images that sometimes have blown out highlights.
When comparing Portrait Mode, the Pixel 4XL seems to produce sharper images and it has superior edge detection in most cases. It’s imperfect and there are times that the iPhone wins out, but in most of our test images, the Pixel 4XL does a better job with Portrait Mode photos.
For the front-facing camera, the Pixel 4XL has a new wide-angle lens that can capture more around you, plus it produces some super sharp photos, especially in Portrait Mode. There’s an option for a wider-angle field of view with the iPhone’s camera too, but the images from the Pixel 4XL appear to be just a bit better even though they have a warmer tone.
The Pixel 4XL has a Night Sight option for the front-facing camera, which gives it an edge over the front-facing camera of the iPhone 11 Pro Max as it can take better selfies in low lighting conditions.
When it comes to video, the iPhone 11 Pro Max wins. Google appears to have focused more on photo quality than video quality, and both the front and rear-facing cameras are a bit lacking. Both phones can record 4K video at 60 frames per second and both have stabilization capabilities, but the iPhone 11 Pro has a preferable color profile and look compared to the Pixel 4XL.
All in all, both of these smartphones have high-quality cameras capable of producing some impressive images, which makes it difficult to choose a clear winner. Preference is generally going to come down to platform choice and small aesthetic differences between features like color profile.
Which smartphone’s camera do you prefer? iPhone 11 Pro Max or Pixel 4XL? Let us know in the comments.