DxOMark was pretty happy with the iPhone XS Max’s primary rear cameras when it initially tested the device last year (along with the iPhone XR’s single camera!), but it turns out the phone’s front-facing camera is only Top 5 worthy.
DxOMark, which has become a solid resource for folks wanting to see how a camera will handle in a smartphone, has just launched a brand new Selfie Camera Test, which is designed to only see how well a phone’s front-facing camera fares with comprehensive testing. As usual, DxOMark is testing not only photographs, but also videos taken with the front-facing camera. DxOMark tests color, focus, exposure, noise, artifacts, texture, and more in its goal to reach a number result.
As far as the rankings go in the photos-only rankings, Android handsets lead the way. Both the Google Pixel 3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 earned 99 points and 96 points, respectively. However, as noted by DxOMark, while the cameras ended up earning high marks, there are some noteworthy differences in the cameras:
“The Google Pixel 3 has the edge in terms of focus system, but the Note 9 achieves better results for exposure and color. Images captured with the Google device show slightly stronger contrast and a cooler white balance. The Samsung is a little better at exposing for faces and applies a little less contrast to faces, making for a slightly more natural look
The noise-versus-detail trade-off is also very different between the two cameras, with the Pixel 3 just taking the win under typical indoor lighting conditions and in low light. Image results from both cameras are excellent, but the Google puts a lot of emphasis on texture and detail and therefore accepts some noise in Pixel 3 images, while Samsung engineers have opted for a cleaner image and made some sacrifices in terms of fine details.”
In third place is the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 with 83 points, and in fourth place is Apple’s iPhone XS Max with 81 points. Here’s how DxOMark highlights Apple’s latest flagship smartphone:
“Apple’s flagship iPhone XS Max produces some of the best still image and video quality in bright-light conditions, but struggles more than its high-end competitors when the light gets dimmer. In our rankings, it ties at 81 points with the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. The latter comes with pretty much identical hardware specifications to its newer cousin, the Note 9, but improved tuning on the newer model has resulted in a better performance overall. In turn, the S9 Plus scores 8 points higher than its predecessor, the Galaxy S8. The improvements from one generation to the next are quite noticeable for other brands’ devices as well. The Google Pixel 3 is 15 points improved over its predecessor Pixel 2; the Huawei Mate 20 is 3 points better than the P20 Pro; and the 2018 iPhone XS Max beats the iPhone X from 2017 by a solid margin of 10 points.”
The rest of the Selfie Photos test has the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus with 81 points, so it ties for fourth place. Google’s Pixel 2 comes in fifth with 80 points, and the iPhone X from 2017 comes in sixth with 74 points. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has a score of 73, while the Samsung Galaxy S8 raked in 71 points. Finally, Huawei P20 Pro earned 67 points, the Meitu V6 earned 58 points, and something called the Intex Aqua Selfie earned itself 17 points which seems pretty rough for a phone with the word “selfie” in the title.
As far as video from a front-facing camera is concerned, here’s how that breaks down:
- Galaxy Note 9: 86 points
- Mi MIX 3: 85 points
- Pixel 3: 83 points
- iPhone XS Max: 82 points
- Galaxy S9 Plus: 81 points
- Mate 20 Pro: 79 points
- P20 Pro: 79 points
- Galaxy S8: 75 points
- Pixel 2: 71 points
- iPhone X: 66 points
- Meitu V6: 61 points
- Aqua Selfie: 29 points
The overall score you can see below. The Galaxy Note 9 and Pixel 3 are tied for first place in the end with 92 points. That means, based on a technicality, the iPhone XS Max actually earns itself the third place spot on DxOMark’s first ever selfie camera test. All joking aside, that’s still an impressive number and the front-facing cameras in (most) of our smartphones these days are pretty awesome.
DxOMark says more selfie camera tests are on the way. And the publication will be putting the selfie camera test in the final results for smartphones from this point on, in the phones that they test, of course.