In the last few years, we saw Google introduce computational photography and take the camera phone world by storm. The new Pixel camera outshot everything in the market and quickly took its place as the camera to beat. And a fanbase quickly grew out of this. Team Pixel was born, and since then, Google Pixel phones have been the defacto kings of smartphone photography.
Other manufacturers, like Apple, Samsung and Huawei, danced around – and a little below – Google Pixel phones for a while. It was clear that the competition were not resting on their oars. Gradually, Huawei began to deliver smartphones with cameras that produced better photos than Google Pixels. They kept pushing. The others too. And it has paid off, because, finally, the Google’s 2019 Pixel phone is so far down the list of best cameraphones that it is almost embarrassing. Is this the beginning of the decline of Team Pixel?
I am using data from DXOMARK. That is the outfit that conducts extensive real-world tests on smartphone cameras and then scores them. Some will argue that DXOMARK is not 100% accurate. Maybe so, but then it cannot be argued that their testing is flawed and so untenable. As a matter of fact, much of their scoring agrees with the conclusions of the best smartphone reviewers from around the world. That is proof of the validity of their testing.
So, scores from DXOMARK are what I am using to draw up this list.
All the camera phones that beat Google Pixel 4
Here are all the camera phones that have been scored higher than Google Pixel 4 this year .
- Huawei Mate 30 Pro – 121 marks
- Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro
- Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
- Huawei P30 Pro
- OPPO Reno 10x Zoom
- Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
- OnePlus 7 Pro
- Honor 20 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
- Google Pixel 4 – 112 marks
In all, we have 11 smartphones that have a better camera than the Pixel 4 and a total of 6 smartphone manufacturers that have multiple cameraphones that are better than Google’s latest. Huawei has 3. Xiaomi has 1. Apple has 1. Samsung has a whopping 4. OPPO has 1. And lastly, OnePlus has 1.
How is the mighty Google Pixel camera fallen. But let’s not make a big deal of this. It isn’t ther first time that a giant has fallen from the pedestal of superb camera phones. Noka, for example, used to have the best cameras on smartphones for a while, but look where we are today. There is not a single Nokia phone on this list. No Nokia phone is in the top 10 best cameraphones today – and Google has just dropped out of the list too, seeing that the Pixel 4 is in the number 12 position.
How are the mighty fallen, indeed. This is a big blow to Team Pixel. But then, these are intensely competitive times in the smartphone world.
The brand to keep an eye on for the best camera phones is Huawei. The reigning champ is a Huawei, and there are 2 more Huaweis in the top 10 list. And we are still talking about the main camera. If we flip over to selfie cameras, here is what we get:
Best selfie cameras of 2019
- Huawei nova 6 5G – 100 marks
- Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G
- Asus Zenfone 6
- Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
- Huawei Mate 30 Pro
- Google Pixel 3
- Google Pixel 4
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9
- Huawei P30 Pro
- OnePlus 7 Pro – 86 marks
We see many of the same phones with the best rear cameras listed here as well, just in a different order. The Mate 30 Pro is here, as are Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, Galaxy S10 Plus, Pixel 4, Huawei P30 Pro, and OnePlus 7 Pro.
Members of Team Pixel will be dismayed to see that the Pixel 3’s selfie camera scores higher than the Pixel 4’s. Was that Google doing a moonwalk?
Anyway, in all, we have 3 Huawei phones, 2 Samsung phones, 1 Asus phone, 2 Google Pixels, and 1 OnePlus phone among the best selfie camera. And once again, a Huawei takes the top spot. See what this is all pointing to? Watch out for Huawei. Of course, Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, OPPO and OnePlus are all in the game too and any of them can pull a huge surprise to upset things.
Team Pixel and Team Nokia: The Way the Cookie Crumbles
I mourn the fact that Nokia phones are not even on the radar anymore. The Nokia 9 PureView, while a powerful camera phone in its own right, is clearly not so friendly to non-professional photographers, as mentioned in my earlier article, 4 types of smartphones you are not likely to buy in 2019. The consumer market is where the huge numbers are.
It is also sad that Google Pixel phones no longer have the brightest smartphone cameras on the block. This is a huge blow to Team Pixel, though I doubt that the above facts will shake their allegiance to Google. If anything, they will argue that their beloved Pixel phones are still the best thing since sliced bread.
The rest of us can humour them. We are pleasant like that. 😉
- DX0MARK smartphone camera reviews: LINK.