iPhone 11 Pro Max Takes 3rd in New Smartphone Camera Test – But Why?

iPhone 11 Pro Camera Credit: Hadrian / Shutterstock
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Camera hardware testing and analysis firm DxOMark has officially published its results for Apple’s latest iPhone 11 Pro Max.

But, despite the number of glowing reviews for that device’s camera, the latest flagship iPhone actually didn’t take the top spot in DxOMark’s rankings. Here’s what the firm said.

iPhone 11 Pro Max Camera Review

DxOMark gave the iPhone 11 Pro Max a score of 117 on its smartphone camera test. That’s a good ranking, but it means that the iPhone 11 Pro Max actually comes in third in DxoMark’s overall smartphone rankings.

  1. First place was held by Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro.
  2. The Xiaomi Mic CC9 Pro Premium came in second.
  3. The iPhone, coming in third, scored the same as the Galaxy Note 10 and higher than the Huawei P30 Pro.

Importantly, the iPhone 11 Pro Max that was tested was running iOS 13.2, which meant that it took full advantage of Apple’s Deep Fusion computational photography features.

The testing firm praised the iPhone’s dynamic range and detail retention. It also gave the Apple handset high marks for speedy autofocus and impressive video stabilization.

DxOMark also noted that images taken with the iPhone 11 Pro Max had significantly less noise compared to those taken with an iPhone XS.

Of course, the iPhone did falter when it came to optical zoom — at least when compared to the top-ranking Huawei handset.

While 1x and 2x zoom performed well, it couldn’t compete with the 5x optical zoom of the Mate 30 Pro. The testing firm also noted that the synthetic bokeh effect wasn’t as good as some Android handsets, due to “depth estimation errors” around a subject’s head.

That being said, the iPhone lineup continues to dominate in the video sphere. The iPhone 11 Pro Max scored 102 for overall video quality, putting it in first place and tied with the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro Premium Edition.

That was, in large part, due to excellent HDR dynamic range with high-scoring details in highlights and shadows.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max did also take the top spot for audio quality — both for playback and recording. Audio analysis is actually a new subset of DxOMark’s testing regimen.

Is DxOMark Reliable?

In the Apple (and the wider tech) community, DxOMark’s reviews are often a bit controversial. Part of that could be chalked up to ecosystem loyalty, while part of it could be DxOMark’s overall credibility.

But there is still an argument to be made that DxOMark’s data is still incredibly useful for those interested in photography.

The iPhone 11 Pro has one of the best-reviewed cameras in recent years and is undoubtedly a marked improvement over past Apple handsets.

On the other end of the spectrum, Chinese OEMs like Huawei and Xiaomi are putting out truly great smartphones, too. The Mate 30 Pro, for example, packs a whopping 40-megapixel sensor.

Camera and photo quality are ultimately subjective. But, in terms of technical capabilities, the iPhone 11 Pro packs an objectively amazing camera. If you’re happy with the photos that you take, then that’s really all that matters.

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