Google’s Pixel smartphones have long been the top dog when it comes to low-light photography, but Apple’s latest iPhones have given Google’s handsets a run for their money.
When Apple debuted the iPhone 11 lineup with a new Night Mode, smartphone fans were eager to see how it stacked up against Google’s own Night Sight.
Back in September, PC World carried out a comparison of the two low-light photography modes and wrote that the iPhone 11’s Night Mode made the Pixel 3’s “look amateurish.” (Other tests came to similar conclusions.)
That comparison was between a current-generation iPhone and a past-generation Android device — so there were certainly questions about whether or not it was a fair fight. But now, a new head-to-head shootout between the iPhone 11 and the newly debuted Pixel 4 carried out by MacWorld has found similar results.
“Apple’s night Mode was largely seen as playing catch-up to Google’s version on the Pixel 3, and we all assumed that the Pixel 4 would take another leap to show Apple who’s boss,” MacWorld wrote. “That might not be the case.”
MacWorld found that the iPhone 11 went further than just turning too-dark shots into usable images. Instead, “it brightened the right spots, retained the right shadows, and simply handled the whole scene better than the Pixel 4.”
The publication went on to say that the iPhone 11 “produced richer, more detailed shots without losing the natural darkness” more often than not. In other cases, the Apple’s devices performed objectively better in retaining color accuracy and other aspects of an image.
Google’s Pixel 4 Night Sight, by comparison, did appear to over-brighten images, blow out colors and lose a lot of definition and shadow. In at least a couple of cases, that resulted in better-looking images (see below). That illustrates that photographic results are pretty subjective, and some people may still prefer the Pixel 4’s Night Mode.
Of course, MacWorld notes that these results are preliminary and that testing needs to be done before a firm verdict can be reached. But by the looks of it, Google’s handsets may have a hard time taking back their low-light photography crown.