iPhone XS Max Selfie Camera ‘Among the Best,’ But Falters in One Key Area

Iphone Xs Max Selfie Vs Samsung Note 9 Selfie Credit: DxOMark / iPhone XS Max vs Samsung Note 9
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Over the years, smartphones have evolved and amassed a plethora of innovative features and new technologies, including the use of increasingly impressive mobile camera hardware.

For their part, some of the most powerful and high-end devices from the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung have already been put through the wringer in their quest to uncover which has the best performing camera setup.

And while devices like the iPhone XS Max and Galaxy Note 9 feature class-leading imaging technologies based on dual-lens sensors and advanced software features — in recent years, plenty of these impressive upgrades have even poured over to the front-facing selfie snapper on competing high-end devices.

Now, for the very first time (albeit in the same fashion as so many times before), renowned camera benchmark testers from DxOMark have shared the results of their inaugural Selfie Scores test, an assessment which sought to gauge the quality and performance of a dozen modern smartphones’ front-facing camera systems.

Selfie Showdown

According to the firm’s method-based testing, which examined devices from both the entry-level and high-end segments of the market, Google’s Pixel 3 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 emerged the overall front-runners, notching the first and second slots on DxOMark’s list with scores of 92, apiece.

iPhone XS Max Selfie Score

Interestingly, while Apple’s iPhone XS Max is said to produce “some of the best still image and video quality in bright-light conditions,” the highest-end iPhone ultimately “struggles more” than its high-end competitors in dimly-lit settings, according to the firm. 

Accordingly, the largest and most expensive iPhone flagship scored just 82 points, coming in fourth place even behind Xiaomi’s Mi MIX 3, which notably features a dual-lens front-facing camera for capturing “great portrait shots with bokeh simulation,” according to DxOMark’s Lars Rehm.

In addition to their overall scores, the 12 smartphones tested each received a specific, performance-based “selfie photo” and “selfie video” score, with the iPhone XS Max notching 81 and 82 on those metrics, respectively.

Thanks to noteworthy features like HDR, bokeh mode, and fine-tuned processing at the CPU-level, DxOMark noted that iPhone XS Max devices are ultimately “among the best results we’ve observed for front cameras” since the original iPhone X.

However, the firm stressed that Apple can still continue making improvements to “issues” such as visible noise, in all lighting conditions, as well as to “white balance and skin rendering issues,” particularly with regards to indoor exposures where “color casts and low-contrast faces can look unnatural,” the firm said. A more detailed breakdown of the iPhone XS Max’s selfie camera photo and video performance can be seen in the chart below.

Ultimately, the point of this test was to provide some additional insight into which smartphone, among the selection of popular, capable offerings, snaps the best selfies. 

And yet, while high-end Android devices like the Pixel 3 and Galaxy Note 9 may have tied for first place in overall performance, it’s clear from this analysis that there will always be praise and acclaim for Apple’s iPhone cameras — even if they do sometimes fall a few points short of the competition.

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