Tested: The Huawei P20 Pro’s Camera Beats a iPhone X, Pixel 2 XL

When it comes to photography, it’s typically improved to double down on peculiarity over quantity. Countless handsets have valid that some-more megapixels — and, as of late, some-more lenses — don’t indispensably furnish images that are appreciably better. Just demeanour during a Google Pixel 2, that needs usually one camera to spin our favorite camera phone.

Huawei P20 ProHuawei P20 ProAnd afterwards came Huawei. You can’t technically buy a China-based company’s latest reward charity on a shores, nonetheless that hasn’t stopped a universe from purgation over a kinds of photos it can constraint — generally during night.

The Huawei P20 Pro has 3 Leica-branded cameras. The categorical one is a 40-megapixel shooter with an f/1.8 orifice and an really large 1/1.7-inch picture sensor. Above it is an 8-MP, f/2.4 telephoto lens that enables 3x visual zoom, while a 20-MP, f/1.6 monochrome section on a bottom rounds out a trio.

Huawei P20 ProHuawei P20 ProAll those lenses and pixels concede a P20 Pro to accomplish some flattering conspicuous things. For starters, it can filter that resources of information into an intensely precise, noise-free 10-MP image. With a assistance of a new underline called AI Stabilization, Huawei’s phone can constraint super-long exposures of 4 seconds during a time nonetheless a need for a tripod. And interjection to a onboard Neural Processing Unit, also featured in a Mate 10 Pro, a P20’s categorical camera can brand subjects and scenes and automatically adjust parameters and modes to fit what it sees.

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But how does all that review to what other heading camera phones can produce? To find out, we pitted a P20 Pro opposite a dual fiercest competitors on a camera front — a Pixel 2 XL and a iPhone X — so we could declare a formula for yourself.

We used all 3 cameras to fire 10 photos, afterwards incited to several members of a Tom’s Guide group to collect their favorites. For any round, a leader perceived 3 points, second place got 2 points and third place warranted 1 point. The formula were flattering surprising.

Bryant Park

This print of a balmy afternoon in New York provides a good baseline of any phone’s sharpened tendencies. The iPhone X customarily charity a brightest shots in sunlight, nonetheless a energetic operation wasn’t always a best. The Pixel 2 frequently opted for some-more realistic, pale tones with glorious detail, nonetheless they could infrequently come off as drab.

Here, a P20 Pro strikes something of a change between a dual rivals. Huawei’s camera facilities a record a association calls Master AI, that automatically tweaks settings formed on a  scenario being captured. Although Master AI is really good during sussing out sold situations — it never unsuccessful to brand something once in my knowledge — it can be simply confused by competing portions of a frame. In this case, a P20 Pro vacillated between homing in on a immature weed and a blue sky, with unbroken shots looking really opposite formed on a filter applied.

Click picture above to expandClick picture above to expandUltimately, we was means to constraint an picture with a sky filter applied. Based on a in-office survey, that did a trick. The P20 Pro’s shot was adored here for a sharpness and clear color. The Pixel 2 finished a tighten second, as it remade this differently lifelike open stage into a cloudier affair. It’s critical to note that while we didn’t spin a Master AI off during all nonetheless one of these tests (as we wanted to knowledge a full brunt of a P20 Pro’s involuntary estimate capabilities), we can simply do so from a settings menu. View full-size image

Round #1: Bryant Park
1st place: Huawei P20 Pro
2nd place: Pixel 2 XL
3rd place: iPhone X

Nassau Hall

Princeton University’s ancestral Nassau Hall served as a venue for this severe late-night test, where a P20 Pro truly demonstrated a low-light prowess. When we know how Huawei’s camera is means to grasp a shot, it’s easy to see why.

The P20 Pro comes versed with a specialized Night Mode, that leaves a shiver open for 4 seconds nonetheless amazingly doesn’t need a use of a tripod. The P20 Pro eliminates a smudging you’d routinely get from unsure hands with a underline called AI Stabilization. The longer a bearing time, a some-more light reaches a sensor — and that translates to a brighter shot with significantly reduction sound than a iPhone X or Pixel 2 XL can deliver.

Click picture above to expandClick picture above to expandIf there’s one downside to Huawei’s approach, though, it relates to movement. That 4- second-long bearing means objects in motion, like a tree branches toward a tip of a frame, spin eerily fuzzy. AI Stabilization attempts to make a best of a conditions and tack all together, nonetheless a outcome can be patchy. What stays still looks brilliant, nonetheless what doesn’t will never be sufficient captured. View full-size image

Round #2: Nassau Hall
1st place: Huawei P20 Pro
2nd place: Pixel 2 XL
3rd place: iPhone X


Who says we need dual lenses to spike portraits? The Pixel 2 XL snagged this battle, interjection to correct metering that compensated for a comfortable heat of beyond lights, and a compactness that was seemingly lacking from Huawei and Apple’s handsets.

Click picture above to expandClick picture above to expandGoogle’s device also took home a bulk of a points for a glorious HDR+ mode, that kept a darker aspects of a stage — from a model’s facial hair to a wrinkles in his cloak — ideally visible, nonetheless sacrificing a highlights. Surprisingly, both multilens phones in this comparison had a many some-more formidable time specifying a forehead from a background, that can be celebrated along a corner of a subject’s winter cap. View full-size image

Round #3: Portrait
1st place: Pixel 2 XL
2nd place (tie): Huawei P20 Pro, iPhone X

Cherry blossoms

For these photos of a cherry freshness tree, any device’s particular wizz duty was used. For a iPhone X and P20 Pro, it was 2x and 3x visual zoom, respectively. For a Pixel 2 XL, that does not have a second lens, we used a digital wizz allied to a other dual handsets.

The P20 Pro’s flower mode dialed adult a superfluity to 11, sketch a strong mix of pinkish and purple out of a cherry blossoms that a other phones didn’t approach. However, that came during a responsibility of sharpness, as a P20 Pro’s try is also extremely blurrier than that of a iPhone or even a digitally zooming Pixel. Compared with a other two, it really appears to be a many processed, and many of us weren’t soft with a result.

Click picture above to expandClick picture above to expandThose with a welfare for some-more healthy colors will preference a iPhone, that finished initial by some distance, interjection to good altogether fact (especially in a hardness of a branches), as good as a conspicuous nonetheless totalled contrast. Google’s flagship placed final with a darkest and noisiest bid of a trio. View full-size image

Round #4: Cherry blossoms
1st place: iPhone X
2nd place: Huawei P20 Pro
3rd place: Pixel 2 XL


After a stratospheric start, a P20 Pro came crashing behind down to Earth in this subsequent test, taken during a carousel in Bryant Park. The iPhone X demonstrated a painterly courtesy that set it detached from a cold and clinical shot pleasantness of a P20 Pro, and a somewhat some-more offset charity from a Pixel 2 XL.

Click picture above to expandClick picture above to expandApple’s HDR shines in this round. The shade slicing opposite a core of a merry-go-round creates a wily charge for these phones, that do their best to change light and dark. But a inlet of a carousel are still seemingly manifest and well-lit in a iPhone’s shot, while a P20 Pro and Pixel cut a many shallower gamut between a highlights and lowlights. View full-size image

Round #5: Merry-Go-Round
1st place: iPhone X
2nd place: Pixel 2 XL
3rd place: Huawei P20 Pro

Water mill

In sharpened this print of a H2O mill, we wanted to get a feel for what a P20 Pro’s HDR mode could do alone, nonetheless a assistance of any AI-applied filters. Unfortunately, a formula weren’t encouraging. The whole support is washed-out and overexposed, with a greenish-gray stain that evokes a beginning HDR applications in smartphones from 5 years ago.

Click picture above to expandClick picture above to expandApple and Google fared many improved in that regard, such that usually one opinion distant a pair. If we demeanour closely, a Pixel 2 XL delivers some-more fact in a mill’s wooden walls and mill siding, and deeper shadows that communicate a clarity of abyss to a trees nonetheless being too overwhelming. View full-size image

Round #6: Water mill
1st place: Pixel 2 XL
2nd place: iPhone X
3rd place: Huawei P20 Pro


Who’s inspired for pierogies? Foodies will suffer a P20 Pro’s dedicated sharpened mode that creates your favorite bar break demeanour really Instagram-worthy. Huawei’s program pumps adult a liughtness and superfluity to make a plate cocktail in all a right places — generally compared with a iPhone’s grubby and low representation, that explains Apple’s last-place finish in this round.

Click picture above to expandClick picture above to expandStill, some will expected find a P20 Pro is a bit too assertive here. For those diners, a Pixel 2 XL offers a tasty alternative. Relative dark aside, Google’s phone captures a crispy hardness of a mix improved than any other, with a ideal palette of golden-brown hues to set your mouth watering. View full-size image

Round #7: Food
1st place: Huawei P20 Pro
2nd place: Pixel 2 XL
3rd place: iPhone X


Back in a office, conjunction a iPhone X nor a Pixel 2 XL could contest with a P20 Pro’s gusto for picking adult glorious textures, like those of a plant’s leaves and a white paint on a wall. Huawei’s camera skilfully recorded a spectrum of greens and a harshness of a pot a plant was seated in. You can see multitudes of fact in a P20 Pro’’s shot nonetheless even zooming in, that are wanting from a iPhone’s exposure.

Click picture above to expandClick picture above to expandThat said, there’s still some room for improvement. The Pixel 2 demonstrated improved altogether white change — something that utterly stands out when we demeanour during a core of a timer, or a aspect of a windowsill. View full-size image

Round #8: Windowsill
1st place: Huawei P20 Pro
2nd place: Pixel 2 XL
3rd place: iPhone X


A dimly illuminated bar supposing another glorious event to denote a energy of a P20 Pro’s Night Mode. Pay tighten courtesy to a interior lighting and fridge — Google’s handset roughly reins in those highlights, while a iPhone X doesn’t even come close. The P20 Pro claims nonetheless another offset low-light scene, with exquisite fact toward a core of a frame.

Click picture above to expandClick picture above to expandGranted, as we try toward a edges, things get a bit fuzzy. Still, a P20 Pro is means to equivocate some of a pitfalls that penetrate a dual competitors in this round, such as a iPhone’s monochromatic palette and a Pixel’s bent to wash indoor scenes in oppressive comfortable light. View full-size image

Round #9: Bar
1st place: Huawei P20 Pro
2nd place: Pixel 2 XL
3rd place: iPhone X


We come to one final flower comparison, where a P20 Pro’s Master AI valid a value a final time. There’s a certain density to a filter applied, nonetheless in this case, a row felt a outcome was appropriate. The P20 Pro also wasn’t bashful about going heavier on a credentials bokeh than a rivals, that lent portrait-style dexterity to an differently typical still-life scene.

Click picture above to expandClick picture above to expandThat’s not to contend possibly a iPhone X or Pixel 2 XL struggled here. We favourite a power of a yellow in those petals prisoner by Apple’s flagship, while a Pixel once again adored some-more lifelike colors — something that’s easiest to tell by a shade of gray of a buildings in a distance. On a iPhone and P20 Pro, they’re equivocal pink. View full-size image

Round #10: Daffodils
1st place: Huawei P20 Pro
2nd place: iPhone X
3rd place: Pixel 2 XL

Overall Winner: Huawei P20 Pro

We had a feeling a P20 Pro would surpass in low light, nonetheless we didn’t expect it upsetting a duopoly of smartphone cameras common by Google and Apple. Imaging is maybe a many fast innovating aspect of a mobile industry, and Huawei has only stolen a bench — for now, anyway.

Like any camera, a P20 Pro isn’t perfect. The AI-powered estimate can be clumsy during times, heading to oversaturated images purists will certainly decry. And a camera interface itself on a P20 Pro is utterly a bit some-more difficult than that of a Pixel 2 XL or a iPhone X, that both take a less-is-more proceed to features.

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Yet those phones have no reflection to a P20’s Night Mode, that presents a vital step brazen for mobile photography a likes of that we haven’t seen given a iPhone 7 Plus popularized shoal depth-of-field portraits. Huawei has already achieved something conspicuous in this initial iteration, and while we can’t definitively call a P20 Pro a best smartphone camera for all scenarios, it’s really a one we’d wish in a pockets when a lights go down.

Credit: Tom’s Guide

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