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Hands-on camera: Huawei Mate 10 v Google Pixel 2 XL v Apple iPhone 8 plus v Samsung Galaxy Note8!

The smartphone business is ending 2017 in fine style, with four top new devices made available on the market in September and October (at the time of this article the Apple iPhone X has yet to be released).

We were recently invited to attend the Huawei Mate 10 launch event in Munich on the 16th October 2017 and during the next couple of days in this classic city we took some photos to compare the cameras of each of these four flagship smartphones! Here are our impressions:

Note: Yes we really did carry four smartphones with us and the images you see here are the result – all photos were uploaded to Google Drive then posted here – they’ve all been resized down 2000 pixels but have not been altered in anyway. We used the Camera app that comes with each smartphone and did not use touch focusing or manual settings in order to mimic the fact that most consumers will just point and shoot. We also noticed that each smartphone had different screen settings – Samsung is well known for a white bias, for example – so the best ways to compare these images are by using the same monitor.

 

Hands-on the Huawei Mate 10

SGD888 consumer.huawei.com/sg/

Available 28 October 2017

The new Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro are very similar sized devices that have been tiered for two different users – the Mate 10 is for more general consumers while the Mate 10 Pro is for the premium market – hence the difference in design, screen, fingerprint scanner location, memory capacity and some other features. To us, the Mate 10 feels slightly thicker and slightly wider than the Mate 10 Pro, but is perhaps more versatile with a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot to compensate for its 64GB onboard storage.

More importantly it shares the same Kirin 970 processor and camera system as the Mate 10 Pro (and the Porsche Design Mate 10) so its photography features are identical.

While the Mate 10 series has a dual camera system, Huawei has continued to utilize a 12-megapixel main sensor and a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor, both featuring Leica SUMMILUX-H lens with impressive f/1.6 apertures. The logic behind the two different sensors is that for digital image compositing the device’s GPU has two different image sources – one for RGB colour (red, green & blue) and the other for monochrome (black & white) to provide light information. Both cameras are also used for the Mate 10’s lossless zoom feature.

The Mate 10’s camera interface has a number of interesting features. On the top bar to the right of the flash setting there’s an Aperture mode that lets you set the camera aperture from 0.95 to 16. To the right is the Beauty Mode that lets you not only set ‘Beauty Level’ from zero to 10 but also enable ‘Artistic Bokeh’. The circular icon is to take Moving Pictures – the camera starts snapping before you press the shutter button to give you burst of photos that’s handy for action shots.
The Mate 10 uses its AI features to automatically ‘sense’ the subjects in images and activate presets. In this case this realistic toy stuff cat has been detected as a ‘cat’ (see the kitty icon?).

Hands-on the Google Pixel 2 XL

Pricing: See Singtel Pixel 2 site

Due 15 November 2017

Of the four smartphones the Google Pixel 2 XL was the one that ‘felt great’. It was not only the slimmest device of the four but also the had excellent proportions. More importantly, the Pixel 2 XL shuns the now obligatory glass on glass design for a coated aluminium unibody with Google’s signature ‘glass’ at the back, and the flat-black coating on our black Pixel 2 XL felt very grippy in the hand. Note that apart from screen size there’s no difference in specifications between the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

The Pixel 2 XL only has one main camera, a 12.2-megapixel snapper, which Google rates as the best in the world. The sensor has an aperture of f1.8 and uses Dual Pixel autofocusing technology.

From left to right: Image mode: Lets you swap to slow motion video, panorama, photo sphere or portrait. Timer: Activate a 3 second or 10 second timer. Motion mode: Activate to shot a fast series of images every time you press the shutter button. Grids: To help image composition you can use 3×3, 4×4 or Golden Ratio grids. Colour Temperature: you can choose presets for cloudy or sunny days, and fluorescent or tungsten lights.

 

Once you’ve taken a picture, you can then use Google Lens to find out more!

 

Next page: Our hands-on the Apple iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note8

Shawn Chung
The Editor

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