Digital camera shootout: Google Pixel 5 examined vs the perfect Android digicam telephones

Google has a fame as among the best telephone digicam corporations within the enterprise, however can the search large maintain on to that fame in 2020? The Google Pixel 5 sticks makes use of the identical previous principal sensor as final 12 months’s Pixel 4, whereas additionally ditching telephoto capabilities for a wide-angle lens. It’s a really conservative strategy within the fashionable age of quad-lenses and experimental sensors. It’s going to be an uphill battle in opposition to its rivals.

We’re endeavor a four-way shootout this time, pitting the Google Pixel 5 in opposition to three of the perfect digicam telephones of the 12 months: the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus, Huawei P40 Pro, and the Sony Xperia 5 II. With the Pixel 5 arriving at a way more inexpensive value level than its rivals, can it nonetheless provide a aggressive digicam expertise? Let’s discover out.

If you wish to study the leads to nearer element, you’ll find the full-res shots in this Google Drive folder.

Our verdict: Google Pixel 5 review

Digital camera specs

  Google Pixel 5 Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Huawei P40 Professional Sony Xperia 5 II
Principal Digital camera 12.2 megapixels
f/1.7 aperture
1/2.55-inch sensor
Twin Pixel PDAF, OIS
12 megapixels
f/1.8 aperture
1/1.76-inch sensor
Twin Pixel PDAF, OIS
50 megapixels (12.5MP binned)
f/1.9 aperture
1/1.28-inch sensor
Omnidirectional PDAF, OIS, RYYB
12 megapixels
f/1.7 aperture
1/1.7-inch sensor
Twin Pixel PDAF, OIS
Secondary digicam 107˚ wide-angle
16 megapixel
f/2.2 aperture
12 megapixels
f/2.2 aperture
40 megapixels (10MP binned)
f/1.8 aperture
1/1.54-inch sensor
124˚ wide-angle
12 megapixels
f/2.2 aperture
1/2.55-inch sensor
Twin Pixel PDAF
Third digicam 3x hybrid zoom
64 megapixels (16MP binned)
f/2.0 aperture
1/1.72-inch sensor
5x telephoto zoom
12 megapixels
f/3.4 aperture
3x optical zoom
12 megapixels
f/2.4 aperture
1/3.4-inch sensor
Fourth digicam Depth (time-of-flight)
0.3 megapixels
Depth (time-of-flight)

Shade stability and publicity

Let’s begin with the quintessential features of any good image. Shade, publicity, and white stability.

We all know what to anticipate from these corporations in the case of coloration processing. Samsung closely saturates for extra pop, however outcomes don’t look very lifelike. Sony goals for pure, muted colours, though this could seem boring in locations. Google and Huawei sit someplace within the center, aiming for realism however typically including in a small increase to intensify some scenes.

This actually is a case of private choice. I lean in direction of Sony’s strategy.

Shade temperature varies so much between all 4 telephones. The Xperia 5 II prefers a cooler pallet, which performs to its lifelike look, whereas the Galaxy S20 Plus is by far the warmest. The Pixel 5 sits extra conservatively within the center, as does the P40 Professional. Though Huawei has probably the most dynamic strategy, switching up its coloration temperature based mostly on the scene’s contents — see the nice and cozy vs chilly hues above and under, respectively.

Publicity-wise, Google is unquestionably probably the most constant and properly balanced. Samsung’s photos typically have clipped highlights as a part of its saturated look, and Huawei’s digicam additionally often overexposes to assist pump up its colours. Sony’s publicity is extra hit or miss, typically over, typically below. I ended up with loads of snaps that weren’t fairly proper, as you’ll see in a while.

Images phrases defined: ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and more

Google Pixel 5: Wonderful publicity and lifelike colours. No complaints.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Oversaturated colours and clipped highlights, typical Samsung. Undoubtedly not lifelike.

Huawei P40 Professional: Colours often dial up a notch too far however in any other case nice with glorious white stability. Principally good publicity too.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Most lifelike colours out of the 4, however rather more hit or miss publicity. Coolest white stability.

Cropping in on particulars

Shifting on to particulars, all 4 cameras look nice at shut and medium vary. Though even right here we are able to see that Huawei produces the softest, most lifelike particulars. Nevertheless, the P40 Professional has the annoying behavior of routinely switching to the wide-angle digicam for macro photographs. This lens captures far much less detain than the primary sensor and I want this characteristic may very well be disabled.

Cropping into longer distances highlights the variations. Sony gives the least element however fortunately avoids heavy processing to compensate. In consequence, it nonetheless appears fairly good general. Samsung captures a bit extra element however photos seem a bit oversharp in locations. Google’s particulars look like touched up too however there’s no denying that the extent of element in brilliant daylight is phenomenal.

Huawei is the softest and most natural-looking of the 4, though the outcomes are maybe a bit too tender in locations. An ideal end result can be someplace between Google’s and Huawei’s photos. Nevertheless, in lower than very best lighting conditions, the Pixel 5’s venerable {hardware} begins to point out its age as noise rapidly creeps in. This has a knock-on impact for wonderful particulars however definitely received’t spoil the final look of your footage.

The Pixel 5’s outcomes nonetheless look acceptable general, however Huawei and Samsung overtake within the final situation. Significantly in the case of noise discount, which you’ll see on the wood floor. Huawei appears probably the most lifelike — other than the nice and cozy tint — with Samsung resolving a fraction extra noise. The Xperia 5 II once more struggles probably the most with wonderful particulars in much less very best lighting. With regards to selecting the perfect for element, it’s a toss-up between the Pixel 5 and Huawei P40 Professional relying on the precise shot.

Google Pixel 5: Nice particulars in daylight, poorer in low gentle.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Constantly good particulars, however 100% crops are a tad over-processed.

Huawei P40 Professional: Softest post-processing for glorious element that holds up finest in low gentle.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Respectable element in good gentle, however the weakest of the 4 general. Not unhealthy general, simply not distinctive.

HDR processing

Google helped pioneer fashionable smartphone HDR processing, so we’d count on good efficiency right here.

On this first instance, all 4 stability the image fairly properly. The Xperia 5 II is a bit washed out and provides in a bit an excessive amount of blue into the overcast sky. Samsung once more overpumps the colours and injects much more faux blue sky, which simply wasn’t there. Huawei is just about spot on.

See additionally: The best Android camera phones you can get

The Pixel 5 is definitely the worst of the bunch. First, the sky clips, in contrast to Huawei and Sony’s efforts. You may’t make out the clouds in any respect. Extra alarming is the noise current within the darker portion of the picture, equivalent to the underside left. It’s a powerful sufficient impact to note at full body.

This second instance is even worse. I don’t fairly know what’s gone on with Google’s HDR algorithm right here. It’s a very tough shot to stability the brilliant solar with the darkish barn inside, and each the Pixel 5 and Galaxy S20 Plus undergo from some bloom. However the sheer quantity of grain and noise on this daylight situation level to a processing situation with Google’s telephone. Particularly as I’d taken a special shot moments earlier than that turned out wonderful.

Wanting on the different telephones, Huawei and Sony hand in probably the most lifelike picture and properly balanced dynamic vary. The latter really has the higher depth and shadows this time, suggesting some software program tweaks since I tested the Sony Xperia 1 II. The Galaxy S20 Plus appears tremendous vivid, however that is nothing like the true scene.

Subsequent, I wish to draw your consideration to one thing within the following two pattern units. The Google Pixel 5 suffers badly from chromatic aberration (the purple hue seen in between the tree leaves). The Huawei P40 Professional has the identical drawback, however the impact is proscribed to the higher left nook of the lens. The Galaxy and Xperia handsets haven’t any such situation. As soon as once more, shadow noise rears its head within the Pixel 5’s photographs.

General, it’s fairly onerous to select which is finest for HDR. The Pixel 5 has main points I actually didn’t count on from a Google handset. Shadow noise and lens distortion detract from an in any other case properly balanced HDR algorithm. Huawei balances highlights the perfect, however shadows can come out too darkish. A few of Sony’s HDR photographs look too washed out, whereas Samsung’s look synthetic.

Google Pixel 5: Good publicity, however very noisy shadows and noticeable lens distortion points with brilliant highlights. Lengthy processing time.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Oversaturated colours and spotlight clipping maintain again an in any other case glorious HDR implementation.

Huawei P40 Professional: Typically stable HDR with very quick processing. Sadly, small indicators of lens distortion are noticeable.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Good HDR capabilities, however processing and settling occasions are longer than the competitors. Publicity is hit or miss.

Bokeh and portraits

The Huawei P40 Professional and Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus characteristic devoted time-of-flight sensors to calculate depth info. So we’d assume these handsets have a built-in benefit, however let’s discover out.

For daring shapes, edge detection is fairly good throughout all 4 telephones. Nevertheless, be aware how the Xperia 5 II is a bit confused with the advanced textures within the hole between the statue and the white field within the picture under and doesn’t blur the reflection on the left sufficient. The Pixel 5 additionally misses the sting of the white field and blends the background and foreground on the left incorrectly. Huawei blurs this space slightly oddly too, so reflections are clearly very tough.

When it comes to blur high quality, Samsung is a bit too harsh for my style, smearing slightly than softening in locations. Google, Huawei, and Sony produce a extra pure bokeh. Though I give the nod to Huawei and Sony who roll-off extra naturally, versus the Pixel 5’s tougher cut-off and stronger blur. Nonetheless, all three look fairly good.

Irritatingly, Sony doesn’t allow you to zoom in or out whereas utilizing the bokeh mode and likewise calls for that you simply stand 1.5m away out of your goal. Whereas all the different cameras default to a 2x zoom for nearer portraits and aren’t so choosy about topic distance.

Portraits are trickier to seize precisely, particularly if you happen to’re rocking a lockdown haircut. Right here we see that the Pixel 5 and Xperia 5 II wrestle with stray hairs. The Xperia 5 II clearly misses the ToF sensor from the Xperia 1 II. The Galaxy S20 Plus grabs a lot of the stray edges, whereas the Huawei P40 Professional is just about flawless. Huawei additionally produces probably the most detailed portrait. The S20 Plus is smudged, Pixel 5 has good tones however is slightly grainy, whereas Sony’s is blown out.

Google Pixel 5: Affordable edge detection and good high quality blur. Struggles with free hairs and the portrait is grainy.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Stable edge detection however not the nicest wanting blur. Smudges portrait particulars for an excessively tender look.

Huawei P40 Professional: Finest general bokeh photos. Gives the perfect edge detection, good wanting blur, and glorious portrait particulars.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Lack of zoom makes it tough to take portraits. Not nice edge detection however good blur high quality and OK portrait element.


All 4 telephones additionally characteristic ultra-wide cameras, albeit with various specs and viewing angles. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus offers the widest subject of view to suit extra in, adopted by the Sony Xperia 5 II. Don’t let Huawei’s 16:9 facet ratio idiot you, it’s just about a match for the Pixel 5’s equally slender subject of view.

When it comes to high quality, the Huawei P40 Professional offers the crispest, most color-accurate, and detailed photos. Though cropping in on a wide-angle shot defeats the aim, there’s one thing to be stated for element retention and focus. Google’s Pixel 5 performs by far the worst on this regard, with a hard and fast point of interest that’s typically out-of-focus. The Xperia 5 II and Galaxy S20 Plus are comparable for element within the body’s heart, however Sony’s telephone suffers from extra edge distortion.

Sadly, Google’s often glorious colours don’t carry over to the wide-angle lens. The outcomes are extra washed out than the primary sensor. There are additionally a couple of indicators of chromatic aberration (purple halos) as soon as once more, and the lens is extra distorted than its rivals that supply wider fields of view. Not superb.

Associated: The best budget camera phones you can buy

The Xperia 5 II’s colours are lifelike sufficient, though the second image is unquestionably underexposed. This leaves us with the Galaxy S20 Plus and Huawei P40 Professional as probably the most appetizing to take a look at.

General, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus offers the perfect wide-angle expertise. Not solely does it provide the widest subject of view, however its element retention and colours (bar the standard oversaturation) are cheap too. The Huawei P40 Professional is by far the perfect by way of picture high quality, however the lens isn’t fairly extensive sufficient. The Xperia 5 II is practical, whereas Google’s wide-angle digicam is primary at finest.

Google Pixel 5: Out of focus, washed-out colours, and relatively slender field-of-view. Decidedly lower-end capabilities.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Widest subject of view and first rate particulars make it the perfect wide-angle lens general.

Huawei P40 Professional: By far the perfect particulars and focus, with good colours and no distortion. Only a disgrace the lens isn’t wider.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Huge subject of view with good colours. However focus and particulars aren’t sharp, particularly away from the body’s heart.

Zooming in

At full-frame, all the cameras look superb as much as 3x, and the Huawei P40 Professional, with its periscope digicam, gives the highest quality at excessive ranges past 5x. Sadly, the Pixel 5’s lack of zoom {hardware} begins to inform at about 3x, rendering it fairly ineffective past that. Samsung retains first rate high quality out to 5x. The Xperia 5 II arms in an excellent efficiency between 3x and 4x. Sadly, the 2x pattern is a reasonably poor high quality upscale from the primary sensor on shut inspection.

Digital camera zoom defined: How optical, digital, and hybrid zoom work

Shade, white stability, and publicity are good when zooming in with all 4 of those telephones. Nevertheless, there’s a noticeable bump in high quality and alter in lighting when the Huawei P40 Professional’s 5x periscope digicam kicks in. The samples under additionally showcase the inconsistent high quality under 5x for this setup in comparison with the telephoto lenses from Samsung and Sony. Though to seize such a shot you’d clearly zoom in additional to activate the periscope digicam, slightly than crop in like I’ve to showcase the post-processing.

At quick distances, the Samsung Galaxy S20+ produces the perfect wanting and most constant outcomes, adopted by the Sony Xperia 5 II (which struggles at 2x). Nearer inspection of the Google Pixel 5 doesn’t look superb, though it manages to retain extra element than Huawei within the instance above. So chalk that up as a win for Google’s Tremendous Res Zoom know-how.

In the meantime, solely Huawei gives first rate picture high quality when stretched proper the way in which out at 7x. Samsung appears satisfactory right here, albeit with a closely processed look. Softer processing from the Xperia 5 II appears a bit extra pleasing to the attention on the expense of element. Sony’s telephone would have exceeded expectations, if not for the poor high quality at 2x. None of those telephones contact the Huawei P40 Professional at ultra-long vary.

Google Pixel 5: Tremendous Res Zoom appears OK out to 3x, however the absence of telephoto {hardware} holds again high quality and distance.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Fairly constant zoom high quality with full-frame photos that maintain up properly to about 5x. Crops look closely processed, nonetheless.

Huawei P40 Professional: Hit or miss efficiency and heavy processing round 3x resulting from longer vary {hardware}. By far the highest quality at 5x and past.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Minimal processing appears very pure. Particulars are hit or miss, particularly at 2x and past 4x, however full-frame holds up properly. Pinch zoom doesn’t toggle the telephoto lens routinely.

Low gentle and evening mode

Not like the opposite three handsets, Sony’s Xperia 5 II doesn’t provide a devoted low gentle capturing mode. As a substitute, it should routinely improve the shutter time for you in low gentle conditions. As I’ve famous prior to now, you seldom want the Huawei P40 Professional’s evening mode. The default mode takes footage a lot sooner and tends to provide sharper-looking outcomes.

In low gentle, all 4 telephones carry out very properly. Though the Pixel 5 and P40 Professional are the brightest. So long as your arms are regular, there’s no noticeable blur, loads of publicity, and even some cheap colours from all the telephones. Google’s white stability is a bit too cool for the primary scene’s heat gentle. Nevertheless, the telephone captures the sharpest picture and most dynamic colours, in trade for a bit extra noise on the body’s edges.

Out within the pitch black, there’s a much bigger distinction between the handsets. The Xperia 5 II struggled to focus however finally produced a shot with first rate colours and stability. Though the sensor struggles to pick significant particulars and is sort of noisy in such low gentle. It’s clear that Google’s Evening Sight algorithm produces the perfect white stability and colours, and the noise isn’t as unhealthy as Sony’s sensor. The P40 Professional gives the perfect element with out utilizing Evening mode and has OK dynamic vary, however the inexperienced tint is fallacious. Likewise, Samsung’s coloration stability is just a bit too heat (the sunshine is yellow slightly than orange) nevertheless it captures marginally extra element than the Pixel 5.

Google Pixel 5: Wonderful colours and white stability consistency. The small sensor punches above its weight, however noise is clear.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Works properly to brighten scenes whereas preserving particulars. White stability isn’t nearly as good as Google or Sony.

Huawei P40 Professional: Evening mode leads to much less element than a regular shot. Publicity is nice, particulars maintain up OK, however the white stability is extra hit or miss.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Wonderful white stability and good colours, however the sensor struggles for element and focus in very low gentle.

Google Pixel 5 vs the perfect Android cameras: The decision

Google Pixel 5 vs Huawei P40 Pro vs Sony Xperia 5 II vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

Testing 4 of the trade’s most coveted smartphone digicam packages has yielded some surprises and some insights into the way in which the cell images trade has moved over the course of 2020. All 4 handsets are able to taking some glorious footage, however all of them have their very own points as properly. It’s these issues that may probably assist nail down which handset is finest for you.

If I needed to decide a winner, my preferences fall between the Huawei P40 Professional and the Sony Xperia 5 II. However your decide will rely in your images necessities. That will help you determine I’ve put collectively a fast recap for every telephone, in no specific order.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: We all know what to anticipate from Samsung nowadays — a usually stable digicam bundle with an excessive coloration pallet. If you happen to can stay with the punchiness, the Galaxy S20 Plus is probably the most constant digicam bundle right here. It gives the perfect wide-angle expertise and first rate zoom, albeit with a touch an excessive amount of processing for my tastes. Nonetheless, there isn’t a situation this telephone can’t deal with, even when it’s not the best possible in the case of picture high quality.

Huawei P40 Professional: Huawei has the fame to beat, however the P40 Pro just isn’t a hands-down winner. It gives the perfect wanting wide-angle photographs, however the lens is sort of slender. Equally, the periscope zoom is nice at lengthy vary, however much less so nearer up. With regards to high quality, the Huawei P40 Professional can hand in the perfect photos of any smartphone. Significantly in the case of lifelike particulars, portraits, and tender bokeh. Nevertheless, some photographs nonetheless undergo from crimson tint or under-exposure. It’s a really superb digicam bundle, however not flawless.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Sony’s Xperia 5 ii produces the perfect colours, gives stable HDR, and takes a tender strategy to post-processing for pleasingly lifelike outcomes. However its sensor is a bit behind the curve for wonderful particulars and messes up publicity way over its rivals. The wide-angle and telephoto outcomes look equally good at full-frame however have points on nearer inspection. Sony has put extra effort into options (like 20fps steady shot) on the expense of some picture high quality. However I’m fairly enthusiastic about the place Sony can take its cameras subsequent era.

Google Pixel 5: I’m way more combined on the Pixel 5. It nonetheless takes some nice snaps and stands out at the hours of darkness, however flaws within the older {hardware} have gotten extra apparent. Colours and publicity stay on the high of the pack, and element is nice in daylight. However the {hardware} is displaying its age in the case of HDR noise, zoom capabilities, and lens high quality. Equally, the wide-angle digicam falls far wanting what we count on from Google. The Pixel 5 is the most affordable of the bunch and is a succesful shooter for its value, however Google clearly isn’t preventing for first place this 12 months. That stated, I’m itching to see what Google might accomplish with newer digicam sensors.

That’s it for our in-depth take a look at the Pixel 5 vs the perfect Android digicam telephones. Which do you suppose got here out on high?

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