Huawei with Leica, OnePlus with Hasselblad. Like many brands that have come before, vivo recently partnered with lens manufacturer Zeiss in an effort to level up its reputation as a bonafide smartphone camera champ.
We’ve always been cynical of these co-branding partnerships as being nothing more than a license to plaster a camera company’s logo on smartphones. Although, our experience made us a believer.
Before we do a deep dive on its cameras, let’s discuss the partnership first.
Vivo x Zeiss: What is it all about?
Zeiss claims one of the areas they partnered in has to do with Zeiss T* coating. This time around, all of the X70 Pro+’s cameras have this coating and Zeiss says it has to customize a recipe for each one, so it’s optimized for each lens.
The coating helps reduce the glare, ghosting, and imaging artifacts. Take a look at this example shot at the Barclays Center.
See how the X70 Pro+’s camera managed all that glare.
Now, let’s talk cameras and take a look at some samples.
First, the X70 Pro+ has four cameras: a 50-megapixel wide camera, a 48-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a 114-degree field of view (and with gimbal stabilization), a 12-megapixel telephoto camera with optical zoom, and an additional periscope camera with 5x optical zoom.
Regular 1x shots
Using the periscope
Taking selfies on its 32-megapixel selfie shooter
Performing against the Galaxy S21 Ultra
This is probably what you’ve been waiting for: a comparison of the vivo X70 Pro+ against the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Without further ado, let’s jump ahead. For easier comparison, all photos on the left were taken using the vivo X70 Pro+ while the photos on the right were shots from the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
These photos were shot during the day with the sun out, and the phones do well as expected.
Even in tricky situations such as against the light shots, where the HDR kicks in.
It’s the same on a gloomier day.
Low light is where we’ll see the most dramatic of differences, but first, let’s go indoors.
Admittedly, this wasn’t the most photogenic cocktail but the X70 Pro+ produced the most post-worthy shot.
And we like its photo best in this shot of the bar’s interior.
Next, dusk — right before the lovely blue hour.
This shot taken at Transmitter Park in Brooklyn could go either way. The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s photo is the brightest while the X70 Pro+ tones it down a little — keeping it bright but also keeping it as close to reality as possible.
Now, let’s add a human subject. The problem here is the X70 Pro+’s photo is too bright, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s is not very sharp.
That evening, we also stumbled on a very, very dimly lit bar. Think: heavily dark room with little to no lights.
Truly, the X70 Pro+ is a low-light master. Chay looked stunning and the room looked bright — something you couldn’t even see even with your naked eye. (Because the room is dark, remember?)
The Galaxy S21 Ultra managed to capture all the colors too, but at cost of noise. And when a face is involved — it’s not very flattering.
Although, personally, we wouldn’t post the shot taken using the X70 Pro+. It’s so good, it kind of takes away from the point of the photo.
That said, this is such a great example of how good of a low-light shooter this phone is.
Last shot at this bar without a human subject. The drink was a Piña Colada smoothie and it was white. Notice how the X70 Pro+ captured the condensation on the glass.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s shot was color accurate, but if you’ll zoom in to the upper right corner, you can see how noisy the S21 Ultra’s shot actually is.
You good? Crazy ‘no?
While comparing, here’s one last thing we want to show you. Thanks to its T star coating, notice these two shots taken in two different subway stations. Notice how the fluorescent lights aren’t as blown out on the X70 Pro+’s photos.
X70 Pro+ vs Galaxy S21 Ultra
Cameras aside, the X70 Pro+ directly goes after the Galaxy S21 Ultra. On paper, it’s got a resume that can go head-to-head with Samsung’s best.
6.8 / AMOLED / 120Hz
6.8 / AMOLED / 120Hz
If you look at this chart, you’ll see they’re pretty similar. The X70 Pro+ is at a slight advantage with its newer 888 Plus processor, which was launched last June way after the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s release. While the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a bigger battery.
They both offer a complement of cameras that, as you saw in the comparison, are competitive with one another. But the Periscope Camera on the Galaxy S21 Ultra can zoom further to 10x.
They both have things like IP68 water and dust resistance, and an under-display fingerprint scanner — both of which are fast and snappy.
Both have quick wired and wireless charging. The biggest leg up the Galaxy S21 Ultra has is support for the S-Pen, in case you want a phone that lets you use a stylus.
Is the vivo X70 Pro+ worth considering as your GadgetMatch?
Overall, vivo has built a solid challenger, delivering on the needs of hardcore users: a screen that’s great for content consumption be it watching movies or games; cameras that shoot well, especially in low light; and batteries that last longer and charge fast.
And in a world without Huawei — still suffering from the Google ban — and LG, which closed down its mobile phone business this year, vivo is the only other manufacturer that’s made a phone that can legitimately rival the best from Samsung.
Undoubtedly, the X70 Pro+ is one of the best Android phones you can buy today. Period. And for that, the phone deserves the GadgetMatch seal of approval.
For the full vivo X70 Pro+ review, watch our video on YouTube:
Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro: Camera shootout
Camera duel between two “Pro” smartphones from the same Chinese company
Xiaomi was the first to launch a 108MP-touting smartphone — the Mi Note 10 to be exact. Several years later, having a 108MP camera sensor in Android smartphones isn’t much of a big deal anymore. The Xiaomi 11T Pro and Mi 10T Pro are two of the smartphones in that list.
For tech nerds out there, the Mi 10T Pro packs an older Samsung ISOCELL HMX sensor just like the Mi 11 and Mi Note 10. Meanwhile, Samsung’s ISOCELL HM2 sensor is found on the newer 11T Pro and the 11T as well. For a better distinction, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is equipped with the higher-end HM3 sensor.
But does that guarantee the best in class photography experience on a “Pro” Xiaomi device? Let’s find out in the samples below.
Disclaimer: Just like our other camera shootouts, photos were collaged, resized, and labeled for faster loading and preview. No other manipulations were applied.
On paper, they both have different ultra-wide cameras: 13MP f/2.4 with 123-degree FoV on the Mi 10T Pro vs an 8MP f/2.2 120-degree UWA camera on the 11T Pro. But does the newer model perform better in this category?
High Dynamic Range (HDR)
This is the ability of the smartphone camera to process a situation and be able to give commendable image output displaying the right amount of highlights, shadows, and contrast overall.
Just a friendly reminder: Not all saturated photos are the accurate ones you see in real life.
People love taking food photos with their smartphones — but which one looks more true-to-life?
With a dedicated 5MP f/2.4 macro camera, portrait shots with better Depth of Field (or the ability to give creamier bokeh in layman’s term) should look better for the most part, but you be the judge.
Not the biggest selfie master but you can see the huge difference. You just have to pick which is which.
Both phones lack a dedicated telephoto zoom lens and heavily rely on digital cropping via its main lens — but the 11T Pro’s lack of OIS (which the Mi 10T Pro has) might be the biggest dealbreaker in this camera shootout segment.
#26 (Night 2x zoom)
Now that a night shot was introduced in the previous segment, it’s time for some thorough night shot comparison.
Xiaomi 11T Pro: Photo A
Xiaomi 10T Pro: Photo B
Google Pixel 2 XL: Photo C (Bonus part only)
Just like what I said in my Mi 11 vs Mi 10T Pro camera shootout, results vary (especially in saturation, AWB, HDR, and contrast) due to difference in software camera processing techniques and AI algorithms even if both are equipped with a large 108-megapixel camera sensor delivered varying image results. My Xiaomi 11T Pro review article also shared glimpses of how its cameras performed in day-to-day scenarios.
Moreover, the 2x telephoto zoom lens on the Xiaomi 11T Pro is mostly a miss. Not only did the lack of OIS degraded and made the image output a lot blurrier in comparison to the Mi 10T Pro, but it’s also a testament that not all newer phones are better — at least in the camera department. The 2017 flagship Google Pixel 2 XL can still keep up with the Night Mode competition despite having a Sony IMX362 sensor from 2016.
That being said, the Xiaomi 11T Pro and Mi 10T Pro are both capable smartphones. But if cameras are your main point of buying a new smartphone, you should really look elsewhere. The results are there, you just have to pick which is your best bet.
Pixel 6 vs iPhone 13 Pro: Camera shootout
Battle of the best smartphone cameras!
We’re back with another shootout! This time, we’ll be comparing two smartphones known best for taking natural shots that are close to reality. Raw images that will capture your sights the way you see them with your own eyes.
Here, we’ll see if the Pixel 6 can square up against the iPhone 13 Pro. Like our other shootouts, photos were only collaged, resized, and labeled for faster loading and preview. No other edits have been applied.
To make it easier for you, all photos labeled A were taken using the iPhone 13 Pro. Meanwhile, the photos labeled B were shot on the Pixel 6. Now, let’s start the fight!
If you observed closely, photos taken by the Pixel 6 during the day were well-lit, balanced, and seemed closer due to its focal length. The iPhone 13 Pro, on the other hand, produces vibrant photos that look social media ready.
Although, macro shots tend to be darker on the Pixel 6 as the processor focuses on sharpening the details rather than keeping a well-lit background.
For portraits, the phones aim to please different users. Some would prefer the sharpened, detailed, and wider portrait on the iPhone 13 Pro. However, in our Instagram poll, 61 percent picked the portrait taken by the Pixel 6. Perhaps because it looks pleasing to the naked eye. It looked softened and warm, and closer to a shot taken by a mirrorless camera.
Night shots are a close fight, though. Details are a priority when it comes to the Pixel, while vibrance and colors are a must for the iPhone. Meanwhile, night mode allows the Pixel to illuminate a dark room while the iPhone still tried to keep it as close to reality as possible.
As of the moment, I think it’s clear that in the camera department, the Pixel and the iPhones still reign supreme especially for the average users. Don’t try to bring in Sony’s Xperia here — that’s a different beast.
Pixel’s camera performance appeals to tech enthusiasts who’d love a camera that allows more room for flexibility. Where you can have the freedom to help you express yourself through photographs.
While the iPhone appeals to casual users who enjoy bright, processed, and detailed photos that helps them to live in the moment — uploading photos as is whenever they want.
I’m not saying that the Pixel and the iPhone are limited to enthusiasts and casual users respectively. Photographers, creatives, and other users who’d love to explore camera settings and modes know that both smartphones are equipped with the right tools to make something extraordinary out of nothing.
Take raw photos, adjust the settings, tinker around. When used by the right people, both the Pixel and the iPhone can be revolutionary beasts in the smartphone camera department. It’s proof that technology is evolving, and we can only look forward to what’s coming next.
Watch our iPhone 13 Pro review
iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max: Camera Shootout
Are there any significant improvements?
Apple says the new iPhone not only has an all-new wide sensor, but also an improved ultra-wide sensor with a wider aperture. Moreover, the telephoto zoom lens was bumped from 2.5x to 3x with a real Night Mode support.
But do the new camera sensors and features justify the need for this year’s iPhone? Or should you save your money and buy last year’s iPhone instead?
Watch our iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max ultimate camera shootout — now in 4K!
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