Camera Shootouts

$100 Phone vs $900 Phone: Camera Shootout

Does paying 9X more mean 9X better photos?

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Here’s something you don’t see us do very often: comparing one of the best smartphone cameras available in the market today with one of the cheapest but not necessarily worst.

The chosen contenders in this shootout are single-camera phones, namely the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Xiaomi Redmi 5A. The former sells for around US$ 900 almost anywhere in the world except for the US where it’s much cheaper, and the latter is more or less US$ 100 in Asia and some parts of Europe.

In previous similar comparisons, we used phones that had US$ 200 to US$ 650 price gaps; this time we’re comparing phones with a huge US$ 800 difference. While it’s obvious that Samsung’s flagship has top-of-the-line specs and is one of the most feature-rich phones out there, we are curious to see if its camera is nine times better than Xiaomi’s budget offering, given its steep price tag.

Get your pen and paper ready because this is a blind test. All photos were taken in Auto Mode and were not edited. They are labeled Photo A and Photo B randomly. Swipe left to see the photos in full and take note of your picks.

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And that’s it! Are you ready to see what phone you picked for each set? Here they are:

#1
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#2
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#3
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

#4
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#5
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#6
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

#7
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

#8
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#9
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

#10
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#11
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#12
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

#13
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#14
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

#15
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

#16
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

After several other comparisons in the past, we know by now that when it comes to at least daytime scenes, any two smartphone cameras will be comparable, and the same can be said about this shootout. We just didn’t expect it would be a close fight between the Galaxy S9 and Redmi 5A even for indoor and low-light shots like numbers 8 to 12.

There are, of course, little things that a comparison cannot show by just putting two photos side by side. The Galaxy S9 focuses and shoots much faster than the Redmi 5A in all scenarios. It took several tries for the Redmi 5A to produce a good photo while the S9 more often than not would get it right the first time. It’s important to note, however, that the S9 sharpens and makes some photos warmer than in real life, as can be seen in the food and portrait shots.

Overall, the Galaxy S9 is still the better camera, no doubt. But if there’s one thing we learned, it’s that when it comes to still images, you no longer need to spend all of your hard-earned savings for capturing moments you want to remember. The Redmi 5A will give you comparable results as a smartphone camera worth nine times its price tag.

As the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have in your pocket, and in this case, the one your pocket can afford.

Camera Shootouts

OPPO F9 vs Vivo V11: Camera Shootout

Which midrange contender comes out on top?

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Two brands that impressed us this year with their unconventional take on the borderless design are OPPO and Vivo. These two are always neck and neck when it comes to performance, design, and even cameras. So in this video, we set out to find which of these midrange contenders takes better photos.

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Camera Shootouts

iPhone XS vs Pixel 2: Camera shootout

Which smartphone camera comes out on top?

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As the iPhone XS starts to roll out to more markets across the globe, we’re doing another camera comparison here at GadgetMatch to see whether Apple’s best offering has what it takes to compete against one of the best smartphone cameras today: Google’s Pixel 2.

This year’s upgrades are merely incremental. But, while reviewing the iPhone XS last week, we noticed how much better it already is compared to its predecessor, the iPhone X. It has a bigger image sensor that should help with low-light performance.

In terms of hardware, the iPhone XS has a slight advantage over the Pixel 2 as it has two main cameras — one wide angle and one telephoto — but in this comparison we only used the main cameras of both phones to level the playing field. The iPhone XS also uses both lenses when taking portraits, while the Pixel 2 uses computational photography, which is possible thanks to the amount of data Google has collected over the years.

This is a blind test so get your pen and paper ready! Do note that all photos were taken on Auto or Portrait mode (when applicable) and have only been resized for faster loading times. They are labeled Photo A and Photo B randomly. Swipe left to see the photos in full and take note of your picks!

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Are you ready to see which phone took your picks? Here’s the answer sheet:

#1
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

#2
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#3
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#4
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

#5
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#6
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#7
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

#8
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#9
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#10
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

#11
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

#12
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#13
A: iPhone XS
B: Pixel 2

#14
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

#15
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

#16
A: Pixel 2
B: iPhone XS

There’s no denying how close the performance of both smartphones are. Even at almost a year old, the Pixel 2’s photos look just as good compared to those of the new iPhone XS.

One new feature that Apple is not hyping so much, but everyone is raving about, is Smart HDR. In the comparison, we can see this at work in backlit photos featuring our Chief Content Creator Michael Josh, and in low light. Google has a similar technology called HDR+, although the iPhone XS’ Smart HDR works slightly better.

When it comes to the portrait mode, the Pixel 2 does cutouts much cleaner, although in the photo featuring our Her GadgetMatch editor Isa, it thinks that the pillows behind her are part of the subject. The iPhone XS also produced a warmer image here. In the selfie portrait, it’s the Pixel 2 that produced the warmer image, making the blue wall behind me look less blue than in real life.

What do you think of this comparison? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Camera Shootouts

OPPO F9 vs Vivo V11: Camera shootout

The rivalry is on!

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OPPO and Vivo’s newest midrange contenders are now in the market, and as usual we’re here to pit them against one another.

The OPPO F9 sports a bigger display and what OPPO calls the water drop notch, but with similar internals as its predecessor, the F7. The Vivo V11 also gets the smaller notch treatment, but boasts a higher-end processor and in-display fingerprint reader compared to the V9.

What we’re curious to see, now that we’ve reviewed both devices, is which one takes better photos. We took the F9 and V11 with us as we sought to find out what the city of Berlin, Germany has to offer.

Get your pen and paper ready because we’ve prepared another blind test here at GadgetMatch. All photos were taken in Auto Mode and have only been resized for faster loading times. They are labeled Photo A and Photo B randomly. Swipe left to see the photos in full and take note of your picks.

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Are you ready to see which phone took the photos you picked? Here’s the answer sheet:

#1
A: OPPO F9
B: Vivo V11

#2
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

#3
A: OPPO F9
B: Vivo V11

#4
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

#5
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

#6
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

#7
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

#8
A: OPPO F9
B: Vivo V11

#9
A: OPPO F9
B: Vivo V11

#10
A: OPPO F9
B: Vivo V11

#11
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

#12
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

#13
A: OPPO F9
B: Vivo V11

#14
A: Vivo V11
B: OPPO F9

In most instances I prefer Vivo V11’s photos better than those of the OPPO F9’s. They’re more detailed, vibrant, the camera’s HDR capabilities do really well in backlit scenarios — something I also experienced on the Vivo NEX — and portrait cutouts are also more precise.

The OPPO F9 also visibly struggled to take clear shots compared to the V11 in scenarios without bright sunlight. If there’s one thing I didn’t like about the V11, it’s the way it tends to oversaturate scenes that it detects as “food” or “flower.”

What do you think of this comparison? Are you upgrading to any of these devices? Let us know in the comments below.

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