Google has just presented its latest smartphone Pixel 4, after weeks of leaks. There is a new face unlock function, a high-frequency refresh screen, a faster Google Assistant and a spatial awareness using radar. All those improvements look great, and you should check our complete practice for all the details. But Pixel is synonymous with photography, so I wanted to see how Pixel 4 did against Apple's iPhone 11 Pro.
Google's Pixel devices have been the best in smartphone photography for years, but the strong Android competition from Huawei, Samsung, and others have recently challenged the Pixel's camera. We even called the latest Apple iPhone 11 Pro camera the best in the market in our review last month, so the Pixel 4 now has serious competition to beat.
Today I went out to the streets of London to test the Pixel 4. and iPhone 11 Pro side by side. I took all the photos at the same time, as close as possible to get an identical image simply by using the automatic mode in both built-in camera applications. These photos were taken mainly with natural light and on a sunny and cloudy day.
We will not test the astrophotography function in Night Sight or the high quality zoom included in the Pixel 4, as we will have a review with these features soon. We wanted to provide some real-world side-by-side shots to compare before that full review to get a better idea of what both cameras can do. Stay tuned for a full in-depth review where we will go deeper.
I started in a typical London park, choosing the light between the trees and capturing a stealthy cyclist who managed to avoid the lens of the iPhone 11 Pro. Both phones do a great job of capturing natural light through trees, shadows and a bit of lens flare.
Next, I wanted to try something with some color mixed with lots of natural light that floods the Greenwich market during the day. You will notice that the Pixel 4 does a much better job of balancing the ceiling light here, with much less saturation than the iPhone.
One of the most revealing and interesting photos I have taken today is of a simple fluffy yellow cushion. You will notice that the yellow fluff looks much sharper on the iPhone 11 Pro (on the right) when you zoom. On the screen of a phone, it is difficult to see the differences until you zoom.
Next, it's time for some human hair and face shots. The Pixel 4 does a much better job capturing my face, beard and skin details. The colors are a bit cold and dark, but the iPhone is too warm. I prefer the detail and color in the Pixel 4.
When it comes to human hair, we will have to do many tests on a variety of lights. conditions, but the Pixel 4 does a better job of getting the right color in our sample shots. However, the detail is very similar once you zoom in both photos.
I will leave you with some more images that you really need to enlarge to see the differences . The performance between the two during the day is quite similar at first glance. In general, you will notice that it is difficult to choose between the two unless you make an approach to get more details. Apple's iPhone 11 Pro looks constantly more saturated with cooler tones, while the Pixel 4 opts for contrast in most shots and often looks warmer.
We will test Pixel 4 completely in the next few days, so stay tuned for a full review and many more sample photos.
Photograph by Tom Warren / The Verge