When Google launched its Pixel and Pixel XL phones on Oct. 4, it boldly declared that it is the best smartphone camera, period. It seems that this claim indeed holds water after a DxOMark review gave the Pixel a score of 89, its highest rating ever.
Based on overall evaluation, the site gave the Pixel excellent marks side by side the top camera smartphones available in the market today such as Samsung Galaxy S7, HTC 10 and Sony Xperia X.
According to Google, this rating achievement could be attributed to the f/2.0 aperture and big 1.55 micron pixels that purportedly capture a great deal of light. They are part of a camera technology that has been developed for the better part of last year by a team of photography gurus and imaging experts.
"Its image quality scores are impressive across the board, but it is particularly strong in providing a very high level of detail from its 12.3MP camera, with relatively low levels of noise for every tested lighting condition," DxOMark said. "It also provides accurate exposures with very good contrast and white balance, as well as fast autofocus."
Specific features that earned praise include the quality of the flash, the updated version of Google's HDR+ multi-image capability, autofocus, exposure and contrast, among others. DxOMark also noted that the device is capable of very good details and vivid colors. Google Pixel's camera also performed well in all lighting conditions.
"Our DxOMark Mobile score of 89 is a great example of what's possible when great hardware meets great software," Google said. "Pixel puts cutting-edge computational photography in an ultra-fast and easy-to-use camera."
Certainly, there are also aspects where the Pixel faltered. For example, there is the slight inconsistency in autofocus, which leads to some rare instances of blurry frames. There are also some color shading issues and a bit of exposure and white balance irregularities.
It is important to note that these "weaknesses" are merely issues that were considered inferior to what were seen in other premium camera phones. Additionally, a number of these can be fixed through a software update.
Overall, the Google Pixel's camera trounced the competition despite its shortcomings. It is ahead of the Galaxy S7 by one point, its closest competition so far. The iPhone 7 ranks third, the same position held by last year's Galaxy S6 with the score of 86. Pixel has even beaten the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, a DSLR that retails for at least $6,000. This camera managed to snag a score of 88.