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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Google last week announced its newest flagship smartphones, the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4XL, both of which are meant to compete with the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, Apple's newest devices launched in September.

In our latest YouTube video, we went hands-on with a Pixel 4XL and an iPhone 11 Pro Max to compare the cameras in the two devices to see how they measure up against one another.

Both the Pixel 4XL and the iPhone 11 Pro have impressive cameras, and when it comes to standard shots taken with the rear-facing image, there's little difference in quality. Both smartphones are producing some great images, though the iPhone 11 Pro Max tends to create images with a cooler tone while the Pixel 4XL has a warmer overall tone.


Each smartphone does well with highlights and shadows, but the Pixel 4XL has a feature for adjusting these settings in real time while they need to be post processed on the iPhone. The iPhone does have one edge - a third ultra wide-angle camera lens. The Pixel 4XL is limited to two cameras, a standard wide-angle and a telephoto lens, so it can't quite match the capabilities of the iPhone 11 Pro Max.


Google pioneered Night Sight (the equivalent of the iPhone's Night Mode) last year, and the feature continues to be impressive this year. Night Side and Night Mode are quite similar, and it's tough to pick a clear winner for low-light photos. The iPhone 11 Pro Max tends to produce photos that look a bit more natural, while the Pixel 4XL offers up sharper, more vibrant night time images that sometimes have blown out highlights.


When comparing Portrait Mode, the Pixel 4XL seems to produce sharper images and it has superior edge detection in most cases. It's imperfect and there are times that the iPhone wins out, but in most of our test images, the Pixel 4XL does a better job with Portrait Mode photos.


For the front-facing camera, the Pixel 4XL has a new wide-angle lens that can capture more around you, plus it produces some super sharp photos, especially in Portrait Mode. There's an option for a wider-angle field of view with the iPhone's camera too, but the images from the Pixel 4XL appear to be just a bit better even though they have a warmer tone.


The Pixel 4XL has a Night Sight option for the front-facing camera, which gives it an edge over the front-facing camera of the iPhone 11 Pro Max as it can take better selfies in low lighting conditions.

When it comes to video, the iPhone 11 Pro Max wins. Google appears to have focused more on photo quality than video quality, and both the front and rear-facing cameras are a bit lacking. The Pixel 4XL supports 4K video but maxes out at 30 frames per second, while the iPhone 11 Pro Max supports 60 frames per second. Both have solid stabilization capabilities, but the iPhone 11 Pro has a preferable color profile and look compared to the Pixel 4XL.


All in all, both of these smartphones have high-quality cameras capable of producing some impressive images, which makes it difficult to choose a clear winner. Preference is generally going to come down to platform choice and small aesthetic differences between features like color profile.

Which smartphone's camera do you prefer? iPhone 11 Pro Max or Pixel 4XL? Let us know in the comments.

Article Link: Camera Comparison: Google Pixel 4XL vs. iPhone 11 Pro Max
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macrumors 68020
Jan 10, 2005

Pixel 4 still wins in some small narrow areas, but no longer most. The areas they do win in are by an incredibly small margin now, small enough almost no one would care about the difference and the areas they lose in range from small to HUGE now like the lack of a wide angle camera and simply terrible video vs. iPhone which all means that iPhone 11 Pro wins overall easily.
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macrumors newbie
Oct 17, 2016
I'm really tired of these macrumors comparisons ending the same way, saying that they can't pick a winner and it comes down to platform preference. Grow a pair and make a decision for once.

Dan in 2019: "It's not consistent enough for me to say that if you want the best camera, period, than go with the Pixel 4, which is something I could do last year with the Pixel 3."

Uhhh, no you didn't.

Dan's Pixel 3 comparison in 2018: "The camera systems in the iPhone XS Max and Google Pixel 3 XL both have their strengths and weaknesses, but when it comes down to it, both are so good that determining which one is better is a matter of preference."
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macrumors 68030
Jan 6, 2015
Just for perspective, I would love it if they'd include a $500 DSLR in the mix. Yes, I get that a phone in your pocket beats a DSLR in your closet at home, but just show what that different league looks like at print resolution. These phone camera comparisons are so silly next to how good "good" is.


Aug 1, 2010
I'm really tired of these macrumors comparisons ending the same way, saying that they can't pick a winner and it comes down to platform preference. Grow a pair and make a decision for once.
Oh my god—I’m so with you on this, and it’s not just Macrumors that does it. ALL tech sites do this these days. Almost every comparison ends with “Who’s to say? Ultimately YOU decide what’s best for you!”
If you’re not going to make a decision, then why write a comparison article??


macrumors Penryn
Nov 14, 2011
In my opinion both cameras are very good. So the decision comes down to which operating system/ecosystem do you prefer.


macrumors demi-god
Jul 3, 2010
In my opinion both cameras are very good. So the decision comes down to which operating system/ecosystem do you prefer.

The one that does widescreen works best for me.... (several other reasons, but thats for another thread)
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macrumors 6502a
Oct 31, 2018
Toronto, Canada
Both of these phones do massive amounts of digital processing on the images. You can literally take two photos after one another of the exact same thing and they will look different because the phones decided to do the processing a bit differently because a few pixels were darker...

I don’t even know how you can truly compare smart phone cameras... they are so inconsistent.

All of the pictures posted to this story look good, but the question is, how many shots did it take to get these?
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