Google has a status as among the best telephone digital camera corporations within the enterprise, however can the search large maintain on to that status in 2020? The Google Pixel 5 sticks makes use of the identical previous predominant sensor as final yr’s Pixel 4, whereas additionally ditching telephoto capabilities for a wide-angle lens. It’s a really conservative strategy within the fashionable age of quad-lenses and experimental sensors. It’s going to be an uphill battle towards its rivals.

We’re endeavor a four-way shootout this time, pitting the Google Pixel 5 towards three of the perfect digital camera telephones of the yr: the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus, Huawei P40 Pro, and the Sony Xperia 5 II. With the Pixel 5 arriving at a way more inexpensive worth level than its rivals, can it nonetheless provide a aggressive digital camera expertise? Let’s discover out.

If you wish to study the leads to nearer element, you will discover the full-res shots in this Google Drive folder.

Our verdict: Google Pixel 5 review

Digital camera specs

  Google Pixel 5 Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Huawei P40 Professional Sony Xperia 5 II
Principal Digital camera 12.2 megapixels
f/1.7 aperture
1/2.55-inch sensor
Twin Pixel PDAF, OIS
12 megapixels
f/1.8 aperture
1/1.76-inch sensor
Twin Pixel PDAF, OIS
50 megapixels (12.5MP binned)
f/1.9 aperture
1/1.28-inch sensor
Omnidirectional PDAF, OIS, RYYB
12 megapixels
f/1.7 aperture
1/1.7-inch sensor
Twin Pixel PDAF, OIS
Secondary digital camera 107˚ wide-angle
16 megapixel
f/2.2 aperture
12 megapixels
f/2.2 aperture
40 megapixels (10MP binned)
f/1.8 aperture
1/1.54-inch sensor
124˚ wide-angle
12 megapixels
f/2.2 aperture
1/2.55-inch sensor
Twin Pixel PDAF
Third digital camera 3x hybrid zoom
64 megapixels (16MP binned)
f/2.0 aperture
1/1.72-inch sensor
5x telephoto zoom
12 megapixels
f/3.4 aperture
3x optical zoom
12 megapixels
f/2.4 aperture
1/3.4-inch sensor
Fourth digital camera Depth (time-of-flight)
0.3 megapixels
Depth (time-of-flight)

Colour steadiness and publicity

Let’s begin with the quintessential facets of any good image. Colour, publicity, and white steadiness.

We all know what to anticipate from these corporations in relation to coloration processing. Samsung closely saturates for extra pop, however outcomes don’t look very reasonable. Sony goals for pure, muted colours, though this could seem boring in locations. Google and Huawei sit someplace within the center, aiming for realism however generally including in a small increase to intensify some scenes.

This actually is a case of private desire. I lean in the direction of Sony’s strategy.

Colour temperature varies quite a bit between all 4 telephones. The Xperia 5 II prefers a cooler pallet, which performs to its reasonable look, whereas the Galaxy S20 Plus is by far the warmest. The Pixel 5 sits extra conservatively within the center, as does the P40 Professional. Though Huawei has essentially the most dynamic strategy, switching up its coloration temperature primarily based on the scene’s contents — see the nice and cozy vs chilly hues above and under, respectively.

Publicity-wise, Google is certainly essentially the most constant and nicely balanced. Samsung’s photographs typically have clipped highlights as a part of its saturated look, and Huawei’s digital camera additionally often overexposes to assist pump up its colours. Sony’s publicity is extra hit or miss, generally over, generally underneath. I ended up with plenty of snaps that weren’t fairly proper, as you’ll see afterward.

Pictures phrases defined: ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and more

Google Pixel 5: Glorious publicity and reasonable colours. No complaints.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Oversaturated colours and clipped highlights, typical Samsung. Positively not reasonable.

Huawei P40 Professional: Colours often dial up a notch too far however in any other case nice with wonderful white steadiness. Principally good publicity too.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Most reasonable colours out of the 4, however rather more hit or miss publicity. Coolest white steadiness.

Cropping in on particulars

Transferring on to particulars, all 4 cameras look nice at shut and medium vary. Though even right here we will see that Huawei produces the softest, most lifelike particulars. Nevertheless, the P40 Professional has the annoying behavior of mechanically switching to the wide-angle digital camera for macro pictures. This lens captures far much less detain than the principle sensor and I want this function could possibly be disabled.

Cropping into longer distances highlights the variations. Sony presents the least element however fortunately avoids heavy processing to compensate. Consequently, it nonetheless seems fairly good total. Samsung captures a little bit extra element however photographs seem a little bit oversharp in locations. Google’s particulars look like touched up too however there’s no denying that the extent of element in brilliant daylight is outstanding.

Huawei is the softest and most natural-looking of the 4, though the outcomes are maybe a bit too gentle in locations. An ideal consequence could be someplace between Google’s and Huawei’s photographs. Nevertheless, in lower than best lighting conditions, the Pixel 5’s venerable {hardware} begins to point out its age as noise rapidly creeps in. This has a knock-on impact for high-quality particulars however definitely received’t damage the final look of your photos.

The Pixel 5’s outcomes nonetheless look acceptable total, however Huawei and Samsung overtake within the final state of affairs. Significantly in relation to noise discount, which you’ll be able to see on the wood floor. Huawei seems essentially the most reasonable — apart from the nice and cozy tint — with Samsung resolving a fraction extra noise. The Xperia 5 II once more struggles essentially the most with high-quality particulars in much less best lighting. In the case of choosing the perfect for element, it’s a toss-up between the Pixel 5 and Huawei P40 Professional relying on the particular shot.

Google Pixel 5: Nice particulars in daylight, poorer in low gentle.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Constantly good particulars, however 100% crops are a tad over-processed.

Huawei P40 Professional: Softest post-processing for wonderful element that holds up finest in low gentle.

Sony Xperia 5 II: First rate element in good gentle, however the weakest of the 4 total. Not dangerous total, simply not distinctive.

HDR processing

Google helped pioneer fashionable smartphone HDR processing, so we’d count on good efficiency right here.

On this first instance, all 4 steadiness the image fairly nicely. The Xperia 5 II is a little bit washed out and provides in a little bit an excessive amount of blue into the overcast sky. Samsung once more overpumps the colours and injects much more pretend blue sky, which simply wasn’t there. Huawei is just about spot on.

See additionally: The best Android camera phones you can get

The Pixel 5 is definitely the worst of the bunch. First, the sky clips, not like Huawei and Sony’s efforts. You may’t make out the clouds in any respect. Extra alarming is the noise current within the darker portion of the picture, corresponding to the underside left. It’s a powerful sufficient impact to note at full body.

This second instance is even worse. I don’t fairly know what’s gone on with Google’s HDR algorithm right here. It’s a very difficult shot to steadiness the brilliant solar with the darkish barn inside, and each the Pixel 5 and Galaxy S20 Plus undergo from some bloom. However the sheer quantity of grain and noise on this daylight state of affairs level to a processing situation with Google’s telephone. Particularly as I’d taken a special shot moments earlier than that turned out high-quality.

Trying on the different telephones, Huawei and Sony hand in essentially the most reasonable picture and nicely balanced dynamic vary. The latter really has the higher depth and shadows this time, suggesting some software program tweaks since I tested the Sony Xperia 1 II. The Galaxy S20 Plus seems tremendous vivid, however that is nothing like the actual scene.

Subsequent, I need to draw your consideration to one thing within the following two pattern units. The Google Pixel 5 suffers badly from chromatic aberration (the purple hue seen in between the tree leaves). The Huawei P40 Professional has the identical downside, however the impact is restricted to the higher left nook of the lens. The Galaxy and Xperia handsets haven’t any such situation. As soon as once more, shadow noise rears its head within the Pixel 5’s pictures.

Total, it’s fairly arduous to select which is finest for HDR. The Pixel 5 has main points I actually didn’t count on from a Google handset. Shadow noise and lens distortion detract from an in any other case nicely balanced HDR algorithm. Huawei balances highlights the perfect, however shadows can come out too darkish. A few of Sony’s HDR pictures look too washed out, whereas Samsung’s look synthetic.

Google Pixel 5: Good publicity, however very noisy shadows and noticeable lens distortion points with brilliant highlights. Lengthy processing time.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Oversaturated colours and spotlight clipping maintain again an in any other case wonderful HDR implementation.

Huawei P40 Professional: Typically stable HDR with very quick processing. Sadly, small indicators of lens distortion are noticeable.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Good HDR capabilities, however processing and settling occasions are longer than the competitors. Publicity is hit or miss.

Bokeh and portraits

The Huawei P40 Professional and Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus function devoted time-of-flight sensors to calculate depth info. So we’d assume these handsets have a built-in benefit, however let’s discover out.

For daring shapes, edge detection is fairly good throughout all 4 telephones. Nevertheless, word how the Xperia 5 II is a little bit confused with the complicated textures within the hole between the statue and the white field within the picture under and doesn’t blur the reflection on the left sufficient. The Pixel 5 additionally misses the sting of the white field and blends the background and foreground on the left incorrectly. Huawei blurs this space somewhat oddly too, so reflections are clearly very troublesome.

When it comes to blur high quality, Samsung is a little bit too harsh for my style, smearing somewhat than softening in locations. Google, Huawei, and Sony produce a extra pure bokeh. Though I give the nod to Huawei and Sony who roll-off extra naturally, versus the Pixel 5’s tougher cut-off and stronger blur. Nonetheless, all three look fairly good.

Irritatingly, Sony doesn’t allow you to zoom in or out whereas utilizing the bokeh mode and likewise calls for that you just stand 1.5m away out of your goal. Whereas the entire different cameras default to a 2x zoom for nearer portraits and aren’t so choosy about topic distance.

Portraits are trickier to seize precisely, particularly in the event you’re rocking a lockdown haircut. Right here we see that the Pixel 5 and Xperia 5 II wrestle with stray hairs. The Xperia 5 II clearly misses the ToF sensor from the Xperia 1 II. The Galaxy S20 Plus grabs a lot of the stray edges, whereas the Huawei P40 Professional is just about flawless. Huawei additionally produces essentially the most detailed portrait. The S20 Plus is smudged, Pixel 5 has good tones however is somewhat grainy, whereas Sony’s is blown out.

Google Pixel 5: Affordable edge detection and good high quality blur. Struggles with unfastened hairs and the portrait is grainy.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Stable edge detection however not the nicest wanting blur. Smudges portrait particulars for a very gentle look.

Huawei P40 Professional: Finest total bokeh photographs. Gives the perfect edge detection, good wanting blur, and wonderful portrait particulars.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Lack of zoom makes it troublesome to take portraits. Not nice edge detection however good blur high quality and OK portrait element.


All 4 telephones additionally function ultra-wide cameras, albeit with various specs and viewing angles. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus gives the widest discipline of view to suit extra in, adopted by the Sony Xperia 5 II. Don’t let Huawei’s 16:9 facet ratio idiot you, it’s just about a match for the Pixel 5’s equally slender discipline of view.

When it comes to high quality, the Huawei P40 Professional gives the crispest, most color-accurate, and detailed photographs. Though cropping in on a wide-angle shot defeats the aim, there’s one thing to be mentioned for element retention and focus. Google’s Pixel 5 performs by far the worst on this regard, with a set point of interest that’s typically out-of-focus. The Xperia 5 II and Galaxy S20 Plus are comparable for element within the body’s heart, however Sony’s telephone suffers from extra edge distortion.

Sadly, Google’s often wonderful colours don’t carry over to the wide-angle lens. The outcomes are extra washed out than the principle sensor. There are additionally a couple of indicators of chromatic aberration (purple halos) as soon as once more, and the lens is extra distorted than its rivals that provide wider fields of view. Not superb.

Associated: The best budget camera phones you can buy

The Xperia 5 II’s colours are reasonable sufficient, though the second image is certainly underexposed. This leaves us with the Galaxy S20 Plus and Huawei P40 Professional as essentially the most appetizing to have a look at.

Total, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus gives the perfect wide-angle expertise. Not solely does it provide the widest discipline of view, however its element retention and colours (bar the standard oversaturation) are cheap too. The Huawei P40 Professional is by far the perfect by way of picture high quality, however the lens isn’t fairly vast sufficient. The Xperia 5 II is useful, whereas Google’s wide-angle digital camera is primary at finest.

Google Pixel 5: Out of focus, washed-out colours, and relatively slender field-of-view. Decidedly lower-end capabilities.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Widest discipline of view and respectable particulars make it the perfect wide-angle lens total.

Huawei P40 Professional: By far the perfect particulars and focus, with good colours and no distortion. Only a disgrace the lens isn’t wider.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Large discipline of view with good colours. However focus and particulars aren’t sharp, particularly away from the body’s heart.

Zooming in

At full-frame, the entire cameras look superb as much as 3x, and the Huawei P40 Professional, with its periscope digital camera, presents the very best quality at excessive ranges past 5x. Sadly, the Pixel 5’s lack of zoom {hardware} begins to inform at about 3x, rendering it fairly ineffective past that. Samsung retains respectable high quality out to 5x. The Xperia 5 II palms in a great efficiency between 3x and 4x. Sadly, the 2x pattern is a fairly poor high quality upscale from the principle sensor on shut inspection.

Digital camera zoom defined: How optical, digital, and hybrid zoom work

Colour, white steadiness, and publicity are good when zooming in with all 4 of those telephones. Nevertheless, there’s a noticeable bump in high quality and alter in lighting when the Huawei P40 Professional’s 5x periscope digital camera kicks in. The samples under additionally showcase the inconsistent high quality under 5x for this setup in comparison with the telephoto lenses from Samsung and Sony. Though to seize such a shot you’d clearly zoom in additional to activate the periscope digital camera, somewhat than crop in like I’ve to showcase the post-processing.

At brief distances, the Samsung Galaxy S20+ produces the perfect wanting and most constant outcomes, adopted by the Sony Xperia 5 II (which struggles at 2x). Nearer inspection of the Google Pixel 5 doesn’t look superb, though it manages to retain extra element than Huawei within the instance above. So chalk that up as a win for Google’s Tremendous Res Zoom know-how.

In the meantime, solely Huawei presents respectable picture high quality when stretched proper the best way out at 7x. Samsung seems satisfactory right here, albeit with a closely processed look. Softer processing from the Xperia 5 II seems a little bit extra pleasing to the attention on the expense of element. Sony’s telephone would have exceeded expectations, if not for the poor high quality at 2x. None of those telephones contact the Huawei P40 Professional at ultra-long vary.

Google Pixel 5: Tremendous Res Zoom seems OK out to 3x, however the absence of telephoto {hardware} holds again high quality and distance.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Fairly constant zoom high quality with full-frame photographs that maintain up nicely to about 5x. Crops look closely processed, nevertheless.

Huawei P40 Professional: Hit or miss efficiency and heavy processing round 3x resulting from longer vary {hardware}. By far the very best quality at 5x and past.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Minimal processing seems very pure. Particulars are hit or miss, particularly at 2x and past 4x, however full-frame holds up nicely. Pinch zoom doesn’t toggle the telephoto lens mechanically.

Low gentle and night time mode

In contrast to the opposite three handsets, Sony’s Xperia 5 II doesn’t provide a devoted low gentle capturing mode. As a substitute, it is going to mechanically enhance the shutter time for you in low gentle conditions. As I’ve famous prior to now, you seldom want the Huawei P40 Professional’s night time mode. The default mode takes photos a lot sooner and tends to provide sharper-looking outcomes.

In low gentle, all 4 telephones carry out very nicely. Though the Pixel 5 and P40 Professional are the brightest. So long as your palms are regular, there’s no noticeable blur, loads of publicity, and even some cheap colours from the entire telephones. Google’s white steadiness is a little bit too cool for the primary scene’s heat gentle. Nevertheless, the telephone captures the sharpest picture and most dynamic colours, in alternate for a little bit extra noise on the body’s edges.

Out within the pitch black, there’s a much bigger distinction between the handsets. The Xperia 5 II struggled to focus however finally produced a shot with respectable colours and steadiness. Though the sensor struggles to select significant particulars and is sort of noisy in such low gentle. It’s clear that Google’s Evening Sight algorithm produces the perfect white steadiness and colours, and the noise isn’t as dangerous as Sony’s sensor. The P40 Professional presents the perfect element with out utilizing Evening mode and has OK dynamic vary, however the inexperienced tint is mistaken. Likewise, Samsung’s coloration steadiness is just a bit too heat (the sunshine is yellow somewhat than orange) however it captures marginally extra element than the Pixel 5.

Google Pixel 5: Glorious colours and white steadiness consistency. The small sensor punches above its weight, however noise is clear.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: Works nicely to brighten scenes whereas preserving particulars. White steadiness isn’t nearly as good as Google or Sony.

Huawei P40 Professional: Evening mode leads to much less element than a regular shot. Publicity is sweet, particulars maintain up OK, however the white steadiness is extra hit or miss.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Glorious white steadiness and good colours, however the sensor struggles for element and focus in very low gentle.

Google Pixel 5 vs the perfect Android cameras: The decision

Google Pixel 5 vs Huawei P40 Pro vs Sony Xperia 5 II vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

Testing 4 of the trade’s most coveted smartphone digital camera packages has yielded some surprises and some insights into the best way the cellular images trade has moved over the course of 2020. All 4 handsets are able to taking some wonderful photos, however all of them have their very own points as nicely. It’s these issues that can seemingly assist nail down which handset is finest for you.

If I needed to choose a winner, my preferences fall between the Huawei P40 Professional and the Sony Xperia 5 II. However your choose will rely in your images necessities. That will help you resolve I’ve put collectively a fast recap for every telephone, in no explicit order.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: We all know what to anticipate from Samsung as of late — a usually stable digital camera package deal with an excessive coloration pallet. For those who can stay with the punchiness, the Galaxy S20 Plus is essentially the most constant digital camera package deal right here. It presents the perfect wide-angle expertise and respectable zoom, albeit with a splash an excessive amount of processing for my tastes. Nonetheless, there isn’t a state of affairs this telephone can’t deal with, even when it’s not the best possible in relation to picture high quality.

Huawei P40 Professional: Huawei has the status to beat, however the P40 Pro is just not a hands-down winner. It presents the perfect wanting wide-angle pictures, however the lens is sort of slender. Equally, the periscope zoom is nice at lengthy vary, however much less so nearer up. In the case of high quality, the Huawei P40 Professional can hand in the perfect photographs of any smartphone. Significantly in relation to reasonable particulars, portraits, and gentle bokeh. Nevertheless, some pictures nonetheless undergo from pink tint or under-exposure. It’s a really superb digital camera package deal, however not flawless.

Sony Xperia 5 II: Sony’s Xperia 5 ii produces the perfect colours, presents stable HDR, and takes a gentle strategy to post-processing for pleasingly reasonable outcomes. However its sensor is a little bit behind the curve for high-quality particulars and messes up publicity way over its rivals. The wide-angle and telephoto outcomes look equally good at full-frame however have points on nearer inspection. Sony has put extra effort into options (like 20fps steady shot) on the expense of some picture high quality. However I’m fairly enthusiastic about the place Sony can take its cameras subsequent technology.

Google Pixel 5: I’m way more blended on the Pixel 5. It nonetheless takes some nice snaps and stands out at nighttime, however flaws within the older {hardware} have gotten extra apparent. Colours and publicity stay on the prime of the pack, and element is sweet in daylight. However the {hardware} is displaying its age in relation to HDR noise, zoom capabilities, and lens high quality. Equally, the wide-angle digital camera falls far wanting what we count on from Google. The Pixel 5 is the most cost effective of the bunch and is a succesful shooter for its worth, however Google clearly isn’t preventing for first place this yr. That mentioned, I’m itching to see what Google may accomplish with newer digital camera sensors.

That’s it for our in-depth have a look at the Pixel 5 vs the perfect Android digital camera telephones. Which do you assume got here out on prime?

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