Google finally took the wraps off of the Pixel and Pixel XL at an event in San Francisco yesterday. It seems to be an all-around solid device, but one of the major improvements we’re seeing in the rebranding from Nexus to Pixel is the camera. According to DxOMark, the Pixel and Pixel XL is the best smartphone camera they’ve ever tested.
DxOMark gives the Pixel and Pixel XL a rating of 89, saying that image quality is impressive across the board. It may only have a 12.3-megapixel camera, but both devices are able to capture an impressive amount of detail with low levels of noise in almost every lighting condition.
“The Pixel’s strong scores under a wide range of conditions make it an excellent choice for almost any kind of photography. As with any small-sensor device, results are excellent in conditions with good and uniform lighting. But in addition, images captured indoors and in low light are very good and provide a level of detail unexpected from a smartphone camera.”
The Pixel has very few areas of weakness as far as the camera goes, DxOMark says. They cite just a few inconsistencies with repeated autofocus as well as a few defects showing up in low-light shots.
Above is an image of the Pixel camera (left) being demoed against the Galaxy S7’s camera (right). As far as detail goes, the Pixel seems to add just a hair more than the Galaxy S7, seemingly being able to produce a little more vibrancy as far as color goes.
The one strange thing is that the Pixel and Pixel XL actually don’t have optical image stabilization (OIS). DxOMark gives stabilization under the video section a score of 91, saying it’s good in almost all conditions despite this. However, they do note that “slight judder and jello effect are sometimes noticeable.”
It’s a small thing to consider. You’re still going to get great photo and video. Google notes they “tied the camera to the gyroscope to eliminate the hand-shake “jelly” effect in video,” indicating that they’ve working some digital/electronic stabilization into the cameras instead.
Overall, the Pixel seems to be a high-end performer as far as the camera goes. If you’re looking for a smartphone with a well performing camera and no camera bump, the Pixel might be right up your alley.