Camera Comparison: iPhone XS Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S10+

Earlier this week, we asked our readers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to look at some photos taken with the iPhone XS Max and the Samsung Galaxy S10+, Samsung's new flagship device, and tell us which photos they liked best.

There was a catch, though. We didn't tell them which smartphone took which photo, allowing us to aggregate some unbiased opinions on the quality of the images from each device. Today, we're revealing which photos came from which phone and sharing the results we gathered.


All of the photos that we shared came straight from the camera and were not edited or otherwise manipulated. We'll go through each image and give a brief overview of what people thought before unveiling which camera was used for these images.


The first photo, of a cup, shows off the ‌iPhone‌'s Portrait Mode and Samsung's Live Focus mode, which is basically the same thing. Photo A has more natural colors because Photo B is too warm, but B wins when it comes to depth. Photo A cut off part of the cup, while Photo B did not, though Photo A offered better blurring of background images. Most people actually preferred Photo A, but we think Photo B is the winner because it didn't cut off any of the cup.

iphonexsmaxs10cup
The second photo, featuring a person, was also captured with portrait mode. Compared to Photo B, Photo A seems a bit washed out, but A did a better job isolating the subject from the background. MacRumors readers preferred Photo A, and so do we.

iphonexsmaxs10portrait
The third photo, of a street sign, is a portrait mode photo taken in lower lighting conditions. It was gray and snowy outside, and Camera A took an image that was too cool. Photo A doesn't have any of the sign cut off, but the blueness of the image skewed this heavily in favor of Photo B.

iphonexsmaxs10sign
In our fourth image set, of a skyline, Photo B is brighter, but a bit overexposed and washed out. Photo A is darker, but the dynamic range and contrast are more accurate, especially when looking at the clouds. Most people liked Photo B better, but we prefer A because it's not washed out.

iphonexsmaxs10skyline
Our last images, shared solely on Instagram due to Twitter limitations, demonstrate how well Camera A is able to handle shots of the sky. Photo B's highlights are blown out and Camera B didn't do a great job of capturing the sun. We didn't get a lot of feedback on this image, but we preferred Photo A.

iphonexsmaxs10sun
If you guessed that all of the Photo A images came from the ‌iPhone‌ XS Max, you guessed right. Photo A is the ‌iPhone‌ and the Photo B images came from the Galaxy S10+.

Results we received from readers on preference were ultimately mixed, with some of the photos captured by the Galaxy S10+ coming out on top, and some photos captured by the ‌iPhone‌ winning out. That's no surprise, though, as both of these smartphones have great camera systems that can capture some fantastic images.

Apple's ‌iPhone‌ XS Max uses a dual-lens camera system with a 12-megapixel f/1.8 wide-angle lens paired with a 12-megapixel f/2.4 lens, while Samsung uses a more advanced triple-lens camera system (which is, incidentally, rumored to be coming to 2019 iPhones). The Galaxy S10+ has a 12-megapixel f/1.5 wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto lens, and an additional 16-megapixel f/2.2 ultra wide-angle lens that can capture more of a scene at once, great for landscapes and group shots.

ultrawideangles10
Both are also great at video and can record in 4K with optical image stabilization offered, though we thought the Galaxy S10+ outperformed the ‌iPhone‌ XS Max because its stabilization was just a bit better.

Overall, we preferred the images from the ‌iPhone‌ XS Max over the images from the Galaxy S10 because the ‌iPhone‌ offered more true-to-life colors, better dynamic range, and superior contrast, but the Galaxy S10+ still took fantastic shots.

Which photos did you prefer? ‌iPhone‌ XS Max or Galaxy S10+? Let us know in the comments.

Tag: Samsung

Top Rated Comments

mdatwood Avatar
65 months ago
At this point all the flagship phone cameras are great. The differences are mostly subjective.

It's pretty amazing what all these cameras can do.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DNichter Avatar
65 months ago
Just proves how little difference there is in phone hardware today. The choice comes down to OS platform preference and most on this site have already made their choice. The constant back and forth on this site is a waste of energy. Enjoy what we all have in tech today and put more energy into your friends, family, and surroundings.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
calzon65 Avatar
65 months ago
I tend to agree, the iPhone photos look better … but I'm still pissed we lost the fingerprint sensor.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
65 months ago
Photo A cut off part of the cup, while Photo B did not, though Photo A offered better blurring of background images. Most people actually preferred Photo A, but we think Photo B is the winner because it didn't cut off any of the cup.
Meanwhile, the undisputed champ of blurry imagery, my Nokia 8210, gets no comparison videos… :(



Attachment Image
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KGBguy Avatar
65 months ago
Good job Samsung! Your newest flagship phone has almost caught up to the last year iPhone. I’m so happy for them...
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lankyman Avatar
65 months ago
What an utterly pointless exercise. They ask people what they think of the photos doing a blind test, but then disagreed with the results telling the readers of this piece what they preferred instead?????
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

10 New Things Your iPhone Can Do in Next Week's iOS 17.4 Update

Friday March 1, 2024 1:30 am PST by
Apple will this month release iOS 17.4, its biggest iPhone software update of the year so far, featuring a number of features and changes that users have been anticipating for quite a while. Below, we've listed 10 new things that your iPhone will be able to do after you've installed the update, which is projected to arrive by March 7. When the day arrives, be sure to check Settings ➝...
Apple Maps vs Google Maps Feature

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which Is Better?

Friday March 1, 2024 7:10 am PST by
Apple Maps has been providing navigational guidance to Apple users for almost 13 and a half years now, and much has changed about the app in that time. However, according to data from Canalys, the overwhelming majority of iPhones in the U.S. still have Google Maps downloaded as an alternative to Apple Maps, which comes preinstalled on all iPhones. We want to hear from MacRumors readers. Which do...
apple tv plus banner

Apple TV+ Gains Over 50 Movies for a Limited Time

Friday March 1, 2024 6:29 am PST by
Apple TV+ today gained over 50 movies, adding to its back catalog of content for a limited time. The collection includes a large number of popular and classic titles. Subscribers can access the movies in a "Great Movies on Apple TV+" section in the Apple TV app. Some titles are also available in 3D. Movies in the collection include: 21 Jump Street 300 American Sniper Argo ...
Apple Logo Spotlight

Source: Apple to Announce New Products This Week

Sunday March 3, 2024 11:38 am PST by
Apple plans to announce new products with press releases on its website this week, a proven source familiar with the matter told MacRumors. While the products that Apple plans to announce have not been disclosed, there are rumors about new iPads, Macs, and accessories. It is unclear exactly what will be announced this week. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman today reiterated that Apple is planning new...
iPad Air 12

Gurman: No Apple Event Planned for Upcoming iPads and Macs

Sunday March 3, 2024 5:09 am PST by
Apple does not plan to hold a traditional event to unveil new iPads and Macs, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Instead, he said Apple plans to announce the products on its website with a "series of online videos and marketing campaigns." If this plan is accurate, we can expect the new products to be announced with press releases on the Apple Newsroom website. Gurman expects Apple to...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New Beta Firmware for AirPods Pro 2

Thursday February 29, 2024 11:41 am PST by
Apple today introduced a new beta firmware update for the AirPods Pro 2, both the USB-C and Lightning versions. The new firmware is version 6E188, up from the prior 6B34 firmware released in December. Apple does not often provide details or notes on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware, so it is unclear what's new. Note that this software is limited to developers at the...