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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.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

(View all)

15 weeks 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.
Rating: 37 Votes
15 weeks 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.
Rating: 34 Votes
15 weeks ago
I tend to agree, the iPhone photos look better … but I'm still pissed we lost the fingerprint sensor.
Rating: 22 Votes
15 weeks 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… :(



Rating: 20 Votes
15 weeks 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?????
Rating: 19 Votes
15 weeks ago
Good job Samsung! Your newest flagship phone has almost caught up to the last year iPhone. I’m so happy for them...
Rating: 19 Votes
15 weeks ago
No low light examples. Is that because neither is great or...?
Rating: 17 Votes
15 weeks ago
I prefer A too except the one of the street.
However, this test is nonsense - do a test in challenging light conditions because that is where we will see something.
This is almost like Apple ad - useless.
Rating: 10 Votes
15 weeks ago

At this point all the flagship phone cameras are great. The differences are mostly subjective.


Indeed. All these competitors are putting out impressive tech with the camera hardware. But one critical area of improvement for the iPhone would be low light, it’s not very good at all. I _really_ want to see this area more improved, as think it’s one of the biggest downfalls for the iPhone camera currently. Google Night Sight is fairly impressive what they were able to introduce.
Rating: 10 Votes
15 weeks ago
I’m actually surprised that Samsung’s new phone isn’t on par with the iPhone XS - it’s newer and has 3 cameras.
It really shows how great Apples software is.

I would like to see a comparison between Pixel and iPhone. I bet it’s much harder to choose a consistent winner/picture in that match.
Rating: 9 Votes

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