The Best Smartphone of 2018: iPhone XS Max

Camera: Pixel 3 / Pixel 3 XL

When we talk about the Pixel 3, we talk about the device’s market-leading camera. But to dilute it down and simply say the Pixel 3’s camera is good would do the device a disservice, because it doesn’t just make nice images. Google has also introduced wonderful new features, including Top Shot and Super Res Zoom, that make the Pixel 3’s camera more well-rounded.

After hitting a home run with the Pixel 2, Google has improved the Pixel 3’s camera in every way. The search giant’s HDR+ feature, which takes multiple photos and combines them through software, is better than ever. The front-facing camera, meanwhile, features a wide-angle lens that makes it really easy to capture more of a scene, like when you’re snapping a photo of a group.

One of the most impressive aspects about the Pixel 3 is how it retains detail all the way to the edges, proving again that Google’s machine learning is the best in the business. Pretty much all smartphone cameras today are excellent. But the Pixel 3 raises the bar to an all new level.

What ultimately elevates the Pixel 3 above the competition is a feature called Night Sight. We’ve been testing the feature over the last several weeks, and it wouldn’t be hyperbole to say the feature is the most innovative change to the smartphone camera in years.

The basic way to explain Night Sight is that it makes taking detailed images in low light much easier. So, the next time you’re at a wedding and there isn’t much light, Night Sight will brighten the photo to make it look like a completely different scene.

“Instead of capturing one bright and blurry photo, Night Sight captures an equal amount of light over a burst of many photos that are dark but sharp,” said Alexander Schiffhauer, Product Manager, Computational Photography at Google. “By merging this burst, Night Sight prevents motion blur and brightens the photo, giving you a bright and sharp photo.”

The results really do speak for themselves. Out of the many features that have been introduced over the past several years, Night Sight is the biggest game changer for low light photography, an area where most mobile devices struggle. No other smartphone comes close to replicating what the Pixel 3 can do, making it the top mobile camera on the market right now.

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