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iPhone XR vs. Galaxy S10E: Which phone has better cameras – CNET

The iPhone XR and Galaxy S10E are fantastic telephones that, for probably the most half, have all the identical options and magnificence of the iPhone XS and Galaxy S10, respectively. Luckily for shoppers, one factor these telephones don’t share with their flagship cousins is the worth. The fee for every is $750, which isn’t low cost, however it’s decrease than the $900 to $1,000 price ticket of their higher-end telephone counterparts.

To hit that decrease the worth, Apple and Samsung needed to reduce some issues, together with digital camera specs. The iPhone XR forgoes a telephoto digital camera and solely has a single rear digital camera, which is the very same as the primary wide-angle digital camera on the iPhone XS. The Galaxy S10E has two of the Galaxy S10’s three rear cameras. Just like the iPhone XR, it’s lacking a devoted telephoto lens, nevertheless it does have a large angle and extremely wide-angle rear digital camera.

After utilizing and testing these blue beauties round San Francisco over the previous few weeks, I obtained to know each cameras exhaustively and I’ve a confession to make: I fell exhausting for the Galaxy S10E. I particularly liked its extremely wide-angle lens and the artistic rush I received utilizing it. Learn on to see the proof your self.

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iPhone XR vs. Galaxy S10E digital camera shootout


Going ultra-wide on the Galaxy S10E

The extremely wide-angle digital camera on the Galaxy S10E actually impressed me, although I do know it’s not the primary telephone to have a such a lens; Huawei has an extremely wide-angle digital camera on the P30 Professional and LG has one on the LG G8.


The extremely wide-angle exaggerates strains and framing. The distortion of the lens could make an earthly second extra dramatic.

Patrick Holland/CNET

What wows me concerning the S10E is how properly Samsung matched the primary and extremely wide-angle cameras. When utilizing the cameras with out the scene enhancer, colours and exposures have been comparable regardless of being very totally different lenses. The extremely wide-angle digital camera on the S10E not solely provides me a completely recent approach to see the world, nevertheless it’s extremely useful if you’re in a decent spot.


All three of those pictures have been taken from the very same spot. From left to proper: Galaxy S10E wide-angle, Galaxy S10E extremely wide-angle, iPhone XR wide-angle.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Above is a photograph I took of a seven-foot statue of Okay-2SO from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The primary digital camera on the S10E couldn’t get Okay-2SO completely within the body, nor might the iPhone XR. However with a fast faucet on the extremely wide-angle display icon: BAM! Okay-2SO is all there.

The look and distortion the extremely wide-angle lens provides a topic may also make photographs extra epic. Nevertheless, I not often used this lens on individuals because the distortion could make an individual look odd. Optically, the primary digital camera on the S10E is sharper and has much less vignetting. However the extremely wide-angle is simply a lot extra enjoyable.

HDR and optimizations

Like final yr’s Galaxy Notice 9, the S10E makes use of scene optimizations on its digital camera. It appears to me that Samsung tuned the HDR recipe and scene optimizations a bit. Galaxy telephones have a historical past of favoring brighter exposures, however the S10E does a greater job balancing brightness, highlights and shadows than earlier Samsung telephones.

The iPhone XR’s digital camera does a incredible job nailing publicity and capturing element. This is among the largest strengths to the digital camera. That stated, the digital camera isn’t good. The best way it optimizes photographs with Apple’s strategy to computational images via options like Sensible HDR could make colours seem off. The white stability might be inconsistent too. Whereas it’s nice at discovering the white stability when individuals are within the photograph, different occasions, when there are buildings, landscapes or objects, the colour, particularly with greens and blues, is off. Check out these photographs under from a San Francisco Giants recreation. The grass simply appears bizarre within the iPhone XR photograph whereas the Galaxy S10E’s model seems to be extra true to life.

To complicate issues additional, the HDR on the XR overdoes issues a bit. Check out the photograph under that I took on the Ferry Constructing. The XR made the sky the right shade blue. It appears good, however in actual life it was hazier.


Typically Sensible HDR on the iPhone XR made issues just like the blue sky on this photograph look higher than it truly did.

Patrick Holland/CNET

For probably the most half, I like that the XR and S10E “enhance” my photographs with their software program magic and I’m happy with the outcomes general. However sometimes, I want there was a approach to override or dial down optimizations. Technically on the Galaxy S10E, I can flip the scene optimizer utterly off. However I don’t all the time want an ideal blue sky, I simply need an correct image. And that’s the place we’re at with computational images on our telephones today. It’s removed from good, however I’m hoping it’s one thing Apple, Samsung and others will get higher with over time.

The iPhone XR takes sharper pictures with fuller element

Usually, the iPhone XR captured sharper and higher detailed photographs than the S10E. That’s to not say the Galaxy S10E shoots tender photographs. It’s simply that they don’t seem to be as clinically sharp as photographs from the XR.

Above are photographs of a Star Wars Stormtrooper costume at LucasArts. Each pictures look very comparable, however discover the black armor across the shoulder. The iPhone XR photograph has extra element and the S10E model appears a contact softer.

RAW information and modifying JPEGs

As somebody who does a fast edit on a lot of the footage I submit, I attempted a hand at modifying pictures from the S10E and XR on the telephones themselves. I took pictures of the Yoda fountain within the Presidio and gave the Jedi grasp much less of a darkish aspect.

Impressively, each telephones had sufficient photograph info for me to spice up shadows with out getting too noisy. You’ll be able to see a earlier than and after of the photograph taken with the Galaxy S10E above and the one from the iPhone XR under. I used the JPEG information as a result of that’s what I shoot a majority of the time on my telephone. The XR and S10E allows you to shoot RAW photographs should you choose. However on the iPhone you’ll want to make use of a third-party app.

Portrait mode: Two totally different approaches

Clearly a must have function on telephones is portrait mode, which helps you to add and alter the blur of the background to make your topic pop. On the iPhone it’s referred to as “Portrait Lighting mode” and on the Galaxy S10E it’s referred to as “Stay Photograph.” The iPhone makes use of software program to take portrait pictures, however the draw back is it solely works on individuals. When you attempt to use the mode on inanimate objects or pets it gained’t work.


The iPhone XR (left) can solely take portrait mode photographs of individuals — no Darth Maul lamps. The Galaxy S10E’s Stay Focus (proper) can take portrait mode pictures of just about something.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The Darth Maul lamp above couldn’t idiot the XR to take a portrait photograph. Nevertheless, the S10E used each of its rear cameras in “Stay Focus” to offer Darth Maul a blurry background. The S10E additionally lets me choose a shade to emphasise whereas making the remainder of the photograph black and white. You can too add a spiral blur and a zoom blur.

When it got here to portraits of individuals, I most popular pictures from the iPhone. That they had higher element and extra correct pores and skin tones. The S10E, even with magnificence mode turned off, appeared too smooth.

Low-light and Brilliant Night time, however no Night time Sight in sight

The primary digital camera on the S10E has a twin aperture and may open wider to let in additional mild. Couple this with Samsung’s Brilliant Night time scene optimizer and low-light photographs look good.

Above is a shot of an intersection outdoors Oracle Park. The S10E’s photograph has a pleasant dynamic vary although it suffers from movement blur. The XR is darker and has extra distinction. Neither of those telephones have a devoted Night time Sight or Night time Mode just like the Pixel three or Huawei P30 Professional. Nevertheless, Samsung is rolling out a standalone mode quickly, which we haven’t tried but. Between the iPhone and Galaxy, I choose the S10E for low-light photographs.

In case you employ a flash

I not often use a flash, however once I do hearth it up, I dig the iPhone XR’s slow-sync flash that was first launched on the iPhone X, eight and eight Plus. It provides mild whereas mixing in with the foreground and background. Check out the photographs under of statues of Peanuts characters. The flash from the S10E is a special colour temperature than the ambient mild, and makes the photograph look flat. The iPhone XR, then again, nails it.

iPhone video is unmatched

The iPhone has all the time been forward of its Android rivals in terms of video. General, movies on the iPhone appeared higher than the S10E in daylight, in low mild, and in sluggish movement. The audio high quality of video sounds richer and fuller from the iPhone, too. However the S10E actually stunned me. It seems to be like Samsung improved the general picture high quality of its movies.

Given the enhancements, nevertheless, I did run right into a little bit of an issue. Through the few weeks with the S10E, I recorded a dozen or so movies. On the telephone, the movies seemed nice. However once I downloaded or offloaded the movies to a pc, they appeared bizarre. Take a look at the video hooked up to this text to see what I’m speaking about.


Here’s a side-by-side display seize of a video I recorded with the Galaxy S10E. On the left, is how the video seemed on the telephone. On the best, is how the video appeared once I downloaded the video.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Whether or not I saved the video to a Mac or PC (both by way of Google Pictures or Android File Switch) the information appeared like that they had what is known as a “flat profile” on it. Larger-end cameras can help you use a flat profile to scale back the saturation, and reduce sharpness and distinction. The thought is that a flat video file may have extra info and offer you extra choices in post-production. It’s sort of like in images if you save your pictures as a “RAW” file as an alternative of JPEG.

On one hand, the video nerd aspect of me thought it was cool. I get movies that I can shade like a movie in post-production. However the telephone reviewer and on a regular basis shopper aspect of me thought, “Wait, this isn’t proper.” I conferred with different editors at CNET who had written concerning the cameras on the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10E they usually talked about that that they had hassle downloading video information, too.

The reality is that most individuals won’t ever obtain video information to their pc, and offloading these movies myself proved to be considerably of a ache. I consider there’s some type of bug right here and that’s all there’s to it. It’s seems like a video is lacking a LUT (lookup desk) which makes use of a mathematical formulation to switch how a video and its colours look.

I’m unsure what occurred, however after many trials and 4 computer systems, I lastly obtained an accurate model of the video to obtain over Google Pictures onto an iMac. Regardless of all these hiccups, I stay impressed with the Galaxy S10E’s video. I’m working with Samsung to find out what precisely occurred.

I like my selfies with out magnificence mode

There are two forms of individuals on this world: Those that like selfies and people who don’t. And out of those that like selfies there’s a subset who like smoothing out their pores and skin and imperfections with a telephone’s magnificence mode. I’m not a type of individuals. At any fee, the iPhone XR doesn’t have a magnificence mode, whereas the Galaxy S10E does. With or with out magnificence mode, selfies on the Galaxy S10E appeared softer in contrast with the iPhone.

General, I choose solo selfies from the iPhone XR as a result of that they had higher colour and element. However I favored group selfies from the Galaxy S10E higher as a result of it did a greater job getting everybody in focus.

Which digital camera I want

After closely contemplating every thing I mentioned about each telephones, I choose the Galaxy S10. The iPhone XR is technically higher in some ways, however I can’t cease taking photographs with the Galaxy S10E. It’s such a blast to make use of and I’m impressed creatively to take extra pictures and movies. In my case, the pictures and movies I get from the S10E together with the enjoyable I’ve utilizing the extremely wide-angle lens are extra interesting to me than the extra measured iPhone XR.


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