Google Pixel XL Real Camera Review: The best smartphone camera ever made?

Google made a really big claim with the Pixel camera. Not only did they say it was the best camera they had ever made, they claimed it was the best smartphone camera ANYONE had ever made. Were these claims legit? Time to dig deep into the photo and video performance of Google Pricey Premium flagship in our Pixel XL Real Camera Review!

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Pocketnow has been a key source of mobile technology news and reviews since its establishment in 2000. With offices on three continents, Pocketnow offers round-the-clock coverage of the mobile technology landscape, from smartphones to tablets to wearables. We aim to be your number-one source for mobile tech news, reviews, comparisons, and commentary. If you love mobile as much as we do, be sure to subscribe!

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Comments

terry feng says:

pocket now, you are dumb…. of course your viewfinder and your end video is different. Thats what happens when you use stabililzation cause you need to crop some of that footage in order to stabilize it…. never has there been camera software where what you see is what is recorded

Livin Vidz says:

all the photos including selfies are dark and everything looks like it’s shot on a cloudy day even if it’s sunny. This doesn’t seem to stop some people from saying the camera is great. Not sure what is wrong with said people.

Rishabh Mahajan says:

Huawei p9 has the best lens.reply pocketnow

Jarosław Tabor says:

Damn your reviews are so good.

Andonis Ratsos says:

Great Review! I think the Samsung Galaxy S7 camera is the king when shooting in Pro mode (+ Native RAW file support by Samsung Camera app), it beats overall the Pixel and the iPhone. The Samsung GS7 Camera Hardware is better and there are more advanced modes and settings if you dig into the camera app. You can even download and extend the sooting modes from the Galaxy Store or get more color effects from third party providers.

What Google dont mention when they show the DXOmark score is that the Pixel has the same exactly score as the Galaxy S7 Edge.

Its true that the Pixel HDR mode is amazing but this is software feature that later Sammy could improve, but even better when i shoot in RAW on my GS7 i can fix everything related to HDR in Adobe Lightroom (even with the free mobile app).

In my opition the best camera is the Galaxy S7, then the Pixel and last its the iPhone 7. I was disappointed from apple, they released the new iPhone after the Galaxy and they could not make better camera than what was currently on the market.

Fals3Agent says:

Juan, you make the BEST smartphone camera reviews found anywhere on the internet. Don’t ever stop doing this!

Dude Random says:

What about Sony Xperia XZ – real camera review?

GOPROMOTE NEPAL says:

which camera did you use to shoot this video?

ZizoGFX says:

@JuanBagnell So which phone has the better overall camera in your opinion, Pixel or V20? Great video BTW, as usual !

Quoutub says:

It’s a very bad decision to turn HDR+ off. HDR+ auto is the default mode. Moreover HDR+ is not comparable with HDR from other phones. Furthermore even the iphone uses multiple exposures even when HDR is not enabled, so disabling HDR+ is not fair. Many people need to understand that it does not make sense to compare camera sensors in this case. Computational photography is the future and you have to accept that computational photography is a main component of the Pixel’s camera and it will be a main component of future cameras, too! Imagine that you review the Light L16. Does it make sense to turn 15cameras off when you compare it with other cameras? No, it doesn’t unless you want to compare the sensor and not the camera!
But it’s good that the video shows the difference between HDR+ and HDR+ off

Sean Baker says:

Fair and balanced review.

Bro Swirski says:

Thumbs up for creepy tunnel!!

sundar tumbahangphe says:

which third party camera app are you using to take the raw photos jaun?

Michael Non says:

nokia 808 is stil the best!

hbgalore1 says:

I’m getting this phone for Christmas and it’s really motivating knowing it has a kick ass camera.

a004 says:

I stopped watching when he said “we turned hdr off”. how stupid. it’s zero lag, hdr is the default mode. disliked video.

Andres Ramos says:

Juan should do a real camera review of the Nexus 6p

Infidel Gastro says:

That’s just the way I like my camera (without the lens flare). Point, shoot and get a perfectly acceptable image. I couldn’t be bothered with playing with and adjusting meaningless (to me) settings for hours, going for a shave then coming back and taking the shot. Auto is my best friend.

Bank Akinmola says:

While I understand your sentiment… the average consumer really won’t care about most of the concerns you had. The zoom/crop issue was the only thing that sounded like an actual issue.

for most of us, we just care about being able to get nice pictures when we took her phone out the box and start shooting. In that regard, it sounds like the pixel is a huge success.

Matt Brum says:

keep your reviews going, Juan. They are the best.

Jeremy Smith says:

I love this guy real reviews. I trust it over any other camera reviews on YouTube. He’s knowledgeable, professional & honest. Keep up the good work Juan

Josho - says:

I don’t like this review, it’s not like everyone that buys this phone is going to be walking around taking flowers all day

flashxm1 says:

It is the best but if only if you keep HDR on. If you turn it off you cripple it and most people won’t do this.

christina feliciano says:

I just got the Google pixel XL and I can’t figure out for the life of me how to edit when I mean edit photos like draw a little funny stuff on there, Circle stuff that I want to point out to other people I can’t do that or I just haven’t figured it out please help

Terry Thomas says:

If the camera is made buy Sony would it not be better to buy a Sony Mobile Phone !!!! Doc all The Best Stuff is Made In Japan ! ( quote blatantly stolen from the mouth of Marty Mc Fly ( Sometimes Known as Michael Jay Fox ) ( Or Alex Pee Keton ) From Back To The Future )

Haider Rajpoot Ahil Rajpoot says:

lol.camera

Android Fixer says:

the halo effect is not visible in black google pixel

Alvar Lagerlof says:

Disabling HDR is just stupid. It’s unfair

Nesaruddin Ahmed says:

Why note 7 has the best smartphone camera I am still using it

skiing crocodile says:

UUUUUGHHH i can’t decide between the pixel and the v20. some help?

T-Wreckz says:

i dont like most the examples you showed us. it just looks ugly to me. i love my galaxy s7 wayyyyy more

Dhanad Autade says:

please make video of Google pixel xl vs HTC desire 10 pro

Deadpool says:

Man your reviews are for the die hard geeks only. Remember that out of 100% smartphone population, only 1% of the people use the camera like the way you do. The rest of the 99% population use it in auto mode. For better photography and for work related photography people use dedicated cameras and DSLRs.

Álvaro Agraz says:

In conclusion, definitely not the “best camera ever put on a smartphone”. Not even close.

But it remains a great camera, and that’s good.

odsca says:

A lot of google haters on this channel – either an S7 lover or IPhone lover.

Drogba says:

Best pixel camera review so far. Good job.

bayu putra says:

How good camera for photography…??

Shahed Rasul says:

ya I think HTC 10 has this lens flaring issue too same family hmm….

Mr2pint says:

Good review; it like all other channels on Google owned YT have been given a directive to announce this camera and phone as ‘the best ever’ lol

wentium says:

Thx for the great review! I really want to like the Pixel for the wrong reason (unlimited storage), but there are too many cons compared to S7…

-Can’t trust viewfinder
-lack manual controls
-minimal RAW support
-flare prone
-panning jerks
-short shutter speed (0.6s)
-poor audio
-user unfriendly pano

The biggest drawback of the S7 surprisingly is the jello video. Google really did a great job with the EIS on Pixel.

Nathaniel Graham says:

That is a real bummer about the lens issue. I got a Pixel XL earlier this week and I’m diggin’ it hard, it’s probably going to be my favorite smartphone that I’ve ever owned. I haven’t noticed any crazy lens flaring but I haven’t had it long so I will keep an eye out for that. Hopefully your test device had a worse case of it than is the norm. This thang is so insanely fast though, it’s hard not to love it.

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