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DxOMark’s Pixel 3 camera review is more than just a score

Pixel 3 Camera vs. iPhone XR

The camera experts at DxOMark put all smartphones through the paces, but the science behind the final scores isn’t thoroughly explained and those scores aren’t completely objective. Moreover, there’s no maximum, and this year we saw several models exceed the 100-point mark. The Pixel 3 is one of the devices that obtained such a score, 101 points to be exact, matching the iPhone XR’s result. However, the Pixel 3 is also the first Pixel phone in Google’s history that didn’t top DxOMark’s list — the Huawei P20 Pro with its 109 points has had that crown for a while now.

Many people say the Pixel 3 is the best mobile camera out there along the new iPhone XS phones, and some favor Google’s camera advancements over Apple’s, particularly the new low-light mode that Google introduced with the Pixel 3. But by looking at the DxOMark score alone, you’d draw the wrong conclusion that the Pixel 3 phone isn’t the best.

Google used its DxOMark scores in the past in marketing to show that the Pixel and Pixel 2 phones had the best camera experiences around. Pixel fans probably remember that Google made a big deal about the Pixel and Pixel 2 topping DxOMark’s rankings when it introduces those devices. But there was no DxOMark mention during the Pixel 3’s press conference.

If you are interested in the Pixel 3 for its camera abilities, you should ignore the numeric score but read the DxOMark’s full review of the phone. The company does say that Google’s new flagship is “the best Pixel yet” when it comes to camera performance and that it’s the “top-ranked Android single-lens phone.”

With the Pixel 3, Google continues to make impressive gains in image processing using computational imaging. The result is a very versatile camera that people can confidently use in most situations without any manual settings or tweaks. In particular, the Pixel 3’s Zoom and Bokeh (Portrait mode) scores have improved dramatically over the previous generation. Overall, it is tied for the top of our single-camera phones with the Apple iPhone XR and beats it, along with nearly every other phone in our database, for Video. The Pixel 3’s scores are behind those of only a handful of multi-camera flagship phones.

But the review also says the Pixel 3 is inferior to multi-lens cameras found on competing devices. Check out plenty of Pixel 3 camera samples and the full review at this link.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.