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iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

The two lenses on the iPhone X are used for a few different tasks including optical zoom and portrait mode. By creating a depth map with both the cameras and identifying the subject, software then blurs out the background to simulate bokeh, or the shallow depth of field effect often associated with dSLRs.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

The Pixel relies on just one lens to create this bokeh effect. Google's machine learning identifies what the subject in the photo is and keeps it sharp while blurring everything else.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

On default settings the iPhone X makes colors pop, but compared with the Pixel 2, they can look more saturated.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

The Pixel's colors are a bit more muted by comparison.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

The iPhone also performs well in low light although the exposure on the blue background is a little brighter than the Pixel.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

In low light, the Pixel retains detail and keeps images sharp.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

Here's a photo taken on the iPhone X with auto HDR active (it's on by default). Compare it to the next slide from the Pixel.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

Google's HDR+ Enhanced mode makes photos look more vivid than the regular HDR+ mode.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

The iPhone often struggled to lock on and maintain portrait mode in extreme low light, while the Pixel grabbed the shot every time.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

A photo taken on the Pixel with default settings.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

A photo take on the iPhone with default settings on the wide-angle lens.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

Portrait mode even works on still objects like flowers. On the iPhone, the blur effect is more subtle around the edges of the subject.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

On the Pixel, portrait mode makes the subject really pop as it appears very sharp compared to the background.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

Another example of how the Pixel keeps the subject sharp and the background blurred.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

Portrait mode on the iPhone is more subtle, with the transition between sharp subject and blurred background.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

The optical zoom on the iPhone means images in daylight are sharp whether you look at them at reduced magnification or at 100 percent magnification.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

The Pixel relies on digital zoom to get you closer to the subject. At a reduced magnification you can't really see much difference between this and the iPhone's shot, but if you go in closer to 100 percent magnification, detail is smudgy.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article

iPhone portrait mode

Pixel portrait mode

iPhone colors

Pixel colors

Low light (iPhone)

Low light (Pixel)

Auto HDR (iPhone)

HDR+ Enhanced (Pixel)

Low light portrait

Landscape (Pixel)

Landscape (iPhone)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (Pixel)

Portrait mode (iPhone)

2x zoom (iPhone)

2x zoom (Pixel)

Fish portrait

Portrait mode works on fish, too. Shot on the Pixel 2.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Lexy Savvides/CNET / Read the article
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