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Photos from the iPhone XR and Galaxy S10E

I took photos with the $750 iPhone XR and $750 Galaxy S10E. Both produce fantastic images, but there are some serious differences between them.

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Patrick Holland
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iPhone XR vs. Galaxy S10E camera compare

Both the iPhone XR and Samsung Galaxy S10E cost $750. They offer many of the same features as their more pricing siblings -- the iPhone XS and Galaxy S10. One place Samsung and Apple did make some sacrifices is with the rear camera. The following photos were taken with each phone for you to compare.

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iPhone XR

The iPhone XR has a single rear camera. It's the same wide-angle main camera from the iPhone XS and XS Max which is what I took this photo with.

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Galaxy S10E

The Galaxy S10E inherits two of the three rear cameras from the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus. It gets a wide-angle main camera with dual aperture. This photo was taken with that main camera.

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Galaxy S10E

But the Galaxy S10E also gets this bonkers fun ultra wide-angle camera which took this snap.

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Galaxy S10E

Here's a chocolate cake taken with the S10E's main camera.

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Galaxy S10E

And here's the same cake taken with the ultra wide-angle camera.

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Galaxy S10E

Im fact I became enamored with how the ultra wide-angle camera changed the perspective. I like how it distorted a scene. These next eight photos were all taken with the S10E's ultra wide-angle lens.

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Galaxy S10E

Taken with the Galaxy S10E ultra wide-angle lens.

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Galaxy S10E

Taken with the Galaxy S10E ultra wide-angle lens.

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Galaxy S10E

Taken with the Galaxy S10E ultra wide-angle lens.

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Galaxy S10E

Taken with the Galaxy S10E ultra wide-angle lens.

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Galaxy S10E

Taken with the Galaxy S10E ultra wide-angle lens.

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Galaxy S10E

Taken with the Galaxy S10E ultra wide-angle lens.

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Galaxy S10E

Taken with the Galaxy S10E ultra wide-angle lens.

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iPhone XR

The iPhone XR captures better detail and dynamic range than the Galaxy S10E.

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Galaxy S10E

It's not to say the Galaxy S10E takes soft photos. They're just not as razor sharp -- and that's OK.

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iPhone XR

This is a great example of Apple's Smart HDR nailing a photo.

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Galaxy S10E

The Galaxy S10E with its scene optimizations does a fantastic job here. The biggest differences I notice between this photo and the one taken by the iPhone XR is brightness.

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iPhone XR

The iPhone XR photo of a couple in a streetcar.

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Galaxy S10E

And here's the Galaxy S10E version -- which is brighter but doesn't lose highlights.

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iPhone XR

This iPhone XR photo of espresso grounds shows off how good the phone is at capturing detail.

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Galaxy S10E

The Galaxy S10E shot looks good. When I zoom in I can see a lot of sharpening going on which lack the punch of the iPhone XR photo.

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iPhone XR

This was taken in mixed lighting. The iPhone XR's noise correction is apparent in the skin and details of people at the table. Though the detail in the menu in the background is impressive.

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Galaxy S10E

The noise correction from the Galaxy S10E is a little more aggressive than the iPhone XR. The detail on the menu is basically a soft blur.

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iPhone XR

Here are a couple shots I took of a Star Wars Stormtrooper costume at LucasArts. The photos from both phones are similar. But notice the black armor around the shoulder. The iPhone XR photo has more detail and sharpness.

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Galaxy S10E

The Galaxy S10E version looks softer.

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iPhone XR

The next six photos are some more character statues from LucasArts. Darth Vader taken with the iPhone XR.

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Galaxy S10E

Darth Vader taken with the Galaxy S10E.

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iPhone XR

The iPhone XR's photo of Boba Fett.

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Galaxy S10E

The Galaxy S10E's photo of Boba Fett.

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iPhone XR

A photo of Raphael taken with the iPhone XR.

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Galaxy S10E

A photo of Raphael taken with the Galaxy S10E.

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iPhone XR

Sometimes with blue and green colors looked off from the iPhone XR's Smart HDR. Notice the color of the grass.

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Galaxy S10E

Here's the Galaxy S10E's shot of the same moment and this is how the grass looked in-person.

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iPhone XR

As someone who does a quick edit on most of the pictures I post, I took a hand at editing photos from the S10E and XR on the phones themselves. Here's the original JPEG from the iPhone XR.

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iPhone XR

I boosted the shadows and tried to make the Jedi master have less of a dark side. This is the edited iPhone XR photo.

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Galaxy S10E

And here's the original photo from the Galaxy S10E.

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Galaxy S10E

Both photos had enough shadow information for me to boost them without getting too noisy. Here's the edited Galaxy S10E photo.

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iPhone XR

The iPhone XR yielded photos with a better dynamic range.

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Galaxy S10E

The Galaxy S10E does okay balancing highlights and shadows. Notice the bird to the right of the clock tower. There is a "ghost bird" artifact from the phone's processing.

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iPhone XR

Neither phone is the greatest in low light. The iPhone XR uses some aggressive noise reduction. The labels on the bottles behind the bar look smeared.

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Galaxy S10E

The Galaxy S10E with that dual aperture and a scene optimizer called Bright Night that creates a slightly better photo. I can see the labels on the bottles because they are stationary. But nearly any movement is a blur.

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iPhone XR

Neither of these phones have a dedicated Night Sight or Night Mode like the Pixel 3 or Huawei P30 Pro. Here's a shot of an intersection outside Oracle Park. The iPhone XR's photo is darker and has more contrast. 

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Galaxy S10E

The Galaxy S10E's photo has a nice dynamic range but suffers from motion blur. 

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iPhone XR

I dig the iPhone XR's slow-sync flash that was first introduced on the iPhone X, 8 and 8 Plus. It adds light, while blending in with the foreground and background.

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Galaxy S10E

The flash from the Galaxy S10E gives the photo a different color temperature than the ambient light, and makes the photo look flat

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Galaxy S10E

Portrait Mode on the Galaxy S10E which is called Live Focus can take photos with a blurry background no matter the subject. The iPhone XR can only take portrait photos of people.

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iPhone XR

But the iPhone XR takes better portrait mode photos of people. The skin tones are better and there's more detail.

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Galaxy S10E

That said, some people prefer the softer look for portrait photos. The Galaxy S10E even offers up a beauty mode to smooth your imperfections out even more.

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iPhone XR

Portrait mode photo from the iPhone XR.

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Galaxy S10E

Live Focus photo from the Galaxy S10E.

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Galaxy S10E

And another Live Focus photo from the Galaxy S10E.

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iPhone XR

The iPhone XR takes decent selfies.

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Galaxy S10E

But the Galaxy S10E's front-facing camera can actually focus resulting in better looking group shots.

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iPhone XR

And here's one more iPhone XR selfie.

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Galaxy S10E

And a selfie taken with the Galaxy S10E.

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iPhone XR

Here's the iPhone's selfie portrait mode.

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Galaxy S10E

And here's selfie Live Focus mode photo from the Galaxy S10E.

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Galaxy S10E

For a more in-depth analysis between the iPhone XR and Galaxy S10E check out my full comparison.

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