There is no doubt that the Google Pixel 2 XL and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 are two of the best Android phones you can buy. The Pixel 2 XL packs one rear camera and uses machine learning and AI to create stunning images. The Note 8 has dual rear cameras each with optical image stabilization (OIS). But which one takes better photos?
Both phones have a Portrait Mode which simulates a shallow depth of field by blurring the background. It's called Live Focus on the Note 8. The portrait on the left was taken with the Pixel 2 XL and the one on the right with the Note 8.
Here's Ruby again, and I'm standing in the same spot, but I'm using the telephoto camera on the Note 8 to zoom in on Ruby's expression. Being able to have an optical zoom is an added advantage of the Note 8.
I was on a ferry crossing San Francisco Bay when I saw the sun setting behind the Golden Gate Bridge. I used the Note 8's telephoto camera to take this picture. I really love how dramatic the photo came out.
Here's the same moment taken with the Pixel 2 XL. While I could digitally zoom in, I didn't because I didn't want to lose image quality. Notice the detail of the waves and how well the Pixel 2 XL handled the highlights.
The next 18 shots were all taken in Portrait Mode on the Pixel 2 XL or Live Focus Mode on the Note 8. In general, the Note 8 renders better looking background blur and people's skin appears softer and more flattering than it might normally be. Some people like that and some people don't.