I am here on top of Twin Peaks in San Fransisco with two of the best phone you can buy right now, the Galaxy Note 9 from Samsung and the new iPhone 10S max.
Both phones cost over $1000 both phones have dual rear camera's, dual optical stabilization and take amazing photos, and videos.
We're gonna take a look at them and compare them side by side to see how they stack up Overall photos from the iPhone have better dynamic range than those from the Galaxy Note 9.
A lot of that comes from the iPhone's new smart HDR feature, which retains more details in the brightest and darkest parts of the photo.
On the other hand, the Note 9 exposes photos brighter.
Occasionally clipping highlights in light sources like lamps and overhead lighting.
The Note 9 also has software that optimizes photos for 20 different subject categories like landscapes, pets, and food.
For example, if I'm taking a picture with a blue sky in it, the camera will optimize its settings to best capture it.
Most of these scene optimizations are pretty subtle which is a good thing.
Both of these phones have optical zoom, that allows me to get two times closer to my subject without having that bad pixely stuff that happens with digital zoom.
However, once you start using digital zoom, photos from both phones start to look sloppy.
Here's a photo taken at ten times zoom on the iPhone.
And here's one from the Note9 Both look pretty rough.
Then there's the interface on both phones.
The iPhone's native camera app is easier to navigate and while it's nice to have so many mode options, the Galaxy Note 9s default app can be overwhelming and somewhat finicky to use.
Though, I do like Pro Mode which allows me to take more control over the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture in my photos.
When it comes to low light, the Note 9 exposure seems brighter than the iPhone by switching to it's F1.5 apperature, the widest on any smartphone.
Low light photos definitely have less noise that the iPhone, but are really soft and suffer from blown highlights and motion blur.
iPhone low light photos have a bit more noise but are sharper with better dynamic range.
Unless I'm taking photos of something static like a building I almost always prefer the low light shots from the iPhone over the Note9.
But let's talk about one of the coolest features on these phones, portrait mode, or Or, live focus, as Samsung calls it.
On the iPhone, portrait mode is superb.
Not only can I change the lighting looks on people's faces, but also the amount of background blur, before or after a photo is taken.
The Note 9 also let's you change the background blur but, the way the iPhone renders it, is more pleasing.
Portrait mode photos from the iPhone have more detail and sharpness in people's faces.
And colors are more saturated.
The ones from the Note 9 are softer, though, some people might prefer that look.
Then we come to video.
Both of these phones are two of the best you can get to capture video.
However, the iPhone has better image quality, colors, and recording options.
The Note 9 records excellent videos, but sometimes they can look over-sharpened.
Low light video for the Note 9 looks messy.
This clip was recorded on a street around midnight.
It looks soft, has noise in the shadows, and there are lights flaring all over.
Here's the same moment recorded with the iPhone and it looks decent.
The iPhone has a new feature called auto low light FPS.
This automatically changes the frame rate in low light conditions from 30 frames per second to 24.
As for selfies the iPhone has finally caught up to Samsung.
Selfies from both phones are good.
The iPhone offers portrait mode for selfies, which looks solid, while the Note 9 has selective focus, which looks okay.
Alright, let's take a look at selfie video.
I hope you have long arms, because selfie videos on both phones is really cropped.
Colors look more saturated on the Note 9, and the image is a tad sharper on the iPhone.
At the end of the day Both the iPhone 10S Max and the Galaxy Note 9 are significant improvements over last years models, but, to me, the iPhone offers the better overall experience in terms of image quality, dynamic range, video and ease of use.