DXOMark has ranked the latest smartphones for the best quality photographs and the Huawei Mate 30 Pro reportedly takes the best images with a new record score.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on November 27, 2019

The quality of the camera is now all that separates smartphones but it is impossible to tell unless you’re a photographic expert.

Huawei has had a tough year. It is still in a fight with the Trump Government and banned from Google. Its latest phone, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, is still awaiting a general release outside China where it has sold a staggering seven million units.

However Huawei smartphones are selling like hotcakes in Europe and camera review experts DXOMark states the Huawei Mate 30 Pro is the new number one in its smartphone camera ranking.

“The new record is largely due to a phenomenal photo score of 132, a full six points ahead of the previous leader, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G,” DXOMark reported.

“The Mate 30 Pro delivers excellent results in almost all still image categories, but really shines for texture and noise. The Huawei achieves the top scores for both attributes individually, which is unusual, given that a noise-free image typically mean a loss of detail and vice-versa. The Mate 30 Pro camera is capable of balancing the two attributes perfectly, however, recording good texture and detail in almost all conditions while keeping noise levels very low. Noise is truly visible only in very low light.

“The new Huawei also performs very well for exposure and colour. Images are well-exposed down to very low light levels and a wide dynamic range ensures good shadow and highlight detail in difficult high-contrast scenes. Colour was a bit of a weakness on the P30 Pro, but colour on the Mate 30 Pro is noticeably more saturated and white balance is more stable, with only some very occasional slight colour casts.

“Further, the test device achieves a first-place score for our new night low-light category. It performs very well with the flash forced on, and cleverly switches between flash use and shooting with only ambient light in flash-auto mode, usually picking the method that’s most suited to the scene. It also does well with the flash deactivated. Noise levels are low in all situations, but we observed some unnaturally high saturation and slight image softness in some test scenes,” DXOMark stated.

“The new Mate comes with a more conventional 3x tele-lens instead of relying on the P30 Pro’s 5x folded optics. However, thanks to the new AI-RAW algorithm, it actually records better detail than its stablemate at short and medium-range zoom. Only at long range does it not keep up with the more complex lens construction of the P-series flagship. Overall, the Mate 30 Pro is one of the best devices for zoom.”

The Huawei Mate 30 series, which was launched on 20 September, includes the Huawei Mate 30, Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Huawei Mate 30 5G, Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G, and the Huawei Mate 30 RS Porsche Design smartphones. However, due to Huawei not being compatible with Google, it has only been released in Asia. Buyers are still able to download apps, but officially not from the Google Play Store. Instead apps come from Huawei’s alternative App Gallery.

The second best of the smartphones to buy for its camera and video capabilities is the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro Premium Edition, Xiaomi’s newest high-end smartphone, according to DXOMark.

“With an overall score of 121, the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro Premium Edition has tied with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro for the highest overall camera score of any phone we have tested so far. Its Photo score is two points lower than the Mate 30 Pro’s (130 versus 132), although it is still one of our highest photo scores ever. Its video score of 102 is the highest we’ve seen — edging out both the Google Pixel 4 and the Samsung Note 10+ 5G by a point.

“The Xiaomi device delivers excellent results in just about every type of photographic situation. Outdoors, it has accurate exposures along with excellent detail preservation, and it manages noise well; however, there can be a pinkish colour cast, and highlights are sometimes clipped. Other than that, white balance is generally accurate across the board, and the smartphone camera renders bokeh in a pleasing way. Indoor shots display a little more noise, but are still high quality.

“Wide-angle shots taken with the ultra-wide-lens camera have low distortion and good detail preservation compared to similar phones, and night shots feature very natural skin tones, thanks in part to its second, softer, flash. While the phone’s multiple cameras help make it a top performer, it does have a few weaknesses — for example, highlight clipping occurs in very high-dynamic-range scenes, and images lose sharpness towards their edges.

“Thanks to its dual telephoto lens-equipped cameras, the Mi CC9 Pro Premium Edition does exceptionally well in our zoom tests: having native 2x and ~4x optical zooms power it to a record zoom sub-score of 109. The multi-camera setup also helps the Xiaomi phone do a good job with depth estimation, which results in a very good bokeh effect, with particularly pleasing blur gradients and well-rendered spotlights.

“While the Mi CC9 Pro Premium Edition still performs very well in low-light conditions, with excellent detail, noise is somewhat more visible than when shooting outdoors. Overall flash performance is solid, with accurate exposures and a good tradeoff between detail preservation and noise reduction. Some color casts are visible in cityscape scenes, and there is also some slight ghosting when using Night mode to shoot moving subjects.”

The top 10 cameras on smartphones are:

  1. Huawei Mate 30 Pro
  2. Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro Premium Edition,/li>
  3. Apple iPhone Pro Max
  4. Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G
  5. Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
  6. Huawei P30 Pro
  7. Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
  8. OnePlus 7 Pro
  9. Honor 20 Pro
  10. Samsung Galaxy S10+