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Huawei P20 Pro takes even better night pictures than the Pixel 2 XL



About half of the Huawei P20 Pro launch this week was devoted to the camera capabilities of the new device, reflecting the great amount of time and attention the company has devoted to mobile photography. And the results, with a few days left to try the P20 Pro, are not far from the sublime hype. Huawei has created an impressive contender for the crown of the best smartphone camera. I'm not yet convinced that it deserves this award, but I can safely say that the night mode of the P20 Pro is a breakthrough innovation that produces some of the best night shots ever made on a phone. Even the acclaimed Google Pixel 2 XL has trouble keeping up with the P20 Pro.

On a tour of the city of Paris, scene of the announcement of Huawei P20, I made a series of casual photos with the Pixel 2 XL and the P20 Pro. Below is a selection of the most important, starting with the most difficult situation: night shots.

Huue P20 Pro on the left (or above, for mobile users), Google Pixel 2 XL on the right / bottom.

The way Huawei's night mode works is a technical marvel. The shutter of the camera is fully open for four seconds – during which time I see the image exposure steadily increase until night scenes become day to day – and then all the information gathered is intelligently used to create a clean and crisp image. I expected the results of this process to be soft and blurry, but in the photos above you can see that the Huawei phone surpasses the pixel. With the P20 you can still see tree branches in the background, there is more color (and much less less graininess) in the sky and a simply better saturation in the whole picture.



Huawei P20 Pro [19659006] Google Pixel 2 XL

Another example where the P20 Pro offers better saturation and a much cleaner night sky than the Pixel 2 XL. The Total logo and the background buildings are much more defined in the Huawei picture. However, this comes at a price, because Huawei is not afraid to add extra layers of sharpening and noise-reducing blur to make a picture more pop. So you lose some of the naturalness of the pixel photo, but you get a sharper image for sharing on mobile devices, where pixel-level detail is not that crucial. The remarkable thing about this shot is that the Lord continued in the foreground of the P20 Pro during the four seconds of recording – Huawei's algorithms are clever enough to consider such moving objects and keep them adequately fixed.



Huawei P20 Pro



19659009] Google Pixel 2 XL

These are both amazingly good photos as there is little light available for the cameras. Huawei once again wins the comparison by presenting a wonderfully noiseless sky, better assessing the exposure, and more faithfully reproducing the reflective surface of the pyramid.

Huawe P20 Pro Left / Top, Google Pixel 2 XL Right / Bottom

This is the scene I just can not get over. The P20 Pro Sky is a crazy masterpiece compared to the Pixel 2 XL Sky, which is a prime example of the problems most phones have with night shots. The pixel is not only spotty and ugly, it also blows out the glowing signs on the buildings. On the other hand, it retains enough sharpness to keep the "haats de Seine" character on the right-hand side readable – while the aggressive noise reduction of the P20 Pro destroys this along with many small details in the frame. Ultimately, however, Huawei's solution for the most common destination of a random tourist snapshot will only provide more pleasing results for the user.

Huawe P20 Pro on the left (or above, for mobile users), Google Pixel 2 XL right / bottom.

Zoom in and you'll be right to label the Google Pixel 2 XL for the higher level of detail retention. The people in this photo still look human as they look in the Huawei shot as though they had been applied with a thick brush. But it's not a total Google victory, because the P20 Pro better exposes the red bar sign and the street lighting up in the frame. The Huawei photo also looks fuller, with the red reflections in the foreground better than the eyes of Google's picture.



Huawei P20 Pro



Google Pixel 2 XL

Distinguish between these two light would be impossible, except for one: Huawei Master AI processing. It automatically detects the type of scene you want to capture and aggressively processes the photo to beautify it. In the above example, the P20 Pro caught a blue sky and decided to double at the expense of foreground exposure. You can see how problematic this will be when shooting the Eiffel Tower, especially since Huawei does not offer the option to remove its processing for a more natural look. So you have to be careful so that the AI ​​can make all the decisions.



Huawei P20 Pro



Google Pixel 2 XL

For the most part, Huawei's AI-based image changes are for the better. Here's an example where the P20 Pro camera detected the scene as "green" and increased the contrast and saturation accordingly. I can not say that this is the most realistic shot of all time, as the leaves in front of me were not quite as luscious as the Huawei phone, but it is undeniably a pleasant, clean and extremely sharp shot. The Pixel 2 XL shot looks flat and lifeless in comparison.

Huuee P20 Pro left (or above, for mobile users), Google Pixel 2 XL right / bottom.

I'm starting to get sick of the pixel being bullied on his favorite game, so here's a clear pixel 2 XL win to make up for it. Google's signature HDR + processing makes the buildings more visible in the distance and keeps them sharper than Huawei's offer. I also prefer the warmer color balance the pixel offers, though the P20 may have been a bit more lifelike on that occasion.

Huawe P20 Pro on the left side (or above, for mobile users), Google Pixel 2 XL on the right / bottom side.

Returning to the Huawei side of the ledger, this shot shows the strength of the P20 Pro camera in everyday situations. It again looks less natural than the pixel, as it relies more on artificial sharpening, but then it actually is much sharper. What Huawei does is somewhere between the typical exaggeration that less-savvy companies like LG make their pictures and Google's approach to staying true to the old ways of film photography. Sometimes this pays off in spectacularly sharp images like the one above, which are just about to be processed too much.

My conclusion, which you will surely find unsatisfactory, is that there is no conclusive winner in the competition between these two camera phones. I think that the Huawei P20 Pro, the Google Pixel 2 XL and the Samsung Galaxy S9 form their own league when it comes to capture scenes with low light. As always, I wish I had a less great phone to show just how far the pixel and these two new flagships are from the rest of the Android field and Apple's iPhone X. For now, I can confidently say everything is that Huawei P20 Pro has one of the top three cameras on the market and it legitimately entices me to lay down the pixel for a while and try the Huawei life.


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