The iPhone X can't stand up to the HUAWEI P20 Pro at night time photography

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Smartphone cameras have come a long way with even the most affordable phones producing decent shots when there is plenty of light. But the true test of any camera is how it performs when lighting conditions are less than optimal- such as during the night. Even the best cameras tend to struggle when you try and shoot in the dark.

With the HUAWEI P20 Pro, Huawei introduced us to world’s first Leica triple lens setup that could produce 40MP photos, and, powered by Master AI, promised to tackle the problem of low light and night time smartphone photography. Such specs on a phone camera were unheard of when Huawei released the HUAWEI P20 Pro earlier in the year but even to this day, it continues to be unmatched.

The triple camera setup on the HUAWEI P20 Pro is made up of a 40 MP, f/1.8, 27mm primary sensor that is complemented by at 20 MP black and white, f/1.6, 27mm sensor and an additional 8 MP, f/2.4, 80mm sensor fixed at 3x optical zoom. Together these three cameras produce shots that are unparalleled in sharpness, colour accuracy, focus and contrast.

To help get the best photo from the camera is the revolutionary AI powered by the NPU present on the Kirin 970 processor inside the HUAWEI P20 Pro This AI can currently identify more than 500 scenarios in 19 categories and select the best mode for the camera to deliver incredible, professional-looking images.

We decided to test the HUAWEI P20 Pro against the iPhone X around the iconic Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall in Downtown. We didn’t use any tripods or external gear to keep things balanced and the images below are straight from the camera of both these phones. Let’s take a look at the results from both.

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This first shot is of traffic coming into downtown and the night time with street lights as well as lights produced by cars, around the trees and the fountain can stress any camera out. The iPhone X struggles to keep the picture sharp when it comes to the foreground while the building in the background also blend into the darkness.

On the other hand, the HUWAEI P20 Pro produces a magnificent shot that is extremely clear around all lights while the buildings in the background stand out. Huawei’s AI Image Stabilization kicks in to capture a blur-free image without the need for a tripod.

It’s incredible that a mobile phone is capable of such a detailed shot in such a bust night time environment without the need for any extra gear.

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This next shot is of the lake between Dubai Mall and Souk Al Bahar and the difference is night and day. The iPhone X produces a rather dull looking image with no detail on the building in the background or the reflections in the water.

The HUAWEI P20 Pro once again produces a stunning image. The Night mode balances high-contrast scenes for effortlessly clear, light balanced snaps in any setting. Just observe the areas where the iPhone X failed and look at the difference in image quality, color and sharpness on the HUAWEI P20 Pro. Night and day.

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Next up is a shot of boats on the lake where the fountains spring to life. You don’t really need to look very far to see the difference between these two photos. Just take a look at the wooden head of the board at the bottom of the picture and notice the texture, or shall we say, the lack of texture on the photo produced by the iPhone X. 

Have a look at that same area on the photo produced by the HUAWEI P20 Pro and you can see the beating the boat has taken- it’s all so real. Also notice the EA 210 number on the second boat with passengers in- it’s crystal clear on the HUAWEI P20 but fuzzy on the iPhone X. Same goes for the water and the buildings in the background.

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We wanted to capture the lights in the reflection of the water with this shot and it’s clear which phone wins in this comparison. With the iPhone X, all the colored lights are lost by the reflection of white lights around it. You really have to look hard to see the red or blue reflections in the water.

But on the HUAWEI P20 Pro, you can spot these out with just a glance. The white lights look a lot more realistic and don’t bleed out on the P20 Pro with very clear separation. Also, though not intended, the background in this picture looks so much better on the HUAWEI P20 Pro.

It’s quite clear that the HUAWEI P20 Pro is the king of phones when it comes to night light photography. The shots are extremely sharp and blur free and the Night Mode negates the usage of a tripod to produce professional photos with great contrast and focus.

There is a lot more to the camera on the Huawei P20 Pro than just night time photography. The 40MP sensor and the triple lens setup can also produce fantastic zoomed in shots while the AI scene recognition truly helps in color accuracy.