I need a new phone.

A big chunk of my time on the iPhone was spent taking pictures, so I’m heavily basing the next smartphone on its camera capabilities. After playing around with the Pixel 4 for Brian’s review, I’m considering switching teams.

Price-wise, it would make sense to compare the iPhone 11 with the Pixel 4, as they both start at around $700, but I’m interested in the best Google and Apple have to offer.

Pixel 4 and iPhone 11 Pro

There are a lot of fancy terms between the two — slow sync, true tone flash, phase detection, etc. I really don’t care. I just want to know which one is better as an everyday camera. To that end, here are some pictures in various settings and lighting situations (all images are clickable to view in high-res):


Brooklyn from Manhattan, right after the rain.

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro (.5x)


Arman suffused in pinkish-red light, backlit with afternoon window light. Both were shot from the same distance. 

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro


Hotpot in incandescent lighting.

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro

Japanese and Mexican in low light.

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro

Group selfie

One of these guys is an Emmy award winner.

Pixel 4 iPhone 11 Pro comparison group selfie

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro

Low lighting

I always find venue lighting unnatural, and unflattering. Also, put your phone down and enjoy the show.

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro

Pixel 4 yields brighter images, but the iPhone 11 Pro kept the bar’s ambiance. Plus shooting super-wide on humans adds a certain quirkiness.

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro (.5x)

Really low lighting with moving objects. In this case, a dog.

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro (.5x)

Street photography: Manhattan skies were too cloudy that night to see stars.

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro

Digital zoom

Both cameras have 10x digital zoom. Digital zoom is garbage and I don’t recommend ever using it, except to creep on your friends.

Hi Brandon.

iPhone 11 Pro (1x)


iPhone 11 Pro (10x)


Pixel 4’s photo editing tools are superior, though its image quality is slightly better than the iPhone 11 Pro by just a smidgen. The difference was so subtle that I had to check several times to make sure I labeled the images correctly. It really boils down to aesthetics. I’ve left commentary minimal for the most part so you can scrutinize the images and decide for yourself.

iPhone 11 Pro (.5x)

The two things that ultimately kept me with Apple: the super-wide lens and the immediacy of sharing high-res images via Airdrop. Until Google releases their version, texting a download link to the high-res image is just an extra unnecessary step I don’t care for.

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