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Samsung Galaxy S8 Vs iPhone X Vs Huawei Mate 10

We compare the specs and photo-taking quality of the flagship camera phones from three of the biggest smartphone manufacturers.

|  Samsung Galaxy S8 in Camera Phones
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Samsung Galaxy S8 Vs iPhone X Vs Huawei Mate 10

 

Thanks to the popularity explosion of smartphones, photographers are now rarely without a camera. Plus, the technology powering the cameras inside these devices has come such a long way that some don't even carry a sperate camera around anymore. Two of the biggest names in the industry are, of course, Apple and Samsung but there are other brands introducing camera technology within their devices that are making them a talking point for those who value the photo-taking quality of their smart device. One of the main brands introducing impressive photography tools is Huawei so we thought it would be interesting to compare Samsung's, Apple's and Huawei's current flagship smartphones to see how they compare and if there's one device, in particular, photographers should be paying attention to. 

If you're interested in another brand or a less expensive smartphone that can still capture good photos, have a look at our 'best gear' section of the site where we list the '11 Best Camera Phones For Photography 2018' and the 'Top 7 Best Budget Camera Phones For Photography'. 

We will also bring you the latest news on the rumoured soon to be released Samsung Galaxy S9 which will be the next-gen version of the S8 we've previously tested and are featuring in our comparison. Alongside the Samsung Galaxy S8 we are comparing the specs of the Apple iPhone X and the Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Before someone mentions it, we know there's the Google Pixel 2 which plenty say has excellent photo-taking qualities but as we've not got our hands on a model as of yet, we're not in a position to compare it with the other flagship smartphones we have reviewed. We will, however, be happy to write a new comparison when we have taken a look at the Google smartphone.

 

In The Hand

Samsung Galaxy S8 Vs iPhone X Vs Huawei Mate 10

Size-wise, all of the smartphones are very similar but the Samsung Galaxy S8 is around 20g lighter than the Apple iPhone X and Huawei Mate 10 Pro. However, out of the three, I prefer the feel of the iPhone X as its weighty in a way that makes it feel really well built. The steel and glass design also makes it feel expensive. Although, saying that, the front and back are constructed from glass so you may want to pop it in a case to protect it.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 looks rather nice, and photos don't particularly do it justice. However, the curved front and back of the smartphone, as well as the large screen with thin edges, makes the smartphone almost feel like all you're holding is a screen. It also has a glass construction so again, a case is recommended. 

As for the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, it feels solidly built, although you will most likely want a screen protector and case to protect the glass on the front and back of the smartphone. The metal sides and buttons give a premium feel, adding to the solid design of the smartphone.

At one point, we all would have considered the size of these three smartphones to be on the large size but with phablets becoming the norm, they no longer feel big and in fact, thanks to some clever bevelling, the smartphones have larger screens without the phones growing in size. 

None of the smartphones have a home button but this is something you soon get used to and all can easily be operated with one hand but we do recommend you use both of your hands when capturing photos or video just to give a little more stability. 

To unlock the phones, both the S8 and Mate 10 Pro have a fingerprint sensor but Apple this time has gone for face recognition as the method for accessing the phone but you can enter a code, too, should a friend want to use your phone. 

One slight bugbear with all of the smartphone designs is that they collect fingerprints but pop on a case and use a lens cloth to clean the screens regularly and they won't annoy you for too long. 

 

The Screen 

Samsung Galaxy S8 Vs iPhone X Vs Huawei Mate 10 Screens

Let's talk inches as the Samsung Galaxy S8 has a 5.8" screen, the same size as the iPhone X while the Mate 10 Pro is slightly bigger at 6". The Huawei offering also has a slightly larger bevel to the top and bottom when compared to the Apple and Samsung smartphones but it's not something that makes the phone too bulky. 

As for glass, Samsung's still using Gorilla Glass and now, we're up to Gorilla Glass 5 which is used both on the screen and back panel, making it tough. Huawei's Mate 10 Pro also has a Gorilla Glass front and the iPhone X...well, it's a bit of a mystery on the type of glass used but quite a few have said it's rather easy to break if you're clumsy and drop your phone. 

In use, the screen looks good on all of the devices and they're bright which makes them useable outdoors. Although, the Mate 10 Pro can be a little on the cool side when compared to other smartphones, however, this can easily be adjusted using the "Eye comfort" setting, which gives the screen a warmer tone. Viewing angles are also very good on all of the devices. 

For those who like to compare numbers, the Samsung Galaxy S8 has the highest screen resolution out of the three (2960x1440), followed by the iPhone X (2436x1125) then the Huawei Mate Pro 10 (2160 x 1080). 

 

The Camera

Samsung Galaxy S8 Vs iPhone X Vs Huawei Mate 10

The camera quality of smartphones has steadily improved and the flagship offerings from Samsung, Apple and Huawei are rather impressive.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 features a 12-megapixel dual pixel sensor rear camera with an f/1.7 aperture and optical image stabilisation (OIS). The front camera has been updated to an 8-megapixel camera, with a bright f/1.7 aperture and a second front camera has been added for face recognition which can be used to unlock the phone. 

The 12 megapixel back camera has 1.4um pixels, which are quite large for a smartphone, and allow the sensor to gather more light. Touch focus can be used and autofocus is impressive, thanks to every pixel on the dual pixel sensor being used for phase detection. There is a built-in LED flash on the rear, and the front screen can be used as a selfie flash when using the front camera, in low-light conditions.

Shooting modes include Auto, pro, panorama, selective focus, slow-motion, hyper-lapse, food and virtual shot. Raw shooting is also possible in Pro mode.

The front "selfie" camera uses autofocus and features Auto HDR.

Huawei's flagship smartphone offers excellent camera features and also the famous 'Leica' brand. The dual camera is set up with a 12mp f/1.6 colour camera, and a 20mp f/1.6 black and white camera, both lenses equivalent to 27mm in 35mm terms. The main 12mp colour camera features optical image stabilisation, and there is prominent Leica branding next to the cameras on the back, as well as a Dual LED flash.

A standout feature of the Mate 10 Pro is the real-time recognition function which automatically recognises 13 different scenes including Portrait, Flower, Plant, Low-light, Dog, Cat, Food, Blue sky, Nightscape, Sunset/Sunrise, Text, Beach, and Snow. As a result, the phone will then adjust colour, contrast, brightness, exposure, noise reduction and image sharpening to suit the scene it's presented. Other 'AI' powered camera features include image resolution enhancement, bokeh, digital zoom and motion detection. 

The photography app is particularly impressive and gives you one of the most comprehensive lists of manual controls available in a smartphone and you can shoot RAW images. There are numerous shooting modes available including Photo, Monochrome, Video, HDR, 3D panorama, Panorama, Night shot, Light Painting, Time-lapse, Slow-mo, Filter, Watermark, Document scan, and Good Food. You can also download additional modes as they become available.

 

Camera Apps

 

The Apple iPhone X builds on the dual camera of the iPhone 7 Plus, but features updated cameras, with both the wide-angle (28mm equivalent) and telephoto (56mm equivalent) lenses now featuring Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), a brighter aperture for the telephoto lens (f/2.4 instead of f/2.8), and a larger sensor. Both dual cameras feature 12-megapixels, same as the iPhone 8 Plus, and the wide-angle lens features an f/1.8 aperture which along with the brighter aperture for the telephoto lens should improve low light performance, something previous iPhones have struggled with. As well as the large sensor which Apple says has been re-engineered, there's a new image signal processor built in to improve the quality of colours and textures in images.

The front 'selfie' camera has 7-megapixels as well as an aperture of f/2.2 and you can use Portrait Mode to create 'bokeh' in the background of your self-portraits, adjust the lighting of the scene or cut yourself out so you appear on a black background. 

Where the iPhone X is let down is with its native camera app as to be blunt, it's a bit rubbish when compared with competitors. The default photo mode is probably the option you'll use most of the time but there are options for capturing square, portrait and panorama images. Plus, there are time-lapse and slo-mo options as well as the basic video mode. There isn't an HDR icon anymore as the iPhone X captures HDR images by default but you can switch this off in the main setting menu. If you do want to access more advanced functions such as the ability to shoot in RAW, shutter speeds, ISO, white balance etc, you have to use a third-party app to do so.

All of the camera apps open up extremely quickly and respond almost instantly to presses of the on-screen shutter buttons. You can also use the volume control as a shutter release button on all of the models and with the Huawei, you can also access the camera by double pressing the volume button. Focus speeds and shutter responses are also quick, with frames per second averaging between 10-15fps. 

 

Photo Quality

Photos captured with the Mate Pro 10 camera have bright saturated colours, and exposure is reliable. The background blur / wide-aperture mode can produce some reasonable results, although they don't quite match a camera with a larger sensor. When using the portrait mode you can adjust the "Beauty level" as well as switch "Artistic Bokeh" on and off. The dual LED flash performs well, as long as your subject isn't too far away from the camera.

The iPhone X's overall performance of the camera is good but not quite as good as the Mate Pro 10 in terms of control. The generic 'photo' mode captures decent photos on most occasions but when it gets dark, the iPhone still struggles but twilight shooting has improved with good detail and less noise. Flash is a little harsh so if you can, avoid using it but colours are good and exposure is reliable. The generic 'photo' mode captures portraits and selfies well with skin colour appearing accurate and eyes sharp, however, the new portrait modes do add an extra level of pro quality to shots.

 

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Sample Photos

 

As for the Samsung Galaxy S8, colour is good, with the camera producing nice pleasing images straight from the camera. Exposure is reliable, and when left on auto settings, the camera will automatically switch to the HDR mode when needed to record more dynamic range in photos, without looking unnatural. The selfie (front) camera is improved, with an 8-megapixel sensor and AF, but can struggle with dynamic range at times but using the HDR mode can help a little here. 

The lens performance of the S8 is good but it can be a little soft in far corners. Vignetting is not an issue, but there is some barrel distortion, and some pincushion distortion, although this can be fixed using the "Shape correction" option in the settings. The camera can also focus on subjects fairly close to the lens, giving reasonable macro focus.

 

Samsung Galaxy S8 Sample Photos

 

The Huawei Mate Pro 10 has an impressive camera app but there was some distortion in images and minimal signs of vignetting. However, detail is quite good and images taken in good light show low levels of noise. The selfie camera has a fixed focus lens, which means you can't get too close to it as you won't be in focus. Close focus is good, letting you get very close to your subject for a smartphone camera

The close-up performance of the iPhone X is pretty good and colours outdoors as well as under lights at home and in an office environment turned out well. Images taken in good light show low levels of noise and even those taken in lower light levels aren't ruined by noise. Overall, detail is good but do stay away from the digital zoom. There are no signs of vignetting and there are good levels of detail into the corners which makes the iPhone's image quality marginally better than the Mate Pro 10 and Galaxy S8 which showed some vignetting, barrel distortion and some pincushion distortion.

 

Apple iPhone X Sample Photos

 

Another feature built into most modern smartphones nowadays is an automatic panoramic mode and all three phones produce decent panoramas. Results are good and well stitched together on all three panoramas. However, there is slight ghosting in the panorama captured with the Mate Pro 10. If you get the smoothness and speed right when panning with the Samsung Galaxy S8 you actually get a very high-resolution image, with images we took consisting of between 30 and 53 megapixels.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Panoramic

Samsung Galaxy S8 Panoramic

 

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Panoramic

Huawei Mate Pro 10 Panoramic

 

Apple iPhone X Panoramic

Apple iPhone X Panoramic

 

To further help improve image quality, you can use ISO and White Balance so it makes sense that Huawei and Samsung built these options into their smartphones. However, it's something the iPhone X's native camera app doesn't have so it wasn't something we were able to test and it may mean it loses a few points in photographer's ratings. However, the smartphone handles noise well in most situations (low light can still be tricky) and colour reproduction was good under various lighting situations although, shots at home were sometimes a little on the warm side. If you did want to control the ISO and white balance, you'd have to download a third-party app.

Noise is low from ISO50 to ISO200 with the Samsung Galaxy S8 but some noise does appear at ISO400. At ISO800 noise becomes more noticeable, and detail suffers. To get access to higher ISO speeds above ISO800, you will need to use a third-party app on the Galaxy S8 whereas the Mate Pro 10 has an ISO range that reaches a lot higher. In fact, noise performance is good up until ISO1600, where noise becomes more visible, and colour saturation drops. Shooting with the black and white camera, results are quite good even at the highest ISO speeds of ISO1600 and ISO3200, making it a good option in low-light conditions.

All of the white balance options available on both devices perform well and the Auto White Balance (AWB) can be used under mixed light without too much concern. 

 

Video Quality

All three flagship smartphones capture 4K video and overall, they all perform well and video quality is good. Although, compression is quite strong with the Mate 10 Pro and Apple iPhone X. 

Optical image stabilisation can be used on all three smartphones when recording video, although it can take a while for stabilisation to settle when using the Galaxy S8 and you have to record at a reduced resolution and frame rate, of FullHD and 30fps on the Huawei Mate 10 Pro. You also have the option for continuous AF while recording with the Apple iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8. 

The best way to judge video quality for yourself is to actually watch some footage so take a look at the below videos captured with the three smartphones. Additional videos can be found on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel.

 

Samsung Galaxy S8

 

Apple iPhone X

 

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

 

 

Other Features

The Galaxy S8 has a microSD card slot so you can expand the storage capacity of the smartphone but with 64GB of storage, you may not need one. This option isn't available for the iPhone X or Mate Pro 10 but there is a huge amount of memory built in. 

The S8, iPhone X and Mate Pro 10 are also dust and water resistant, with Samsung claiming it can withstand a half - hour dunking up to 1.5m down and the Mate Pro 10 surviving (IP67 rated) up to depths of 1m for 30 minutes. 

Inside the Galaxy S8 you'll find the latest SnapDragon 835 processor while the Mate Pro 10 features Huawei's fastest processor, the Kirin 970. The iPhone X features Apple's A11 Bionic system-on-chip which is a six-core processor.

As with previous iPhone models, there's no headphone socket and you won't find one on the Mate 10 Pro either but the Samsung Galaxy S8 does still have one built-in. 

Battery life on all of the devices is good for modern smartphones and we also ran a number of benchmark tests to see how the three phones compare. These were done on the AnTuTu and Geekbench sites where the phones scored the following: 

Apple iPhone X

  • AnTuTu: 202,000
  • Geekbench: 4204 (single core), 10104 (multicore)
     

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

  • AnTuTu: 174,783 
  • Geekbench: 1881 (single core) 6674 (multi-core)

 

Samsung Galaxy S8

  • AnTuTu: 172,727
  • Geekbench: 1982 (single core) 6699 (multi-core)

The iPhone X came out on top with the Galaxy S8 taking second place and the Mate 10 Pro finishing in the third spot. 

 

Price

The sim-free price of the three phones is as follows (cheapest available on Amazon UK):

  • Samsun Galaxy S8 (64GB) - £504
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro (128GB) - £699
  • Apple iPhone X (64GB) - £914 

 

ePHOTOzine Ratings

 

Samsung Galaxy S8

  • Features - 5
  • Handling - 4
  • Performance - 4.5
  • Value - 4

Overall Verdict: 

"The Samsung Galaxy S8 impresses with excellent design, rapid performance, advanced shooting controls, and great image quality."

 

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

  • Features - 5
  • Handling - 4
  • Performance - 4.5
  • Value - 4

Overall Verdict: 

"The Huawei Mate 10 Pro offers bright Leica f/1.6 lenses, a great mono camera, and multiple shooting options."

 

Apple iPhone X

  • Features - 4
  • Handling - 5
  • Performance - 4.5
  • Value - 4

Overall Verdict: 

"The Apple iPhone X is well built, looks great and even though the camera app is basic, the smartphone captures good photos but at a premium price."

 

To compare the 3 smartphones further, have a look at the specs table below and do have a read of our full reviews

 

Comparison Table

Samsung Galaxy S8Apple iPhone XHuawei Mate 10 Pro
ManufacturerSamsungAppleHuawei
Front Camera
PixelsNo Data7Mp (Megapixels)No Data
Max ApertureNo Dataf/2.2No Data
Smartphone Cameras
Smartphone Cameras
  • Wide-Angle (Standard)
    • Wide-Angle (Standard)
    • Monochrome
    Additional CamerasNo DataNo DataNo Data
    Lens
    Max Aperturef/1.7f/1.8 - f/2.4f/1.6
    35mm equivalent26mm28mm - 56mm27mm
    Optical Zoom0x2x0x
    Image Sensor
    Pixels12Mp (Megapixels)12Mp (Megapixels)12Mp (Megapixels)
    Pixels (W)4032No Data3968
    Pixels (H)3024No Data2976
    Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)Back-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)Back-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
    Sensor Size1/2.55inchNo DataNo Data
    Sensor Size (width)No DataNo DataNo Data
    Sensor Size (height)No DataNo DataNo Data
    Aspect Ratio
    • 4:3
    • 16:9
      • 4:3
      • 1:1
      • 18:9
      LCD Monitor
      LCD Monitor5.8in5.8in6in
      Screen resolution2960x14401125x24362160 x 1080 pixels
      Touch ScreenYesYesYes
      Focusing
      Focusing modes
      • Autofocus
      • Manual
      • Face Detection
      • AF Tracking
      • Centre
      • Touch AF
      • Autofocus
      • Face Detection
      • Touch AF
      • Autofocus
      • Manual
      • Spot
      • Face Detection
      • AF Tracking
      • Multi
      • Centre
      • Touch AF
      Exposure Control
      Shutter speeds shortest1/24000secNo Data1/4000sec
      Shutter speeds longest10secNo Data30sec
      ISO sensitivity50 - 800No Data50 - 3200
      Video
      Movie modeYesYesYes
      Video Resolution
      • 4K
      • 1920x1080 FullHD
      • 4K
      • 1920x1080 FullHD
      • 1920x1080 FullHD
      • 4K
      Video FPS30fpsNo Data30fps
      Stereo SoundNo DataNoNo Data
      Other Features
      Image StabilisationYesYesYes
      Interface
      USBUSB-CLightningUSB-C
      Wi-FiYesYesYes
      Storage
      Internal Memory4000MBNo DataNo Data
      Power Source
      Battery TypeLithium-ion 3000mAh2716mAh4000mAh battery
      Box Contents
      Box ContentsNo DataNo DataNo Data
      Dimensions
      Weight155g174g178g
      Width148.9mm143.6mm154.2mm
      Height68.1mm70.9mm74.5mm
      Depth8mm7.7mm7.9mm
      View Full DetailsView Full DetailsView Full Details

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