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iPhone XS vs Galaxy Note9 Low Light Camera Performance!

iPhone XS vs Galaxy Note9 – Which Is Better In Low Light?

Both the Samsung Galaxy Note9 and the Apple iPhone XS claim to have the world’s best cameras. While both take great photos in good light, how do they perform in low-light conditions?

Let’s find out in our photo and video comparison of the Apple iPhone XS and the Samsung Galaxy Note9. See for yourself which smartphone has the best low-light camera performance!

Updated @ 2018-12-25 : Minor updates of the article, with some additional information.

First posted @ 2018-12-18

 

iPhone XS vs Galaxy Note9 – Low Light Camera Performance!

We compared the Samsung Galaxy Note9‘s low light performance against the iPhone X back in September, just before the Apple iPhone XS (US | UKShopee | Lazada) was released.

The iPhone XS maintained the same dual-lens camera module from last year’s iPhone X, with software improvements like Smart HDR and better tone mapping. The only hardware upgrade we could tell was the ability to record stereo sound for its videos.

What this means is the  iPhone XS has very similar photographic capabilities to the Samsung Galaxy Note9. They both use 12 MP image sensors with 1.0 µm pixels, paired with f/2.4 lens that offer 2X optical zoom with optical image stabilisation. Where they really differ in is their wide-angle cameras.

The iPhone X’s wide-angle camera uses a 12 MP image sensor with 1.22 µm pixels, paired with f/1.8 lens that support optical image stabilisation.

The Galaxy Note9, on the other hand, uses a 12 MP image sensor with larger 1.4 µm pixels, paired with a Dual Aperture lens that can switch between  f/1.5 and f/2.4. It also supports optical image stabilisation.

Here is a table comparing the key features of their main cameras.

Main Camera SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy Note9Apple iPhone XS / XS Max
TypeDual Camera System with wide and telephoto lensDual Camera System with wide and telephoto lens
Main Camera Features- 12 MP Dual Pixel sensor
- 1.4 µm pixel size
- can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4 apertures
- optical image stabilisation (OIS)
- 12 MP sensor
- 1.22 µm pixel size
- f/1.8 aperture
- optical image stabilisation (OIS)
Telephoto Camera Features- 2x optical zoom
- 12 MP sensor
- 1.0 µm pixel size
- f/2.4 aperture
- optical image stabilisation (OIS)
- 2x optical zoom
- 12 MP sensor
- 1.0 µm pixel size
- f/2.4 aperture
- optical image stabilisation (OIS)
Built-in FlashDual-tone LED flashQuad-LED flash
Video Recording Capabilities4K video : up to 60 fps
1080p video : up to 60 fps
720p video : Up to 960 fps
4K video : up to 60 fps
1080p video : up to 240 fps
720p video : 30 fps
Camera Switching While Recording VideoYesNo
Live Focus CapabilityYesNo
Dual Capture CapabilityYesNo

As you can see, there are other differences between the two camera systems :

Now, let’s take a look at how well they both perform in low-light conditions!

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iPhone XS vs Galaxy Note9 – Low Light Video Shootout

Let’s kick it off with a comparison of their low-light video recording capabilities. This time, we tested them with and without their flash turned on.

With and without the flash, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | UKShopee | Lazada) was definitely better at recording low-light videos than the Apple iPhone XS (US | UKShopee | Lazada).

It is not just about the brightness. Thanks to its quad-lens flash, the iPhone XS has better control of the light. But it lacks contrast compared to the Galaxy Note9.

Here is an example of a night dancing session at the Curve. The singers are on a well-lit platform, but the dancers are not lit by street lights. The Samsung Galaxy Note9 was not mounted on any gimbal.

Despite the changing brightness of the scene, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 did a great job of instantly adjusting the brightness of the subjects. This is not an easy feat when we switched focus to the dancers, because the background is much brighter.

What we ended up with is a happy balance of reasonably bright subjects without overly bright backgrounds. In fact, you can see right into the restaurant behind the dancers!

Next Page > iPhone XS vs Galaxy Note9 Low Light Photo Shootout + Verdict

 

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iPhone XS vs Galaxy Note9 – Low Light Photo Shootout

Let’s start with a dimly-lit shot. Here we have four toys with some indirect lighting.

Dimly-Lit Scene

When you try to take a poorly-lit scene, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | UKShopee | Lazada) automatically switches to the wide f/1.5 aperture. The depth-of-field was much shallower, so you need to be careful about framing the shot, or focusing on the subject, or it will be out-of-focus.

But look at how well the colours turn out. Even in the low light, the colours appear vivid, especially the red lightsaber and Mario’s red shirt. You can also make out that his jeans is blue in colour.

The photo taken by the Apple iPhone XS (US | UKShopee | Lazada) was darker, so the colours are noticeably muted. And Mario’s jeans now appears to be black, instead of blue. Its f/1.8 aperture is definitely no match for the Galaxy Note9’s wider f/1.5 aperture.

Extremely Low Light

We turned off the background light, and it’s almost completely dark. Yet, we can make out all four toys, including Darth Minion, using the Samsung Galaxy Note9.

Unfortunately, it was so dark with the iPhone XS, we can barely frame the shot. You can just about see a little of the baby leopard’s head, but that’s about it.

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Bright Night Scenes

These two photo comparisons will look at street scenes that are lit up by street lights.

In both cases, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | UKShopee | Lazada) delivered brighter and more realistically-lit photos than the iPhone XS (US | UKShopee | Lazada).

 

iPhone XS vs Galaxy Note9 – Our Verdict

When we first posted our Galaxy Note9 vs iPhone X comparison, some iPhone fans criticised us for not using the newer iPhone XS. Never mind the fact that they were not available when we did the test. Never mind the fact that both the iPhone X and iPhone XS have the same camera hardware.

To be fair to these Apple fans, the iPhone XS (US | UKShopee | Lazada) introduces some new software improvements. Squeezing a little extra out of old hardware is something Apple engineers are very good at.

But no matter how clever they are, they just cannot beat the superior optics and sensor in the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | UKShopee | Lazada), and by extension, the Samsung Galaxy S9+. In every test, the Samsung smartphone was superior in low light conditions.

Not only does the Galaxy Note9 have a larger and brighter f/1.5 aperture, its image sensor has 32% larger pixels – 1.4 microns vs. 1.22 microns. They both allow for significantly better low-light camera performance, whether you are taking photos or recording videos.

Whatever Apple may put on the billboards, the Galaxy Note9 and Galaxy S9+ has superior photography and videography performance. This is yet another reason why we gave it our Editor’s Choice Award!

 

Where To Buy The Samsung Galaxy Note9?

Malaysia

  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (128 GB) : RM 3,299 (Lazada | Shopee)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (512 GB) : RM 4,199 (Lazada | Shopee)

United States

  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (128 GB, International Unlocked) : $732
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (128 GB, US Unlocked) : $899.99
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (512 GB, International Unlocked) : $992.49
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (512 GB, US Unlocked) : $1,149.99

United Kingdom

  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (128 GB) : £661
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (512 GB) : £929.99

 

Where To Buy The Apple iPhone XS?

Malaysia

United States

United Kingdom

 

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Belkin Trueclear Pro Advanced 2.0 Screen Care For iPhones!

Belkin just launched their Trueclear Pro Advanced 2.0 Screen Care screen protector to deliver the ultimate protection For iPhone users. Get more info on the new Belkin Trueclear Pro Advanced 2.0 screen protector for iPhones!

 

Belkin Trueclear Pro Advanced 2.0 Screen Care For iPhones!

The Belkin Trueclear Pro Advanced 2.0 Screen Care is designed to deliver the ultimate protection for iPhones. It comes with a 2-year limited warranty and is available for all iPhone models, including the iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone Xs, and iPhone Xs Max.

Belkin Trueclear Pro Advanced 2.0 Screen Care Application System

Most phone screen protection are manually applied and this means that the final result is prone to human error.

Belkin TrueClear Pro 2.0 Screen Care protection application system uses an in-store machine to apply Belkin screen protectors to devices accurately in just a matter of minutes.

It is a unique system designed to apply Belkin screen protectors to devices with exact dimensions of the iPhone’s screen with no margin for errors.

The application by highly trained, certified screen care specialists ensures no misalignment and the final product is free of air bubbles.

Belkin Trueclear Pro Advanced 2.0 Screen Care Features

  • CES Innovation Award-winning, patented screen protection application system
  • Complimentary service to all customers at authorized retailers around the world.
  • Crystal clear, smooth and premium feel: Japan Asahi Tempered Glass for Tempered Glass and Tempered Curve models and Aluminosilicate Glass for the InvisiGlass Ultra model.
  • Nearly unnoticeable and thin protection screen
  • 2-Year Limited Warranty

Belkin Trueclear Pro Advanced 2.0 Screen Care Price + Availability

Belkin Trueclear Pro Advanced 2.0 Screen Care will available at six Machines stores across Malaysia:

  • Machines – Suria KLCC
  • Machines – Sunway Pyramid
  • Machines – Mid Valley
  • Machines – The Gardens
  • Machines – IOI City Mall
  • Machines – Pavilion Elite

Belkin Trueclear Pro Advanced 2.0 Screen Care are available at the following price-points:

  • Tempered Glass for iPhone XS Max/XS/XR/X/8 Plus/8/7 Plus/7/6: RM 99 / ~US$ 24
  • InvisiGlass Ultra for iPhone XS Max/XS/XR/X/8 Plus/8/7 Plus/7/6: RM 145 / ~US$ 35
  • Tempered Curve for iPhone XS Max/XS/XR/X/8 Plus/8/7 Plus/7/6: RM 165 / ~US$ 39

 

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