A dual-lens camera in a smartphone will be the biggest design and technology trend of 2017.
While Apple has touted this as a super-premium feature, offering a dual-lens camera setup with a beta feature called Portrait mode only on the iPhone 7 Plus, Android phone-makers are busy democratising this feature.
Huawei has been the most aggressive to push dual-lens cameras on its phones among Android phone-makers. What started off as a premium offering in a partnership with the venerable Leica brand for their flagship P9, has now become a trend across price bands.
I’ve chosen to compare the camera quality of three of the most important dual-lens systems on the shelves – two from Huawei and one from Apple. I shot all the pictures with all the camera phones on default auto mode, and haven’t touched up any of the images whatsoever. Each set you see below has the type of shot and results from each phone with my observations. So, let the results blow your mind.
The most important thing most people use their cameras for, apart from taking selfies, is to click pictures of their friends. Check for focus, dynamic range and background blur in these. It is also important to keep an eye on colour temperatures as it clearly impacts the skin tone.
When you observe closely, portraits really show the difference in image quality between the three phones. The iPhone camera is surprisingly noisy when you see the image at 100% crop. Huawei Honor 6X, a phone that costs one-fifth of the iPhone 7 Plus, gives you images with better clarity, colour reproduction, and dynamic range.
I am not remotely saying that the Huawei Honor 6X has a better phone than Apple’s, but camera performance is a key feature for most consumers. And the Honor 8 and 6X take spectacular pictures, sometimes better than iPhones.
The iPhone 7 Plus shines in this round. The colours are well-balanced and the level of detail despite low light is fantastic. You can literally see each filament of the tungsten light bulb. Honor 8 produces good results too, but as with most shots, the white balance is on the warm side. Honor 6X has fuzzy focus and lacks overall detail in this macro test.
Apple’s iPhone is a benchmark for how a smartphone camera should be.
The combination of top-grade hardware and software, plus thousands of photography apps, still make iPhone 7 Plus the gold standard in cell phone photography.
Huawei is quickly becoming the go-to brand for dual-lens camera phones running on Android. Whatever your budget, they’ve got you covered, and the picture quality is incredible across the spectrum. But one department where they need to make huge improvements is camera UI and software experience.