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Poll: What's more important, camera hardware or software?

Which one do you think is more important when push comes to shove?
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By
July 21, 2021
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Google Pixel 5 1
Adam Molina / Android Authority

Smartphone cameras have come a long way since the late 2000s, with today’s devices delivering fantastic low-light results, detailed and seamless HDR shots, and high-resolution video. This generally comes down to both hardware and software improving in big ways.

Which one is more important though? Does hardware play a bigger role in getting great results from your smartphone camera? Or does software play a more significant part? That’s what we’re asking you today, so give us your verdict via the poll below.

What's more important: camera hardware or software?

2627 votes

There are plenty of components that make up camera hardware, such as lenses, the camera sensor itself, and optical image stabilization (OIS). But we’ve previously seen companies with great hardware stymied by disappointing software, such as OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Sony‘s older devices.

Camera software also plays a major role in determining how an image is captured and processed. This can be the differentiating factor when comparing two devices with nearly identical camera hardware specs.

Google is probably the most well-known example of great camera software, but the firm has paired this software with average hardware for a few years now. Former Android Authority reviewer David Imel noted in his Pixel 5 review that the latest Google flagship suffered when snapping busy scenes or detail-rich subjects, saying this was due to the smaller, older sensor. We’ve also seen some brands skip hardware features like OIS, resulting in reduced image quality too.

So which one is actually more important? Do let us know via the poll above and leave a comment if you have more on your mind.