Google Pixel 5 horizontal photo of ocean 1

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

The Google Pixel 5 and Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition are two of the more reasonably priced high-end phones at the moment. Samsung’s phone offers better value for money on paper, thanks to that flagship processor, a higher refresh rate, and a triple rear camera setup.

Is a triple rear camera setup and a top-end processor enough to overcome the new Pixel’s dual rear camera and algorithmic photography smarts though? We pitted the Pixel 5 against the Galaxy S20 FE in a camera shootout, and asked you to pick a winner.

Which phone takes better photos: Pixel 5 or Galaxy S20 FE?

Results

A grand total of 8,191 votes were cast after we posted the poll on October 16, and 78.4% of respondents picked the Pixel 5 as the winner here. Meanwhile, 21.6% of you lot thought the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE delivered better results.

We thought the two phones were pretty evenly matched in daylight and middling lighting conditions, but felt that the Pixel 5 pulled ahead in low light. This seemed pretty apparent in the pictures showing our own David Imel, with Samsung’s phone churning out darker, noisier results.

Still, we thought the Samsung phone edged out the Pixel in a few scenarios, while the presence of a telephoto camera means it has better zoom capabilities than the Pixel 5 — even when taking night-time shots.

It’s also worth noting that the Pixel 5 is still using the IMX363 main camera sensor (1/2.55-inch size, 1.4 micron pixels) which first appeared on the Pixel 3 and is a negligible upgrade over the IMX362 sensor seen on the Pixel 2. The FE’s 12MP main camera sensor, on the other hand, is larger and has bigger pixels for better light-gathering capabilities in theory. So on the one hand, this is once again a testament to Google’s software prowess after all this time.

On the other hand, it really makes you wonder what Google could do if it used the S20 FE’s main sensor and tuned the software accordingly. In fact, we think Google’s phones are overdue for a camera hardware upgrade.

Your comments

  • Simon: The takeaway for me is how much samsung has closed the gap. It might only be about a year of advances behind pixel line now. Maybe we’ve reached diminishing returns in phone cameras though.
  • MrNobody: I was actually a little disappointed by both cameras. Given the praise dumped on Google’s photo abilities over the past few years, I wasn’t all that impressed. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, as they haven’t actually updated their hardware… then again, the price is reasonable for what you go. Samsung is … well, Samsung.
  • Tom23: Samsung just can’t take a decent shot of human subjects. Faces always look horrible. This is the only reason I don’t use their phones. I’m stuck using my pixel which is inferior in many other departments, so when I take photos of my family I know they’ll be usable.
  • Patrick PB21: Mmm, it’s really hard to choose here. Both have good points in one shot or the other, and I think it’s a draw for the test camera. For the other technical points, I think Samsung is a better choice (Google, in 2020 the fingerprint sensor on the back of a flagship is not possible!).
  • Donald Seguin: Both are a big let down…the reality is Samsung entire S20 lineup has been a disappointment …I mean come on a phone that cannot focus that cost over $1000 (both Ultras) combined with questionable software. In Google case basically the same low end hardware for 3 generations and basically little to progress and these 2 are the Android leaders…how are they gonna look against the I phone 12 lineup which is not actually that expensive…
  • Nnaemeka Nwokocha: Pixel has the better cameras, yes but I’d buy the Samsung if I had to carry one. It’s just a better phone overall.
  • MatteBlack: There are a couple of images I like better from the FE—mostly color at night due to night sight bringing up the colors too much to look more like day—otherwise it’s the Pixel by a mile to me. Just my opinion.

That’s it for our Pixel 5 versus Galaxy S20 FE poll! Thanks so much for voting and submitting comments. What do you make of the results and comparison? Let us know in the comments below.

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