I rate iPhone very highly as it lives up to the mark adorably on all the aspects. Whether it's commendable performance or the ability to capture stunning shots, Apple's smartphone has been ruling the roost for long. However, I don't agree with the fact that rivals are not catching up with the iPhone or not giving it a strong fight. Not at all!
Last year, when Google launched Pixel and Pixel XL, I was really amazed to see the top notch functionality of the smartphones. The Pixel phone even defeated iPhone 7/7 Plus fair and square in camera quality. That's not all, even LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are equipped to capture better shots.
iPhone vs. Android Photography Slugfest
The iPhone vs. Android debate has suddenly caught a lot of fire recently; with former Google SVP Vic Gundotra criticizing the search giant saying Android is years behind iPhone as far as photography is concerned. He even went on to say that he would never buy an Android phone again if I cared about photography. Take a quick look at what he said,
“The end of the DSLR for most people has already arrived,” Gundotra wrote while sharing two Portrait mode photos of his kids at a restaurant. “I left my professional camera at home and took these shots at dinner with my iPhone 7 using computational photography (portrait mode as Apple calls it). Hard not to call these results (in a restaurant, taken on a mobile phone with no flash) stunning. Great job Apple.”
“Here is the problem: It's Android, Gundotra writes. “Android is an open source (mostly) operating system that has to be neutral to all parties. This sounds good until you get into the details. Ever wonder why a Samsung phone has a confused and bewildering array of photo options? Should I use the Samsung Camera? Or the Android Camera? Samsung Gallery or Google Photos?”
“It's because when Samsung innovates with the underlying hardware (like a better camera), they have to convince Google to allow that innovation to be surfaced to other applications via the appropriate API. That can take YEARS.”
“Apple doesn't have all these constraints. They innovate in the underlying hardware, and just simply update the software with their latest innovations (like portrait mode) and ship it.”
Bottom line: If you truly care about great photography, you own an iPhone. If you don't mind being a few years behind, buy an Android.
By the way, I ran all of Google's mobile efforts from 2007-2010, Gundotra continues in a separate comment. “I was SVP of engineering. So I understand this topic reasonably well. I would NEVER buy an Android phone again if I cared about photography.”
How Much Do I Agree with Gundotra?
Do I completely agree with what Gundotra has said? No. Though I do find iPhone better—on overall fronts, I'm really impressed by the progress that some of the higher-end Android smartphones have made.
Apple's smartphone has the significant advantage of providing consistent camera experience. Besides, the photos and videos captured by iPhone look quite natural. The other notable advantage that the iOS device has got is the availability of wide range of powerful photo/video editor apps designed to allow iPhone users to fine tune their snaps like a pro.
“Is photography on Android “years” behind the iPhone? In the sense that Google lacks unified camera experience across all devices, yes. However, Google's own devices, as well as Samsung's prove that Android is right on par and ahead in a few key ways.” – Tech Radar.
“Google's own Pixel phones have knocked down the walls of conventional mobile photography. Despite having camera sensors that are inferior to competing phones, the Pixel often manages to take better photos (especially in low light) by using smarter software to take multiple photos and then stack them together for a perfectly-exposed final photo.”
“It's debatable which phone (iPhone or Android's 2017 flagship phones) takes the best photo. Gundotra's right that the iPhone 7 takes amazing photos, but he's also wrong that Android phones are a few years behind. They're a lot closer than he realizes.” – Mashable
Having said that, I find Pixel smartphones at par with the iPhone as far as photography is concerned. I would even prefer to use the former in low-lit environments as the latter still has plenty of work to do to be able to capture high-quality photos in low light.
Without mincing my words, I would say Google Photos” is better than its iOS counterpart. It provides free unlimited photo and video storage. With the use of AI, it completely transforms photos. By comparison, Apple's Photos is still not so intuitive. Even though it's got better in the latest iOS version, I haven't yet found anything striking in it.
Watch this Marques Brownlee's video to find which smartphone has got the best camera in 2017.
To Me: It's Never the Case of Be-All-And-End-All
If I were to pick one smartphone to have more reliable and unified experience, I wouldn't hesitate to go with iPhone. But if there is an instant demand to capture magnificent shots that would set social media on a blitzkrieg, I would love to pick out a premium Android device like Pixel XL. That's for sure!