The latest video by MKBHD on YouTube conducting blind camera test of 16 smartphones has got everyone in the industry scratching their heads. To give you a brief, MKBHD is a very well-known YouTuber doing tech videos and has subscribers in millions.
He clicked images with same pose/product with different phones and ran a poll on Twitter and Instagram asking his followers to vote the image they liked. The beauty of this contest was that every post had two images clicked with two different phones, but he didn’t mention which image was clicked on which phone. That’s what blind test is all about.
So users never knew for which smartphone camera they were actually voting, and they voted the image that looked nicer to them. Votes were in millions and were open to the public, so it was all legit.
MKBHD Shatters the Myth Behind Smartphone Photography
Video Courtesy: MKBHD
The Blind Smartphone Camera Test: Round 1 Result
Like most of you think, the flagship phones with the best-in-class camera were expected to win. But that’s not the case here. There are so many upsets that actually triggers a serious question for smartphone manufacturers. We will discuss that in detail later in this article but for now, let’s see the result below.
Apple iPhone X series is out of the competition in the first round itself, which no one ever expected. But this doesn’t mean iPhone camera is not up to the mark. Before a couple of days, Digital Photography Review awarded Apple iPhone Xs for having the best camera, followed by Google Pixel 3. Then what happened to iPhone Xs and Pixel 3 here in the test ?
That’s what we are here to talk. Before that, let’s see the results of the second round of voting.
The Blind Smartphone Camera Test: Round 2 Result
In the second round, winning phones were used to capture images of an object, which were again paired side by side and users were asked to vote. The results are as given below:
The Blind Smartphone Camera Test: Round 3 Result
Without taking more time, let’s see how round three and round four turned out:
The Blind Smartphone Camera Test Winner
Most of the surprises and upset were in the round one itself, but let’s see who’s the final winner:
This blind camera test isn’t just about who’s the winner and who’s the loser, it is more than that. If you observe the trend, the camera with less detailing but more exposure and brightness won the race easily against some of the world’s finest smartphones.
The only reason is that the images looked nicer, while the other image had more detailing, texture, and something that we can call photography. But sadly, they lost.
Besides that, this test was conducted on Twitter and Instagram. The social media sites compress the image by removing most of the detailing to reduce the image size. That’s perfectly fine, as the majority of the users post pictures mostly on social media instead of watching them on their phone or the bigger screen like a TV.
On social media, looks matter more than detailing. These are not primarily photography platforms. The image that receives more likes is considered better. Sadly, that’s the truth.
This test creates a lot of questions about consumer psychology, manufacturer’s strategy, and lastly the pricing. From last few years, the smartphone manufacturers have also changed their marketing strategy. We see most of the smartphone advertisement boasting the camera. That’s because the user wants beautiful images. When we say beautiful photos, it means better brightness, and sugar candy beauty effects, nothing else. That’s the outcome of the test.
Average smartphone users are not professional photographers, and for them, the number of likes matters more than actual photography. We have seen people spending money on smartphone based on the camera itself when the fact is they have no idea what an ideal camera should be. They buy a smartphone just because it clicks brighter pictures and not better pictures.
Based on the facts mentioned above, it makes us think whether Mate 20 PRO is a winner? Or did iPhone Xs lose against BlackBerry? If you look at the image, it certainly looks like that. But if you notice the detailing of the image taken on iPhone and Blackberry, you’ll undoubtedly disagree.
iPhone X and BlackBerry Pic image: 63000 Vote Counts for iPhone Xs and 223000 for BlackBerry Key 2.
Photo Courtesy: MKBHD
As a user, it raises a serious question whether he should be spending a tonne of dollars on a smartphone just for the camera? The answer is a straight NO. But sadly, the sales volume of many smartphone manufacturers and their marketing strategies answers it differently.
Even if you buy a high-end flagship device just for its camera, Social Media sites are anyway going to compress it and post it like a usual image. Then what’s the point?
Before few years, it was observed that users were more focused on specifications of the phone rather than just camera. Processor, board, RAM, battery life, etc. were considered before making the final purchase. Many users still do it, but the majority of the buyers are more inclined towards the camera.
If we forget the camera for a while, there are so many other aspects to be considered before making the purchase. One of the use cases of mobile is gaming. Most of the users ignore it. Right now, we are talking only about the entertainment features, completely ignoring the ecosystem, OS update, security, etc.
Taking all the aspects into account, flagship devices are always a better choice as big companies spend millions of dollars on building entire ecosystems, rather than making just a beautifying camera. Unfortunately, the sugar candy wrapper advertisements have somewhat brainwashed the decision making of the consumer.
Giving this entire scenario a thoughtful touch, we can also conclude that people are becoming more obsessed for artificial physical beauty than actual looks. We care what others think about our pictures, how many likes did our picture receive. Is that so important?
Well coming back to the point, manufacturers also need to think about their marketing strategy as nothing lasts forever in the age of technology. If today consumer is buying a smartphone based on camera, tomorrow there will be something else, maybe gaming.
That’s all folks from my end. I am sure if you being an expert or a regular user felt the same or have some other thoughts. Share your thoughts and feedback with us in the comment section.
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The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.