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Can anybody touch the Pixel's camera experience?

Google Pixel 3a XL vs. Pixel 3 XL: Which should you buy?
Google Pixel 3a XL vs. Pixel 3 XL: Which should you buy? (Image credit: Android Central)

As we said in our review — and reiterated on the Android Central Podcast — the Google Pixel 3a is not only the best camera you can buy at this price point, it's a great phone period. This doesn't feel like a phone that's $400 less than the Pixel 3, and it's bringing back up the debate of which manufacturers could possibly do what Google has done with the Pixel.

Granted, any time you debate manufacturers, topics tend to stray back to the age-old question of which manufacturer/style is the best, but the debate set forth by usedtolovephones that "I was wrong, nobody can do what Google does" asks if any other manufacturer could do what Google has done with the Pixel cameras — and specifically if any other manufacturer could do what Google has with the Pixel 3a's performance and value.

There's been some pretty intense debate so far:

You're overlooking one thing - no one is going to come close to Google's camera capability until they design their own silicon (as Google did) or someone designs something similar and sells it to other manufacturers. (Or phones get fast enough to do all that processing in software in a small fraction of a second - that's how the OP did it, and it was slow. It's still going to be slow with a...

Rukbat

Yes. I've always loved iPhones too for their hardware and cameras. I don't miss android at all when I'm using it, but as soon as I pick up an android phone I'm reminded how amazing it feels to even just place an icon wherever you want. I think it's the iPhone which helps sell android phones and vice versa. It's so refreshing to go back to such a polished OS after using Google OS for a long...

usedtolovephones

For me my favorite phones have always been the near stock android phones. Such as the Nexus/Pixel line .I don't care for the china made phones for that reason of spyware.I just don't see any android phone that impresses me enough over the Pixels at this time. I do wish they were not as pricey but that's about it. Samsung phones just have to many built in bells and whistles for my taste. I...

davidnc

I've been a pixel user for years as well, but I'll tell you what, if you put the G cam APK on your oneplus6t, you can't tell the difference between 99.999% of the photos. At that point, everything else on the phone outweighs the Google and makes the OnePlus 6t better

KillerQ

But isn't Samsung too expensive? The S line, yes, it's amazing. But what if you don't want to spend that much money on a phone? What happens then? I know that there are maaaaannnyyyy Samsung mid rangers out there but I have no idea what to put my finger on. Samsung makes sense if you have the means to go all out on them. Other than that, you get a mediocre jack of all trades. With Google,...

usedtolovephones

But what do you think? Could anyone else pull off what Google has with the Pixel 3a and its wonderful camera?

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Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

6 Comments
  • I tried S10+ and didn't like the camera. Day pictures are better then Pixel but the rest are not as good. Used Google Camera on it too and it didn't work as good, missing features, bugs etc. Pixel 4 needs a wide angle and better image details as well as brighter lens maybe.
  • Still waiting for the phone that gives me the whole enchilada. Pixel camera photos are awesome, but video is bleh, and the design and memory allotment is poo. Samsung has great hardware, but is saddled with duplicate apps, One UI all over everything, intermittent upgrades and hole punches I just don't like. OnePlus 7 Pro is a great package and clean near-Pixel UI, but the cameras still aren't punching in the heavyweight class. Huawei has incredible hardware and great photography, but is stuck with that horrible EMUI skin and just ok North American LTE band selection. Same for Xiaomi. LG, Nokia, Asus and the rest of the Android OEMs are majorly lacking in comparison to these. Apple wants to lock you into their ecosystem forever and has lacking camera tech. You gotta sacrifice SOMETHING no matter what option you choose.
  • Well all of that is pretty subjective. To me, Huawei phones offer the best feature-per-dollar while having top of the line cameras. I don't care for EMUI much (especially the stock homescreen) but throwing on Lawnchair fixes that problem and gives me the look I want. I mean, who cares what the settings or menus look like? Any launcher can give you the software experience you want, you just need a phone powerful enough to run it smoothly.
  • I'm interested in the Mate 20 Pro, but I'm in the US. Technically, I can still buy them and use them here, but the government is basically doing a full court press against the company. They also don't have the full T-Mobile LTE band support that OnePlus does (bands 66, 71). Also, no voice over LTE and I may have to pull off some tricks with the IMEI to get it registered. Just a few too many contortions to get what I want.
  • I get consistently better pictures from a Galaxy S10+ than from the Pixel 2. Specs and benchmarks don't mean much. You just have to use what works best for you.
  • I'll be switching from iPhone X to Pixel 3a soonish. I'll be happy to back on Android.