DxOMark overhauls smartphone camera testing methodology and ratings

The cameras on our phones today are used more than standalone cameras, so it is important to find one that meets your needs. DxOMark has a rigourous testing protocol that has been updated for modern smartphone cameras.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
(Image: DxOMark)

I can't say I have always trusted DxOMark ratings for smartphone cameras (the HTC 10 comes to mind), but it offers a more consistent test environment than my own real-world testing.

DxOMark just introduced a new mobile test protocol and is in the process of updating its scores. The new protocol includes zoom and bokeh sub-scores, low-light testing down to 1 Lux, and motion-based testing for real-world simulation.

With the new test protocol, the HTC U11 remains at the top of the chart, with the Google Pixel now tied with it at a score of 90. The Apple iPhone 7 Plus has a new score of 88 compared to the old score of 86, thanks in large part to the dual-camera setup.

Most scores have shown little movement with the new protocol, but the details in the reports are more applicable to the way people use their smartphones today. The last protocol was based on 2012 standards.

I used to offer camera comparisons, but mine were always based on real-world testing and had limited controls and situational testing practices. You may not agree with DxOMark's results, but the company does have an extensive process for testing and is very thorough in providing the results. It's great that DxOMark provides more sub-scores now, too, as we all have elements of smartphone photography that are more important to us than other elements. You can now find the best bokeh-rated phone or one that is good for zooming in on your subject. I don't personally capture much video, so still photography is more important to me than video.

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I look forward to seeing ratings for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, LG V30, Huawei Mate 10, iPhone X, and new Google Pixel. All of the flagship smartphones have fantastic cameras, and a good photographer can capture an excellent photo with just about any solid smartphone today.


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