Now this may not be a fair comparison, considering the Google Pixel may have the best mobile smartphone camera in existence, but I wanted to give a comp for what the updated Essential camera app is capable of. This is strictly a “pull the phone out of your pocket and snap away” test, so no ISO or white balance correction or any of that professional photog speak. I’ll share a few samples of the Essential camera at work, and then share a few low light shots (since that’s the Pixel’s strength) as it relates to the Essential’s camera. Ready – here we go!
Here are a few sample shots that the Essential camera took in normal light. While this wasn’t really the issue originally, I wanted to share a few since its important to see how well the camera performs in normal conditions. Without further ado:
Yes, I do tend to favor earth tones, thank you for noticing! But, I think that both of these shots demonstrate the camera is capable of delivering quality images. The first taken near noon, the other nearer to dusk. Detail and color are good and accurate.
Again, good color and detail. The 2nd photo picked up the focus on the leaf stalk accurately and the pic is sharp and the contrast between the shadows and the lit portion of the leaf is fine. These are images easily taken, saved, and shared.
Now – on to the low light comparison:
Each of these shots demonstrates that the Essential camera isn’t as capable as the Pixel XL is low light conditions, with or without a flash. This isn’t a surprise at all, since as we mentioned before, the Pixel camera is the mobile camera champ. What is in question is whether or not the Essential camera is capable enough in low light to make it a phone and a camera you would want. And the result is a mixed bag. The 2 shots without a flash show a lack of detail and the Pixel’s camera in post processing shows no such issues. The final shot with the flash engaged shows the Essential’s camera still losing detail, but also oddly processing the color of the stone in the wall (which much closer resembles the color in the Pixel shot)
Even without HDR engaged, I also did have a big of camera lag when taking multiple shots in low light. So at this early point, I’d have to say that while the Essential’s camera may be improved, it still has a ways to go before its turning out consistantly good photos in anything other than normal to very good lighting conditions.
More of our coverage of the Essential phone review in the next few days.