The best camera phones are undoubtedly among the most expensive options available today. We recently pit the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Apple iPhone X and Google Pixel 2 XL against each other in a camera shootout to judge which is the best camera phone among the flagships. While the Google Pixel 2 XL emerged as the winner in that test, what was clear is that even the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and Apple iPhone X don’t fall too far behind.
However, not everyone can stretch their budgets to be able to afford these flagships. For that reason, the ‘flagship killer’ segment has gained prominence. Coined by OnePlus in its early days, the term flagship killer now widely refers to any smartphone that offers top-level performance and features without the high price of typical flagship phones. The most popular flagship killers today sit in the Rs 30,000-35,000 price range.
Since camera capabilities are a strong factor in any smartphone purchase, we’ve decided to pit the three best flagship killer smartphones today in a test of cameras. The OnePlus 5T, Honor View10 and Moto Z2 Force all feature top-end specifications, and notably come with dual-camera setups. All three have different capabilities, which we’ll try to explain below with the help of some camera samples. Read on to find out which is the best dual-camera flagship killer for you.
All three smartphones on test today have dual-camera setups. However, the configuration of the three are different. The OnePlus 5T sports a 16-megapixel primary RGB camera, a 20-megapixel secondary telephoto RGB camera, and a 16-megapixel front camera. This enables up to 2X lossless zoom as well as portrait mode. Additionally, you can record video at up to 4K resolution, 60fps at full-HD or 120fps at HD.
The Honor View10 also features a 16-megapixel primary and 20-megapixel secondary sensor at the rear, but the secondary sensor is a monochrome one in this case. The rear-camera setup enables up to 2X lossless zoom, true monochrome photography and a hardware-based portrait mode. The phone also has a 13-megapixel front camera with the ability to capture AI-based portrait shots, and can record video at up to 4K resolution, or 60fps/120fps at up to full HD resolution.
The Moto Z2 Force has a 12-megapixel RGB and 12-megapixel monochrome dual-camera setup at the rear, with a 5-megapixel front camera. However, the front camera also has a dual-tone LED flash for assistive lighting when clicking selfies. The rear camera setup enables portrait mode and true monochrome photography. Notably, the Moto Z2 Force can record slow-motion video at up to 240fps at HD, and can also record 60fps smooth video at full-HD resolution and 4K video at 30fps.
As a result, all three phones offer their own set of advantages. The Honor View10 is the most feature-filled camera smartphone on paper, but we’ll see just how it performs against the competition.
When it comes to sharpness of the photos, all three smartphones deliver nearly-identical results. However, each of the phones tend to add a certain flavor to the images. The OnePlus 5T images, on closer inspection, appear to have a watercolor-like touch, while the Moto Z2 Force tends to boost color at the slight expense of sharpness. As a result, the Honor View10 wins on sharpness. Images are as clean and defined as you can expect, and you can count on the phone to take sharp images.
Winner: Honor View10
In terms of color reproduction, there is a clear winner among the three phones on test. The Moto Z2 Force does the best job of getting the colors right in images, and even giving them that ‘pop’ that is needed to make pictures attractive. Colors on the Moto Z2 Force are strong, distinct and never come across as excessive. In comparison, the OnePlus 5T comes close thanks to its distinct painting-like textures to the color, while the Honor View10 appears the most muted of the three.
Winner: Moto Z2 Force
This is a feature that only two of the smartphones on test have – the Moto Z2 Force does not have a telephoto lens. Both the OnePlus 5T and Honor View10 use 20-megapixel telephoto lenses to enable lossless zoom, although in both cases, the image is sharpened in post-processing using data captured by the second sensor. It’s too close to decide a winner in this category, with the OnePlus 5T and Honor View10 both producing equally good results.
Winner: Honor View10 and OnePlus 5T
All three phones on test here offer portrait mode, although the way it works is a bit different in all cases. In terms of pure speed and accuracy, the OnePlus 5T produces the quickest results that are good. While the actual depth effect cannot be controlled on the 5T, the phone is nearly accurate when it comes to detecting depth. The Honor View10 is next-best at portrait mode having lost out a bit when it comes to detecting edges, while the Moto Z2 Force’s results are the most disappointing in this test.
Winner: OnePlus 5T
While we couldn’t get the exact same shot in this case, we do have different sample images from the three phones in low-light conditions to show. The best results appear to be from the Moto Z2 Force, which takes advantage of its excellent colors and tuning of the monochrome sensor to capture as much information in low-light conditions. The Honor View10 also benefits from the presence of a monochrome secondary sensor, while the OnePlus 5T produces the least-capable images in low-light conditions.
I also found that shooting in true monochrome mode on both the Honor View10 and Moto Z2 Force improved the level of detail in low-light considerably. The images have a touch of drama and detail to them but do, of course, lack color.
Winner: Moto Z2 Force
We’ve reviewed all three phones comprehensively. And while the results might be different if we were to compare these three phones on the whole, when it comes to camera capabilities there is a single winner. The Honor View10 is the best camera phone among the dual-camera flagship killers on test today, followed by the OnePlus 5T in second place and the Moto Z2 Force in third.
However, which camera you choose would depend heavily on what you need from your camera. If you shoot a lot of portrait shots, you might benefit from the OnePlus 5T, while if you like you pictures to have color that pops or excel in low-light photography, the Moto Z2 Force may be more suitable. Needless to say, all three smartphones on test today are capable shooters in each of their own right.
Overall winner: Honor View10
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