Does the Google Pixel really have the best smartphone camera? Judge for yourself

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Google has claimed that its Pixel has the best smartphone camera, but can it really deliver when it comes to image quality?  Google’s camera lead Isaac Reynolds recently shared an album of shots that came directly from the smartphone to show just how good — or bad –the pixels coming from the Pixel are.

The shots are compiled in the Google Photos album, dubbed #Nofilter needed with your new Pixel, and while the EXIF data supports that the images were shot with the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL, around half of the images were edited with a mobile app, either Snapseed or VSCO.

Related: Should your next phone have a dual camera setup? 

The shots encompass a range of different scenarios from low lighting to even aerial shots that appear to be shot from a drone. The low-light shots look pretty impressive, thanks in great measure to the large pixel size that earned the Pixel DxOMark’s highest sensor rating for a smartphone camera to date. The camera’s HDR+ mode that merges several RAW files together likely also gives the camera a boost in limited light.

The sample images also include a few action shots, and while a shot of a skateboarder in midair is slightly blurred, the overall album looks pretty solid for a smartphone camera. The images do not have much blurring of the background — which is to be expected from a smartphone, though the dual lens cameras with the iPhone 7 Plus can now fake that blur to some extent.

The Google Pixel doesn’t have optical image stabilization, but uses a built-in gyroscope for shooting videos. While Google hasn’t released official Pixel footage, videographer and YouTube user Ron8it recently released a 4K sample video that he says was shot entirely with the Pixel XL and an ND filter, with some color correction and slow motion effects in post.

The spec sheet and high DxO rating alone suggested that the camera could be a big selling point for the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones — but now the samples allow potential buyers to make their own decision on whether the photo quality is worth that $650-plus list price.

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