What's Best For Video? Pixel 3 vs. iPhone XS

We'll be comparing the video capabilities of the Pixel 3 to the iPhone Xs. Which one’s bringing home the bread?

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Apple vs. Google

What's The Best For Video?

Niles, Caleb, and Taylor took New York City by the reins last week for yet another smartphone comparison — this time, instead of photography, we’ll be comparing the video capabilities of the Pixel 3 to the iPhone XS. Which one’s bringing home the bread?

We know that the Pixel 3 has an insane camera and takes arguably the best smartphone photos as of today. If you haven’t already, check out our ultimate camera review here. It’s sharp, has fantastic colors, a high dynamic range, and give you the ability to shoot in RAW. But what about video? We haven’t done a video comparison before, so it’ll be pretty sweet to see what sorts of tricks Google and Apple will have up their sleeve.

Before we get started, it’s important to note that we shot in the native apps from each device. We do make a killer iOS app for video that's super helpful for filmmakers (and yes! our Android video app is going to be released very soon!).

Will the Pixel 3 be able to keep up or outshine the iPhone Xs when it comes to video quality? 

Well, let’s break it down.

Frames Per Second

Because Apple allows us to shoot as 24fps, while the Pixel only rocks a starts FPS of 30. This feature already wins our filmmakers’ hearts. Many videographers prefer to shoot at 30fps for a clean, buttery feel — but the 24fps is a much more cinematic option. The iPhone does have a 4k/60fps combination, providing smooth sailing slow motion.


The sharpness on both phones were pretty great, honestly. There’s not much of a discernible difference with the naked eye at face value. However, some of the low light’s video capabilities on both devices were slightly reminiscent of someone going into Lightroom and cranking up the clarity at an unnecessary level. We could do without that.

Dynamic Range

The dynamic range in photography refers to the range of light intensities from the shadows to the highlights. It is — by far — one of the most important aspects to consider when searching for a good camera to film with. Starky, harsh contrast on screen isn’t a good look, so this was a huge factor when considering which device was better. With the iPhone XS Max's new “Smart HDR” function, its entire purpose is to retain the detail and soften skin tone to portray a more pleasing effect on faces. However, we did notice that the iPhone’s dynamic range was more crisp at the edges.

Overall, both devices handled the shadows and whites well and stayed true to clarifying sharpness and color retention levels.

Colors / Highlights / Skin Tones

This is perhaps where we saw the biggest tonal difference between our two devices when shooting video.

First off — there’s an obvious temperature difference. The iPhone is slightly more warm, as the Pixel is much more cool. This provided an interesting dichotomic representation of highlights and skin tones as we saw on screen. Because the of Pixel’s 3 more naturally-lit fluorescent lighting sources, we noticed that the Pixel handled the overall color representation and skin tones with great ease than the iPhone. The whites and blacks on Pixel’s video are punched, yet true to their true tone. This aspect can also be seen in the Pixel’s photography capabilities, as well.

Selfie Cam

Hey, both are sick. With Pixels’ gorgeous Wide Angle display, users will have the best of the best selfie-making mechanic in the industry, leaving more room in the frame to capture wider group selfies. These new phones are coming in hot with their 8.1MP front-facing sensor, which is a slight bump from last year’s model.

'Till Next Time!

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