Blind Camera Smartphone Test

For anyone who doesn’t follow MKBHD, he’s one of the better tech YouTubers (IMO).

He recently did a vote, comparing identical photos against each other, and put them out to Twitter and Instagram to see which one people preferred.

NOTE - If you don’t want to see the result before you watch the video… Watch the video now.

For some reason, I can’t add a spoiler with a screen shot in it.

He set it up like a knock out tournament and the results are… surprising.

So, the first thing to say is there are a few of things which I think are a teeny bit unfair.

  1. The images were compressed when uploading to Twitter and IG.
  2. The various different “special features” on each camera weren’t explored.
  3. Like with RAW photos, the initial photo might be a bit bland, but it captures more detail and is better for editing.

Upon reflection of the tournament, it’s not surprising that people voted for the photo they could see the most in (the brightest) - Especially on gloomy days.

I’d hazard a guess that if photographers were looking at the original image, they’d go for the better cameras.
Anyway, the results are below!



It’s not really surprising. I’ve often seen reviews where they’ve compared to phones and said ‘Phone A is clearly better and phone B as you can see here’ - and shown two basically identical (to my eyes) photographs with some lighting differences.

Magazine reviewers are photo experts… goes with the job I guess. It’s also why they always review the cameras for phones sometimes as if it was the only important feature (given most people are going to be taking holiday snaps or uploading drunken exploits to facebook, even the cheapest phone has a perfectly fine camera for that).

So, you ask the average joe… they’re going to pick based on what looks good to them, which is going to be influenced by things like brightness. It’s also why TVs are always displayed in stores in ‘Dynamic’ mode, which looks truly horrible once you know what a good picture looks like…


If you actually test the features - Google would win this on “Night Sight” alone. It’s absolutely mind-blowing stuff.

That’s absolutely phenomenal that the Pocophone made it to the final though. That’s a phone that costs what? £250? £300?

Unsurprised the Huawei did so well, they’ve thrown everything but the kitchen sink in!

Night Sight looks really impressive - But as I hardly ever take night photos, it wouldn’t matter to me in a test like this.

I wonder how the Pocophone would do in person vs some of the others (given the compression which “levelled” the playing field) - I’m not sure it would be quite as good.

That being said, if I was on Android, I’d definitely be buying one!

I don’t take ‘night’ photos, but I did find myself in a room with 1 not great lamp wanting to take a picture over the weekend. Popped night mode on and boom got a non grainy lovely picture instead of the terrible dark grainy picture I took first time. Surprisingly useful, and that was just to send a picture of something to my friends over whatsapp.

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Interesting test. Thanks for posting. A lot of these tech reviewers are too concerned with the bits & bytes rather than with the usability of the device. MKBHD & Dave2D are like this. It’s like the megahertz wars of the ‘80s and the megapixel wars with digital cameras that followed.
It’s not that useful and often doesn’t tell the whole story because they don’t mention the software that controls the thing. So a phone with 6Gb ram isn’t necesaarily better than one with 3Gb because maybe the phone with 3Gb has better software that manages resources better.

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I actually participated in the voting for the smartphone bracket. After watching the video I was super thrown back with what results came up.

I mean Blackberry beating iPhone… WHAT? and Pocophone getting to the 1 V 1.

His reasoning makes a lot of sense thought.

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I would have felt dirty voting for the blackberry over the iPhone :joy:

Tweetbot didn’t show the vote properly though, so I didn’t see the photos!

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Right? I actually can’t remember which one I voted for out of those two but I hope it was the iPhone.

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I very nearly did, but it doesn’t have NFC and I’m a heavy user of Google Pay

That’s the thing. (On average) people just don’t care. They’ve been reenforced over the years to see bright and oversaturated things as better. So whatever camera appears to have the photo that jumps out more will win because it’s better.