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Blind phone camera test sees iPhone 11 Pro knocked out in the first round

Midnight Green iPhone 11 Pro in grass
Midnight Green iPhone 11 Pro in grass (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

What you need to know

  • MKBHD has completed this year's blind smartphone camera test.
  • 16 phones were inlcluded with iPhone 11 Pro one of them.
  • Apple's phone failed in the first round, beaten out by the OnePlus 7T Pro.

YouTuber Marques "MKBHD" Brownlee has once again completed an annual blind smartphone camera test to see which photos people thought were better. To do that multiple images were taken from 16 different phones with people voting for the best image via Instagram and Twitter. Each round, two phones were put up against each other with the loser eliminated.

And that's where things went wrong, immediately, for iPhone 11 Pro. The phone was duking it out with the OnePlus 7T Pro when taking photos of Brownlee outside. That's a situation where you might expect iPhone 11 Pro to win out. But it didn't, with the resulting image appearing very much on the blue side. When the blue tinge is taken away, things look much better. Unfortunately for Apple, that meant the OnePlus 7T Pro took that round easily.

iPhone camera test results

iPhone camera test results (Image credit: MKBHD)

With iPhone 11 Pro out for the count, the tests continued with Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 Plus ultimately coming out on top.

However, it isn't so much the result that's interesting here. But rather why the phones that won actually gained so many votes – none of the polls were close with one phone winning convincingly each time. Just as was the case last year it's clear that voters chose the brightest, most colorful images when making their decisions. As Brownlee noted, they also chose images that had less bokeh effect because they felt that the sharper images were better.

Be sure to check the full video out to see how things went down, especially if you're at all interested in learning how people made these kinds of decisions when voting. Often it isn't actually the best photo that wins. Just the one that catch the eye most.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

6 Comments
  • Yes, this poll is definitely driven by factors that shouldn't drive the development of the actual phone camera. However, you imply that was the reason the iPhone lost out when really it had nothing to do with it. Though you briefly mention it, you seem to be downplaying a fairly significant issue. The real reason the iPhone lost to the OnePlus was an issue with it dramatically misrepresenting the color of the photo. MKBHD stated that this issue crops up randomly in iPhones and has seemed to be getting worse with recent generations. That to me points the finger directly at all the AI photo work that Apple is doing to keep up with Google. There is something going on inside their algorithms that cause certain scenes to just go off the rails and that is something that should be confronted. I actually would go so far as to say it is something that deserves a dedicated article.
  • Goes to show that Best is subjective. Best photo, best music, best car, etc.
  • This test is really just a roll of the dice based on one shot, and any quirks on that particular shot means sudden death. It's cute and fun, but not what I would base my purchase decisions on it. And, having them judged on Instagram and Twitter, is like test driving a car for fifty feet. Interestingly, they left out the Nokia 9 Pureview and the HTC U12 Plus. I know the Nokia 9 did not live up to the hype, but the U12 Plus takes natural shots (like the iPhone), and captures more detail than the Note 10+ or iPhone 11.
  • It's no blind test. It's Best Buy selling TVs. Jack up the saturation to ludicrous levels and people will vote. As bogus as the fake blind tests for high resolution music.
  • "Best Buy selling TV's" insinuates a bias or selfish motivation which is a ridiculous and insulting allegation.
  • It’s exactly what it was. An ad for Samsung.