Best Selfie Cameras: Pixel 3, Galaxy Note 9, Mi Mix 3, iPhone XS Max

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DxOMark has been a highly respected name in the camera testing business for a long time. The firm tests and ranks smartphone cameras based on a number of parameters to help consumers decide which one is the best for them. Until now, DxOMark was focusing only on the rear cameras. But they seem to have realized that selfies have become equally important for users. So, DxOMark has for the first time come up with the new Selfie scoring category to test and rank the best selfie cameras.

DxOMark starts ranking front-facing smartphone cameras

The testing firm launched the new category by testing 12 smartphone selfie cameras. DxOMark said in a statement that they decided to introduce a distinct category for the selfie camera because the front and main cameras are used differently. The front-facing cameras also use the hardware differently, so it made sense to put them in a new category rather than mixing with the current mobile scores.

The image scientists at DxOMark have designed the selfie camera tests based on the same protocol as the tests for the main cameras. The testing firm aims to offer “neutral and reliable test data” about smartphone selfie cameras and their image quality. The overall selfie score is made up of the photo score and the video score. They analyze front-facing cameras based on exposure, focus, texture, color, noise, artifacts, and flash.

The testing firm also takes into account white balance accuracy, color rendering, skin tones, beautification, and color uniformity. DxOMark also has a dedicated portrait test equipment to better understand the performance of selfie cameras. The image scientists take more than 1,500 selfies and “groupies” and two hours of video to determine the results.

With the introduction of the new Selfie category, DxOMark has also updated the way it presents the smartphone camera rankings. The overall score and selfie score appear side by side next to each smartphone.

These are the best selfie cameras

So, which phones have the best selfie cameras? DxOMark has so far tested only 12 popular smartphones. The devices currently leading the selfie category are Google’s Pixel 3 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9, both of which scored an impressive 92 points. Remember that the score is not out of 100 points. We may see phones in the future with higher scores than 100 on the selfie test.

Even though the Pixel 3 and Galaxy Note 9 have the same score of 92, DxOMark pointed out that they offer noticeably different selfie experiences. The Pixel 3 has the upper hand when it comes to the focus system. The Note 9 delivers better results for color and exposure. Selfies taken with the Pixel 3 have a cooler white balance and a stronger contrast. The Note 9 applies relatively less contrast to faces, which results in a more natural look.

These two are followed by Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 with 84 points. DxOMark praised it for its color accuracy, flash, bokeh effect, and noise reduction. Surprisingly, the Mi Mix 3 performed even better than Apple’s ridiculously expensive iPhone XS Max, which costs more than twice as much as the Xiaomi phone.

The iPhone XS Max scored 82 points while Apple’s 2017 iPhone X could manage a disappointing 71 points. Apple has a lot of room to improve the selfie camera on its flagship phones. DxOMark hasn’t tested the iPhone XR yet. The iPhone XS Max performed well in bright light conditions but struggled in low lighting. It scored poorly for noise and texture on the photo sub-category and texture and color in the video sub-category. However, DxOMark praised it for the excellent HDR and bokeh effects.

It was followed by the Galaxy S9 Plus with 81 points. That’s quite surprising because the S9 Plus and Galaxy Note 9 have the same camera hardware, so the scores should have been closer to each other. It’s possible that DxOMark tested the S9 Plus before Samsung rolled out the latest update to improve the selfie camera performance.

The lowest performing cameras were the Meitu V6 with 59 points and Intex Aqua Selfie with a miserable 22 points. DxOMark said it was just a beginning as they plan to test many more smartphone selfie cameras in the coming months. The future flagships are likely to perform even better than Google Pixel 3 and Galaxy Note 9.

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