iPhone XS Max takes 4th spot in new DxOMark selfie camera ranking

DxOMark is out today with a brand new camera ranking just for selfie cameras. The new test was designed with the same protocol as the company’s tests for rear shooters and looks to offer “neutral and reliable test data about smartphone front camera performance and image quality to consumers and other interested parties.”

DxO has initially tested the front facing cameras of 12 popular smartphones. As for how the iPhone XS Max and X performed in the DxO selfie camera ranking, let’s say they have some room for improvement.

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Along with the new selfie rankings, DxO has updated the layout of how it presents smartphone camera rankings, with the overall score and the selfie score showing up side by side for each smartphone.

The overall selfie scores are made up of a photo score and a video score. Both include rankings for exposure, color, focus, texture, noise, artifacts, and more. Keep in mind, these scores are not out of a maximum of 100.

Google’s Pixel 3 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 tied for 1st place with an overall score of 92. iPhone XS Max came in 4th with a notably lower 84. Meanwhile, the X scored considerably lower with 71, putting it in the 10th spot. DxO hasn’t shared test results for the iPhone XR yet.

DxO iPhone selfie camera ranking

For the Pixel 3 and Galaxy Note 9, DxO details that even though they tied for 1st place, they offer notably different selfie camera experiences.

The Google Pixel 3 has the edge in terms of focus system, but the Note 9 achieves better results for exposure and color. Images captured with the Google device show slightly stronger contrast and a cooler white balance. The Samsung is a little better at exposing for faces and applies a little less contrast to faces, making for a slightly more natural look.

As for the iPhone XS Max, it earned some of the highest marks for stills in bright-light conditions, but had trouble in low-light.

Apple’s flagship iPhone XS Max produces some of the best still image and video quality in bright-light conditions, but struggles more than its high-end competitors when the light gets dimmer. In our rankings, it ties at 81 points with the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.

The XS Max selfie camera scored particularly low for texture and noise on the photo side and color and texture for video.

DxO iPhone selfie camera ranking

Even though Apple’s flagship was beat out by Google and Samsung, it did earn some positive feedback along with the criticism about white balance and lighting conditions.

For still photos, the device boasts some great strengths for selfie shooters, including excellent HDR, bokeh shots, and detail at close range, which are among the best results we’ve observed for front cameras. There are some areas in which Apple can continue to improve for stills, however, with noise visible in all lighting conditions; and white balance and skin rendering issues, especially in indoor images and occasionally outdoors, too, where color casts and low-contrast faces can look unnatural.

DxOMark says it will continue testing the selfie cameras for more smartphones, so we should see how the XR performs with the company’s criteria soon.

The 12 smartphones in the launch edition of our new DxOMark Selfie scores are only the beginning. As for main cameras, we plan to update the ranking frequently with the latest high-end, mid-range, and entry-level models, so keep checking DxOMark.com regularly for more Selfie reviews.

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Avatar for Michael Potuck Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.