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Chinese smartphones kept the iPhone 15 series out of DxOMark’s top five this year, and here’s why

If you have heard of the long-standing debate between android phones and iPhones, then you have read those long Reddit threads and open-ended articles online.

However, on May 8, the independent reviewing body DxOMark settled the deal by naming its top camera phones of the year. 

DxOMark’s Top Smartphone by Camera score results for 2024.

The rankings revealed HUAWEI’s Pura 70 Ultra as the leader of the scoreboard, marking its fifth win with 163 points overall, just five points ahead of the Honor Magic6 Pro. 

Claiming the third spot, is another HUAWEI device: the Mate 60 Pro+, which also had its moment of reign last year as the top DxOMark smartphone. This year, it tied with Oppo Find X7 Ultra with 157 overall points.

The P60 Pro, which took the second place in 2023, fell three spots down with 156 overall points.

Overall, only three brands occupied the first five spots: HUAWEI, Honor, and Oppo.

HUAWEI, who just recently rebranded its P series with the Pura 70 series, is attempting to lead mobile photography once again with its retractable main camera innovation with the Pura 70 Ultra. Although it is not the first commercial phone to feature this, it does give the brand another edge in the mobile photography game. 

The retractable camera pops out when the camera app is activated, pops right back in when no longer needed. HUAWEI even claims that it could withstand over 100,000 retracting cycles. 

However, regarded noted that there is an “uneven” user experience when it comes to video-taking due to instabilites, loss of details under low light. In this aspect, the Honor Magic 6 Pro bests the Pura 70 Ultra, scoring 150 in Video. 

It scored two points ahead the latter because of the default HDR mode, a first for all Honor devices, that produced good color rendering and maintenance of the natural colors in all lighting conditions. Furthermore, the reviewing body noted that the color was a “major plus point” for the maker. While it performed well in Video, it gained favor from it photo-taking and zooming capabilities as it maintained a score of 160 in both areas. 

Despite the good remarks, Honor Magic 6 Pro still couldn’t beat the 156 scoring in Video of the Oppo Find X7 Ultra. It tied with the HUAWEI Mate 60 Pro+, with some of the test area scores sitting closely together. But the Oppo Find X7 Ultra left the Mate 60 Pro+ lagging eight points behind,156 to 148 in the Video category. 

However, DxOMark also wrote that, although the Pura 70 Ultra is a big jump in video performance from the Mate 60 Pro+, it could not “quite match” the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max and Oppo Find X7 Ultra—both devices that work well in low-light scenarios. 

The weight shift

Despite besting the top smartphone of the year when it comes to video-taking, the iPhone 15 series still failed to snatch a spot among the top five due to many reasons, according to the reviewing body. Globally, it ranked sixth.

Why? It seems that pre-existing camera issues with iPhones are still present with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. DxOMark noted the existence of noise in low light scenes, unwanted flares, glarings, and other artifacts, and detail inconsistencies in all zoom ranges. It scored 153 in Photo, 80 in Bokeh, 83 in Preview, 142 in Zoom, and 158 in Video. 

Bust like the Honor Magic 6 Pro, it did well in preserving natural skin tones and accurate exposure in night shots. 

Meanwhile, DxOMark regarded its camera specifications not as “cutting-edge” as compared with its competitors but it does have the Quad-Bayer sensor that the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max already had in its release last year. 

Additionally, there are no significant leaps from the iPhone 14s to the iPhone 15s, as many have noted already. The reviewing body even noted in the summary results that they drew the comparisons between because they had “similar camera module specifications.” Which, in turn, also achieved similar results. In short, nothing much has changed. 

This, in fact, is also one of the many things people have commented on Apple’s products. For one, while android users are already enjoying the USB-C, Apple only started implementing the transition to USB-C through its iPhone 15 series. Some see the “being late in the game” or “slow to innovate” as Apple’s strategy to monopolize the smartphone market, and if it is—it’s causing Apple a lot of trouble. 

Currently, Apple is facing an anti-trust lawsuit from the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for locking down the iPhone ecosystem exclusively to Apple products. This keeps their users keep on using Apple products and services, ultimately making Android phones useless around them.

While this could be for keeping the momentum of Apple sales, the tech giant reported a 10% decline in demand for the first quarter of 2024. This is due to supply shipment issues, they said. In light of this, Apple made a promise of regaining its growth by investing in artificial intelligence.

Now, the question is, when are we to expect this from them? And if we know Apple, we should bank on patience and wait. 

While Samsung, Xiaomi, and other android smartphone brands are already leading globally with innovative solutions for their customers, Apple is busy keeping its users tied to Apple. And while we wait on Apple, we should take a look at its rivals; see what we’re missing out on, and take a lot of notes.