iPhone 13 Pro beaten out by Pixel 5a in blind test


MKBHD is back again this year with another blind smartphone camera test. Putting the latest smartphones from all the major brands to the test, this year’s contenders include the iPhone 13 Pro, Pixel 6 Pro, and more.

In just the second round, the $1,000 iPhone 13 Pro was beaten by Google’s $399 Pixel 5a.

iPhones have always had impressive video capabilities, but Marques Brownlee’s blind camera test put the phone’s photo capabilities to the test.

The phones were put into a bracket-based competition, with them being identified solely by a letter, rather than name, in order to avoid bias. The competition saw millions of votes to determine what phone takes the best photos.

Of course, there are many technical elements to a good photo (such as sharpness, contrast, handling of highlights, and dynamic range), but it is the subjective ‘best’ photo that matters for this test.

In the first round, the iPhone 13 Pro faced the Motorola Edge and earned its first-ever win in the history of MKBHD’s smartphone camera test. Looking at the photos, it is clear why. In the Edge’s shot, the window behind Brownlee is an entirely blown-out white. The iPhone, meanwhile, retained detail and color in the sky and clouds.

In the next round, the iPhone 13 Pro faced the Pixel 5a (which somewhat surprisingly beat the Pixel 6 Pro in the previous round). In this round, Apple’s top-of-the-line phone was beaten by Google’s budget phone. This isn’t too surprising. So much of what makes a smartphone camera good is baked into the software rather than the hardware of the phone – this is known as computational photography. Google has a great deal of experience and is able to leverage this software across its entire product line, from its budget-oriented options to its flagship.

The Pixel 5a went on to win the competition, beating out the OnePlus 9 Pro in the final round.

Be sure to watch MKBHD’s full video for the rundown of all the other phones, including everything from the Galaxy S21 Ultra to the Surface Duo 2.

And those who went out and bought Apple’s latest handset should remain confident in their decision. While Google’s budget phone may have earned a win in the blind photo test, iPhone’s continue to impress with their video capabilities.

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