Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Huawei Makes Apple Inc.'s iPhone X Camera Look Amateurish

By Ashraf Eassa – Apr 2, 2018 at 9:05AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Huawei's new flagship handily outdoes the iPhone X in camera capability.

Chinese smartphone vendor Huawei has made its aspiration to be the world's leading smartphone vendor by unit shipments quite clear in recent years. The company is currently the third-largest vendor by this metric, behind second-place Apple (AAPL -3.66%) and first-place Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF).

While Huawei has done a good job gaining share in the low-end and midrange portion of the smartphone market, the company wants to increase its sales of high-end and premium devices. Such devices are pricier and tend to command higher profit margins than low-end and midrange smartphones, so there is significant incentive for smartphone makers to try to bolster their offerings in this area.

Apple's iPhone 7 smartphones showing different portions of the Apple App Store.

Image source: Apple.

On March 27, Huawei announced its new flagship smartphone, the P20 Pro. The key selling point of the smartphone is the rear-facing camera subsystem. There are three rear-facing cameras in all. One is a 20 megapixel black and white sensor, the second is a 40 megapixel sensor with large 1 micrometer pixels and very strong low-light performance, and the third camera is an 8 megapixel telephoto lens that enables 5x hybrid zoom .

According to testing performed by DXOMark, the rear-facing camera of the Huawei P20 Pro achieves a total score of 109, with photo and video sub-scores of 114 and 98, respectively.

DXOMark had the following to say about the cameras:

We are used to every new smartphone camera generation being slightly better than the previous one, but looking at the images and test results from the P20 Pro, it seems Huawei has skipped one or two generations. The results are simply that good. The P20 Pro's triple camera setup is the biggest innovation we have seen in mobile imaging for quite some time and is a real game changer.

Suffice it to say, the camera on the P20 Pro blows away the one on Apple's iPhone X, which achieves a total score of 97 with photo and video sub-scores of 101 and 89, respectively.

Apple's camera problem

Considering how important the camera is to consumers, the fact that the Huawei P20 Pro easily beats the camera on the iPhone X is nothing short of a catastrophic defeat for Apple from a technology perspective.

If Apple can't correct the issues that plague its current camera development efforts, then at best, it'll have a hard time gaining market share against premium Android phones in a stagnant to declining market. At worst, Apple will actually start to hemorrhage market share at the very high end of the market, particularly in regions like China where Huawei has a strong presence.

Ultimately, I think there is a serious issue within Apple's camera development organization and the defeat of the ultra-premium iPhone X by such a huge margin by Huawei's P20 Pro is yet another data point in a story that's been developing for quite some time. The iPhone X's camera was already edged out in DXOMark by Alphabet subsidiary Google's Pixel 2 and further beaten by the Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF) Galaxy S9 Plus.

Considering that Apple dedicates tons of resources to just a few products, it was already pretty bad for Apple's $999-plus smartphone to get beaten in camera performance by Google's second-ever smartphone as well as by a much cheaper Samsung phone. Things are just getting worse.

I don't know what the exact issue within Apple is, but CEO Tim Cook's job needs to be to understand why the company consistently fails to deliver benchmark-setting cameras and make the appropriate changes in development resource allocation as well as leadership to ensure that the company builds the world's best smartphone cameras again.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Ashraf Eassa has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$144.36 (-3.66%) $-5.48
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOGL
$97.16 (-2.89%) $-2.90
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOG
$97.77 (-2.95%) $-2.97

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
342%
 
S&P 500 Returns
107%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/29/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.