The sample images of our bright light comparison scene show why the Google Pixel XL currently leads the pack in terms of smartphone image quality. The lens is sharp across the frame and, compared to some of the best rivals, such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 or Microsoft Lumia 950XL, the Pixel squeezes a small but noticeable extra amount of detail out of its images.

The difference is particularly noticeable in areas of low contrast where the Google device appears to be applying a smaller dose of noise reduction than some competitors. Some luminance noise is visible in the shadows and mid-tone areas but is very finely grained and non-intrusive. Overall the Google Pixel XL is putting in a very convincing performance in these conditions.