HTC U11 vs. iPhone 7 Plus vs. Xperia XZ Premium: Camera Shootout


A few weeks ago, we offered you a dramatic standoff between the LG G6, Samsung Galaxy S8, and the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. We followed that up with a head-to-head between the Samsung Galaxy S8+ and HTC U11 cameras. Today, we pit the HTC U11 against the Sony Xperia XZ Premium and the iPhone 7 Plus in another camera-centric duel – and this time, it’s a triple one.

The responses to our LG G6 vs. Samsung Galaxy S8 vs. Sony Xperia XZ Premium comparison were definitely “varied”, for a lack of a better term. Some obligatory bickering aside, it was really encouraging to see such a heated and educated discussion on the topic among you, our readers.

HTC U11, iPhone 7 Plus, Sony Xperia XZ Premium Shootout

There was a second theme that prevailed in the comment section – you wanted to see more. The U11 review unit was only available to us for a limited time and we hardly gave it any rest while it was with us. But we managed to log some quality time with it while working on its review so we decided to keep the shootout flow going and try to provide another camera comparison. This time around, we pit the HTC U11 against the Sony Xperia XZ Premium and the iPhone 7 Plus.

In keeping with tradition, we offer a key specs summary of all three devices. It should be enough for a quick reference, but you can also hit up the full-fledged comparison page for more detail.

HTC U11iPhone 7 PlusSony Xperia XZ PremiumDimensions 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9mm, 169g 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm, 188g 156 x 77 x 7.9mm, 195gWaterproofing IP67 IP67 IP68Screen 5.5″ Super LCD5 1,440 x 2,560px (534ppi) 5.5″ LED-backlit IPS LCD 1,080 x 1,920px (401ppi) 5.46″ IPS 2,160 x 3,840px (807ppi), HDR10Chipset Snapdragon 835 (10nm) Apple A10 Fusion Snapdragon 835 (10nm)Memory 4/6GB RAM, 64/128GB storage, microSD 3GB RAM, 32/128/256 GB 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, microSDStill camera 12MP (f/1.7 DPAF), Sony IMX362 Exmor RS Dual 12 MP (28mm, f/1.8, OIS & 56mm, f/2.8), Apple iSight Duo Camera 19MP (f/2.0, PDAF + Laser), Sony IMX400 Exmor RSVideo camera 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps/120fps 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, 720p@240fps 2160p @ 30fps, 720p @ 960fpsSelfie camera 16MP (f/2.0), 1080p@30fps 7 MP, f/2.2, 32mm, 1080p@30fps, 720p@240fps 13MP (f/2.0), 1080p @ 30fpsLoudspeaker Earpiece as tweeter, woofer on the bottom Stereo StereoBattery 3,000mAh 2,900mAh 3,230mAhCharging Quick Charge 3.0 Around 10W (5V@2.1A max), no fast charging Quick Charge 3.0 (wired)Biometrics Fingerprint Fingerprint Fingerprint (region depenent)

Naturally, seeing how this is a camera shootout, we will mainly be focusing on that aspect of our flagship trio. The handsets of choice don’t really have much in common in the camera department. The iPhone 7 Plus employs a dual setup – an Apple first. Both sensors share a resolution of 12MP and only differ in their focal lengths (28mm and 56mm) and aperture (f/1.8 and f/2.8). Its an ideal setup for achieving 2x optical zoom, as well as some impressive “bokeh” effects.

In contrast, the HTC U11 only has a single 12MP, f/1.7 shooter to work with. Sure, OIS, PDAF and a dual tone LED are all shared traits between the two, but again, it’s a skin-deep similarity. This is even more true for the Xperia XZ Premium. It has a much higher 19MP resolution sensor, but also a wider field of view, f/2.0 lens. Its autofocus and stabilization systems differ a bit as well. Sony’s patented memory-stacked sensor allows for spectacular 960fps slow-mo video recording mode.

With all that said, it’s clear the playing field is far from level this time around, but that is the point. Of course, every setup has its strengths and weaknesses and your personal favorite could easily depend on your typical shooting habits and needs. We will do our best to point out some of these specifics in what is otherwise a truly impressive trio of 2017 cameraphones.

Anyway, join us on the next page for a healthy dose of head-to-head pixel-peeping – just as we like it.