Open wide: LG G7 ThinQ vs. Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs. Asus ROG Phone

huawei mate 20 pro vs lg g7 asus rog phone camera shootout wide angle header
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

For a while, LG was the proponent of the mobile wide-angle camera; but today there are several other options, including the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro. We’re getting used to bokeh shots, and impressive lowlight ability, so if wide-angle cameras are becoming more common, what sets a good one apart from the bad?

We took the LG G7 ThinQ to Taiwan, and brought along the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and the Asus ROG Phone for company. Asus, like LG, has adopted wide-angle lenses for its phone cameras in the past, but for Huawei, this is the first time we’re seeing a wide-angle lens. It replaced the monochrome lens in the array found on the P20 Pro.

We took photos with each, ready to compare the results. Has LG managed to retain its wide-angle crown, or has it been usurped by two very strong competitors?

The cameras

Not all wide-angle cameras are born equal, and these three are very different to each other, so let’s take a look at the specs. The LG G7 ThinQ’s wide-angle lens has a 107-degree field of view, shoots at 16-megapixels, has a 1.0 micron pixel size, and an f/1.9 aperture. The Asus ROG Phone has an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor with a 120-degree field of view, a 1.12 micron pixel size, and an f/2.2 aperture.

Finally, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro has a 20-megapixel ultra-wide camera lens with an f/2.2 aperture, and a 107-degree field of view, like the LG G7 ThinQ. This means the ROG Phone’s photos are wider, and show a little more information at either side of the frame. It’s said the human eye has a 120-degree field of view, meaning pictures taken with the ROG Phone should look similar to what you are really seeing at the time.

Yehliu Geopark

huawei mate 20 pro vs lg g7 asus rog phone camera shootout wide angle yehliu

Top left: Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Top right: LG G7, Bottom: Asus ROG Phone

With its coastal setting, dramatic rock formations, and moon-like surface, the Geopark is an ideal spot for wide-angle photography. Using the wide-angle lets you take panorama-style shots without having to rely on software trickery, or sacrificing quality.

The photo we chose to show is complicated. The day was overcast and humid, and the scene has a combination of colors, textures, lighting, and people to capture in detail. The Asus ROG Phone’s wider angle is immediately obvious, and the photo stands apart from the images taken by the other two phones. Take a look at how the LG G7 balances the overcast sky with the shade of the rocks, and the clarity of the water in the lower half of the image. The ocean itself is bluer than the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s picture, which also makes the sky a similar drab grey.

We like the epicness of the Mate 20 Pro’s picture, which does seem to leap out in a more visually exciting way than the others. The Asus ROG Phone’s picture is also a little washed out, and there is a fisheye look to the horizon, which has been eliminated from the LG and Huawei cameras. While none are bad photos, none really standout as being drastically better than the others, however it’s the LG G7 ThinQ that attracts our eye the most.

Winner: LG G7 ThinQ

Taipei 101

huawei mate 20 pro vs lg g7 asus rog phone camera shootout wide angle taipei 101 composite
Left: Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Middle: Asus Rog Phone, Right: LG G7

A difficult night shot with a great opportunity to show off how wide-angle shots can work so well in portrait orientation, especially when you’re capturing a building as tall as Taipei 101. At 509 meters tall, it’s one of the world’s tallest inhabited buildings, and it dominates the Taipei skyline. The test is similarly dominated by one camera, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and its astonishing Night Mode.

Activate it in the dark, or just lowlight, and the photos almost defy belief. The level of detail throughout is incredible, from the streetlight in front of the Rolex watch advert, and the roof of the building on the left of the image, to the 101’s spire and lights leading up to it. The Mate 20 Pro takes a picture that is streets ahead of the other two, which succumb to the usual lowlight problems smartphones face in the shape of noise, lack of detail, and blur.

Winner: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

MediaTek Offices

huawei mate 20 pro vs lg g7 asus rog phone camera shootout wide angle mediatek

Top left: Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Top right: LG G7, Bottom: Asus ROG Phone

Not every shot you take will be outside. The wide-angle camera also captures open interior spaces effectively, bringing scale, depth, and presence to a picture. We visited MediaTek’s offices in Hsinchu, Taiwan, and took this photo at reception. The results are interesting and show a real difference between the way each handles difficult interior lighting.

Concentrate on the wall behind the reception desk. Each camera captures a very different texture and color, with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro capturing the most detail and providing the most accurate depiction of what it was really like. It also does a better job managing white balance, and therefore the world map on the far wall looks best, with fewer areas that are blown out. The ROG Phone doesn’t capture the scale as effectively as the other two, and is very similar looking to the G7 ThinQ’s photo.

Winner: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Jinshan Temple

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Top left: Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Top right: LG G7, Bottom: Asus ROG Phone

Located near MediaTek’s headquarters, this amazing temple stands tall in among the modern office facades that pack the nearby area. So far, the Mate 20 Pro has impressed the most; but this is a misstep for the Huawei phone. The balance is off, with the ground looking almost monochrome instead of the grey it was in real life. The sky is pleasant, but a little too washed out through the arch. Not unpleasant, just not quite as good as the others.

The LG G7 ThinQ does a far better job, with a subtle blue sky matched with color-accurate ground and striking detail on the arch itself. However, it’s the Asus ROG Phone that really captures the scene — taking in vehicles and people either side of the structure itself — due to its wider angle. It depicts how urban the area was around the temple entrance, which aside from the detail, colors, and balance, makes it the more interesting photo.

Winner: Asus ROG Phone

Jioufen gold mining city

huawei mate 20 pro vs lg g7 asus rog phone camera shootout wide angle gold mining

Top left: Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Top right: LG G7, Bottom: Asus ROG Phone

beautiful place outside of Taipei, and because it’s high up in the mountains, perfect for some wide-angle shots. The Asus ROG Phone really comes into its own here, with a stunning wide-angle shot that perfectly captures the view over the villages, roads, and out into the distance. A wonderfully atmospheric picture, let down by a dull sky and a slight lack of detail.

The LG G7 ThinQ improves in places, but we miss the wider angle of the shot. However, it’s the Huawei Mate 20 Pro that takes the win. Just look at the sky, the shadows of the clouds rolling over the ground, the detail in the distance, and all the different shades of green. A picture worthy of the surroundings.

Winner: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Golden Waterfall

huawei mate 20 pro vs lg g7 asus rog phone camera shootout wide angle yehliu

Top left: Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Top right: LG G7, Bottom: Asus ROG Phone

The variety of colors, combined with the sun at its height behind the mountain, made it difficult to capture a great photo at this popular tourist spot. Once again, the Asus ROG Phone takes a wide-angle photo that sets the scene, with the LG G7 falling in-between it and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro for quality and detail.

The G7’s HDR mode kicked in, trying to balance out the lighting and contrast, which it managed semi-effectively. We like the bright and colorful image, but the detail is minimal compared to the Mate 20 Pro. Get in close and the rocks look almost completely different in the Mate 20 Pro’s photo, taking on the true rugged, weathered texture we saw. You can make out the individual drops of water too.

Winner: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

W Hotel, Taipei

huawei mate 20 pro vs lg g7 asus rog phone camera shootout wide angle w hotel

Top left: Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Top right: LG G7, Bottom: Asus ROG Phone

Our final image tests out the HDR mode in conjunction with the wide-angle lens, in an attempt to capture both the interior of the room and the city through the window. The LG G7 has to fall first, with the HDR mode not balancing the contrast enough to make out the interior of the room, and it’s impossible to see the magazines on the shelf. There’s also little detail on the futon itself.

The Asus ROG Phone takes a very impressive photo, with the HDR mode lighting up the room in a way the G7 couldn’t manage. You can see the magazines and even the color of the wall itself. However, look closely and it’s a noisy photo without much detail. Viewed casually, without examining it, this is a great picture; however, compare it to the Mate 20 Pro and you can instantly see how bad the noise is.

From the texture on the futon to the clarity of the text on the magazine covers, and the subtle, realistic uplighting on the wall, the Mate 20 Pro’s picture is an almost perfect representation of what we saw at the time.

Winner: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Conclusion:

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro won five of the seven categories here, with the LG G7 ThinQ and Asus ROG Phone taking a single win each, making it the runaway winner. Even in the categories it lost, editing would correct the images. We didn’t alter any of the pictures here, they’re straight off the camera and shot in automatic, aside from Night Mode on the Mate 20. We also tried the LG’s separate AI Cam mode for most images, but it never produced a picture that was an improvement over the standard camera’s photo.

Although the Mate 20 Pro is our wide-angle camera of choice here, we wish it had the same 120-degree field of view used by the ROG Phone. Those few extra degrees made a big difference to some of the pictures. Maybe something for the Mate 30 Pro? In the meantime, Huawei continues to produce the best smartphone cameras this side of the Pixel 3 XL.

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