We figured a comparison between the P50 Pocket and the Galaxy Z Flip3 was warranted since the two share a form factor, and people might be interested to see if the significant price premium for the Pocket would be reflected in its image quality. That is, not whether its cameras alone would justify an extra €400, but if the difference is at all in the right direction.
In broad daylight, comparing images from their main cameras, the Pocket takes notably cleaner images next to an uncharacteristically noisy Flip. Absolute detail is on par between the two - a testament to the Pocket's ability to extract information from that more advanced sensor. The Huawei has a minor, mostly academic, advantage in dynamic range, and we do prefer its blue sky rendering over the Galaxy's.
At 2x zoom, the Huawei delivers a vastly superior image with a ton more fine detail. The Galaxy's conventional sensor is no match for the Pocket's Quad Bayer unit.
The Flip does save face when comparing photos from the ultrawide cameras, and its output is consistently sharper. Mind you, however, that the Galaxy's ultrawide camera has its focus fixed (likely at infinity), and these test scenes are as good as it's going to perform. Present it with nearby subjects, and it wouldn't be able to compete.
What was a noisy Flip main camera in daylight becomes an even noisier one at night, while the Pocket maintains its clean output. The resolved detail is, again, comparable between the two, but the Pocket's shots simply look better because of the lower noise. Another advantage for the Pocket is the much better-controlled blooming around bright lights.
As we established before, the Huawei doesn't improve much (or at all) in its dedicated Night mode, but the Galaxy does clean up notably and becomes more competitive on the pixel level, though it tends to lose color and bleach away warm lights.
At 2x zoom, the Pocket retains its advantage in noise performance and light source handling.
The gap narrows down again in Night mode, though we'd still give the nod to the Pocket.
A definitive winner during the day, the Flip's ultrawide isn't looking so hot after dark, and the Galaxy is again the noisier camera here. It's also struggling to hold on to color and loses saturation. The Pocket continues to show superior handling of bright highlights.
The shaky Night mode of the Pocket's ultrawide is best avoided, but when it doesn't fail and underexpose, it manages to inch ahead of the Flip.
The other comparison we thought was necessary was against the P50 Pro - the proper flagship cameraphone in Huawei's latest generation. It was intriguing to find out the extent of sacrifice you make in the camera department by opting for the fancier form factor of the Pocket.
Daytime images from the main cameras are very similar in quality, and we can only point out a minor difference in the white balance of the first scene. In any case, both phones deliver stellar image quality.
Zoom is where the foldable can't really compete with its Pro colleague - good as is the Pocket's main camera may be at 2x against the Galaxy, the Pro's 3.5x periscope is simply in a different league.
Not quite so with the ultrawides, where we're back to parity. As best as we can tell, these are identical cameras, though the Pro does have, once again, a slightly different take on white balance every now and again.
One camera exclusive to the Pro is the 40MP monochrome unit. The Pocket does have a Monochrome mode though, so how does it compare? Well, the Pocket's images are sharper to our eyes, but the Pro does have the upper hand in dynamic range and offers finer tonal gradations, which black and white shooters appreciate. We think.
In low light, the Pocket is very much keeping up with its supposedly superior sibling. It's more or less the same photos we're looking at from the two, and there's no loser here.
Night mode does bring some differences, in that the Pro boosts exposure and color saturation more than the Pocket, but it's not like the Pocket is wrong in not doing it to the same extent. Both are good but somewhat different.
Zooming in, the Pro's one true advantage shows and even at night, it can get you way closer to that imposing column capital 25 meters up (of which we have shot none here, but that's what tourists take photos of when they go places, right?). The Pocket is more modest in its capabilities.
When it comes to the ultrawides, the one on the Pro appears to have a stronger tendency to underexpose than the already not very brightly exposing Pocket one. More or less similar detail from the two, but darker shots from the Pro.
Neither Night mode inspires confidence, and we're looking at way too dark shots (of what may very well be too dark scenes, but still). Perhaps a tweak in firmware down the road?
We wouldn't say the Pro's dedicated monochrome camera is appreciably superior in low light to the Pocket's color to black&white conversion either.