Here’s how the OnePlus 3 compares to the best smartphone camera in the world

It’s time to compare the OnePlus 3 camera to the Samsung Galaxy S7.Whenever an exciting new smartphone comes out, we like to run it through its paces and see where it fits in the pocket-computer pantheon. And, given that all our phones serve double duty as point-and-shoot cameras these days, one of the most important tests is camera quality.

Through the end of 2015 and first part of 2016, the best smartphone camera in the world was the iPhone 6s Plus, and we compared every new camera to that standard. Then, in February 2016, the Galaxy S7 charged to the head of the pack. And no device that’s come out since then has even come close to challenging its spot.

But now the OnePlus 3, the attractive $400 third flagship device from tiny Chinese designer OnePlus, is ready to go up against the ultra-premium $670 leader. Here are the surprising results.

Shooting from the top of Tech Insider headquarters, the two cameras produce nearly-identical images.

This isn’t entirely surprising. Big wide shots of still, bright scenes are the easiest for cameras to pull off. But the similarity here is striking.

At this point though, I’m still betting against the OnePlus 3. This phone has a 16-megapixel sensor, compared to the Galaxy’s 12 megapixels. Extra megapixels don’t help your phone at all, but they can hurt. And 12 seems to be the sweet spot for sharpness and quality.

Blown up to full size though, both phones capture identical amounts of highlight detail. And, if anything, the OnePlus 3’s shot looks a bit more sharp.

Now it’s time to test the autofocus on a flower fluttering in the wind.

This test is where many other devices, like the iPhone 6s, first showed they lag behind the Galaxy S7. But the OnePlus, though not quite as zippy as the S7, found the proper focus faster than my finger could move to the shutter button.