Want to know which Android or iOS device has the best camera? Our roundup of the best camera phones should help you to make the right choice. Whether it8217;s the Pixel 3 from Google or the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, we8217;ve tested them all in a variety of conditions.
8220;How good is the camera?8221; is likely to be one of the most important questions you8217;ll ask yourself before you take the plunge and buy a new smartphone. And with good reason; you don8217;t want to be stuck with a duff snapper for 24 months.
Putting a smartphone8217;s camera through its paces is a significant part of the review process here at Trusted Reviews, and each model listed below is top-class not only for taking photos but for the overall photography experience they offer.
But what makes a good phone camera? Well, it certainly isn8217;t just megapixel count – in fact, the majority of the devices in this list don8217;t feature more than 12 megapixels. More important are a wide aperture, around f/1.8 or lower, and image stabilisation, be it optical or electronic (OIS or EIS). Other aspects such as a secondary lens for portrait photos and an impressive selfie camera will be more or less important depending on your requirements.
- Great display
- Very fast charging
- Battery life is fantastic
- Clever extras, such as in-display fingerprint and reverse wireless charging
Huawei8217;s Mate 20 Pro is the pinnacle of smartphone camera hardware excellence. The company has ditched the monochrome sensor that its previous flagships used, instead opting for an ultra-wide lens in its place.
The Mate 20 Pro sports an impressive Leica-branded triple camera arrangement, consisting of a 40-megapixel primary RGB sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, a 27mm lens and hybrid autofocus. It8217;s supported by a 20-megapixel 16mm ultra-wide angle snapper and an 8-megapixel telephoto sensor with up to 5x hybrid lossless zoom and OIS, not to mention the phone packs a wealth of AI smarts to help enhance picture quality even further based on scene and setting.
- Fantastic, colourful display
- The best camera on any phone
- Slick version of Android
- Much-improved design over last year8217;s Pixels
- Scratches easily
- Some software bugs with the notch
- Battery life not as good as similarly sized rivals
If Huawei8217;s camera hardware is at the top of its game in the smartphone space, Google8217;s machine learning and computational photography talents give the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL the edge in the image processing department.
Both phones feature the same single 12.2-megapixel main sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, 28mm lens, 1.4µm pixels, OIS and dual pixel PDAF. In fact, the setup essentially reads the same as last year8217;s Pixels, which makes the improvements to image processing that Google has implemented this time around all the more important.
These phone8217;s excellent auto-HDR shooting is unrivalled when it comes to capturing detail, colour and a broad dynamic range in images, but new modes like Night Sight redefine what8217;s capable in the realm of low-light smartphone photography too. There8217;s also the matter of the Pixel8217;s dual front-facing cameras, which offer a secondary ultra-wide sensor so you can fit more in-frame without losing out on quality.
- Stunning design
- Fantastic tri-camera
- Plenty of storage and RAM
- EMUI interface has come a long way
- There are faster phones
- No wireless charging
Until the Mate 20 Pro popped up on the scene, the Huawei P20 Pro was arguably one of the finest smartphones for photography in 2018. With that in mind, it8217;s still superb, with a similarly versatile triple-camera array that offers 5x hybrid zoom, eye-popping HDR photography, intelligent low-light shooting and a gamut of creative capture modes that you won8217;t find on other manufacturers8217; handsets.
- Hard to spot some of Apple8217;s improvements
- Starting price is far too high
- No fast charger in-box
- Scratches easily
Apple8217;s Smart HDR photography is nothing short of astounding and both the iPhone XS and XS Max have it. Similarly to the previous year8217;s iPhone X, these phones pack a pair of 12-megapixel sensors, both with OIS.
The main sensor sports a 26mm focal length and an f/1.8 aperture while the secondary lens features a narrower f/2.4 aperture and a 52mm focal length – this gives the XS and the XS Max 2x lossless optical zoom. You can also expect the best low light performance of any iPhone and thanks to the front-facing sensor Animoji and Memoji support.
- Great battery life
- XS features for less money
- Fantastic performance
- Very capable camera
The 8216;affordable8217; 2018 iPhone actually shares a whole host of functionality with its more premium siblings, including the superb Apple A12 Bionic processor and its primary 12-megapixel camera. While it doesn8217;t boast the secondary sensors and thus lossless zoom of this year8217;s 8216;S8217; models, it still competes in practically every other way, ranging from raw image fidelity to video recording versatility.
Apple8217;s even gone so far as to implement Portrait Mode despite the XR8217;s single rear sensor, and the images it produces make it a tempting choice for iOS fans who don8217;t want to pay upwards of £1000/$1000 to enjoy such features. Having Animoji, Memoji and Portrait Mode as part of the phone8217;s front-facing camera setup is all appreciated too.
Related: What8217;s the best iPhone?
- Battery lasts the day, comfortably
- Fantastic, huge display with no notch
- S Pen remains unique
- Samsung’s software has a number of handy features
Offering an updated take on the dual sensor setup that we first saw on the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus earlier in the year, the Note 9 packs in 2x lossless zoom, a portrait mode and a physical aperture that can automatically switch from f/2.4 out to f/1.5 in low light scenarios.
The Note does a great job of capturing detail and takes natural but well expose low-light imagery. What8217;s more, you can enjoy a wealth of pre-loaded filters, powerful editing tools and thanks to this phablet8217;s new Bluetooth connected S Pen stylus, you can trigger the shutter by using it as a remote control.
- Customisable software
- Eye-catching design
- Excellent camera
- Nice screen
- Poorly optimised performance
- Underwhelming battery life
- No wireless charging
- Big notch
Newcomer to a number of global markets including the UK, Chinese tech giant Xiaomi is making a splash with its enhanced flagship, the Mi 8 Pro. Not only is the phone eye-catching in its own right, but it also takes some superb photos, far better than the £499 price would have you believe.
Another dual 12-megapixel setup with 2x lossless zoom plus AI scene recognition and enhancement, the Mi 8 Pro is great at reading what it is you8217;re trying to capture to adjust settings accordingly. It demonstrates impressive dynamic range and natural looking image stability when you film in Full HD at up to 240fps or 4K at up to 30fps.
- New fingerprint sensor feels cutting-edge
- Up-to-date, versatile OS
- Fast Charge is still great
- Sleek, premium design
- Great performance
- Great battery life
- Camera8217;s Nightscape mode needs work
- Another headphone jack bites the dust
- Fingerprint sensor needs refinement
- Poor audio capabilities
A great alternative to the Xiaomi, the OnePlus 6T boasts a respectable pair of primary cameras, fronted by a 16-megapixel sensor with a pleasingly-wide f/1.7 aperture, OIS and PDAF. Not for lossless zoom but for gaining added detail and depth data, it8217;s accompanied by a 20-megapixel sensor as well.
After some tweaks made to OnePlus8217; camera profile between the 6T and its predecessor, the OnePlus 6, the phone takes some excellent HDR imagery and offers 480fps slow-motion video capture. It also offers a pleasing Portrait Mode and the 16-megapixel front camera sits within one of the most attractive and least obtrusive screen notches out there.
- Truly amazing camera
- The best version of Android
- Nice display
A single 12.2-megapixel main sensor toting an f/1.8 aperture, 28mm lens, 1.4µm pixels, OIS and dual pixel PDAF – everything you get on 20188217;s Pixel phones also features on the back of both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
That8217;s a great start but these devices also benefit from Google8217;s machine learning-powered smarts, not to mention some new features, like the mind-blowing Night Sight, which have trickled down from the Pixel 3 series to grace the company8217;s previous flagships too. With a lowered price tag, this might be one of the best bargains in the smartphone photography space right now.
Think we8217;ve missed out on one of the great smartphone snappers of the year? Let us know over on Facebook or Twitter @TrustedReviews
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