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Smartphones with best cameras

It’s an Apple vs. Google duel in the quest for the finest camera phone. While we all have our favourites, the quality of photographs taken by the latest phones from those firms proves that now is an excellent time to buy a camera phone.

Not only is the hardware on the top camera phones getting better — Apple increased the sensors on the iPhone 13, and the Pixel 6 Pro features a long-awaited telephoto lens — but the software is getting better as well. Apple and Google both depend significantly on Of course, you have options beyond those two phone manufacturers if you’re looking for the greatest camera phone. Our research has led us to gadgets that take remarkable photographs and once-in-a-lifetime shots that less competent phones might miss. We’re seeking camera phones that combine complex optics and sensors with software algorithms that use maths and science to extract the most light, colour, and detail from every situation. It’s not just about the amount of lenses on the back; some phone manufacturers use artificial intelligence to boost photo post-processing.

These are the greatest camera phones you can purchase right now, based on hundreds of hours of testing and numerous head-to-head photo comparisons.

Computational photography to improve the photos produced by their camera phones.

What are the best camera phones?

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the current camera phone king, closely followed by the smaller iPhone 13 Pro. The new Pro versions deserve their titles with amazing photographs and movies, thanks to a triple 12MP configuration with bigger sensors on the wide and ultrawide cameras, as well as 3x optical zoom on the telephoto lens.

If you want to go beyond Apple’s phones, you’ll find that many of the top Android phones have excellent cameras as well. The Google Pixel 6 Pro and its sibling, the Pixel 6, are the new cream of the crop. To offer the greatest images, the OnePlus 9 Pro, Galaxy S21 Ultra, and even the less expensive Pixel 5a all rely on multiple back lenses and high-end photo processing tools.

The Pixel 5a is our budget pick for those who want to maximise their photography on-the-go while spending as little as possible; Apple fans can turn to the iPhone SE, which is one of the best cheap phones out there and guarantees phenomenal image quality while costing less than half the price of a premium device.

The best camera phones you can buy today

1. iPhone 13 Pro Max


Display: 6.7-inch OLED (2778 x 1284)CPU: A15 BionicRAM: 6GBStorage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB / NoRear cameras: 12MP main (f/1.5), 12MP ultrawide (f/1.8), 12MP telephoto (f/2.5) with 3xFront camera: 12MP (f/2.2)Weight: 8.5 ouncesBattery life (Hrs:Mins): 12:16

  • Best-in-class cameras
  • Excellent battery life
  • Immersive 6.7-inch display
  • Charger sold separately
  • A bit heavy and bulky

The iPhone 13 is not only the largest but also the greatest camera phone available. Apple went all out with the hardware in the iPhone 13 Pro Max, increasing the sensor size for both the primary and ultrawide cameras and adding autofocus to the latter. That ultrawide may also be used as a macro camera, capturing things as close as 2 cm distant. The sensor-shift IS that debuted on the iPhone 12 Pro Max last year is back this year, and the telephoto has been increased to 3x.

Apple has enhanced its computational photography, particularly in low-light situations. Photographic Styles, which are essentially real-time filters, and Cinematic mode are also new this year. The latter is portrait video taken to the next level, with dynamically shifting focus for a genuinely professional video experience.

Read our full iPhone 13 Pro Max review.

2. iPhone 13 Pro


Display: 6.1-inch OLED (2532 x 1170)CPU: A15 BionicRAM: 6GBStorage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB / NoRear cameras: 12MP main (f/1.5), 12MP ultrawide (f/1.8), 12MP telephoto (f/2.8) with 3xFront camera: 12MP (f/2.2)Weight: 7.2 ouncesBattery life (Hrs:Mins): 11:42


  • Gorgeous and bright 120Hz display
  • Incredible performance
  • Spectacular cameras
  • Vastly improved battery life
  • No charger included

The iPhone 13 Pro is a close second on this list of the finest camera phones, just behind its larger brother. It has the same hardware as the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but with bigger sensors, ultrawide camera focusing, and macro mode.The iPhone 13 Pro, on the other hand, is identical to the Pro Max, with sensor-shift OIS and the same 3x optical zoom. Standard features include Photographic Styles and Cinematic Mode. Basically, if you want the finest photography experience in a compact size, this is the phone to purchase. The 6.1-inch screen is still stunning, with 120Hz ProMotion for silky smooth animations and transitions.The battery life is considerably better, lasting over 12 hours.

Read our full iPhone 13 Pro review.

3. Pixel 6 Pro


Display: 6.7-inch OLED (3120 x 1440; 10-120Hz)CPU: TensorRAM: 12GBStorage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB / NoRear cameras: 50MP main (ƒ/1.85), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2), 48MP telephoto (ƒ/3.5) with 4x optical zoomFront camera: 11.1MP (ƒ/2.2)Weight: 7.4 ouncesBattery life (Hrs:Mins): 7:49

  • Incredible cameras
  • Tensor performs well
  • Beautiful new design
  • More affordable than other flagships
  • Shorter battery life than competitors

Google has reasserted its hold on the Android photography crown. Thanks to enhanced hardware and sophisticated software, the Pixel 6 Pro features excellent cameras. The ultimate result is something that can stand up against Apple and even trade punches evenly (especially with the night mode, Night Sight).The 50 MP primary camera sensor allows 150 percent more light in, while the 48MP telephoto lens offers 4x optical and 20x digital zoom. For ultrawide selfies, the 11MP front-facing camera provides a 94-degree field of vision.

Not only does the Pixel 6 Pro have the finest cameras on an Android phone, but it also has the new Tensor processor, which is ideal for computational photography and new Google Assistant functions. If you’re an Android user looking for the greatest mobile photography experience, this is the phone to purchase.

Read our full Google Pixel 6 Pro review.

4. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra


Display: 6.8-inch OLED (3200×1400; 10-120Hz)CPU: Snapdragon 888 RAM: 12GB, 16GBStorage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB / NoRear camera: 108MP wide (f/1.8), 12MP ultra wide (ƒ/2.2), 10MP telephoto (3x zoom, f/2.4), 10MP telephoto (10x zoom, f/4.9), laser AF sensorFront camera: 40MP (ƒ/2.2)Weight: 8.08 ozBattery life (Hrs:Mins): 11:25

  • Dual telephoto lenses
  • S Pen support
  • Dynamic 6.8-inch display
  • No charger in box
  • Lacks microSD card slot

While Apple and Google battle it out, Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S21 Ultra does everything it can to solidify its position as the camera phone to acquire if you want to zoom in on finer details. The Galaxy S21 Ultra comes with a pair of telephoto lenses, one with a 3x optical zoom and the other with a 10x, and the results in our tests were impressive. There’s also support for a 100x digital zoom, as well as a Zoom Lock function to assist you keep those images in focus. The primary 108MP lens is additionally complemented by a laser focus sensor.

However, the narrative behind Samsung’s new phone isn’t just about the hardware. A variety of new software techniques are available on the Galaxy S21 Ultra to help you be more creative with your images. When you hit the shutter button, the Simple Take feature from last year will now make slow-motion films. Director’s View allows you to concurrently take video from both the front and back cameras, as well as swap between the S21’s various lenses on the fly.

The ability to record 8K video on the Galaxy S21 Ultra makes it a terrific gadget to have if you shoot a lot of video, and the zoom lenses put the iPhone on notice. If you’re an Android enthusiast, this is a terrific camera phone to have, however the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which will be released in a month or two as part of the Galaxy S22 launch, is believed to include camera enhancements.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 review.

5. Google Pixel 6


Display: 6.4-inch OLED (2400 x 1080; 90Hz)CPU: Google TensorRAM: 8GBStorage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / NoRear cameras: 50MP main (ƒ/1.85), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2)Front camera: 8MP (ƒ/2.0)Weight: 7.3 ouncesBattery life (Hrs:Mins): 8:13

  • Tensor chip adds smarts to the phone
  • Excellent photo-editing features
  • Android 12 is a welcome update
  • Battery life can be short over 5G
  • Some colour issues with photos

While the Google Pixel 6 lacks a telephoto lens, it is still a capable photography phone. In a little smaller body, you get the same 50MP primary and 12MP ultrawide sensors. Even though we detected minor colour irregularities in several images, they came out clear and sharp.For most Android users, the Pixel 6 is still the greatest photography phone. Landscapes, portraits, and selfies will be spectacular. You have a lot of options with all of the new AI-based photographic capabilities like Magic Eraser.

Read our full Google Pixel 6 review.

6. Google Pixel 5a


Display: 6.43-inch OLED (2400 x 1080)CPU: Snapdragon 765 GRAM: 6GBStorage / Expandable: 128GB / NoRear cameras: 12.2MP (f/1.7), 16MP (f/2.2) ultrawideFront camera: 8MP (f/2.0)Weight: 6.5 ouncesBattery life (Hrs:Mins): 9:45

  • Spectacular cameras
  • Big, bright display
  • IP67 water resistance
  • Older chipset
  • Limited to US and Japan

As our Google Pixel 5a vs iPhone SE comparison shows, the Pixel 5a is by far the finest camera experience under $500. This year, a 16MP ultrawide camera has been added to Google’s phone. Last year’s Pixel 4a sported a 12.2MP camera, which was excellent in its own right.

The Pixel 5a, on the other hand, features a significant hardware update that will help it process photographs more quickly and effectively. The Snapdragon 765G CPU in the 5a is the same as in the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G. While it isn’t the best or newest Snapdragon (the A13 Bionic in the iPhone SE definitely outperforms it), it is still capable of performing some real camera magic.

Although the $100 price increase over the Pixel 4a is noticeable, the hardware advancements, larger battery, and larger screen more than compensate.

Read our full Google Pixel 5a review.

7. OnePlus 9 Pro


Display: 6.7-inch AMOLED (3168×1440)CPU: Snapdragon 888 RAM: 8GB, 12GBStorage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / NoRear camera: 48MP main (ƒ/1.8), 50MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2), 8MP telephoto with 3x optical (ƒ/2.4), 2MP monochromeFront camera: 16MP (ƒ/2.4)Weight: 6.9 ouncesBattery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:40

  • Excellent cameras overall
  • Beautiful 120Hz display
  • Fast wireless and wired charging
  • Nightscape photos are inconsistent
  • Morning Mist model is slippery

In the past, OnePlus phones were generally a step or two behind the top photography phones on the market. However, owing to a collaboration with Hasselblad, that has changed with the OnePlus 9 Pro. OnePlus and Hasselblad have agreed to a multi-year partnership to strengthen the company’s cameras, with the 9 series being the first to benefit.

This translates to more vibrant colours in images produced with the OnePlus 9 Pro, since the phone’s post-processing has vastly enhanced. We had mixed results shooting in low light, but generally, we were satisfied with the photographs we captured with the OnePlus 9 Pro, which now has both the hardware and software to catch up with the iPhone and the Pixel.

You can see for yourself by checking out our OnePlus 9 Pro camera comparison, in which we compare the latest OnePlus phone to Apple and Google’s top camera phones.

The Hasselblad relationship also helps a less expensive phone, the OnePlus 9, but it lacks the Pro’s 8MP telephoto lens. The OnePlus 10 Pro is a new version that will launch in China this month before expanding to other countries later, and it will once again benefit from OnePlus’s cooperation with Hasselblad.

Read our full OnePlus 9 Pro review.

8. iPhone 13


Display: 6.1-inch OLED (2532 x 1170)CPU: A15 BionicRAM: 4GBStorage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB / NoRear cameras: 12MP main (f/1.6), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.4)Front camera: 12MP (f/2.2)Weight: 6.1 ouncesBattery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:33

  • Impressive dual cameras
  • Incredible performance
  • Comprehensive 5G coverage
  • Cinematic mode
  • Slow charging

The iPhone 13 is the greatest iPhone for the ordinary individual, with significant advancements over its predecessor. Not only has the battery life improved, but the cameras have also been upgraded. First and foremost, the sensors have been increased in size, allowing more light to enter the camera for better indoor and night photography.

You receive the Photographic Styles and Cinematic mode that the Pro models have, in addition to the great cameras. Despite the lack of a telephoto lens and wider apertures, you still get a superb shooting experience for a very low cost. Apple even increased the basic capacity to 128GB while maintaining the same price for you.

Read our full iPhone 13 review.

9. Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus


Display: 6.7-inch AMOLED (2400×1080)CPU: Snapdragon 888 RAM: 8GBStorage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / NoRear camera: 12MP wide (f/1.8), 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2), 64MP telephoto (f/2.0) with 3x hybrid zoom/30x digitalFront camera: 10MP (ƒ/2.2)Weight: 7.05 ouncesBattery life (Hrs:Mins): 9:53

  • Gorgeous 120Hz display
  • Excellent performance
  • Crazy zoom feature
  • Beautiful design
  • No microSD card slot or charger

You might easily choose the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra as your primary camera phone, and it would be a wise decision. The Galaxy S21 Ultra took the greatest pictures of all the Galaxy S21 models introduced this year. It is, however, not cheap at $1,199. However, Samsung offered three S21 variants, and if you’re still searching for a large phone, the $999 Galaxy S21 Plus is a good option.

While the Galaxy S21 Plus lacks the S21 Ultra’s extreme zoom capabilities, it still outperforms the other phones on this list in terms of raw zoom quality. Even if Samsung tends to overexpose a little in post and add too much facial smoothing in portraits and selfies, it captures good ordinary photographs.

The Galaxy S21, which is smaller and more pocketable than the S21 Plus, contains the same camera system as the S21 Plus, but in a smaller shell. It is also less expensive, at $799.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus review.

10. iPhone SE (2020)


Display: 4.7-inch LCD (1334×750)CPU: A13 BionicRAM: 3GBStorage/Expandable: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB / NoRear camera: 12MP wide (ƒ/1.8)Front camera: 7MP (ƒ/2.2)Weight: 5.22 ouncesBattery life (Hrs: Mins): 9:18

  • Very affordable
  • Fast A13 Bionic performance
  • Excellent camera for the price
  • Supports wireless charging
  • Big bezels

The $400 iPhone SE has the same 12-megapixel, /1.8 single-lens camera as the iPhone 8, but it also has Cupertino’s A13 Bionic chipset to further its computational photography capabilities.

The outcomes are undeniably impressive. When it comes to nighttime photography, shallow depth-of-field portraiture, and digital zoom, the Pixel 4a has an advantage. However, the iPhone SE is nearly as capable in many situations, thanks to Apple’s advanced image methods such as Smart HDR and Semantic Rendering.

The iPhone SE isn’t ideal since it lacks ultrawide or telephoto lenses, but it, like the Pixel 4a, has a camera that is significantly superior to the great majority of other, similarly priced devices available today. Overall, if you’re in the market for a new phone and don’t want to spend a lot of money — especially if it needs to be an iPhone — there isn’t a better value out there right now.

Read our full iPhone SE 2020 review.

How to pick the best camera phone for you

If camera quality is a big component in your smartphone purchase, there are a lot of things to think about. Asking yourself what sorts of images you imagine yourself shooting is a wonderful place to start. Some multi-lens cameras have ultrawide lenses for spectacular landscape photography, while others include telephoto lenses for zoomed-in shallow-depth-of-field portraiture, and still others have both. Samsung and Huawei’s latest flagships even have periscope-style lenses that can reach up to 10x lossless zoom, rivalling the capability of DSLRs.

Another thing to consider is that megapixels aren’t as important as aperture. Wider aperture cameras (lower -stop values correspond to wider lenses) let in more light, which substantially aids in producing better images in the dark. While the high-megapixel sensors available in the latest handsets are impressive, it’s a frequent fallacy that more pixels equals better images.

Do you require a portrait mode with bokeh backgrounds? The subject of the photograph is in perfect focus, but the rest of the scene is blurred artistically. The single-lens iPhone SE can capture bokeh-effect photographs, which was previously only available on multi-camera phones. Some gadgets even allow you to alter the blur level before and after you take a picture.

The specifications of the front camera are very significant. In a world when we’re shooting more selfies than ever, the front camera on a phone shouldn’t be overlooked. Some front cameras, such as those found on the iPhone 12 and Pixel 5, are capable of achieving the same portrait mode effects as rear cameras. Some phones, such as the earlier Galaxy S10 Plus, have two front cameras, with the second lens capturing additional information in the backdrop.

Last but not least, don’t overlook video. Your cameras are capable of capturing more than simply static photos. Take into account the camera’s video resolution as well as the frame rate. However, be aware that increasing the resolution can result in clips taking up significantly more space on your smartphone’s internal storage.

How we test camera phones

In daytime and at night, we put the market’s leading handsets through a number of popular photography conditions, including landscapes, portraits, and selfies. Then, using a colour-calibrated display, we examine each batch of photographs to discover which smartphone has the best combination of colour accuracy, clarity, and contrast. We also do in-depth camera comparisons amongst the best phones, taking a variety of images in various settings with each smartphone in auto mode. We name an overall winner of the face-off after proclaiming a winner in each round.

Before we come to a decision in each of our smartphone evaluations, we consider any unique features, such as dual lenses and what they enable, Portrait Modes, and other special modes.

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