The best camera phones push the technological limits and are always able to produce better results than the ‘right’ camera in your kit bag. It can be tricky to keep track of the latest and greatest handsets as displays get bigger, camera phone sensors get more sophisticated and chipsets get stronger. Luckily, right here we’ve rounded up the best for you.
Technology for smartphones moves rapidly, so this list is constantly evolving. 5G is set to become the next big thing when we head towards the end of 2020, so make sure to check out our best 5G phone for photography guide if you live with 5G infrastructure anywhere.
The best camera phone in 2020:
1. Apple iPhone 12 Pro
With an impressive triple camera unit, including an ultra-wide f/2.4 camera, a wide f/1.6 camera and a telephoto f/2 camera, the iPhone 12 Pro is one of the best camera phones currently available. The front-facing True Depth camera, meanwhile, features a 12MP sensor as well. On the iPhone 12 Pro, there are plenty of new technologies, such as a LiDAR scanner, which will mean faster focus in low-light situations. The new Apple Pro RAW file format will also be available for the iPhone 12 Pro, which means that users will be able to combine the great computational photography effects that Apple is known for with the power of RAW data. You just can’t go wrong with the new iPhone 12 Pro combined with the inclusion of 5G and the new Ceramic Shield display that has a 4x better drop output!
2. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
Not only is the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G the Galaxy family’s most capable camera phone, it is arguably the most impressive camera phone ever. The 108MP camera proves to be more than a play on numbers. And even at the extreme end, the 100x zoom might not deliver, it’s more than able to give you great-looking telephoto photos. This, however is a phone with foibles, namely the erratic processing of images and battery life, but firmware will certainly correct these. The 8K is more constrained you would hope, the 120Hz mode is better avoided for most and the cost is restrictively high for many. However, a league above that of the Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus is the hardware. And when all clicks, judged on its picture results, it is almost definitely the best Android camera phone ever and the best 5G camera phone to boot.
3. Google Pixel 5
If you are looking for a point-and-shoot camera phone that is fuss-free and capable, then the Google Pixel 5 could be the handset for you. While Google Pixel 5 does not have the most up-to-date technology, it compensates with reliability and usability for what it lacks in innovation. A 12.2MP 27mm f/1.7 camera and a 16MP super large f/2.2 camera are features of the rear dual camera unit on the Google Pixel 5, but it is the software that really takes this camera to excellence. The Snapdragon 765G chipset, meanwhile, fits well with the Android 11 OS for a lag-free experience with camera phones. Some exciting flagship features, such as a 90Hz refresh rate monitor, water resistance and wireless charging, are also available for the Google Pixel 5.
4. OnePlus 8 Pro
The OnePlus 8 Pro is a perfect alternative to the much-loved Oppo Find X2 Pro for someone who does not need sensational telephoto imagery or 512GB data. The 8 Pro is a true flagship, running with the same screen and power, a 120Hz 6.78-inch QHD+ Fluid Display monitor, plus a Snapdragon 865. It also bears the same main camera sensor, the latest IMX 689 sensor from Sony. So while it doesn’t get you as close to the action as some superzooms out there, it still has a cracking camera array, with a main 48MP sensor with an f/1.78 aperture lens, a 3x 8MP resolution telephoto, an ultra-wide 48MP, and a new Color Filter Camera that can take fun shots that distort truth. The OnePlus 8 Pro will track animals as well, keeping their faces sharp! The OnePlus 8 Pro is an all-round corker that brings Sony’s latest smartphone camera sensor to a newly affordable price, even if it is not exactly the best smartphone at one point in particular.
5. Xiaomi Mi Note 10
Xiaomi’s Mi Note 10 penta-camera is a 108 MP sensor handset, produced by Samsung and anticipated to be featured in the Galaxy S20 Ultra, a world-first, toppling resolution records and packing more pixels than virtually any DSLR or mirrorless cameras, let alone any smartphone. The Mi Note 10 uses quad-pixel or ‘pixel binning’ technology to capture standard shots, much like the 48MP cameras in our list. This technique combines four pixels into one, so a 12MP image will be generated by a 48MP sensor, and a 27MP image is provided by the 108MP sensor on the Mi Note 10. However, if the light is right, you can ramp up the resolution and catch complete 108MP images for droppingly detailed shots of the jaw-nothing else in this regard comes close to the Mi Note 10. In certain ways, but with a characteristically cool shot, the main camera nails it and in good light, beats out the competition. The reason this megapixel-tastic phone is not higher on our list is because there might be discrepancies with the additional cameras. Although we love the fact that it packs an optical 2x zoom, 5x zoom and an ultra-wide angle, as well as a dedicated macro sensor, shoot with the main 108MP module most of the time if quality is your focus.
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