Best Smartphone Cameras

Best Smartphone Cameras

Smartphones have changed the way we look at the world; more pictures are taken with smartphones than all other types of digital cameras combined. It's easy to see why, of course. You always have your phone with you. These phones are instantly connected to your friends and family online. And they actually take pretty good pictures, especially when compared to phones from even a few years ago.

The downside to any smartphone is image sensor size and the lack of optical zoom lenses, but these little pocket-sized supercomputers make up for that with processing and connectivity. And while they still don't have the zoom and optical capabilities of point-and-shoots, smartphone image quality and video recording capabilities are so good, they've effectively ended the entry-level point-and-shoot camera category.

Still, smartphones are very expensive; then again, when you break them down into specific components--phone, web surfer, text device, multimedia generator, and camera--the camera part really becomes a bargain. Your choice today is most likely going to boil down to the ecosystem. Are you an Apple or Android person? Are you happy with a well-known brand or would you like to experiment with an unfamiliar one?

Here are our picks for the Best Smartphone Cameras for 2018.


Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Sensor size: 32.8 square millimeters | Resolution: Dual 12 MP, (28mm, f/1.8, OIS & 57mm, f/2.8) | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 5.5" LED-backlit IPS LCD | Max Burst Shooting: 10fps | Video Recording: 4K/60fps, 1080p up to 240fps

PROS: RAW photos, Dual Lenses

CONS: Sensor & lens size

The iPhone 8 Plus brings Apple smartphone cameras into the point-and-shoot debate. This is a camera you could take with you on vacation. With its smart blur technology, you can take gorgeous portraits as well as stunning wide shots. Its dual 12 Megapixel cameras deliver a punch that can easily be edited on the phone's gorgeous display. It's an easy choice, if you're in the Apple ecosystem already, especially because it's a lot cheaper now that the iPhone X's have rolled out.

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Apple iPhone XS.jpeg
Apple iPhone XS

Sensor size: 1.4µm | Resolution: Dual 12MP wide-angle and telephoto rear cameras, 7MP front | Viewfinder: None | Display: 5.8" Super Retina HD | Max Burst Shooting: 10fps | Video Recording: 4K/60fps, 1080p up to 240fps

PROS: Stereo recording for videos, extended dynamic range for video at 30 fps

CONS: Pricey

The dual 12MP camera in the rear--one for wide-angle with a F/1.8 aperture, another for telephoto with a F/2.4 aperture--offer 2x optical, up to 10x digital zooms, a dual optical image stabilization, and AutoFocus and tap to focus with Focus Pixels. The front 7MP camera, on the other hand, boasts an aperture of F/2.2, Retina Flash, and for the social media obsessed, the ability to use Animoji and Memoji. Together, you are able to access such cool features as Portrait Mode shooting with depth control, portrait lighting with effects, extended dynamic range for videos at 30 fps, cinematic video stabilization for 1080p and 720p recordings, continuous AutoFocus when recording videos, and burst and timer modes. And those are just to start. It's safe to say that it definitely beats many of the compacts on the market. As a plus, the interface is very user-friendly so it doesn't take a while to figure out, if you don't already know.

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Google Pixel 3 / Google Pixel 3 XL

Sensor size: 1.4µm | Resolution: 12.2MP rear, 8MP front | Viewfinder: None | Display: 5.5" / 6.3" touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 9fps | Video Recording: 4K/30fps, 1080p up to 120fps (rear)

PROS: Brighter images, HDR for low light

CONS: No wide-angle rear, slower burst mode

Some might say Google Pixel has the best camera phone on the market right now, and we're inclined to agree, especially with Pixel 3 out. Flipping iPhone X's two rear, one front camera combo, both Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL have one 12MP dual-pixel camera with a wide aperture of F/1.8 in the rear and two 8MP wide-angle and standard cameras in the front. It's the rear camera that has all the bells and whistle though, with features like AutoFocus with dual pixel phase detection in Portrait Mode, 4K recording capability at 30fps, and optical as well as electronic image stabilization. Let's not forget, of course, this camera phone's ability to create HDR images to make excellent photos in low light.

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Sensor size: | Resolution: 40MP wide-angle + 20MP ultra wide-angle + 8MP telephoto (rear), 24MP (front) | Viewfinder: None | Display: 6.39" touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 9fps | Video Recording: 2160/30fps

PROS: Triple camera in the rear, high resolution, decent zoom

CONS: Expensive

While Google Pixel 3 might be more popular choice as far as smartphones with awesome cameras, this China import is giving it a good run for its money. Featuring, of course, are its triple-threat rear-facing Leica cameras that give users a high-res wide-angle, an ultra wide-angle that can get as close as 2.5 cm, and a telephoto, all of which support incredible AutoFocus and image stabilization that makes nighttime shooting a beautiful experience. Rounding those off is the 24MP front-facing camera that supports 3D depth sensing. Impressed yet? Wait until you get your hands on it.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Sensor size: | Resolution: 12MP + 12MP (rear), 8MP (front) | Viewfinder: None | Display: 6.4" touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: | Video Recording: 4K/60p, 720/760p

PROS: Triple camera in the rear, high resolution, decent zoom

CONS: Expensive
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 takes brilliant pictures regardless of the time of day. It's dual aperture lens adapts automatically to light sources, and its HDR reduces noise and keeps colors popping even at night. Not only that, but the triple camera in the rear offers OIS stabilization, 12 MP telephoto and wide angle lenses, and 2x optical zoom for incredible flexibility. The phone also offers great software advantages like Live Focus as well as Flaw Detection, which points out any mistakes or issues you might miss so you can reshoot right away. Not only that, but with the remote S pen and its automatic facial recognition, selfies are guaranteed to come out right.

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