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The best camera phones in 2020

Best camera phones in 2020
(Image credit: Sid Verma on Unsplash)

What’s the best camera phone? Smartphone camera tech is developing so quickly, and with more options available than ever, choice paralysis fast sets in. Whether you're a full-time photographer who wants a powerful, portable camera to supplement their bulky DSLR; a creative who wants to be ready to capture anything that inspires them; or just someone looking to up their Instagram game, we've tested all the different options to find you the best camera phones on the market right now.

There’s a good chance you don’t have a compact camera anymore. Why? Because you’ve got a camera phone - a device that has rendered the need for an affordable compact camera virtually redundant. Mobile tech from the likes of Apple, Huawei and Samsung has gotten so good, their camera phones can even pull off some tricks DSLRs can’t, like handheld long exposure photography.

Top 5 camera phones

- iPhone 11 Pro
- Huawei P30 Pro
- Google Pixel 4
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S10 10 Plus

Obviously, for those making a full-time living from photography, grabbing one of the best cameras out there is still crucial, but after investing in one of the best camera phones on this list, you will find yourself having to reach for your camera far less, and still managing to blow people away with the quality of the shots.

On a budget? Don't worry. This roundup isn't all flagships and $1000 price tags. We've even tracked down the best camera phones if you're on a budget so you can boost your abilities without bankrupting yourself. That way you can instead invest in the (much more reasonable) best smartphone lenses or a smartphone tripod with all the cash you've saved.

Right now, we think the best camera phone is the iPhone 11 Pro, even with a lot of stiff competition. Following closely at number two is the Huawei P30 Pro, which features a 5x zoom telephoto camera. And Google’s also a top performer, with its stratospherically good star-gazing Night Sight camera. 

The best camera phones right now

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(Image credit: Apple)
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(Image credit: Apple)

01. iPhone 11 Pro

Apple’s camera phone is back on top

Release: September 2019 | Screen size: 5.8" | Screen type: Super Retina XDR OLED | Resolution: 1125 x 2436 pixels | Sharpness: 458 PPI | Certification: HDR 10, Dolby Vision | Dimensions: 144 x 71.4 x 8.1 mm | Weight: 188g | Rear camera: 12MP (wide + OIS),12MP (ultra-wide), 12MP (2x zoom + OIS) | Front camera: 12MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 4K, 60fps | Storage: 64GB-512GB | Memory card slot: No | Battery: 3046mAh | Pen input: No

Fantastic night mode
Versatile camera system
Incredibly expensive
Less zoom than other handsets

The iPhone camera wavered in 2018 with stiff competition from Google and Huawei. But now Apple’s back on top, having refreshed its flagship camera and included a sensational night mode that can rival the best Android camera phones out there. What’s more, Apple’s new iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max pack wide, telephoto and ultra-wide cameras options that are calibrated to perfection, producing colour matched images across all three that look stunning.

The rest of the phone is also top-tier, with more power than virtually anything else on the market and a familiar iOS interface. App support on iPhones is fantastic, from Adobe Lightroom through to third party manual camera applications that will eke even more out of the three 12MP sensors around the back, and the phone’s 4K video capture is also sensational.

The hardest pill to swallow when it comes to any iPhone is the price; though, while in the past you weren’t always getting a truly top quality camera with your iPhone, when it comes to the 11 Pro, you really are. 

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(Image credit: Huawei)
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(Image credit: Huawei)
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(Image credit: Huawei)

02. Huawei P30 Pro

Get closer to the action with a 5x zoom

Release: March 2019 | Screen size: 6.5" | Screen type: OLED | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 pixels | Sharpness: 398 PPI | Certification: HDR 10, DCI-P3 100% | Dimensions: 158 x 73.4 x 8.4 mm | Weight: 192g | Rear camera: 40MP (wide + OIS), 20MP (ultrawide), 8MP (5x zoom + OIS), ToF depth sensor | Front camera: 32MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 4K, 30fps | Storage: 128GB-512GB | Memory card slot: Yes (Nano Memory) | Battery: 4200mAh | Pen input: No

Incredible zoom
Versatile across-the-board
Unavailable in the US
Images look good, but not always natural

Almost a year after Huawei announced its groundbreaking P30 Pro, it’s still sitting high on our list of the best camera phones money can buy. Easily the most versatile camera phones on test, it features a mind-bogglingly good 5x optical zoom that can get you closer to the action than virtually anything else on the scene. In addition, the P30 Pro’s main camera packs 40MP resolution for sharp images that look stellar; and as for its night mode - this phone can see in the dark. 

While newer Huawei phones don’t feature the Google Play Store, which will make them non-starters for many, the P30 Pro does. This means it packs excellent app support, and links with Gmail, Maps and YouTube as well as all your other Google services.

What makes the P30 Pro even more of an easy sell is that it’s been around for a while; so despite being one of the best camera phones in the world, costs a fraction of the price of newer devices.

(Image credit: Google)

03. Google Pixel 4 (and 4XL)

The star gazer’s choice

Release: October 2019 | Screen size: 5.7" | Screen type: P-OLED | Resolution: 1080 x 2280 pixels | Sharpness: 444 PPI | Certification: HDR, DCI-P3 100%, 90Hz | Dimensions: 147.1 x 68.8 x 8.2 mm | Weight: 162g | Rear camera: 12MP (wide + OIS), 16MP (2x zoom + OIS) | Front camera: 8MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 4K, 30fps | Storage: 64GB-128GB | Memory card slot: No | Battery: 2800mAh | Pen input: No

Stunning night sky photography
Fantastic main camera
Expensive (for phone specs)
Poor battery life

If this was a ‘Best main camera’ phone list, the Pixel 4 would be sitting pretty at the top. But, as a package, the lack of an ultrawide camera holds it back. Given the phone’s flagship price, from a focal length point of view, it just isn’t as versatile as the rest of the best camera phones in our list.

Having said that, if you don’t care about all-encompassing wide angles or sensational 5x optical zooms, and you just want to point, shoot and get a stunning picture; you can confidently pick up the Pixel 4. Google has also included a night mode on its Pixel 4-series called Night Sight that can capture night skies in more detail than anything else on the market, with intelligent long-exposures that create pictures that look like they were taken on a DSLR.

Pixels aren’t cheap, and they don’t pack tonnes of storage. Additionally, you’ll want to go for a Pixel 4 XL if you want decent battery life. If picture taking is your passion though, pick one up and you won’t be disappointed.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

(Image credit: Samsung)

04. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

The ultimate artist’s smartphone

Release: August 2019 | Screen size: 6.8" | Screen type: Dynamic AMOLED | Resolution: 1440 x 3040 | Sharpness: : 498 PPI | Certification: HDR10+ | Dimensions: 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm | Weight: 196g | Rear camera: 12MP (wide + OIS), 16MP (ultra-wide), 12MP (2x zoom + OIS), ToF depth sensor | Front camera: 10MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 4K, 60fps | Storage: 256GB-512GB | Memory card slot: Region pending | Battery: 4300mAh | Pen input: Yes

Versatile cameras and shooting modes
Excellent pen input 
Pricey
Night mode isn’t the best

The main reason the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus isn’t higher on our list is because its night mode isn’t quite as stellar as our top spotters. That said, it’s still a brilliant, versatile camera phone, loaded up with plenty of shooting modes, no less than three zoom ranges and fantastic looking 4K video.

Additionally, it could be the best smartphone out there if you’re a creative who’s a fan of putting pen to paper; or S Pen to screen in this case. With its Wacom digitiser and 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, you can fire up an app like Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and create multi-layered files on the go, then export them into Photoshop to work on when you get back to your studio.

While the Note 10 Plus is anything but cheap, it’s powerful, has decent battery life, looks incredibly sleek and has a stunning, virtually edge-to-edge all-screen display.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

(Image credit: Samsung)

05. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Note 10 Plus camera without a Note 10 Plus price

Release: August 2019 | Screen size: 6.4" | Screen type: Dynamic AMOLED | Resolution: 1440 x 3040 | Sharpness: : 522 PPI | Certification: HDR10+ | Dimensions: 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8 mm | Weight: 175g | Rear camera: 12MP (wide +OIS), 16MP (ultra-wide), 12MP (2x zoom +OIS), ToF depth sensor | Front camera: 10MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 4K, 60fps | Storage: 128GB-1TB | Memory card slot: Region pending | Battery: 4100mAh | Pen input: No

Versatile cameras and shooting modes
Dual selfie camera 
Battery life isn’t great (UK version)
Better options for Night mode

Samsung Galaxy smartphones are now so good that the latest iterations generally struggle to make strides on the last. But that shouldn't stop us crowing about its latest and greatest flagship – the Galaxy S10 Plus, which has raised the bar again for camera phones on release (just not by that much). 

The triple camera on the rear is the obvious place to start. It’s no longer unique, but the remarkable dual f/1.5/f/2.4 aperture is certainly an attractive added bonus, meaning you can take eye-popping shots even in low light without any long exposure party tricks. And you can tweak the aperture to the other end of the spectrum in sunnier climes. 

Samsung has also worked hard to reduce noise, too. We love the super slow motion 960fps function for getting creative with videos and the bokeh-enable selfie snapper is impressive as well.

Sony Xperia 5

(Image credit: Sony)

06. Sony Xperia 5

The best camera phone for videographers

Release: September 2019 | Screen size: 6.1" | Screen type: OLED | Resolution: 1080 x 2520 | Sharpness: : 449 PPI | Certification: HDR BT.2020, DCI-P3 100% | Dimensions: 158 x 68 x 8.2 mm | Weight: 164g | Rear camera: 12MP (wide + OIS), 12MP (ultra-wide), 12MP (2x zoom) | Front camera: 8MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 4K, 60fps | Storage: 128GB | Memory card slot: Yes | Battery: 3140mAh | Pen input: No

Manual 4K video camera
21:9 screen great for multitasking
21:9 screen isn’t great for 16:9 video
Night mode isn't the best

Sony’s Xperia 5 is a beautiful balance of portability, power and camera clout. It’s stills camera is very good, but where it really shines is video capture. The Xperia 5 shoots 4K video across its three focal lengths - 16mm, 26mm and 52mm, and within the Cinema Pro app, can even shoot full manual video. This gives it's camera operator control over ISO, shutter angle, as well as a flat, HDR-style colour profile and advanced features like rack zooming and frame rate.

With its 21:9 aspect ratio unique to Sony devices, the Xperia 5 is a tall phone that stands out from the crowd and is great for split-screen multitasking. That said, at just 6.1-inches, the screen is anything but unwieldy, making the long, thin phone incredibly pocket-friendly. Speaking of the screen, it’s also loaded up with the HDR BT.2020 standard, for a natural looking, tonally broad display colour profile, as well as a Standard Mode for more punch and pop.

Add to the mix flagship power, expandable storage and the premium design we’ve come to expect from Sony, and the Xperia 5 is without a doubt the manufacturer’s best phone to date and the standout choice for video pros.

iPhone 11

(Image credit: Apple)

07. iPhone 11

An excellent camera phone, despite no optical zoom

Release: September 2019 | Screen size: 6.1" | Screen type: Liquid Retina IPS LCD | Resolution: 1125 x 2436 pixels | Sharpness: : 326 PPI | Certification: DCI-P3 | Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm | Weight: 194g | Rear camera: 12MP (wide + OIS), 12MP (ultra-wide) | Front camera: 12MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 4K, 60fps | Storage: 64GB-256GB | Memory card slot: No | Battery: 3046mAh | Pen input: No

Fantastic night mode
Great dynamic range
No telephoto camera
Pricier than most Android flagships

Think iPhone 11 Pro without the 2x telephoto camera and you get the iPhone 11. This stonking phone may lose out on some of the Pro’s perks like an OLED screen and that flagship fit and finish, but when it comes to the cameras, it’s very comparable. This means fantastic pictures, morning, noon or night, and pin shark 4K video at up to 60fps.

Naturally, the iPhone 11 is also significantly cheaper than the 11 Pro Max, and is available in some beautiful, understated colours, including a lilac purple, powder mint green and a slightly muted, bright yellow. 

Apple’s mainstream iPhone is also powerful, shipping with iMovie and supporting 4K video edits on the go. Factor into the mix a suite of third party downloadable creative applications from Adobe, as well as tools like LumaFusion and Vectornator - a fantastic on-the-go Illustrator alternative, and the iPhone 11 is about as close as Apple products get to being great value for money.

Oppo Reno 10X Zoom

(Image credit: Oppo)

08. Oppo Reno 10X Zoom

An all-screen superzoom smartphone

Release: April 2019 | Screen size: 6.6" | Screen type: AMOLED | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | Sharpness: : 387 PPI | Certification: DCI-P3 | Dimensions: 162 x 77.2 x 9.3 mm | Weight: 210g | Rear camera: 48MP (wide), 8MP (ultra-wide), 13MP (5x zoom + OIS) | Front camera: 16MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 4K, 60fps | Storage: 128-256GB | Memory card slot: Yes | Battery: 4065mAh | Pen input: No

Fantastic zoom camera 
Versatile triple camera system
No zoom on video
Screen could be brighter

Fresh out of the gate and Oppo has snapped up a spot in our top ten list with its first UK release, the Reno 10X Zoom. Punching into far away objects with even more oomph than the Huawei P30 Pro, its zoom camera is nothing short of class-leading, making it perfect for gigs or events.

It doesn’t quite stack up to Huawei’s flagship when it comes to video, but given its price, and the fact you can pick up a 5G version if you need super-fast data downloads for your videos and projects, it could be a perfect camera phone package for you.

What’s more, the main camera’s ample 48MP resolution can grab plenty of detail and the phone’s all-screen display and great battery life will ensure your photos and videos look glorious all day and all night. 

OnePlus 7T Pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)

09. OnePlus 7T Pro

Across the board flagship specs for less

Release: October 2019 | Screen size: 6.67" | Screen type: AMOLED | Resolution: 1440 x 3120 | Sharpness: : 516 PPI | Certification: HDR 10, DCI-P3 100%, 90Hz | Dimensions: 162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8 mm | Weight: 206g | Rear camera: 48MP (wide + OIS), 16MP (ultra-wide), 8MP (3x zoom + OIS) | Front camera: 16MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 4K, 60fps | Storage: 256GB | Memory card slot: No | Battery: 4085mAh | Pen input: No

Impressive macro camera
Super-steady video
Night mode isn’t class-leading
No wireless charging

Sure, the OnePlus 7T Pro looks like a phone from the future with its curved AMOLED screen with a silky smooth 90Hz refresh rate, but its standout highlight is its triple camera setup.

Powered up with a new macro feature that focuses as close as 2.5cm away from an object, if you’re a fan of snapping fine textures, flowers or tiny little critters, it’s the best phone for the job. It also adds a new, super stabilised, action camera-esque video shooting mode to the mix, and with a 3x zoom, gets you closer to the action than most.

Meanwhile, the rest of the phone is crammed with nothing short of flagship design, power and battery life, and with its HDR 10 display and Dolby tuned stereo speakers, optimised content will look and sound sensational. 

Honor 20 Pro

(Image credit: Honor)

10. Honor 20 Pro

The best budget flagship camera phone you can buy

Release: May 2019 | Screen size: 6.26" | Screen type: IPS LCD | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | Sharpness: : 412 PPI | Certification: None | Dimensions: 154.6 x 74 x 8.4 mm | Weight: 182g | Rear camera: 48MP (wide), 16MP (ultra-wide), 8MP (3x zoom), 2MP (macro) | Front camera: 32MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 4K, 60fps | Storage: 128-256GB | Memory card slot: No | Battery: 4000mAh | Pen input: No

Excellent value quad-camera phone
Versatile focal length options
No optical image stabilisation
Less nuance in shadows

The Honor 20 Pro is probably the best value smartphone in our top ten list. While it isn’t available in the US, it costs just £399 in the UK despite its flagship power and quad-camera setup. The primary 48MP sensor is the same as the one found in the pricier OnePlus 7T Pro and Oppo Reno 10x zoom, it packs more zoom than an iPhone 11 Pro and it even features a 2MP dedicated macro camera.

Looks-wise, the Honor 20 Pro is a stunner, particularly in its Icelandic Frost colour, which features a purlesque gradient finish around the back, a very iPhone-esque buffed metal frame and an ergonomic side-mounted fingerprint scanner. 

Combined with Android, and in turn, excellent app support, a high-resolution 32MP punch-hole selfie camera and fantastic all-day battery life, not to mention tonnes of storage, the Honor 20 Pro is both an incredible value camera phone and a beauty to look at. 

Check out the widget below for a quick overview of the best camera phones and the cheapest prices in your region right now. 

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