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The best camera phones in 2020

5 best camera phones

With the new iPhone about to land in stores around the world, if you’re in the market for an upgrade, it makes sense to know what the best camera phones available right now are, so you can weigh up your options and buy the right phone for you. The choices are plentiful, whether you’re an Apple, Google, Huawei or Samsung fan after a pocketable point and shoot camera to supplement a bulky DSLR, or a brilliant mobile video camera. We've tested hundreds of smartphones, and whittled our list of best camera phones you can buy down to just ten.

Obviously, for those making a full-time living from photography, grabbing one of the best cameras out there is still crucial. But your smartphone can act as an excellent backup , and could even pack some tricks up its sleeve missing from higher-end dedicated snappers like 8K video if you opt for a Samsung Galaxy 20 or Note 20 Ultra 5G.

Not looking to spend a lot of money? Don't worry. This roundup isn't all flagships and $1000 price tags. We'll cover multiple price points here with an entry from OnePlus, but if you're looking for something particularly cheap, check out our roundup of the best budget camera phones. That way you can invest in the (much more reasonable) best smartphone lenses or a smartphone tripod with all the cash you've saved to boost your mobile imaging.

While the best camera phone for many will be the iPhone 11 Pro, packing excellent app support and delivering a rich user experience, the best camera on a phone right now is that of the Huawei P40 Pro Plus. The first phone to launch with 10x optical zoom, it does what no other can do – deliver a 240mm focal length without crumbling. Meanwhile, the brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the best pen-packing camera phone currently available, which could make it the perfect choice for creatives.

The best camera phones available now

Best camera phone: Huawei P40 Pro Plus

(Image credit: Huawei)

01. Huawei P40 Pro Plus

Best camera phone across-the-board

Release: June 2020 | Screen size: 6.58-inches | Screen type: OLED | Resolution: 1200 x 2640 pixels | Sharpness: 441 pixels-per-inch | Certification: HDR10, 90Hz | Dimensions: 158.2 x 72.6 x 9 mm **Weight:** 226g | Rear camera: 50MP (wide + OIS) + 40MP (ultra-wide) + 8MP (3x telephoto) +8MP (10x telephoto) | Front camera: 32MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 4K, 60fps | Storage: 512GB | Memory card slot: Yes | Battery: 4500mAh

Best in class
Top-tier specs
No Google support

Life just looks better when it’s captured on the P40 Pro Plus. Whether you’re pinching the screen to zoom way into the distance, or shooting in middling to low light, Huawei’s latest Leica co-engineered flagship phone delivers best-in-class photography, almost every time.

The stars of the P40 Plus’s show are the telephoto cameras. We say cameras, plural because there are two: a 3x zoom and a 10x zoom around the back. This combo covers all bases, so you can be guaranteed a decent shot, however you frame it.

Combined with an ultrawide camera featuring an 18mm focal length, and a primary 50MP camera that comes in at 23mm, there’s plenty of versatility with the penta-camera system around the back of the P40 Pro. Huawei also loads up a time of flight (ToF) depth sensor to help with background defocus for DSLR-a-like photos depth of field.

Add to the mix excellent video credentials and a selfie camera that flatters like no other with realistic beautification that can be dialled up or down, and to say Huawei gets imaging is an understatement. It’s a shame that the Chinese tech giant’s phones aren’t easier to recommend from a software point of view. 

Owing to app support issues after Huawei falling in the firing line of China-US trade disputes, it doesn’t support the full suite of Google services. In turn, definitely read up on the potential limitations before picking one up. That said, if all you care about is that camera, and/or you don’t mind sideloading Google Services onto your phone (something we naturally can’t sanction but have successfully done), then this is the hands-down camera phone to beat. 

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best camera phones

(Image credit: Apple)
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best camera phones

(Image credit: Apple)

02. iPhone 11 Pro

Apple’s camera phone is (almost) 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. Want to know more? Check out our in-depth iPhone Pro 11 review

best camera phones

(Image credit: Huawei)

03. Huawei P40 Pro

Best value flagship camera

Release: April 2020 | Screen size: 6.5" | Screen type: OLED | Resolution: 1200 x 2640 pixels | Sharpness: 441 PPI | Certification: HDR10, 90Hz | Dimensions: 158.2 x 72.6 x 9 mm | Weight: 209g | Rear camera: 50MP (wide + OIS) + 40MP (ultra-wide) + 12MP (telephoto) | Front camera: 32MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 4K, 60fps | Storage: 128GB-512GB | Memory card slot: Yes (Nano Memory) | Battery: 4500mAh | Pen input: No

Stellar imaging
Gorgeous design
No Google services
Big screen cutout

Huawei’s successor to the fantastic P30 Pro is a worthy follow-up from a camera point of view, but the phone isn’t as easy to recommend as its predecessor. The reason for this has nothing to do with its hardware; it’s all down to the US-China trade war, and the fact Huawei can’t use Google services on its phones at the moment at the behest of President Trump himself. While the P40 Pro will be a dream for anyone trying to uncouple themselves from Google, therefore, definitely read up on it before you pick one up, as the implications are far-reaching. 

Google stuff aside for a second, and there’s no denying the camera power behind this flagship smartphone. It packs four cameras around the back and two on the front. Delivering a stellar main camera with a 50MP sensor resolution and a nice and wide 23mm field of view, come day or night, it nails it. Then there’s the 5x periscope zoom – it pulls in close and stays sharp. Add to the mix an ultra-wide, GoPro style camera as well as a depth sensor, and all your bases are covered, with the P40 Pro bettering big hitters from Google and Samsung. 

With up to 256GB storage and a nippy processor, internals will leave you wanting for nothing, and when they come packaged in such a beautiful glass and metal chassis, the outside matches what’s within. It even feels special; Huawei has curved the screen on all four sides, so whether you’re swiping in from up, down, left, or right, your thumb will effortlessly glide across the display.

(Image credit: Samsung)

04. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G

The best camera phone for detail

Release date: August 2020 | Weight: 208g | Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm | OS: Android 10.0 | Screen size: 6.9-inch | Resolution: 1440x3088 | CPU: Exynos 990 | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 256GB | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 108MP + 12MP + 12MP | Front camera: 10MP

Detailed photos
Fantastic manual video
Good, not great, battery

The Note 20 Ultra is a camera phone behemoth on paper. Its main sensor resolution is a whopping 108MP, and its Galaxy S20 Ultra-beating optical zoom gets you as close to the action as the P40 Pro. That being said, the main reason the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G isn’t higher on our list is its automatic mode. Unless you switch to night mode or Pro Mode, it just isn’t quite where the competition from Huawei is in low light, and its focus falls short on occasion when capturing stills, even if it does pack best-in-class video autofocus.

The Note 20 Ultra’s night mode is also very good - a huge improvement over that of its predecessor. The phone also packs stellar zoom performance with a 120mm optical range and fantastic video capabilities. That said, as a point and shoot, the camera falls short when compared to the iPhone 11 Pro or the P40 Pro Plus.

Any quibbles, however, may not matter for creatives you just want to doodle. The Note-series, is the best out there if you’re a fan of putting pen to screen on your mobile. 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 import them into Photoshop to work on when you get back to your studio. The S Pen’s iPad Pro matching 9ms latency and the screen’s 120Hz refresh rate combine beautifully with the phone’s Dynamic AMOLED technology to look spectacular - and its design is also something special too.

best camera phones

(Image credit: Google)

05. 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.

best camera phones: Oppo Find X2 Pro

(Image credit: Oppo)

06. Oppo Find X2 Pro

Best for file-hoarders

Release: March 2020 | Screen size: 6.7-inches | Screen type: OLED | Resolution: 1440 x 3168 pixels | Sharpness: 513 pixels-per-inch | Certification: Gorilla Glass 6, HDR10, 120Hz | Dimensions: 65.2 x 74.4 x 8.8 mm | Weight: 217g | Rear camera: 48MP (wide + OIS) | Front camera: 32MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 4K, 60fps | Storage: 512GB | Memory card slot: No | Battery: 4260mAh

Fastest charging
Highest storage capacity
No wireless charging

Oppo has been relatively unknown until recently, but it landed with a bang. Last year, its branding was all over Wimbledon, and now it’s launched one of the best smartphones of the year so far, the Find X2 Pro.

From a camera point of view, the X2 Pro wows, introducing Sony’s new 48MP sensor to the world. Grabbing high-resolution photos with beautiful depth and plenty of detail, the great thing about photos shot on the Find X2 Pro is that they look natural and realistic, especially when set aside those captured on Samsung phones. Packing a 5x zoom telephoto camera, the Pro also gets you close to the action, and its ultra-wide camera is a pin-sharp 48MP, for GoPro-esque shots you can crop into. 

Delivering flagship power, decent battery life and an absolutely jaw-dropping screen, inside and out, the X2 Pro impresses. That said, we haven’t even covered the phone’s two standout features – the X2 Pro delivers the fastest charging on the market - powering up from 0-100% in 38 minutes, not to mention over half a terabyte of storage as well – that’s three times what Samsung offers on the S20 Ultra. In turn, power users will love the fact Oppo has well and truly arrived

best camera phones: Samsung Galaxy S20 (& Plus)

(Image credit: Samsung)

07. Samsung Galaxy S20 (& Plus)

Across the board excellent

Release: February 2020 | Screen size: 6.2-inches | Screen type: AMOLED | Resolution: 1440 x 3200 pixels | Sharpness: 563 pixels-per-inch | Certification: HDR10+, Gorilla Glass 6, 120Hz | Dimensions: 151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9 mm | Weight: 163g | Rear camera: 12MP (wide + OIS) + 64MP (telephoto) + 12MP (ultra-wide) + ToF sensor (on Plus only) | Front camera: 10MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 8K, 30fps | Storage: 128GB | Memory card slot: Yes | Battery: 4000mAh

Fantastic screen
Versatile camera
Busy interface
Bland design

The Samsung Galaxy S20 will probably be the most popular of the S20-series, even if it isn’t the most specced out. Its manageable size combined with a premium set of features and a sharp, punchy, bright screen mean it’s a cracking phone, and the fact it costs a lot less than the S20 Ultra gives it plenty of appeal. 

With three cameras around the back, including a 64MP 3x zoom telephoto camera, it packs plenty of pixels and pulls you right into the heart of the action for impressive shots at a distance. The main camera is lower resolution at 12MP, but its nighttime performance is a big step up when compared to last year’s Galaxy S10. Combined with an ultra-wide camera and up to 8K video recording, the Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus cover all bases without breaking the bank like the S20 Ultra does. 

Just like the iPhone 11 Pro, the S20 is water and dust resistant, and supports wireless charging. Unlike iPhones though, you can bump up the phone storage with an SD card, and reverse the wireless charging, so your Samsung phone can power up your wearables, or indeed, an iPhone.

best camera phones: Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

(Image credit: Samsung)

08. 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.

best camera phones: OnePlus 8 Pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)

09. OnePlus 8 Pro

Glacier green meets a killer screen

Release: April 2020 | Screen size: 6.78-inches | Screen type: AMOLED | Resolution: 1440 x 3168 pixels | Sharpness: 513 pixels-per-inch | Certification: HDR10+, Gorilla Glass 6, 120Hz | Dimensions: 166.9 x 76 x 8.8 mm | Weight: 199g | Rear camera: 48MP (wide + OIS) + 8MP (telephoto) + 48MP (ultra-wide) + Color Effect sensor | Front camera: 16MP (wide) | Maximum video resolution: 8K, 30fps | Storage: 128/256GB | Memory card slot: Yes | Battery: 5000mAh

Good at everything
Gorgeous display
Very big
Zoom could be better

OnePlus phones have always screamed value for money, packing a select range of flagship specs while undercutting the best from the rest. The OnePlus 8 Pro pulls a bit of a switcheroo, bumping up the price, and packing in a bunch of extra features like wireless charging and water resistance, thereby competing head-on with flagships from Samsung and Apple. 

Luckily for OnePlus, in this instance, the gamble pays off. The OnePlus 8’s screen is the same panel as found on the Oppo Find X2 Pro, and it’s stunningly sharp, deep and vibrant all at the same time. Its cameras incorporate Sony’s latest 48MP sensor, which grabs beautiful depth. Thanks to improved nighttime performance, even when the lights go down, pictures shot on it look great. Where it falls behind the Oppo Find X2 Pro and Huawei P40 Pro is zoom, though its 3x optical zoom matches that of its main competition, the Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus like-for-like.   

The OnePlus 8 Pro is also a power-packed beast from a specs point of view. The processor is top of the line, it charges at up to 30W, both wired and wireless, which is a boon for anyone in a hurry, and thanks to its stereo speakers, it sounds as good as it looks. How good does it look? In its new, frosted Glacial Green guide, very good indeed; curving glass and metal masterfully for a rich-feeling device that’s easy on the eyes.

best camera phones: iPhone 11

(Image credit: Apple)

10. 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.

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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