What is the best camera phone? Handsets change so often these days, it's a perfectly valid question. And we're here to answer it for you.
Whether you're a full-time photographer needing a powerful camera on you at all times or just someone looking to up their Instagram game, we've crawled the world of camera phones to find the best choices.
And while nowadays all camera phones will surprise you with their abilities, some shine so much brighter than the rest. The likes of Apple, Huawei and Samsung have upped their game so much you could even ditch your camera and just use a phone.
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 blowing people away with the quality of the shots from your phone.
And don't worry if you're on a budget, this 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 going all out on price. That way you can instead invest in the best smartphone lenses or a smartphone tripod with all of that cash you've saved.
Right now, we think the best camera phone is the Google Pixel 3, even with a lot of stiff competition, thanks to its incredible main sensor and superb software. Read on for even more details of the best camera phones available right now.
The best camera phones right now
01. Google Pixel 3
The best camera phone right now
Release date: November 2018 | Rear camera: 12.2MP | Front camera: 8MP | OIS: Yes | Rear camera aperture: f/1.8 | Autofocus type: Phase detection and laser | Weight: 148g | Dimensions: 145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9mm | Storage: 64/128GB
When Google relaunched its mobile phones under the Pixel moniker, it was clear that much of their focus (if you'll forgive the pun) was on the quality of the onboard cameras. Quite simply, camera phones don't come any better than the Google Pixel 3. Don't let the solo sensor fool you into thinking you'll be short changed by the main rear camera – the photos it can take are nothing less than jaw dropping. In fact, none of the specs are exactly ground breaking (12.2Mp, f/1.8 aperture), but trust us when we tell you that we've never seen sharper, brighter more detailed images from any other camera phone. We're not saying it makes standalone cameras defunct, but unless you're a professional photographer, you won't need much more than what this smartphone will give you.
And with the Google Pixel 4 now just around the corner we can imagine we will even see the Google Pixel 3 come down further in price. Or, if you can't wait for that and want the Google Pixel 3 even cheaper, consider the Google Pixel 3a.
02. Huawei P30 Pro
Runner up to the best camera phone crown
Release date: March 2019 | Rear camera: 40MP + 20MP + 8MP + ToF | Front camera: 32MP | OIS: Yes | Rear camera aperture: f/1.6, f/2.2, f/3.4 | Weight: 192g | Dimensions: 158 x 73.4 x 8.4mm | Battery size: 4,200mAh
The Huawei P30 Pro has taken the ball passed to it by its predecessor and just kept on running - it's proving to be the smartphone that's breaking the Samsung and Apple duopoly on the world phone market. It's one of the best smartphones on the face of the Earth and its main camera is one of the major factors why. The combination of 40MP, 20MP and 8MP shooters combines powerfully with excellent image processing, noise reduction and super zoom features making the P30 Pro's overall photo taking prowess something very special indeed. You could even argue that the 2019 is now a quadruple lens camera, now that it's added an extra ToF (time-of-flight) camera for more depth on portraits.
Of course we have to utter a word of warning here as Huawei has its ongoing issues with the US government and there's a small risk if there's a ban on updates and such. But if that doesn't put you off, you'll have a fantastic bit of hardware to enjoy.
03. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
The best camera phone in a Samsung phone
Release date: March 2019 | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 16MP | Front camera: 10MP + 8MP | OIS: Yes | Rear camera aperture: f/1.5, f/2.4, f/2.2 | Weight: 198g | Dimensions: 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm
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 dual 12MP cameras on the rear are the obvious place to start. They're no longer unique, but the remarkable f/1.5 aperture is certainly an attractive added bonus, meaning you can take eye-popping shots even in low light. And you can tweak the aperture to the other end of the spectrum in sunnier climes. Samsung has also worked hard 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.
04. iPhone 11 Pro
Go all out with Apple's best camera
Release date: September 2019 | Rear camera: Dual 12MP + 12MP + 12MP | Front camera: 12MP | OIS: Yes | Rear camera aperture: f/1.8 and f/2.4 | Autofocus type: Focus pixels (i.e. Phase detection) | Weight: 188g | Dimensions: 144 x 71.4 x 8.1mm | Storage: 64/256/512GB
Here we are, the choice for all of the Apple fans out there. Luckily, Apple's most recent launch gave us a trio of devices perfect for creatives. Combining both affordable pricing and all of the best specs, the middle option of the trio - the iPhone 11 Pro - easily comes out as the star of the show.
You're getting a triple camera lens set-up with wide-angles and optical zoom, perfect for taking impressive shots on the go. And, with the most powerful CPU in any phone currently on the market, the iPhone 11 Pro won't let you down in performance either.
05. iPhone XR
An excellent Apple camera smartphone – for less
Release date: October 2018 | Rear camera: Dual 12MP | Front camera: 7MP | OIS: Yes | Rear camera aperture: f/1.8 | Autofocus type: Phase detection | Weight: 194g | Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm | Storage: 64GB/128GB/256GB
If you liked the idea of the iPhone 11 Pro above but the price tag quickly put you off, the iPhone XR could be an ideal substitute. This device offers an excellent 2942mAh battery, a strong overall camera performance with a main 12MP camera taking some impressive shots and most importantly, a much lower price tag.
However, if you're job revolves heavily around your camera, it could be worth taking the dive and spending a bit more on the iPhone above. With the iPhone XR being limited to just one lens, it falls short of being the iPhone to win this list.
06. Samsung Galaxy Note 10
Make use of Samsung's unique 'S' pen
Release date: August 2019 | Rear camera: 12.2MP | Front camera: 8MP | OIS: Yes | Rear camera aperture: f/1.5 - f/2.4 | Autofocus type: Phase detection and laser | Weight: 168g | Dimensions: 151 x 71.8 x 7.9mm | Storage: 256GB
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is one of the many 2019 camera phones to jump on the trend of using three cameras on the rear. And this is an investment that has clearly paid off, getting you a 16MP ultra-wide lens, a 12MP regular lens and a 12MP telephoto lens.
Through these three lenses, Samsung can offer an excellent automatic experience and for those more experienced in the use of cameras, there are a range of features to boost its abilities.
Furthermore, Samsung has put a lot of work into the video camera on the Note 10, The image stabilization technology has been improved and a new feature - 'Live Focus' - gives you access to portrait like 'bokeh' effects.
07. Samsung Galaxy S8
The best camera phone for selfies
Release date: April 2017 | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP | OIS: Yes | Rear camera aperture: f/1.7 | Autofocus type: Phase detection | Weight: 155g | Dimensions: 148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm | Storage: 64GB
If you want to improve your Insta-game, then you're probably not after the priciest smartphone on the market. That's why we've picked out the still-great-after-all-this-time Samsung Galaxy S8 as our choice camera phone for selfies. With its dedicated selfie mode, the S8 just makes taking photos with the 8MP front camera ridiculously easy. We found that you don't have to mess around taking multiple shots before this phone gets things right – it's on the ball straight away. The fact that it's a former Samsung flagship phone means you get the rest of the package, too: superb screen, premium design, equally impressive main camera. And as it was released a few years ago, you get an affordable price tag.
08. Huawei Mate 20 Pro
An incredibly powerful phone at an affordable price
Release date: November 2016 | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 8MP | OIS: No | Rear camera aperture: f/1.9 | Autofocus type: Phase detection | Weight: 155g | Dimensions: 143.7 x 71.9 x 8.6mm | Weight: 155g | Storage: 32GB
After a few years on the market, this Huawei device has dropped down in price. And yet, it is still one of the most powerful camera phones on this list. It has an excellent wide-angle lens and although its HDR features can't match that of the Google Pixel 3 or Huawei P30 Pro, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro offers a solid triple camera performance paired with a stellar overall design.
Of course this phone does suffer from the same issues as the P30 Pro. Huawei has its ongoing issues with the US government and there's a small risk if there's a ban on updates and such. But if that doesn't put you off, you'll have a fantastic bit of hardware to enjoy.
9. Moto G7 Plus
It's cheap, it's powerful - what's not to love?
Release date: March 2019 | Rear camera: 16MP + 5MP | Front camera: 12MP | OIS: Yes | Rear camera aperture: f/1.7 | Autofocus type: Phase detection | Weight: 176g | Dimensions: 157 x 75.3 x 8.3mm | Storage: 64GB
For anyone on a tight budget needing a new camera phone, this will be the best option to go for. Motorola is famed for its budget devices and the Motorola Moto G7 Plus is the best of them all.
And, despite being one of the cheapest options on this list, it has a surprisingly powerful camera. The higher pixel-count, when compared to the G7 and G7 Power’s 12MP cameras, means the camera performs far better in brightly lit situations. And, with the OIS features on this device, low light shots come out surprisingly clear as well.
And for those video makers out there, this phone can shoot in 4K, a feature rarely seen at this kind of price point.
10. Honor 20
Who said high-end cameras have to be expensive?
Release date: May 2019 | Rear camera: 48MP + 16MP + 2MP | Front camera: 32MP | OIS: No | Rear camera aperture: f/1.8 - f.2.2 | Autofocus type: Phase detection | Weight: 174g | Dimensions: 154.3 x 75.4 x 7.9mm | Storage: 128GB
As part of the Huawei family, the Honor 20 brings some high-end specs at a far lower price. You're getting a quad lens camera with a 48MP main lens and a 16MP super-wide angle lens. But, where this camera really shines is the core 48MP lens offering a main sensor with a fast f/1.8 aperature, perfect for getting those shots on the go.
Of course, at this price you're not getting the top camera quality on this list or anything that will be able to match a DSLR. But, this phone offers incredible camera quality for the price.
Like the two Huawei devices above, the Honor 20 does deal with the Huawei ban from Google so take that into account when considering this device.