Best Camera Phones For Stunning Holiday Photos

By Robert Leedham
20 December 2018
Camera Phones, Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, OnePlus, Google
We've tested the handsets that'll up your Instagram game in 2019

Let’s face it, any phone these days can make a call, show what your mates have been up to on Instagram and stream the latest Netflix sensation without breaking sweat. That’s great and all, but if you want the very best from your next handset, then it’s pretty much impossible to tell the difference between an iPhone X and the Samsung Galaxy S9 – unless you rip the phones right out of their store displays and start snapping away with their cameras.

To help deliver some snaps worth sharing on your summer hols, we’ve tested the latest leading phones for their photographic abilities. Whether you’ll settle for nothing less than pictorial excellence or you've spent most of your travel funds on a pair of sunglasses, these are the best camera phones for every budget.

Camera Phones
Google Pixel 3
Best for everything

If you’re getting a phone for a its camera alone, there’s no better choice than Google’s Pixel 3. The secret sauce here? It’s Google’s software finesse that allows for bags of detail and adeptly-judged colours from a single 12MP sensor. Better still, Google is constantly tweaking this software so that it’s even better. Its revelatory new Night Sight update has improved low light picture quality to the point that gig photos are finally decent, and not just a blur of black and bright lights. Add to this a wide-angle selfie camera, so you can fit more of your mates into group shots and you have a simply sensational camera phone.
$810

HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro

HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro
Best for wide angle

The HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro will allow you to capture wider angles with its 40MP Leica Ulta-Wide Angle Lens so you don’t have to decide which friend or family member to cut out from the frame. The camera also features a “macrography’ option to snap the tiniest details and a super macro HiVision feature which allows you to instantly get more information about the object you're photographing. From recognising Dubai’s most prominent landmarks to counting calories by simply pointing the camera towards the dish. 
$898

Camera Phones
iPhone XS Max
Best for tinkering

Apple has spent a lot of time this year fine-tuning the cameras of the new XS and XS Max. The XS Max is our pick of the two for its gargantuan 6.5in OLED display, which is especially useful for messing around with filters, adjusting focal points and the like. Even more importantly, a new Smart HDR feature elevates this camera with sharper snaps with better-judged exposure that help to taking the hard take the hard work out of your photography. Add to this a new Portrait mode that allows you to adjust the level of background blur in a shot, and you have the best iPhone camera in a long time.
From $1,390


Camera Phones
Samsung Galaxy S9+
Best for Instagram

"What good is social media if not for convincing your mates you’re having a better time than them?" That’s the Samsung Galaxy S9+’s philosophy anyway. This phone is all about sharp pictures with vivid colours that pop out of a phone’s screen to consume your friends with jealousy. It’s the antithesis of Apple’s iPhone X, and that’s kind of the point. A dual aperture lens also offers more flexibility when shooting in dim conditions, so you need never worry about your food snaps being on point from a restaurant’s darkened corner.
$1,100

Camera Phones
OnePlus 6
Best for Value

Don't fancy spending the best part of a grand on your next phone? The OnePlus 6 was made with you in mind. As well as being packed with all the specs you'd expect from a top-tier handset, its dual-lens camera comes pretty close to what you'd expect from the best too. Like the Samsung Galaxy S9, it captures bold, colourful shots with sharing in mind. Unlike that phone and its flagship brethren, these snaps are a little less refined when it comes to detail and image-processing expertise. Not that your average joe will be able to spot the difference.
$590

Camera Phones
Motorola G6 Plus
Best for budgeting

OK, so you're really after bang for your photographic buck? Look no further than the latest entry in Motorola's budget-friendly G series – specifically the most "premium" Plus, which nets you the added luxury of a dual-lens camera for those creamy, bokeh-style shots. Truthfully, in most scenarios this phone has the chips to deliver a thoroughly respectable snap. Not one for the mantlepiece perhaps, but it'll make do in your family WhatsApp chat.
$340 


Via British GQ