Gone are the days where the primary purpose of a mobile phone was to call someone. Now, the numerous features and technological advancements that have transformed the mobile have seen friends calling one another become such a rare occurrence, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s an emergency.
The truth is, mobile phones now offer us a plethora of gadgets and devices all in one. It’s a portable TV, work station, networking tool, and most importantly – a camera. Film cameras may still be around and thriving (or at least that’s what the hipsters brandishing them will tell you), but nothing is more annoying than lugging around a chunky digital camera and its numerous lenses during the day. Even when travelling, having to worry about the equipment needed to capture shots of your journey require a lot of energy and travel insurance.
Which is why the phone camera has become so important, basically replacing other stand-alone products out there. A study conducted by Pew Research Centre showed that 92 per cent of smartphone users use their phones to take pictures, with 80 per cent of users going on to send their photos elsewhere after they’re snapped. This explains why phones are costing us a right arm these days, and why the camera quality and specs are always front and centre when a new model is announced.
As we all scramble to work out which phone delivers the best quality for our travel shots (but mainly, our selfies), here are the top 10 best smartphone cameras as ranked by DxOMark. Launched in 2008, the company is widely regarded as the authority in image quality after establishing an independent benchmark that scientifically assesses image quality of smartphones, lenses and cameras. Using industry-grade lab tools, their assessment of devices’ photo and video quality sees them create a score for each device, as the higher the score relates to the better image quality.
Should you be looking for a new phone purchase and want one of the best cameras on the market, here are the devices with the best image quality.
1. Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G
Touted the “phablet”, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10+ 5G offers four sensors for those who want a good shot. There’s a standard 26mm primary camera, a 13mm ultra-wide camera, a 52mm tele-lens, and a dedicated Time of Flight (ToF) sensor for depth estimation in Portrait mode.
Ranked highest for smartphone image quality, the camera achieved an excellent performance across the board, for both videos and photos.
2. Huawei P30 Pro
Huawei’s brand-new flagship smartphone boasts a triple-camera setup (quad camera including the time-of-flight sensor) that produces 10Mp image output. With a minimum focus distance of 25mm, the 20Mp super-wide-angle camera is capable of capturing macro shots, while a stabilised tele-camera achieves a 5x optimal zoom factor.
3. Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
The premium version of Samsung’s flagship S10 comes with 8GB of RAM, along with a 6.7-inch 3040x1440 pixel, HDR10+ certified AMOLED display. The main camera system combines a primary 12Mp camera and variable-aperture lens with a 16Mp ultra-wide-angle module and a 12Mp 2x telephoto module. The S10 5G also captures great video thanks to excellent target exposure and colour, even when shooting hand-held in low light.
4. Honor 20 Pro
The latest smartphone from Huawei’s budget-friendly sub-brand comes with camera specifications you would expect from some of the tech industry’s leading mobile brands. The device features a quad-camera setup, including a 48Mp stabilised primary camera with an ultra-fast F1.4 aperture and 3x telephoto lens.
5. OnePlus 7 Pro
The camera in the OnePlus 7 Pro features a triple-camera solution with ultra-wide and telephoto lenses. The primary camera uses a 48Mp Quad-Bayer sensor that combines the signal from four adjacent pixels into one for the final output, leading to final images that have improved colour, detail and dynamic range.
6. Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Considered a top-end device from Huawei, this phone comes with a Leica-branded triple-camera setup, and also includes a super-wide-angle module which offers a 35mm-equivalent focal length range from 16 to 80mm – making it the widest of all current smartphone cameras.
7. Huawei P20 Pro
Considered to be one of the most innovative devices in terms of camera technology, the Huawei P20 Pro features a triple camera set up. The main camera sensor uses a Quad Bayer structure with a total pixel count of 40Mp. It outputs data binned in 2 x 2 pixel units, resulting in 10Mp image output.
8. Samsung Galaxy S10+
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ comes with a 6.4-inch Quad HD+ AMOLED Display and a triple-lens setup in its main camera. Samsung have combined the primary 12Mp camera and variable-aperture lens with a 16Mp ultra-wide-angle module and a 12Mp 2 x telephoto module.
9. Xiaomi Mi 9
The first device from the Chinese manufacturer with a triple-camera setup, the Xiaomi Mi 9 features a 48Mp sensor that produces 12Mp output images. There’s also a 12Mp 2x tele-module for zoom shots and a 16Mp super-wide-angle with a 117-degree field of view.
10. Apple iPhone XS Max
The Apple iPhone XS Max may boast the company’s largest smartphone display ever, but when it comes to the camera specifications there really isn’t too much distinction between the XS and X models. However, this device features a 12Mp sensor in the dual-camera setup’s wide-angle is larger than before, but the new lens channels light onto the sensor through a 6-element lens.