Cameras are an increasingly important aspect of smartphones, and thus all of the top manufacturers attempt to distinguish their products from the rest of the market in this area. This is excellent news for consumers, with a lots of incredible products available, but choosing the best smartphone camera can be extremely challenging. So here is ValueWalk’s guide to the top cameras included in mobile devices.
Best Camera Phones – Motorola Moto Z
The Motorola Moto Z is one of the slimmest smartphones available on the market, but the image quality delivered by the camera does not stand up to some of its competitors. There is a lack of detail in the pictures produced by this mobile, while many reviewers have also been critical of the image processing that it delivers.
Color and contrast also disappoints to some extent, while the front-facing selfie camera produces rather poor results, and does not compare to some of the other units included on this list.
However, there are some positives to the camera included in the Moto Z. Firstly, this is an extremely affordable smartphone, and thus it could be argued that the results ultimately deliver value for money, even if they are sub- prime overall. And, secondly, the camera’s photographic software is well-designed and comprehensive, with a user-friendly interface making the camera easy to use for beginners.
Nonetheless, this is insufficient for ValueWalk to strongly recommend this camera phone.
Sony Xperia XZ
Sony has yet to really establish itself as a major player in the smartphone marketplace, but the Xperia XZ certainly delivers a camera that looks impressive in pure spec terms. The 23-megapixel rating of this camera will certainly raise a few eyebrows, considering that the iPhone 7, for example, only has a 12-megapixel snapper.
However, this is somewhat misleading, as testing indicates that the Xperia XZ actually delivers inferior detail and image quality to the majority of his rivals. The finer detail produced by the camera is below the level of the best cameras on the market, meaning that the Xperia XZ trails in it behind many of its rivals.
A good app rescues its performance to a certain extent, and there is a lot of manual control of the camera available here. Sony has also included a more than decent selfie camera. But still this is a mediocre performer.
LG is becoming an increasingly prominent and recognisable name in the smartphone field, and the LG G5 certainly received a lot of plaudits from the critical community.
Firstly, this is the only camera on the list to deliver a 16:9 aspect ratio, meaning that the image preview available absolutely fills the display. However, the camera software included with the LG G5 is perhaps a little fiddly, and this obviously counts against the smartphone.
Poor high ISO performance is also noticeable, while many have commented that the dual-camera setup included in the smartphone is less than logical. While most would have expected the secondary camera to be configured for extra telephoto zoom, there is in fact an ultra-wide lens included, which appears to make little sense.
Nonetheless, the high dynamic range that the LG G5 delivers results in outstanding photography in good lighting conditions, with the detail of images certainly up there with the majority of smartphones included on this list. Overall, a more than decent performer.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
The iPhone 7 Plus hardly needs any introduction, but it is important to note that the Apple phablet features a superior camera to the standard iPhone 7 smartphone. This is due to the dual-camera included in the iPhone 7 Plus, which means that this is a more flexible performer than its more affordable cousin.
Certainly the iPhone 7 Plus delivers more than decent photographic capture, but it does pale compared to some of the absolute market leaders. Color reproduction, autofocusing and screen accuracy all impress here, but the below-average in size primary camera sensor struggles to capture sufficient detail.
Apple could also improve the low-light performance of the iPhone 7, typically a bugbear with smartphone cameras in general. The manual control included in the iPhone 7 Plus camera app has also been criticized, and overall, despite the iconic nature of the iPhone 7 Plus, it cannot be recommended as one of the very best camera phones on the market.
HTC is a company that has received almost blanket outstanding reviews in its history, without ever really becoming a household name in the Western world. Previous releases in the HTC range have been criticized for a lack of camera performance, but this certainly doesn’t apply to the most recent release.
The image quality delivered by this smartphone is outstanding in bright conditions, but is possibly even more impressive when shooting in dimmed light. Perhaps the only thing that counts against this mobile is its somewhat dull color and contrast delivery, while the preview mode in its camera software can be considered sub-par as well.
But definitely an excellent camera phone overall, just not one of the absolute crème de la crème.
Affordable Android variants offered by the likes of Huawei are extremely popular in East Asia, and the Huawei P9 is certainly a viable smartphone contender. And when one assesses the photographic capabilities of this smartphone, it begins to become evident why the manufacturer is making a splash in the industry.
Photographs produced by the Huawei P9 are rich in detail, while color, contrast, white balance and dynamic range all impressed as well. Also, the smartphone arguably delivers the best performance of any smartphone on this list in darker conditions, while the software included with the camera has also been well thought out, and thus is particularly intuitive.
The Huawei P9 provides an excellent photographic experience with no real weaknesses.
Google Pixel XL
The mega-corporation Google made something of a splash in the smartphone marketplace over the last year or so, and there is no doubt that the Pixel XL is the best handset that it has ever produced.
And this is absolutely summed up by the camera included in the Pixel XL, which is probably the most detail-oriented of the smartphones listed here. The sharp images really impress, which benefits both landscape shots and portrait alike.
High ISO performance is also powerful, with white balance and exposure that is particularly reliable. It is probable that if this assessment was entirely based on rear-facing cameras that the Pixel XL would come out on top, even though its somewhat limited software accounts against it.
However, the selfie camera lacks a reliable autofocus, which is a big bugbear considering the popularity of this cultural niche. So it’s just the silver medal for the Pixel XL, which nonetheless delivers an absolutely excellent photo-taking package.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Over the years, Samsung has impressed with the photographic capabilities of its smartphone range, and if the gulf has closed slightly over the last 18 months or so, its best mobiles still deliver outstanding cameras.
It is reasonable to state that the Galaxy S7 Edge is the best camera of all the devices included in the Samsung range. In particular, The powerful camera software included with the Galaxy S7 Edge particularly impresses, with a hugely accurate screen preview enabling shots to be composed perfectly. Low-light performance with the flash enabled is particularly impressive as well.
Samsung has absolutely excelled in delivering a smartphone that has every base covered for photography. Wonderful image quality is combined with a user-friendly interface to deliver undoubtedly the best photographic experience among all smartphones.
Additionally, there is a powerful selfie camera included on the front of the device, which is almost as good as many of the rear cameras included in other smartphones. Meanwhile, optical image stabilization and the huge f/1.7 lens aperture delivers market-leading performance in darker conditions.
One minor bugbear is that metering can be slightly inaccurate in some conditions, but there is no doubt that this is a hugely impressive camera phone.
However, this is all set to change again in the future, with major releases from all of the big players due in the remainder of the calendar year. Apple’s iPhone 8, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 and the LG G6 are all headline releases that could yet wrest the crown away from the Galaxy S7 Edge as the year unfolds.