The Best Smartphone for Photos

Updated on 30 September 2022

After 29 hours of research and analysis of 42 smartphones, we have deduced that the Google Pixel 6 is the best photophone of the moment. It continues to shine in photography while being suitable for the majority of users.

This comparison is certified 100% impartial and follows our selection process.

Our choice, Best mid-range

Google Pixel 6

This new version is designed to dominate the market for higher-end cameras by combining high efficiency, excellent photography and advanced optimisation.

£ 599.00 on Amazon

After a Pixel 5 focused on users’ demands, Google has graced us with a Pixel 6 that once again changes direction by focusing on overall homogeneity. The Pixel 6 is based on a very powerful in-house processor (the Tensor), which allows you to take advantage of an impeccable photo rendering but also of a more than generous power for heavy tasks such as gaming. This almost perfect picture is unfortunately marred by a slightly limited autonomy and a tendency to heat up that could bother some users. The Pro version improves on these results even though the flaws remain. However, it remains difficult to find.

 

 

Best budget

Google Pixel 4a

Designed for tight budgets, this model is a seamless and efficient solution. It stands out mainly thanks to its photo quality, which sets it apart from all its competitors.

£ 499.00 on Amazon

The Pixel 4a is simple in essence, and focuses on photo quality to become a new entry-level reference. But it doesn’t let down its performance and ergonomics, while incorporating a high-quality AMOLED panel. This allows it to present a homogeneous solution that will suit a wide range of users.

 

Best high-end

Apple iPhone 13 Pro

Apple improves its recipe for continuing the fight against its competitors in photography. It also takes advantage of its powerful processor to improve its software processing.

£ 949.00 on Amazon

The basic iPhone 13 is already a very serious smartphone at this price level thanks to its excellent price/performance ratio, aided by high performance, careful ergonomics and one of the best screens on the market. The photo part, already convincing on the 12, is further improved with sensors capable of capturing more light. The 13 Pro has a total of three lenses: a classic wide angle, an ultra wide angle and a 3x telephoto. The whole package is very convincing, but the telephoto lens still lags behind its direct competitors.

 

High-end alternative

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

With this new version, Samsung proves once again that it is capable of offering efficient smartphones in all areas. It's simple, no other smartphone can compete with it.

£ 1 149.00 on Amazon

As well as being the best high-end Android smartphone on the market, the S22 Ultra can also boast of being one of the most efficient in terms of photography. It succeeds where many fail with very good night shots and flawless daytime shots. It’s true that Samsung’s processing tends to slightly saturate the photos, but the result is a much more flattering look to the eye. It still delivers less clean shots than the iPhone.

 

Our selection

Our choice, Best mid-rangeBest budgetBest high-endHigh-end alternative
Google Pixel 6 Google Pixel 4a Apple iPhone 13 Pro Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
This new version is designed to dominate the market for higher-end cameras by combining high efficiency, excellent photography and advanced optimisation. Designed for tight budgets, this model is a seamless and efficient solution. It stands out mainly thanks to its photo quality, which sets it apart from all its competitors. Apple improves its recipe for continuing the fight against its competitors in photography. It also takes advantage of its powerful processor to improve its software processing. With this new version, Samsung proves once again that it is capable of offering efficient smartphones in all areas. It's simple, no other smartphone can compete with it.
£ 599.00 on Amazon £ 499.00 on Amazon £ 949.00 on Amazon £ 1 149.00 on Amazon

 

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How to choose your photophone?

Choosing a smartphone for photography can be a real headache with the variety of products on offer today, and manufacturers talking more and more about the “stunning photo quality” of their latest device.

Smartphone Photo
Source: Selectos

While a good camera is not enough to get all your shots, it’s important to know what to look for when you want a smartphone that can deliver.

  • Megapixels: in reality, they don’t matter as much as the manufacturers would have us believe. On paper, the more megapixels you have, the more detail you will see in the picture. In reality, this only affects zooming or large format display/printing. The number of megapixels does not matter if the lens, for example, is of lower quality.
Smartphone Photo
Source: Selectos
  • The number of sensors: in recent months, the camera market has been marked by an overkill in the number of back sensors. But in reality, if the software doesn’t keep up, the number of sensors has no impact on the quality of the photo generated. You only have to look at Google smartphones to see this.
  • Lens aperture: cameras with a larger lens aperture let in more light, which can help produce better shots in low light. To find out the aperture, you need to check the “f/”, with smaller f/ numbers meaning a wider lens.
Smartphone Photo
Source: Selectos
  • Stabilisation: this reduces the blur caused by camera shake. There are two types of stabilisation: digital stabilisation, which uses software to predict movement and try to reduce it, and optical stabilisation, where the lens (or sensor) ‘moves’ to compensate directly for the movement. If you’re more picky, a smartphone stabiliser is an excellent complement for smooth rendering.
  • The front sensor: if you are a selfie taker, don’t neglect the front sensor, which is often botched by manufacturers. Here too, you should check the aperture of the lens to get an idea of how the camera performs in low light.
Smartphone Photo
Source: Selectos
  • The photo app: the number of options and customisation possibilities is important for those who like to touch their photos. The existence of a pro mode is something to look out for in order to be able to set the best parameters for your shots (aperture, ISO number, etc.).
  • HDR: this is a technique whereby the camera balances the highlights and lowlights to adjust the exposure to best reflect the different levels of brightness in the scene. The result is a more detailed picture than a non-HDR shot. This process is quite resource-intensive and can cause slowness on lower-end cameras.
Smartphone Photo
Source: Selectos
  • Night mode: this mode consists of capturing more light by extending the aperture of the sensor. This mode is essential for taking pictures in low light, although it is treated unevenly by the various manufacturers.
Smartphone Photo
Source: Selectos
  • Video recording: if you are also interested in video quality, it is necessary to look at both the resolution and the number of frames per second (FPS) offered. After all, a 4K recording is more or less unusable if the number of FPS does not keep up. At less than 30 FPS, no matter what resolution you choose, you will get a jerky result. A high IPS number can allow you to create slow-motion movies.

 

Honourable Mentions 

Huawei P50 Pro (£994.99 upon publication): great photos, but no Google. The latest model from the brand improves on the recipe of the previous version by offering even better photo quality, high performance and access to new mobile data standards. This very good picture (which we detail here) hides an equally strong flaw: the absence of Google services. Huawei is being blocked from all sides by the US, making its future uncertain.

 

 

Translated by Ramsés El Hajje

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