One of the biggest reasons to buy a high-end phone is for the cameras. Whether through computational processing or versatility through the use of as many lenses as possible, phones are taking good enough photos these days that most people don’t even consider a dedicated camera. The Google Pixel 3 is the best choice for most people, with effortless point-and-shoot style photography, but there are plenty of other options for people that want to go more in-depth or have different needs in a phone beyond the camera.
Point and shoot
Google Pixel 3
Google’s Pixel 3 doesn’t have best-in-class camera hardware, but it still manages to take amazing photos in almost every situation thanks to its HDR+ processing and the Pixel Visual Core. Despite only having one lens, it takes fantastic zoomed and portrait shots using computational data, and it can practically see in the dark with its incredible Night Sight feature. It’s great for selfies too, thanks to the secondary wide-angle camera and automatic lens correction.
$660 at B&H
Huawei P30 Pro
Huawei has outfitted its most recent flagship with three incredible cameras (plus a fourth time-of-flight sensor) that give it ultimate versatility. The primary 40-megapixel (MP) camera takes breathtaking shots on its own, but with the additional lenses you can quickly switch to an ultra-wide angle or see up to 5x closer to your subject. The P30 Pro also takes exceptional low-light photos rivaling those of the Pixel 3 — though unfortunately, it isn’t officially supported in the U.S.
$900 at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy S10
Samsung’s phones have always excelled in the photography department, and the Galaxy S10 is no exception. For the first time, you get the same triple camera system on either the S10 or S10+, combining standard, telephoto, and ultra-wide lenses just like the P30 Pro. Consistency and shooting features are the big draws here, while outright quality in low light isn’t quite as good as Google and Huawei manage.
$780 at Amazon
Solid camera, incredible value
OnePlus 7 Pro
The OnePlus 7 Pro takes solid photos for hundreds less than flagships of the same size and specs. It isn’t great in low light, but in every other situation the main camera takes consistently solid photos — and does so super quickly with a clean camera interface. The drawback compared to the competition is the telephoto and wide-angle lenses don’t add much to the experience, and the selfie shooter is a step down.
$670 at OnePlus
Amazing camera on a budget
Google Pixel 3a
The Pixel 3a makes cuts across the hardware and specs to meet a much lower-than-flagship price, but one area Google didn’t skimp on is the camera. This is the exact same camera you get in the more expensive Pixel 3, and the front-facing camera produces the same sort of results as well. That makes this the best camera you can get for under $500, and it’s not particularly close.
$400 at Amazon
If we’re making some suggestions
The Google Pixel 3 is the best overall Android camera available, based on its amazing ability to capture beautiful photos in every situation without any tweaking, guessing with settings, or edits after capture. It has limitations in that it doesn’t have the telephoto and wide-angle secondary cameras that some others have, but you’ll forget all about that when you shoot with this great primary camera. Plus, its selfie shooters are fantastic.
The Huawei P30 Pro is more powerful and versatile than some of the other options on this list, and can take better photos than the Pixel 3— but it’s a bit more complicated to use and isn’t available officially in the U.S. If you live in the U.S., your other best bet is the Galaxy S10, with Samsung offering a compelling alternative to the P30.