Life, camera, action – A camera that puts a world of possibilities at your fingertips. Literally.
Smartphones nowadays may not offer much new, but the cameras on them continue to see dramatic improvements. Throughout a year, we pit several smartphones against each other to test their cameras, and at the close, for the past two years we’ve put together a gigantic camera shootout with many of the top phones to find the best.
Well, it’s the middle of 2019, and it’s time for an update. In this mid-year camera shootout, we’re looking at six of our top camera phones of the year so far: The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, Huawei P30 Pro, Google Pixel 3a, OnePlus 7 Pro, Honour 20 Pro, and the iPhone XS.
1) Huawei’s P30 Pro
Huawei’S P30 Pro comes with quad rear cameras that put most other phone cameras to shame. It’s capable of offering 5x optical zoom, and digital zoom of up to 50x, which is unheard of in the smartphone industry. The images taken with Huawei P30 Pro in low light consistently turn out to be better than any other flagship in the market. In standard scenarios too, the phone captures the details thoroughly, while the Master AI ensures pleasing colour reproduction. If you are looking to buy a phone that can take the best pictures across scenarios, the P30 Pro should be your go-to choose.
2) Galaxy S10 Plus
Galaxy S-series phones have traditionally been right up there for camera quality, and the S10 Plus is no exception. Its triple rear cameras may seem slightly lacking compared to the latest quad-camera phones, but the full/ultrawide/telephoto combo is versatile and performs very well. Don’t be put off by the primary camera sensor being ‘only’ 12MP – the 40MP and 48MP sensors in rival phones almost always record at 10MP and 12MP respectively in real-world shooting. We also like Samsung’s commitment to quality 4K video, adding new Digital Video Stabilization, along with HDR10+ support for ultra-high contrast video that looks great on a compatible TV.
3) Google Pixel 3A
Google’s Pixel 3A is the first midrange phone from Google that features a flagship quality camera, making that coveted Pixel imaging experience that bit more accessible. With its lone 12MP sensor coupled with an f/1.8 aperture lens, it shouldn’t be anywhere near this top ten list from a specs point of view. Thanks to Google’s stellar software wizardry though, the Pixel 3A can take quality pictures, shot after shot. The 3A also features Night Sight, for long exposure night shooting that can turn night into day. This means when it comes to low light shooting, this midrange stacks up to smartphones like the P30 Pro and iPhone XS, which cost around double the price of the Pixel. While the 3A won’t be a gaming champ or power user’s dream phone, it’s still an excellent choice for anyone who wants a quality camera phone without breaking the bank.
4) One Plus 7 Pro
The OnePlus 7’s key selling point is its all-screen fascia, made possible by its pop-up selfie camera. Its primary camera also happens to be the best to ever feature on a OnePlus phone. With a primary wide-angle camera packing a 48MP sensor, coupled with an f/1.6 lens, it grabs plenty of detail. Thanks to a 3x zoom telephoto camera, and a 13mm ultrawide camera, it also delivers versatility in spades, and with OIS across the vast and telephoto cameras, it holds things nice and steady too. We haven’t got any complaints when it comes to daylight photography, but the night mode can’t quite stack up to the Pixel 3 or Huawei P30 Pro. Also, there’s no wireless charging or official water resistance rating, so it hasn’t entirely made it to the top of the list; but with its attractive price tag and a great look and feel, it still manages to deliver across the board great value.
5) Honour 20 Pro
The Honor 20 Pro boasts a camera spec almost as impressive as in the Huawei P30 Pro. There are four rear-facing cameras: a 48MP primary camera boasts a high maximum sensitivity of ISO 204,800 and a maximum aperture of f/1.4 – the largest of any camera phone to date – for incredibly low light performance, even in a near pitch black room. It’s assisted by an 8MP telephoto camera that helps give the Honor 20 Pro 3x optical zoom. There’s also a 16MP ultrawide camera for a 13mm-equivalent focal length, and the final camera in the quartet is a 2MP macro camera with a minimum focus distance of just 4cm. But best of all is you can have all this for less than half the cost of an equivalent iPhone XS Max
6) I Phone XS
We don’t necessarily think the extra money spent on an iPhone XS gives a better camera experience, but it does offer you the best Apple iPhone that’s ever been made. The X was a marked change for the company, and while the iPhone XS doesn’t look any different, it still offers a full-screen 5.8-inch device that looks futuristic when you hold it in your hand, its camera software has been dramatically enhanced. The camera is a powerful dual 12MP shooter with one sporting f/1.8 and the other f/2.4 that both pack optical image stabilization to offer some impressive shots. We found the colours to be natural, and the fact one is a telephoto sensor helps for shooting detail at a further distance than most other phones on the market. There’s a new sensor, too, with 1.4µm pixels and thanks to the new chipset it is now double the speed of its predecessor and has two new features: Smart HDR and Depth Control.