It’s said that the best camera is the one you have with you, and that’s true – but the better it is, the more chance you’ll have of getting the perfect picture. Camera phones’ quality and features vary dramatically, so which is best for you? Below is our list of the best Android phone cameras around.
The Huawei P9 – or as we here at AndroidPIT call it – the ‘pocket DSLR’ is one of the most powerful cameras we’ve ever tested. The camera was designed in partnership with German camera manufacturer Leica. This is the touted dual-camera system from Huawei.
Both rear Leica Summarit H cameras are 12 MP with apertures of f / 2.2. These specs on paper would not be considered incredible by industry standards but in our tests delivered better than expected photos from a smartphone. The front camera has an impressive 8 MP with a f / 2.4 aperture.
The images can be customized well in ‘Professional Mode’. You can set shutter speed, ISO, white balance and many other settings to get sharp pictures. The camera has quick-launch functionality and when you quickly press the volume button down twice you get an immediate picture. To see everything the Huawei P9 can do, click on our full review below that includes an entire photo gallery from the device.
Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung decided to reduce the number of MPs from the previous generation but that has not decreased its potency. The 12 MP f / 1.9 aperture dual pixel technology rear camera is one of the best on the market. The S7 front camera is powerful as well, coming in at 5 MP with an f / 1.7 aperture.
Pictures in low-light conditions come out well due to the larger aperture. It allows more light to come in and pictures are better as a result. The Galaxy S7 also includes an optical image stabilizer that compensates for movement by the shooter. The image stabilizer performed well in our tests.
The camera app gives you plenty of options for custom photo taking. You can play around with its wide range of fun features. There is slow-motion, time-lapse, numerous presets, fixed focus and adjustable exposure values. You can see all the pictures we took with the Samsung Galaxy S7 in our full review.
The LG V10 has made its way onto our list for several reasons. One is that the native LG camera software is more versatile than much of the competition, and includes a wealth of manual controls for both photos and videos. What’s more, its f/1.8 aperture lens helps to deliver bright images even in dark situations and, when combined with LG’s excellent autofocus and processing technology, means that images rarely appear blurred even in less-than-optimal circumstances.
The other ace up the LG V10’s sleeve is the ‘tri-camera’ technology it takes advantage of. There are two front-facing cameras on the V10 which can be combined to take photos at 120-degree angles, far wider than a traditional selfie would be.
The LG V10’s 16 MP rear camera doesn’t have the same detail at pixel-level as the higher resolution of the Sony Xperia Z cameras, for example, but for almost everything else, including usability, it operates at the highest level.
The Nexus 6P makes it onto our best Android cameras list primarily because its low-light performance is so strong. The relative lack of noise in night shots is impressive and it’s one of the very few Android cameras out there to produce such successful night shots. Secondly, its HDR+ mode is one of the best I’ve ever seen.
Photos produced with this mode enabled are somewhat embellished, and often look more interesting than the real thing, but that’s the point. These romanticized pictures often require little editing to be worthy of sharing.
You may be disappointed to learn that the 6P camera lacks OIS, though. This feature is so appreciated on smartphones because we most mainly take handheld shots: OIS helps reduce motion blur caused by an unsteady hand. The 6P’s camera is also the lowest resolution on our list at 12.3 MP.
Despite that, it’s still a solid offering, and its dual-tone flash is particularly useful for keeping images looking natural.
Moto X Pure Edition
Motorola’s devices aren’t usually noted for their camera tech, but the US company seems to have turned a corner with the Moto X Pure Edition (or Moto X Style outside of the US), proving that premium camera performance needn’t come with a premium price tag. With a 21 MP main camera, dual-tone flash, and f/2.0 aperture lens, the only real disappointment is its omission of OIS.
The Moto X Pure’s color reproduction is one of the most natural of those on our list, there’s none of the artificial warmth you’ll see with the likes of the LG G4 or Nexus 6P. Contrast is also superior. For a US$400 phone, the Moto X Pure Edition’s camera is the best you’ll find in this price range.
The LG G4 camera nails all the essential features. Image detail is excellent, dynamic range is superb, and outdoor light is well-managed; images rarely look over-exposed.
The real standout skill of the LG G4’s camera, however, is its low-light performance. With its f/1.8 aperture lens (the lower the number the more light it lets in) and excellent processing software, images take with both the front and rear camera look bright even in darker settings.
The LG G4’s colors aren’t completely true-to-life: it suffers from oversaturation on brighter objects (see the gold on the bike image below) but it’s a stunning effort, and the 8 MP front-camera is sure to please selfie fans.
Our favorite: Sony Xperia Z5
The Xperia Z5’s autofocus is extremely fast – around 0.03 seconds. It focuses on objects so fast that you will struggle to see it happening. It also shoots slow-motion videos at 720p at 120 frames-per-second, which look excellent.
Sony’s image stabilization software and fast focusing means images are almost always clear, with little noise. Sony’s Xperia cameras do tend to misrepresent red colors however, making them seem more pink-ish, and this flaw is apparent on the Z5 once again.
But overall, this is our favorite Android camera. The definition is unrivaled, the contrast and saturation is completely natural and Sony’s “lossless zoom” feature (which means you can zoom into shots taken at 8 MP without damaging the quality) make it instantly appealing.
Which Android camera do you thinks is best and why? Let us know in the comments.