Choosing the best camera phone doesn’t get any easier! With multi-camera arrays, 48-megapixel sensors, time-of-flight depth cameras and zoom capability, camera phones are starting to rival (or beat) actual cameras.
Whether your smartphone is your camera of choice because it’s the one you have on you, or because you just want easy sharing of images captured on the go, even amongst pro photographers, there’s no shame in capitalising on the camera in your pocket anymore.
1. Huawei P30 Pro
There is a lot to love about the P30 Pro – it’s a camera phone that has it all: superb low-light photography, unbelievable zoom capabilities (5x optical) and powerful specs. It’s been given four lenses on its rear, one of which is a time-of-flight sensor. This means that its depth sensing is also fantastic. While we would have preferred a better screen and the price to be a little cheaper, this is the best camera phone around right now. As the P30 Pro is now out, we have taken the P20 Pro out of this list – if you can still get it though, it is also a superb camera phone.
2. Google Pixel 3
The original 2016 Google Pixel was a showcase for how advanced image processing could overcome the limitations of a small sensor. The Pixel 3’s 12MP, f/1.8, 28mm-equivalent camera produces images that are even sharper and more detailed than those from the Huawei P30 Pro, and Google’s image processing is slightly less aggressive than Huawei’s, leading to more natural-looking shots, especially of people. But while the Pixel 3 arguably produces the best image quality, it’s a one-trick – or rather one-camera – wonder. The single rear camera lacks the versatility of phones with multiple rear-facing cameras, and Google’s software workaround – Super Res Zoom, which combines a burst of images to produce a digitally zoomed photo – falls well short of the detail resolved by an optically zoomed image. Results at 2x zoom are usable, but go further and images resemble those shot with any old digital zoom – blurry and soft. It doesn’t even compare with the results you get from the proper telephoto cameras in the P30 Pro and Honor 20 Pro.
3. Honor 20 Pro
The Honor 20 Pro boasts a camera spec almost as impressive as in the Huawei P30 Pro (not that surprising, as Honor is a youth-orientated sub-brand of Huawei). There are four rear-facing cameras: a 48MP primary camera boasts a huge maximum sensitivity of ISO 204,800 and a maximum aperture of f/1.4 – the largest of any camera phone to date – for incredible 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: we recon the Honor 20 Pro is the bargain camera phone of 2019