Which Android phone has the best camera? We put the best phones to the test, to crown the ultimate champion
Here at Expert Reviews, we test hundreds of smartphones every year. We’re constantly testing everything from pricey flagships to the budget handsets you buy out of necessity: and that means we test a huge range of smartphone cameras, too. We’ve taken test shots from every phone that comes through our doors, so we can tell you the which smartphones have the best cameras right now.
READ NEXT: Best budget smartphone
If you’re interested in taking pictures with your phone, or you just want to know that you’ve got a mobile device that’s great for taking snaps, keep reading. Here’s our list of the best phone cameras in 2018.
How to buy the best phone camera for you
Megapixels aren’t everything
The first thing you need to be wary of is that megapixels aren’t everything. Pop into Carphone Warehouse or similar and you’ll see the megapixel count listed next to the phone, but that isn’t the de facto indication of whether the smartphone camera is any good or not. Higher megapixels might look like a bonus, but it largely boils down to the tech inside.
Aperture is key
That thing you need to look out for? Aperture. A number listed with an f/ in front of it might look a little confusing at first glance, but it says a lot about the camera you’re holding. An f/1.4 aperture is larger than an aperture of f/2.0 for instance. This’ll let a lot more light in and thus, greater potential for detail.
Don’t forget pixel and sensor size
Pixel and sensor size is just as important as that f-number. In short, the size of each individual pixel (measured in um) determines the quality of the image. Unlike aperture, bigger is better when it comes to pixel and sensor size. Got a big camera sensor? More information can be gathered, accruing better dynamic range and reduced visual noise, while a bigger pixel size lets more light in, performing better in low-light.
READ NEXT: Best phone battery life
Of course, a phone’s camera quality mostly depends on the technology behind it. More often than not, you can’t always tell how good a camera will be before properly trying it out, but that’s where we come in.
Best phone camera 2018
1. Google Pixel 2
The Google Pixel 2 has the best camera we’ve ever seen on a smartphone. Featuring an almost identical 12-megapixel rear snapper to last year’s Google phone, the Pixel 2 has a wider f/1.8 aperture that has both optical and electronic image stabilisation for seriously stable shots.
That wide aperture also means the Pixel 2’s low-light performance is simply stunning. In good light, the Pixel 2 produced pictures with superb dynamic range and colour saturation, while the white balance was much more accurate. And with Google improving the performance of its HDR+ processing algorithms, it’s quicker to capture images as well.
The Pixel really does set a brand new smartphone photography benchmark, distancing itself even further from both its predecessor and Samsung’s excellent Galaxy S8.
Read our full Google Pixel 2 review for more details
Buy Google Pixel 2 now
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 is one seriously impressive smartphone – and that includes its camera. The Note 8 also packs Samsung’s first stab at dual-cameras, with a 12-megapixel f/1.7 wide-angle camera working in tandem with a 12-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto snapper on the back.
If you’re more interested in taking videos, then you’ll be very pleased with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Simply put, it has the best video camera in the business.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review for more details
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 UK Sim Free Smartphone – Black (Single Sim)
£719.99 Buy now
3. Samsung Galaxy S8
The rear camera on Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is hard to beat.
With the S8, a wide f/1.7 aperture means that plenty of light reaches the sensor – making for some incredibly lavish, detail-rich images. Add in Samsung’s new dual-pixel sensor, which provides 100% phase detection pixels for super-fast autofocus, and the S8 produces much higher quality pictures than its predecessor. Plenty of detail in our outdoor test shots could be picked up, while the 1/25 sec shutter speed was perfect for indoor, low-light shots.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S8 review for more details
Samsung S8 64GB SIM-Free Smartphone – Orchid Grey (SM-G950F)
£514.99 Buy now
4. OnePlus 5T
The One Plus 5T’s rear snapper incorporates one 16-megapixel, f/1.7 main camera and another, 20-megapixel f/1.7 camera right beside it. Both work hand in hand to produce fantastic-quality snaps and some of the best we’ve seen on a device at this price.
Just like with the iPhone 8 Plus, the 20-megapixel camera helps with producing an iPhone-like Bokeh effect on portrait shots. The quality is great, and although it’s not right up there with the Galaxy S8, it’s very impressive for the money.
Read our full OnePlus 5T review for more details
Oneplus 5 6GB RAM+ 64GB ROM Dual SIM 4G FDD-LTE 5.5 inch Smartphone Snapdragon 835 (Slate Gray)
5. HTC U11 Plus
HTC cameras have proven a touch disappointing in the past, but the U11 Plus puts that right and then some. For the money, it’s certainly right up there.
Even on paper, it looks the part: the rear camera is a 12-megapixel snapper with a bright f/1.7 aperture, 1.4um pixels, dual-pixel autofocus and optical image stabilisation. The result? The HTC U11 Plus can capture some seriously crisp images, even in low light.
Read our full HTC U11 Plus review for more details
HTC U11 UK SIM-Free Smartphone – Sapphire Blue
£579.00 Buy now
6. Huawei P10
The Huawei P10 is an interesting one. The only camera on this list touting dual rear cameras (they’re Leica branded too) means that the Huawei P10 means business. Capturing images at up to 12-megapixels, one is a standard RGB sensor, while the second is monochrome-only. An interesting combination, but what does it mean?
Well, because the sensor isn’t encumbered with having to capture RGB light levels, this monochrome sensor can capture up to 200% more light. Use it in conjunction with the colour-capable sensor, and it’ll combine the information from both, supplementing the colour sensor with the added contrast and image detail from the monochrome sensor.
Read our full Huawei P10 review for more details
Huawei P10 (graphite black) unlocked
£387.00 Buy now
7. Motorola Moto G4
The cheapest option on this list, the Moto G4 offers the best smartphone camera for less than £200. The Moto G4’s f/2.0 sensor captured an abundance of detail, with stunningly sharp image definition.
Outdoors, colours were wonderfully accurate picking up plenty of detail in neighbouring brickwork. It’s even a decent performer indoors too, with visual noise kept to a minimum. Pick up the Moto G4 if you don’t want to spend too much.
Read our full Motorola Moto G4 review for more details
MOTOROLA SM4360AE7B1 Mob/Motorola/Moto G4 Black – (Phones > Mobile Phones)
£142.90 Buy now