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Best camera phones

By Ryan Shaw

We round up the top-scoring camera phones to help you find a mobile phone that takes the highest-quality photos.

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How good is your camera phone for photos? If you’re looking to buy a new digital camera, you’ll want to be sure it’s a step up in picture quality. That’s why we’ve run the latest flagship smartphones through our imaging lab to see how they compare to traditional point-and-shoot cameras.

From the Apple iPhone 7 to Samsung Galaxy S7, we’ve got the definitive verdict on which camera phone is best. The table below lists the top 10 camera phones we've tested. If you don't see a specific model listed, it doesn't mean we haven't tested it - it just means it didn't make the cut. 

A score of 71% is equivalent to that of a Best Buy digital camera and the scores listed below are based purely on photographic performance.

The best camera phone for you

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Phone Click for full review Overall picture quality Video quality Score
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79%

The best camera phone available; great photos and high scores across our tests. This phone offers sharp focusing, minimal shutter delay and impressive image stabilisation to avoid blur from camera shake.

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78%

An improvement on its predecessor, this camera phone is up there with the best we've tested. It has blindingly fast shutter speed, is great for capturing action shots and has fantastic image stabilisation to keep your photos free from blurriness.

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77%

Faster, sharper, and easier to hold, the latest iteration of this camera phone is the complete package. Low-light performance is the big selling point of this smartphone, with the sensor letting in more light than rival handsets. 

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75%

With 4K video resolution and impressive photo quality, this phone will give your compact camera a run for its money. It excels across our focusing, shutter delay and image stabilisation tests, although the flash is only average.

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75%

Jostling for position amongst other high-profile phones, this phone includes image stabilisation for both the rear and forward-facing cameras, so you can be sure of getting blur-free shots. Photo and video quality are on a par with other handsets, and it even includes a microSD card slot for saving your images.

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74%

A phone with top-notch photo and video quality, plus excellent image stabilisation. It gets outstanding scores for focusing, however this camera's flash isn't as powerful as on other phones.

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74%

This camera phone is especially good for video, but it takes great photos, too. Despite sturdy all-round test scores for ease of use and focusing, this camera’s flash is a little disappointing.

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74%

This well-built phone has a great point-and-shoot camera. Its great touchscreen and effective image stabilisation make for pleasing snaps, although a weak flash can’t be relied on in low-light scenarios.

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72%

With a unique and robust design, this camera phone overtakes its predecessor with high-quality photos and video. However, like most phones, it stumbles slightly with low-light shots and an under-powered flash.

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71%

Available for half the price of other high-end phones, this smartphone has the fastest shutter speed we've ever tested. It's great for taking action shots without blur, but some photos taken in dim conditions featured not-so-accurate colours in our tests.

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Best phone camera features you didn't know about

Thanks to smartphones, you can easily capture and share special moments of everyday life. With most phones including a built-in camera, we’re carrying around a powerful tool for taking high-quality photos and videos all the time.

Smartphones have helped to change the way we express ourselves – from selfies to snapping shots of your meal for Instagram, there are plenty of creative ways to document your life and the things that surround you.

However, not all phone camera features are widely known. So we’ve collected a few general phone camera tips, plus some specific Android and iOS tricks you should definitely add to your arsenal.

Android

If you’re using an Android phone that has had the ‘Marshmallow’ update (version 6 or higher), you can jump directly to camera mode, even if you’re deep inside another Android app. Just double-tap the power button and you’ll instantly arrive at the camera viewfinder, ready to take a shot.

iOS

Bring your photos to life with Live Photos - an innovative way of taking photos on your iPhone. First introduced in the 6s and 6s Plus, a Live Photo captures 1.5 seconds of video and audio both before and after you press the shutter button to take a photo. So in addition to a 12Mp still Jpeg image, you also get a three-second Live Photo, just like a Harry Potter photo.

General phone camera tips

Volume button shutter – If you’re trying to take a photo or a selfie and the screen is out of reach to take the shot, the end result is typically pretty blurry. One solution is to use the volume buttons to control the shutter. It works on most Androids and iPhones, so give it a try when you’re struggling to take a blur-free shot.

Burst mode – Activate infinite burst mode by keeping your finger on the shutter button, after which the photos will appear in your album gallery as a photo stack or a list of photos that look very similar. This is a very helpful feature — you’ll never miss a shot, and you can pick the best one from a range of photos.

Take stills while recording video – When shooting video, if you find yourself in a particularly photo-worthy moment it’s likely you will miss the chance to snap the photo. However, when recording video, just press the shutter button on screen to take a photo. The video will continue to record, with the snapshot saved, too.

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