Top five phones for selfie cameras 2019
By Ryan Shaw
Front-facing phone cameras enable you to capture a perfect self-portrait, but there are only a handful of phones worthy enough to be counted in our list.
With smartphone technology growing in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years, sometimes it can still be difficult to find a decent forward-facing camera. If you’re regularly taking selfies, then this guide is for you.
What is a selfie? The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as ‘a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media’. While the term may be relatively new, the concept of self-portraits isn’t. An American pioneer in photography, Robert Cornelius, produced one of the first known selfies in 1839.
Our table below includes a range of phones from different manufacturers, such as Apple, Google, HTC, and Sony, with each brand trying to outdo each other on specifications. These phones are not only the best for taking selfies, but they represent good build quality and decent performance as well. We’ve also highlighted some phones to avoid that we've labelled as a Don’t Buy for their lacklustre and poor image quality.
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Top phones for selfie cameras
Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct at March 2018.
Not found the right camera phone for you? Boost the quality of your selfies with our compact camera reviews.
And here are three selfie camera phones to avoid
From our testing, the worst phones with a forward-facing camera record low-quality photos and video, but they’re also difficult to use. They have limited features and a smaller than average screen for composing and reviewing shots, plus the flash isn't very strong. If you care about image quality, make sure you don't waste your money on these phones.
How to choose the best selfie camera
Despite the fact that forward-facing cameras tend to feature lower specs than the phone’s main camera, they are still capable of impressive photo quality. If you’re looking for crisp selfies with lots of detail, here are the specifications to consider for your next phone.
- Megapixels - More megapixels mean more detail, so you can create bigger prints without noticing blockiness on the picture. Megapixels aren't everything though – the camera's sensor size and lens aperture also play a big role in how sharp and colour-accurate your pictures are. The latest phones typically have a 6-8Mp front-facing camera.
- Sensor size - In smartphones, the sensor size is tiny - around 1/3" for the rear camera and even smaller for the front-facing camera. The sensor size is kept small because manufacturers don’t have much room to work with inside a phone. For the best selfies, we recommend the largest sensor size possible. For more detail on sensors, use our interactive tool in camera sensor sizes explained.
- Aperture - Aperture is an adjustable opening in the lens through which light passes to hit the image sensor. The wider it opens, the more light can hit the sensor. Measured in units called f-stops, the smaller number represents a larger opening. Smartphone rear cameras tend to have apertures ranging from f/1.7 to f/2.4, which is very wide, but front-facing cameras tend to have slightly smaller apertures, which is why they typically don’t work well in low light.
- Flash - Lighting is everything with photos. If you can’t take advantage of natural lighting, knowing when to use the flash is key. The best phones for selfies typically feature a dual LED flash, which helps to capture better images in low light. A dual LED flash will ensure that all your selfies are crystal clear, and will shine in low light too.
- Image stabilisation - Another feature that can really help capture great shots in low light is image stabilisation. It keeps the shot steady when you're holding the phone in your hands. There are two types of image stabilisation available: optical and electronic. Optical stabilisation is where the lens or sensor is kept physically stable. This is generally used on a phone’s rear camera but can be found in some front-facing cameras too. Electronic stabilisation uses processing tricks and software to keep the shot crisp and blur-free but generally isn’t as good as optical stabilisation.