Best camera phones 2020: 11 top smartphone cameras

Trusted Reviews rates and ranks the top smartphones to give our definitive verdict on which phone has the best camera for you.

Which is the best camera phone to buy?

The cameras on our phones have come a long way in the last few years. The best camera phones listed below include everything from awesome night modes, incredible zooming and fine detail.

Our reviews cover a huge array of phones, and the camera is an important factor, whether you’re on a tight budget or seeking a flagship model.  We put each phone through a tough camera review process and you can see the results below.

Below you’ll find a quick overview of all the phones in this list, and you can continue reading for in-depth info. We’ve also got full reviews of each phone if you want the full picture samples.


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1. iPhone 11 Pro

Best camera phone for versatility and video

Pros:

Cons:

The iPhone 11 Pro, along with its larger iPhone 11 Pro Max sibling, sits at the head Apple’s current phone line. It’s currently our favourite smartphone camera, thanks to a great mixture of pure photo quality and sheer versatility.

It’s glitzier, flashier and far pricier than the iPhone 11. Apple has seriously improved its photographic output with the iPhone 11 Pro (and with the iPhone 11 in many ways). The iPhone 11 Pro packs three distinct 12-megapixel cameras, which, for the first time in an Apple device, includes an ultra-wide-angle lens (13mm equivalent, f/2.4). You also get a standard lens (26mm, f/1.8) and a 2x telephoto lens (52mm, with an improved maximum aperture of f/2.0).

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Nothing is lacking with the video recording, audio and super-bright XDR display. All are tremendous, and the iPhone 11 Pro is also an absolute performance beast. The new A13 Bionic chipset puts it up there with the fastest phones we have reviewed. It’s also the first 5.8-inch iPhone that isn’t hamstrung by a battery that needs recharging to get it through a full day.

There are a few downsides: meagre amounts of base storage, the speed of the refresh display and Apple’s resistance to fully embracing USB-C. Being able to charge the MacBook Pro, iPad Pro and iPhone 11 Pro with the same block and charger would make so much sense.

Related: Which iPhones will get iOS 14?

The iPhone 11 Pro offers many improvements on its predecessor. However, there are a few missing features that would have been welcome. 5G was never going to happen but would have been good to have anyway. Some sort of TouchID-enabled fingerprint sensor inside the display and the rumoured reverse wireless charging that could have powered up a pair of AirPods would have been the icing on the cake.


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2. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

The best Android camera phone you can buy right now

Pros:

Cons:

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus rocks a total of four rear camera sensors, including a 12-megapixel main camera, a 64-megapixel telephoto sensor, a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens, and a 0.3-megapixel depth sensor.

It’s a set-up that offers a lot of versatility, and thankfully Samsung has dialled down post-processing so images look more realistic and less overdone (though portrait shots were sometimes overly smooth). Autofocus was very useful and accurate too.

While the processor was generally excellent with every that we threw at it, – one exception was the recording of 8K video recording; but frankly, this is an endeavour that we wouldn’t recommend anyway given that it’s capped at 30fps and even causes the phone to noticeably heat up.

The only real photographic disadvantage compared to the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is that zoom is less powerful, but we didn’t find that to be a major loss by any means.


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3. iPhone 11

An excellent camera phone with strong battery life at a great price

Pros:

Cons:

The iPhone 11 is the natural successor to the popular iPhone XR and sits below the pricier iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max in Apple’s current phone line-up.

It could be considered an iPhone XRS: the design of the previous phone is virtually unchanged, but the internals have been upgraded. There are now two cameras on the back, for example, and the same A13 chipset found in the Pro model. Surprisingly, the iPhone 11 starts cheaper than the outgoing model: £729/$699 for the 64GB base as opposed to £749/$749. It could be the best-value iPhone yet.

The 11’s size is the best out of any iPhone. It doesn’t feel overly bulky or heavy, even though there’s more screen to play with than on the 11 Pro. Battery life is very good – we found the iPhone 11 went slightly further than its predecessor on a single charge.

The new rear cameras are also excellent. The iPhone 11 is a lot more affordable than the Pro models but boasts the same wide-angle 12-megapixel optical image stabilised (OIS) main sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and the same 12-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera (f/2.4).

The only thing you’re missing out on is the Pro’s 2x optical zoomed telephoto camera – but if you’d take ultra-wide angle over zoomed, you might well see this as a fair trade, and it’s hard to see any differences when comparing photos from the two models.

The 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD falls below the competition, however, in terms of resolution and it would have been nice to see the 1792 x 828 panel upgraded to a 1080p version.

The 5w charger you’ll find in the box is also less than impressive. It has always felt slow and that is even more obvious now that the iPhone 11 Pro models come with an 18w charger. Not including a fast charger is a cost-cutting measure that counts against this phone.

If you’re updating an older iPhone then you’ll notice the vast array of improvements to the camera, battery life and overall design straight away. This is a great buy that’ll hopefully perform comfortably for several years.


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4. Oppo Find X2 Pro

An excellent all-round smartphone camera

Pros:

Cons:

The Oppo Find X2 Pro beats both the S20 Plus and the iPhone 11 Pro when it comes to zoom thanks to the periscope lens and 13-megapixel sensor. It also outguns them with its resolution, with the phone’s primary camera featuring Sony’s new 12-bit IMX689 sensor with a large 1/1.4” size and 1.12-micron pixels and a 50-megapixel sensor. There’s a 48-megapixel ultrawide here, too.

On the front you’ll find a 32-megapixel selfie camera. The Snapdragon 865 makes for a seriously fast phone, while the 120Hz QHD+ OLED is a joy to watch media on. Battery life is excellent and the ridiculously fast 65w charging makes up for the lack of Qi wireless charging.


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5. Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4 XL

Best for detail

Pros:

Cons:

Google’s Pixel series has always been about the camera and the latest model (the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL) remains one of the best phones available when it comes to photos. The addition of a secondary telephoto lens for zooming in a bit further and helping with portrait snaps only improves the overall package.

The Pixel 4’s photos are truly excellent, retaining that distinctive contrasty look we’ve come to expect from a Google phone. Colours pop without having a lurid finish and the level of detail – for a 12-megapixel – is matched only by the iPhone 11.

However, there’s a lack of versatility without the third, ultra-wide lens and with pretty much every other flagship packing one it’s a clear omission. On most other flagships you’ll find 4K recording at 60fps – but not here.

While the camera is excellent, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL both suffer from uneven battery life that falls well short of their rivals’ offers.


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6. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Best for features

Pros:

Cons:

If you’re after versatility in your camera phone then the Galaxy S20 Ultra is a great choice. It packs three main rear cameras (wide, ultra-wide and tele), a sensor for calculating depth, shoots 8K video and captures selfies with a 40-megapixel front camera.

Instead of focusing on computational photography like the flagships from Google and Apple, the S20 Ultra goes for big wins with loads of megapixels. There are 108 in the main wide camera, 60 in the telephoto and 12 in the wide.

That telephoto is arguably the pick of the bunch, allowing you to zoom up to 100x. While 100x photos aren’t the best, use it to zoom 10x and you’ll capture some delightful shots with lots of detail.

When it comes to viewing photos you’ve got a 6.9-inch OLED panel that’s the best in the business. It’s big, bright, smooth and very responsive to the touch. Samsung has shrunk down the notch from the S10 to make it less obvious and the curved edges feel steeper.

Inside the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, you’ll find a 5000mAh battery that can be charged via 25w fast charge or wirelessly, either a Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 and 12 or 16G RAM. It’s a 5G phone too, so if you’re on a 5G network transferring snaps, uploading to social media and backup services should be very fast. Storage options range sit at 128GB or 512GB, but there’s microSD expandability too – which might come in handy if you’re shooting a lot of 8K videos.


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7. OnePlus 8 Pro

Best camera phone for ease of use

Pros:

Cons:

The cameras on OnePlus phones have come a long way in a few years, and the photographic capabilities on the OnePlus 8 Pro are up there with some of the best. Shots from the main 48MP camera are sharp and colourful, while the 48MP ultra-wide is one of the best around.

This is a £799/$899 phone, so there are sacrifices. There’s no impressive zoom here, just a standard 3x 8MP sensor, and the ‘fourth’ camera is merely a colour filter sensor that does very little. Elsewhere the camera is capable of 4K video at 60fps, and there’s a 16MP camera in a small cutout on the front.

Once your photos are snapped, you can view them on the stunning 6.78-inch OLED 120Hz panel. It has full support for HDR and 10-bit colour, a QHD+ resolution and some motion smoothing skills.

There’s 5G onboard, a Snapdragon 865 keeping everything running and a 4510mAh battery.


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8. Huawei P40 Pro Plus

Best camera phone zooming

Pros:

Cons:

The Huawei P40 Pro Plus is among the most multi-talented camera phones around. You get the best zoom available on any phone, a handy 18mm ultra wide-angle lens, and a main f/1.9 23mm lens that’s backed up by a 50-megapixel sensor.

It trumps the Google Pixel 4’s Night Sight mode in dark scenes by stacking several images in a longer exposure. This is limited to scenes where there’s no movement or bright lights, though, and in more common low-light scenarios such as concerts, bars and night-time cityscapes, performance doesn’t stand out quite as much.

The zoom on the P40 Pro Plus is unmatched, easily giving crisper images than the Oppo Find X2 Pro and S20 Ultra. It’s a great all-rounder for daylight shooting and it generally handles scenes with mixed lighting well.

So, why isn’t this phone at the top of our list? That all comes down to the lack of Google support. You’ll have to make do with Huawei’s App Gallery or by installing APKs yourself. This means it’s not the right phone for everyone.

Read our Huawei P40 Pro Plus review

9. Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

Best camera phone on a budget

Pros:

Cons:

The Pixel 3 is an undeniably fantastic phone – a true flagship in every sense, including price. The 3a series looks to offer the same user experience and make the same proposition as the standard model but at a more budget-friendly price point.

While the Pixel 3a isn’t exactly cheap, at £400, it’s several hundred pounds more affordable than the standard Pixel 3 and retains one of its principal features – its camera. The 3a (and larger 3a XL) employ the same 12.2-megapixel primary snapper as the Pixel 3 line, paired with the same imaging processing used in their pricier siblings. This means you can expect a phenomenal camera experience at a price that is less eye-watering.

The Pixel 3a series also retains Pixel-specific shooting features like Night Sight. The only real shortfall in the camera department is the absence of the Pixel Visual Core, which results in slower performance and image processing.


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Related: Best mid-range phones

10. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Best camera phone for fans of big phones

Pros:

Cons:

The display is the standout feature of the excellent Galaxy Note 10 Plus phone. It appears to be a slightly remodelled Galaxy S10, complete with an S Pen, and that’s no bad thing – the S10 is one of the best Android phones around. It would, however, also have been nice to see Samsung push forward in areas where the S10 has fallen behind some of the competition.

This includes the camera. The rear cameras are similar to those of the S10 and, while you can capture excellent snaps thanks to the three sensors on the back, the phone lacks the dynamic range and night shooting capability of the iPhone 11 or Pixel 4. Still, video is excellent.

As previously mentioned, the display is great. At 6.8 inches it’s big and bright, with serious punch and detail. The display now runs to the edges of the phone’s front, granting it an impressive 90.9% screen-to-body ratio. The single Infinity-O hole-punch camera is now centrally aligned at the top of the screen and is, therefore, less intrusive than the S10’s solo-sensor effort.

The design remains the best of any Android phone, the functionality of the S Pen offers something unique, and the slightly smaller form factor is also a plus.


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11. Xiaomi Mi Note 10

Plenty of hardware at a value price

Pros:

Cons:

The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is a mid-range phone with some high-end device design traits. It packs five cameras, a main 108-megapixel sensor and a generously sized battery that lasts pretty well.

In some areas, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is made to the same standard as a phone costing twice as much. Its sides are metal, and both the front and rear of the device are substantial, curved pieces of glass. There’s no plastic border between the metal and glass, which is highly unusual for a phone costing less than £600.

The Mi Note 10 has a 6.47-inch screen, an OLED panel with a 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution – excellent for the money. You may find larger, but you won’t find much better, particularly if the curvy front appeals.

Day-to-day performance is technically sound, as you’d hope from a device with a good CPU and 6GB of RAM.

Most of the cameras that feature on the Mi Note 10’s rear are impressive. There’s a 2x zoom, a 3x zoom lens the phone crops into for 5x images, an ultra-wide and a dedicated macro. The macro sensor is the only real dud – in almost all situations the other cameras offer better results. Normal shots are packed full of detail; 108-megapixel shots even more so. The camera is unusually good at dealing with the light levels of tricky scenes such as sunsets. However, the camera is where you’ll discover the Xiaomi Mi Note 10’s most significant performance issues. It’s slow. There’s shutter lag of around half a second, and image processing takes a long time.

This isn’t the most polished smartphone on the market. The camera is slow, it isn’t the most attractive phone despite all that curved glass, and fingerprint scanner performance is poor. However, you do get plenty of hardware for your money and, despite its flaws, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 offers good value.


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How we choose the best smartphone camera

Putting a smartphone’s camera through its paces is a significant part of the review process at Trusted Reviews and each model listed below is top class, for images and overall photography experience.


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