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Notebookcheck's Top 10 Camera Smartphones

Daniel Schmidt, 👁 J. Simon Leitner, Felicitas Krohn (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 02/15/2018

November 2019 Update. Smile please! Here you will find the best smartphones for digital photography including a big picture comparison. Our list of the best camera smartphones is regularly updated, maintained, and commented on and should assist in purchasing decisions.

The time of digital compact cameras is over. Smartphone cameras and their sensors as well as the corresponding miniature lenses, but especially the picture editing software have improved so much by now, that smartphone cameras can easily replace average compact cameras. At least the best smartphones, because there are still big differences in terms of picture quality. Our ranking includes the best camera smartphones for digital photography. They performed well in our reviews and we have also included a big picture comparison of all Top 10 smartphones. We also recommend checking our following rankings for further information:

The following table shows an overview of the Top 10 camera smartphones (camera rating) as reviewed by Notebookcheck in the last 12 months. If ratings are equal, the latest review is listed first. The table can be sorted by clicking its headers and filtered by entering text in the text field above it.

Best Camera Smartphones as of November 2019

Pos.DateCameraRatingImageModelHeightWeightSizeResolutionBest Price
103/201981%88%Huawei P30 ProHuawei P30 Pro
HiSilicon Kirin 980
ARM Mali-G76 MP10
8 GB Memory, 256 GB UFS 2.1
8.41 mm192 g6.47"2340x1080
208/2019
New
80%87%Samsung Galaxy Note10+Samsung Galaxy Note10+
Samsung Exynos 9825
ARM Mali-G76 MP12
12 GB Memory, 256 GB 
7.9 mm196 g6.8"3040x1440
302/201979%87%Samsung Galaxy S10 PlusSamsung Galaxy S10 Plus
Samsung Exynos 9820
ARM Mali-G76 MP12
8 GB Memory, 512 GB UFS 2.1
7.8 mm198 g6.4"3040x1440
410/2019
New
79%86%Samsung Galaxy FoldSamsung Galaxy Fold
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Qualcomm Adreno 640
12 GB Memory, 512 GB 
6.9 mm276 g7.3"2152x1536
507/201979%85%LG G8s ThinQLG G8s ThinQ
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Qualcomm Adreno 640
6 GB Memory, 128 GB UFS 2.1
7.99 mm181 g6.2"2248x1080
605/201977%86%Huawei P30Huawei P30
HiSilicon Kirin 980
ARM Mali-G76 MP10
6 GB Memory, 128 GB UFS 2.1
7.57 mm165 g6.1"2340x1080
709/2019
New
76%88%Apple iPhone 11 ProApple iPhone 11 Pro
Apple A13 Bionic
Apple A13 Bionic GPU
4 GB Memory, 256 GB NVMe
8.1 mm188 g5.8"2436x1125
809/2019
New
75%87%Apple iPhone 11Apple iPhone 11
Apple A13 Bionic
Apple A13 Bionic GPU
4 GB Memory, 64 GB SSD
8.3 mm194 g6.1"1792x828
907/201973%85%Sony Xperia 1Sony Xperia 1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Qualcomm Adreno 640
6 GB Memory, 128 GB UFS 2.1
8.2 mm178 g6.5"3840x1644
1007/201971%86%Asus ZenFone 6 ZS630KLAsus ZenFone 6 ZS630KL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Qualcomm Adreno 640
6 GB Memory, 128 GB UFS 2.1
9.2 mm190 g6.4"2340x1080

Top 10 of the last months at the time of writing – current articles are listed first

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Editors' Comments

We have adjusted the ranking based on our new rating system, which results in a revised order. Only the Huawei P30 Pro sits at the top like a rock.

1st - Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro with quad-camera
Huawei P30 Pro with quad-camera

The Leica quad-camera of the Huawei P30 Pro consists of four lenses: one ultra wide-angle (16 mm, f/2.2, 20 MP), the main camera (27 mm, f/1.6, 40 MP, 1/1.7" sensor, RYYG filter, OIS), one tele lens (125 mm, f/3.4, 8 MP, OIS), and the TOF camera. The main camera also offers a 10x hybrid zoom (270 mm) as well as a seamless 50x digital zoom (up to 1,343 mm). The Huawei P30 Pro offers an unbelievable range of focal length and is currently the most flexible camera in a smartphone.

The picture quality is really good and can beat the competition clearly, especially in low-light situations. The P30 also captures a lot of light in video recordings, but this affects the picture quality noticeably.

The previous models Huawei P20 Pro and the smaller P20 smartphone or its successor P30, respectively, are also strong alternatives.

Sharpness Huawei P30 Pro (40 MP)
Sharpness Huawei P30 Pro (40 MP)
ColorChecker Huawei P30 Pro
ColorChecker Huawei P30 Pro
Full-size sample picture Huawei P30 Pro
Full-size sample picture Huawei P30 Pro

Pricecompare

2nd - Samsung Galaxy Note10+

Galaxy Note10+ with quad-camera

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is equipped with a quad-camera, which is very similar to the S10 5G. Samsung uses a 12 MP sensor with large pixels, dual-pixel autofocus, a variable aperture (f/1.5 and f/2.4) as well as an optical image stabilizer. You also get a 16 MP ultra wide-angle, a 2x optical zoom with 12 MP as well as an additional lens to collect depth information.

The image quality is very good in our review and daylight pictures look great. Only the HDR mode is sometimes too aggressive. Pictures look very dynamic on the display, but this often affects the details, which is particularly noticeable when you print images. We also like the low-light pictures.

Note10+: Sharpness
Note10+: ColorChecker
Note10+: Full-size sample picture

Pricecompare

3rd - Samsung Galaxy S10+

Samsung Galaxy S10+
Samsung Galaxy S10+

The dual-camera from the predecessor is now a triple camera on the Samsung Galaxy S10+. The standard lens (77°, f/1.5 and f/2.4, 1.4 µm, OIS) and the tele zoom (2x, 45°, f/2.4, OIS) is now accompanied by a wide-angle solution. The new ultra wide- angle has a 16 MP sensor with a fixed focus and an aperture angle of 123 degrees with an aperture of f/2.2. At the front is now a dual setup with a 10 MP camera supported by an RGB sensor for depth information.

The picture quality is similar to the Galaxy S9+. The new ultra wide-angle is a useful addition and works well for panoramas or architecture shots. Videos can be recorded in UHD at up to 60 frames per second. There is no time limit this time, but you have to adjust the resolution to use all lenses for videos.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is equipped with the same triple-cam, but the smaller Samsung smartphone lacks the second sensor at the front.

Sharpness Galaxy S10 Plus
Sharpness Galaxy S10 Plus
ColorChecker Galaxy S10 Plus
ColorChecker Galaxy S10 Plus
Full-size sample picture Galaxy S10 Plus
Full-size sample picture Galaxy S10 Plus

Pricecompare

4th - Samsung Galaxy Fold

Samsung Galaxy Fold 5G

Contrary to some other Galaxy S or Galaxy Note model, the most expensive Samsung smartphone is not equipped with a quad, but only a triple-camera. The specs are very similar to the Galaxy S10+ and both offer an additional ultra wide-angle as well as a telephoto.

The picture quality is on par with the Galaxy S10+, and the naked eye can only notice slight color differences. The rating is a bit lower for the Samsung Galaxy Fold because the sample pictures show slightly more unnatural colors.

Galaxy Fold: Sharpness
Galaxy Fold: ColorChecker
Galaxy Fold: Full-size sample picture

Pricecompare

5th - LG G8s ThinQ

LG G8s ThinQ

The LG G8s ThinQ offers a triple-camera, which consists of a standard lens, an ultra wide-angle as well as a tele lens. The main camera uses a 12 MP sensor with larger individual pixels (1.4 µm) instead of pixel binning.

Similar to previous models, the G8s tends to be a bit too aggressive with the sharpness. The daylight pictures still show a very high contrast and look good. The low-light quality drops noticeably as usual, but the LG smartphone still delivers good results. The shutter time is definitely improved compared to the previous model, even though it is still lagging behind the rivals, especially with the activated AI function.

LG G8s: Sharpness
LG G8s: ColorChecker
LG G8s: Full-size sample picture

Pricecompare

6th - Huawei P30

Huawei P30

The Huawei P30 uses a Leica triple-camera, which consists of the main sensor, an additional ultra wide-angle as well as a telephoto. The latter supports a 3x zoom including optical image stabilization. The main camera has a 40 MP sensor and uses pixel binning in low-light situations to enable better results. 

The Huawei smartphone convinces with good pictures across the board during our review as well as numerous settings.

Huawei P30: Sharpness
Huawei P30: ColorChecker
Huawei P30: Full-size sample picture

Pricecompare

7th – Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

The Apple iPhone 11 Pro is the first smartphone from the Californian company with a triple-camera. Compared to previous models, the 2x optical zoom is now supported by an ultra wide-angle. All sensors have the same 12 MP resolution.

The picture quality is very good, especially in daylight conditions. Objects appear very evenly illuminated and we like the warm picture presentation. The iPhone also manages to avoid burnt picture areas very well. Pictures with a lot of HDR sometimes loose details, which are basically removed. The iPhone 11 Pro quickly uses the night mode in low-light situations and usually prefers an exposure duration of 2-3 seconds. This can be annoying if you want to take a quick snapshot.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max uses the identical camera, but has a bigger display and a more powerful battery.

iPhone 11 Pro: Sharpness
iPhone 11 Pro: ColorChecker
iPhone 11 Pro: Full-size sample picture

Pricecompare

8th - Apple iPhone 11

Apple iPhone 11

The least expensive iPhone of 2019 once again uses a dual-camera solution. Contrary to previous years, however, there is no tele lens, but an additional ultra wide-angle. Both sensors use the same 12 MP resolution.

The picture quality of the iPhone 11 is identical to the Pro models, but you have to waive the zoom option.

iPhone 11: Sharpness
iPhone 11: ColorChecker
iPhone 11: Full-size sample picture

Pricecompare

9th – Sony Xperia 1

Sony Xperia 1

The Sony Xperia 1 has three cameras with 12 MP sensors. Besides the main camera, you get an ultra wide-angle as well as a 2x optical zoom. Both the main camera and the optical zoom support optical image stabilization. 

Sony's high-end smartphone can take great pictures in daylight conditions, but the Xperia 1 sometimes suffers from some issues with the dynamic range and the exposure. Low-light pictures also has small deficits in terms of brightness and details. Compared to other high-end camera phones, low-light pictures in particular appear too dark and you can see the lack of details and sharpness.

Xperia 1: Sharpness
Xperia 1: ColorChecker
Xperia 1: Full-size sample picture

Pricecompare

10th - Asus ZenFone 6 (ZS630KL)

Asus ZenFone 6 (ZS630KL)

The Asus ZenFone 6 has a so-called Flip camera with two lenses. The standard wide-angle is the main camera and is accompanied by a 13 MP ultra wide-angle with a digitally simulated 2x optical zoom. The trick is that the camera can be flipped to the other side for selfies.

The Asus ZenFone 6 takes good pictures in normal conditions. We once again notice the high sharpness of daylight pictures, otherwise the results convince with good illumination and high dynamic range. Only low-light pictures are a bit worse, despite pixel binning.

ZenFone 6: Sharpness
ZenFone 6: ColorChecker
ZenFone 6: Full-size sample picture

Pricecompare

Top 10 Camera Smartphones Picture Comparison

Huawei P30 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S10+ vs Apple iPhone XS

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

Samsung Galaxy Note10+ vs Huawei P30 Pro vs Google Pixel 3a

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

Samsung Galaxy S10+ vs Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs Apple iPhone XS

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2

Samsung Galaxy Fold vs Apple iPhone 11 Pro vs Huawei P30 Pro

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

LG G8s ThinQ vs Apple iPhone XS Max vs OnePlus 6T

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

Huawei P30 vs Samsung Galaxy S10+ vs Asus ROG Phone

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

Apple iPhone 11 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy Fold vs Huawei P30 Pro

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

Apple iPhone 11 vs Huawei P30 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy Fold

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

Sony Xperia 1 vs Apple iPhone XS vs Honor View 20

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

Asus ZenFone 6 vs Apple iPhone XS vs Honor View 20

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
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Daniel Schmidt (Update: 2019-11-13)