Notebookcheck

Notebookcheck's Top 10 Camera Smartphones

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

April 2020 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 April 2020

Pos.
Date
Camera
Rating
Image
Model
Height
Weight
Size
Resolution
Best Price
1
05/2020
Neu
83 %89 %Huawei P40 ProHuawei P40 Pro
HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G
ARM Mali-G76 MP16
8 GB Memory, 256 GB 
8.95 mm209 g6.58"2640x1200
2
12/2019
81 %89 %Huawei Mate 30 ProHuawei Mate 30 Pro
HiSilicon Kirin 990
ARM Mali-G76 MP16
8 GB Memory, 256 GB 
8.8 mm198 g6.53"2400x1176
3
03/2019
81 %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
4
08/2019
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
5
10/2019
79 %86 %Samsung Galaxy FoldSamsung Galaxy Fold
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Qualcomm Adreno 640
12 GB Memory, 512 GB 
6.9 mm276 g7.3"2152x1536
6
07/2019
79 %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
7
04/2020
Neu
78 %88 %Samsung Galaxy S20+Samsung Galaxy S20+
Samsung Exynos 990
ARM Mali-G77 MP11
8 GB Memory, 128 GB 
7.8 mm188 g6.7"3200x1440
8
05/2020
Neu
77 %87 %Huawei P40Huawei P40
HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G
ARM Mali-G76 MP16
8 GB Memory, 128 GB 
8.5 mm175 g6.1"2340x1080
9
05/2019
77 %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
10
09/2019
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

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

Editors' Comments

There are no changes this month.

1st – Huawei P40 Pro

Huawei P40 Pro
Huawei P40 Pro

The Huawei P40 Pro features a quad-camera with a brand-new 50 MP sensor, which just so happened to be the largest camera sensor in any smartphone at the time of writing. Unlike Huawei’s main Korean competitor, the Chinese manufacturer prefers larger pixels to jamming as many of those tiny pixels as possible into a photo, mainly in order to improve low-light photo quality. The secondary ultra wide angle lens features a 40 MP sensor, the same that was already included in the Mate and is not just the smartphone’s main sensor for video recordings but also allows for great panoramas. Further sensors include a 5 MP periscope zoom with 10x hybrid and 50x digital zoom, and final sensor for depth of field information. All three photo sensors feature optical image stabilization.

In our test, the P40 Pro’s quad camera took great photos regardless of lighting conditions, and its zoom made it even more versatile than ever. The cameras are supported in software by very clever and useful features, such as for example an algorithm to reduce reflections or one that allows you to remove people in the background.

Pricecompare

2nd – Huawei Mate 30 Pro

Huawei Mate 30 Pro with two main sensors
Huawei Mate 30 Pro with two main sensors

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro's highlight is without a doubt its rear-facing quad camera. In addition to the 40 MP main sensor, which we have already seen in the P30 Pro, the Mate 30 Pro features a second 40 MP sensor included specifically for shooting videos as well as ultra-wide angle photography. The sensor is larger yet limited to the traditional RGGB color scheme instead of the more modern RYYB. Its aspect ratio is 3:2, which is better suited for videos, and it features a 3x optical zoom as well as a TOF camera.

Photos shot with the Mate 30 Pro turn out great. However, when compared to those shot with its main competitors, they seem somewhat dark during the day, and color representation could use some improvement.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro: focus (40 MP)
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: focus (40 MP)
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: colors
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: colors
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: sample photo
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: sample photo

Pricecompare

3rd - 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

4th - 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

5th - 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

6th - 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

7th – Samsung Galaxy S20+

Samsung Galaxy S20+
Samsung Galaxy S20+

The Samsung Galaxy S20+ features a quad camera with a rather spartan 12 MP main sensor. However, right next to it is the zoom lens with a whopping 64 MP and a 30x zoom. Further lenses include an ultra wide angle and a depth of field sensor.

Photo quality was decent overall, but the smartphone’s zoom features where incapable of keeping up with its competitors. Nevertheless, the camera setup offered by Samsung is not half bad and offers a very balanced mix of lenses and sensors.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: focus
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: focus
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: colors
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: colors
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: sample photo
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: sample photo

Pricecompare

8th – Huawei P40

Huawei P40
Huawei P40

The Huawei P40’s triple camera features the exact same main sensors as the P40 Pro but differs in all other lenses and sensors. In the P40’s case they are a 16 MP ultra wide angle as well as an 8 MP zoom lens, which offers a 3x optical, a 5x hybrid, and a 30x digital zoom and happens to be the only lens supported by optical image stabilization. 

In our test the Huawei smartphone performed very well under all lighting conditions as long as you restricted yourself to the main camera. The other two were nowhere near as light sensitive, and photo quality quickly deteriorated in low-light situations.

Huawei P40: focus
Huawei P40: focus
Huawei P40: colors
Huawei P40: colors
Huawei P40: sample photo
Huawei P40: sample photo

9th - 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

10th – 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

Top 10 Camera Smartphones Picture Comparison

Huawei P 40 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone 11 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 3Scene 4

Huawei Mate 30 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S10+ 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

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 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

Samsung Galaxy S20+ vs iPhone 11 Pro 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

Huawei P40 vs OnePlus 8 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro Max

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

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
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Daniel Schmidt (Update: 2020-04-22)