Notebookcheck

Notebookcheck's Top 10 Camera Smartphones

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

June 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 June 2019

Pos.DateCameraRatingImageModelHeightWeightSizeResolutionBest Price
103/201997%92%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
208/201897%89%Samsung Galaxy Note 9Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Exynos 9810
ARM Mali-G72 MP18
6 GB Memory, 128 GB UFS 2.1
8.8 mm201 g6.4"2960x1440
302/201993%92%Huawei Mate 20 ProHuawei Mate 20 Pro
HiSilicon Kirin 980
ARM Mali-G76 MP10
6 GB Memory, 128 GB UFS 2.1
8.6 mm189 g6.3"3120x1440
402/201991%91%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
509/201889%91%Apple iPhone XSApple iPhone XS
Apple A12 Bionic
Apple A12 Bionic GPU
4 GB Memory, 512 GB NVMe
7.7 mm177 g5.8"2436x1125
609/201788%89%Apple iPhone 8 PlusApple iPhone 8 Plus
Apple A11 Bionic
Apple A11 Bionic GPU
3 GB Memory, 256 GB NVMe
7.5 mm202 g5.5"1920x1080
710/201888%89%OnePlus 6TOnePlus 6T
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Qualcomm Adreno 630
6 GB Memory, 128 GB UFS 2.1
8.2 mm185 g6.41"2340x1080
811/201886%88%Sony Xperia XZ3Sony Xperia XZ3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Qualcomm Adreno 630
4 GB Memory, 64 GB UFS 2.1
9.9 mm193 g6"2880x1440
910/201886%90%Apple iPhone XRApple iPhone XR
Apple A12 Bionic
Apple A12 Bionic GPU
3 GB Memory, 128 GB NVMe
8.3 mm194 g6.1"1792x828
1011/201885%90%Google Pixel 3 XLGoogle Pixel 3 XL
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Qualcomm Adreno 630
4 GB Memory, 64 GB UFS 2.1
7.9 mm184 g6.3"2960x1440

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 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

2nd - Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Galaxy Note 9

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is once again a really good business phablet. The Korean manufacturer upgraded the battery to 4000 mAh on the new Note model, so the runtimes are much longer compared to the previous model. The S Pen now supports Bluetooth and offers some new features. Samsung's new smartphone also turns out to be a serious storage device at up to 512 GB internal storage, which can be doubled via microSD card. All in all, the Note 9 can store up to 1 TB of data.

The camera equipment of the phablet is similar to the current S9+ and the main camera also gets a modular aperture, which changes between a f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture depending on the lighting conditions. Videos can be recorded at up to Ultra HD (60 fps, up tp 5 minutes). However, the manufacturer improved the settings a bit, so the Note 9 can beat its sibling.

Sharpness Galaxy Note 9
Sharpness Galaxy Note 9
ColorChecker Galaxy Note 9
ColorChecker Galaxy Note 9
Full-size sample picture Galaxy Note 9
Full-size sample picture Galaxy Note 9

Pricecompare

3rd - Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei Mate 20 Pro with Leica triple camera
Huawei Mate 20 Pro with Leica triple camera

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is equipped with a Leica triple camera. However, compared to the P20 Pro, the Chinese manufacturer waives the monochrome sensor and implements a wide-angle lens (20 MP, f/2.2, 16 mm) instead. The 40 MP main camera (f/1.8, 27 mm) is supported by another 8 MP sensor (f/2.4, OIS, 80 mm), which acts as a 3x zoom. These three lenses already cover a wide range of focal lengths, which are even expanded by the digital 5x hybrid zoom. The picture quality is similar to the P20 Pro, but you can notice the missing monochrome sensor in low-light scenarios, which cannot be compensated by Super HDR. Video recordings are also limited to Ultra-HD at 30 frames per second.

Sharpness Mate 20 Pro (40 MP)
Sharpness Mate 20 Pro (40 MP)
ColorChecker Mate 20 Pro (40 MP)
ColorChecker Mate 20 Pro (40 MP)
Sample picture Mate 20 Pro (10 MP)
Sample picture Mate 20 Pro (10 MP)

Pricecompare

4th - 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

5th - Apple iPhone XS

Apple iPhone XS
Apple iPhone XS

The Apple iPhone XS is the improved version of last year's anniversary edition, which was a full redesign with a slim-bezel 5.8-inch display including notch. This means the smartphone looks the same, but Apple added one color edition: Gold. The new SoC is very fast and the camera was significantly improved as well. Thanks to new software algorithms, you get better dynamic range and better low-light performance. The protection against liquids was improved and is not limited to fresh water anymore, and you also get a 512 GB option.

Fans of larger panels can get the iPhone XS Max with a 6.5-inch screen and identical cameras.

Sharpness Apple iPhone XS
Sharpness Apple iPhone XS
ColorChecker Apple iPhone XS
ColorChecker Apple iPhone XS
Full-size sample picture Apple iPhone XS
Full-size sample picture Apple iPhone XS

Pricecompare

6th - Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Video expert: Apple iPhone 8 Plus
Video expert: Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Apple has implemented a 7 MP camera for selfies at the front of the 5.5-inch smartphone. It features an f/2.2 aperture and an automatic HDR mode. The dual-camera is located at the back and uses one wide-angle lens (f/1.8) as well as one zoom lens (f/2.8), and both support optical image stabilization. Similar to other smartphones with this kind of setup, the dual-camera supports special features such as portrait mode ("Bokeh") and good results with the zoom mode.

Pictures taken with the iPhone 8 Plus (here in review) convince with natural colors, high dynamic range and sharpness. The automatic HDR mode as well as the comparatively good snapshot characteristics are advantages of the iPhone 8 Plus. However, there is noticeable picture noise in low-light situations. Videos can be recorded at up to UHD/4K and 60 FPS, which is a major advantage over the rest of the competition.

Sharpness Apple iPhone 8 Plus
Sharpness Apple iPhone 8 Plus
ColorChecker Apple iPhone 8 Plus
ColorChecker Apple iPhone 8 Plus
Full-size sample picture Apple iPhone 8 Plus
Full-size sample picture Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Pricecompare

7th – OnePlus 6T

OnePlus 6T with dual camera
OnePlus 6T with dual camera

The dual-camera of the OnePlus 6T was slightly improved compared to the previous model. The resolution has not changed at 16 (Sony IMX 519) and 20 megapixels (Sony IMX 376K), respectively. Both sensors are identical to the previous model, but there have been software improvements, so the OnePlus smartphone performs a bit better than its predecessor.

The picture quality is good. We can hardly see any differences compared to the old model in daylight, but the small improvements in low-light pictures are visible, even though many details disappear due to the noise suppression.

Videos can be recorded in 4k at up to 60 frames per seconds, but only for up to 5 minutes. These recordings are stabilized thanks to the integrated OIS.

Sharpness OnePlus 6T
Sharpness OnePlus 6T
ColorChecker OnePlus 6T
ColorChecker OnePlus 6T
Full-size sample picture OnePlus 6T
Full-size sample picture OnePlus 6T

Pricecompare

8th - Sony Xperia XZ3

Sony Xperia XZ3 with single camera
Sony Xperia XZ3 with single camera

The Sony Xperia XZ3 is once again equipped with a single camera. It has a resolution of 19 megapixels and captures a lot of light with an f/1.9 aperture. Daylight pictures look good with a wide dynamic range and we also like the colors. The high number of details is particularly convincing. The low-light performance is also very decent with good noise suppression, but larger areas can appear muddy.

The video function supports recordings in Ultra HD with HDR, and there is a super slow-motion (960 frames per second, 1080p).

Sharpness Xperia XZ3
Sharpness Xperia XZ3
ColorChecker Xperia XZ3
ColorChecker Xperia XZ3
Full-size sample picture Xperia XZ3
Full-size sample picture Xperia XZ3

Pricecompare

9th – Apple iPhone XR

Apple iPhone XR with single camera
Apple iPhone XR with single camera

The Apple iPhone XR uses the main camera from the more expensive XS models, only the tele lens is missing, so the functionality of the portrait mode is limited as well. The colors are also a bit too saturated. Otherwise, you get a great camera, which takes pictures with a high dynamic range thanks to the great Smart HDR algorithm. The low-light performance is not bad, either, but you start to see the difference compared to the best smartphones in this scenario.

Videos can be recorded in Ultra HD at up to 60 frames per second. There is no time limit.

Sharpness iPhone XR
Sharpness iPhone XR
ColorChecker iPhone XR
ColorChecker iPhone XR
Full-size sample picture iPhone XR
Full-size sample picture iPhone XR

Pricecompare

10th - Google Pixel 3 XL

Google Pixel 3 XL
Google Pixel 3 XL

Google still uses a single-camera solution with a Sony IMX363 sensor with 12 MP for both the Pixel 3 as well as the Pixel 3 XL. The aperture is specified with f/1.8 and a pixel size of 1.4 µm. besides optical image stabilization, there is additional support by the software. A night mode is also included, but there is no chance to set the settings of the pictures manually.

The pictures are convenient in our review and the Google Pixel 3 XL takes great pictures in all lighting situations. Videos can be recorded in UltraHD at up to 30 frames per second.

Sharpness Pixel 3 XL
Sharpness Pixel 3 XL
ColorChecker Pixel 3 XL
ColorChecker Pixel 3 XL
Full-size sample picture Pixel 3 XL
Full-size sample picture Pixel 3 XL

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 Note 9 vs OnePlus 5T vs Apple iPhone X

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 Mate 20 Pro vs iPhone XS vs Galaxy S9 vs. OnePlus 6

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

Apple iPhone XS vs Google Pixel 2 XL vs Huawei P20 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
click to load images

Apple iPhone 8 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

OnePlus 6T vs. iPhone XS Max vs. OnePlus 5T

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

Sony Xperia XZ3 vs. OnePlus 5T vs. iPhone XS 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
click to load images

Apple iPhone XR vs. Google Pixel 3 vs. Huawei P20 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
click to load images

Google Pixel 3 XL vs Apple iPhone XS Max vs OnePlus 5T

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
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Daniel Schmidt (Update: 2019-06-19)