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The Best Camera Smartphones

Q4/2022 update. Photography has become the defining feature of modern smartphones. Thanks to incredible leaps in camera technology smartphones are now at a point where they can easily replace traditional digital point-and-shoot cameras. Complex software algorithms ensure that even a spontaneous snapshot will look great. Below, you will find the best camera smartphones reviewed by us.

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. 

For this reason, we have this list of the best photo smartphones that are particularly well-suited for taking photos, and that have scored exceptionally well in this category in our tests. You will also find a photo comparison at the end of this article. Please also consider the following top lists before making any purchasing decisions:

The Best Camera Smartphones

Position
Camera Rating
Total Rating
Date
Image
Model
Height
Weight
Size
Resolution
183.4 %88.8 %
03/2022
Huawei P50 ProHuawei P50 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 4G
Qualcomm Adreno 660
8 GB Memory, 256 GB 
8.5 mm195 g6.60"2700x1228
281.4 %89.2 %
04/2022
Google Pixel 6 ProGoogle Pixel 6 Pro
Google Tensor
ARM Mali-G78 MP20
12 GB Memory, 128 GB 
8.9 mm210 g6.70"3120x1440
381.2 %88.8 %
09/2022
New
Xiaomi 12S UltraXiaomi 12S Ultra
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
Qualcomm Adreno 730
12 GB Memory, 256 GB 
9.1 mm225 g6.73"3200x1440
481 %90.3 %
01/2023
New
Apple iPhone 14 ProApple iPhone 14 Pro
Apple A16 Bionic
Apple A16 GPU 5-Core
6 GB Memory, 256 GB NVMe
7.85 mm206 g6.10"2556x1179
580.6 %89.4 %
03/2022
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5GSamsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G
Samsung Exynos 2200
Samsung Xclipse 920
8 GB Memory, 128 GB 
8.9 mm228 g6.80"3088x1440
680.6 %84.1 %
09/2022
New
Huawei Mate Xs 2Huawei Mate Xs 2
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 4G
Qualcomm Adreno 660
8 GB Memory, 512 GB 
11.1 mm255 g7.80"2480x2220
780.2 %89.2 %
04/2022
Oppo Find X5 ProOppo Find X5 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Qualcomm Adreno 730
12 GB Memory, 256 GB 
8.5 mm221 g6.70"3216x1440
880 %88.5 %
09/2022
New
Vivo X80 ProVivo X80 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Qualcomm Adreno 730
12 GB Memory, 256 GB 
9.1 mm215 g6.78"3200x1440
979.8 %89.2 %
10/2022
New
Apple iPhone 14Apple iPhone 14
Apple A15 Bionic
Apple A15 GPU 5-Core
6 GB Memory, 128 GB NVMe
7.8 mm172 g6.10"2532x1170
1078.6 %88.9 %
05/2022
Samsung Galaxy S22+Samsung Galaxy S22+
Samsung Exynos 2200
Samsung Xclipse 920
8 GB Memory, 128 GB 
7.6 mm196 g6.60"2340x1080

The table above contains an overview over the best camera smartphones reviewed by Notebookcheck over the course of the past 12 months as well as still relevant and available older products. In cases of identical score the more recent device is listed first. All prices in above table and price comparisons are updated daily and can thus differ.
Link: all devices in this class reviewed

Editors' Comments

We welcome the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, Apple iPhone 14 and 14 Pro, Huawei Mate Xs 2 and Vivo X80 Pro as newcomers in the list of the best camera smartphones this quarter. However, due to its age (>12 months), the Google Pixel 6 and the Apple iPhone 13 and 13 Pro leave us, but they are still worth a closer look in terms of camera qualities.

1st – Huawei P50 Pro

Huawei P50 Pro
Huawei P50 Pro

The showpiece of the Huawei P50 Pro is the quad camera system on the back, which is made up of a total of four sensors. The primary camera is equipped with a 50 MP True Chroma sensor and benefits from an optical image stabilizer as well as the new Huawei XD Optics and XD Fusion Pro Image Engine. Furthermore, the main camera is complemented by an additional 40 MP monochrome camera. In combination, it helps the 50 Pro achieve a wide dynamic range, crisp contrasts, and vivid colors. 

Those who are not put off by the lack of Google services will find a premium smartphone with a strong camera in the P50 Pro.

Apart from the strong camera qualities of the P50 Pro, the effects of the trade embargo are now more noticeable than in the predecessor. In terms of display brightness, the Chinese manufacturer falls further behind the flagship competition. Furthermore, important features, such as 5G support, are missing.

The Huawei P50 Pro is available from Huawei Global in various countries.

Huawei P50 Pro: focus
Huawei P50 Pro: focus
Huawei P50 Pro: colors
Huawei P50 Pro: colors
Huawei P50 Pro: sample photo
Huawei P50 Pro: sample photo

2nd – Google Pixel 6 Pro

Google Pixel 6 Pro
Google Pixel 6 Pro

The Google Pixel 6 Pro is the better-equipped counterpart to the Pixel 6, although the camera setup is very similar. The Pro model of the Pixel phones has an additional lens for a lossless zoom, but the main camera is almost identical. Google changes the camera sensor for the first time in years and now relies on a 50 MP Samsung ISOCELL GN1. The optics can completely convince us in daylight. Photos taken with the Pixel 6 Pro are rich in detail and colorful. In low light, the imaging performance is still good, but it does not quite reach the high-end competition.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro combines pure Android with a really good triple camera.

With wireless charging in both directions, stereo speakers, IP68 certification against dust and water, fast WiFI6, and a modern 5G mobile network, the Pixel 6 Pro offers a very complete package. However, a few compromises have to be made compared with the more expensive competition. You can read more about those here.

The Pixel 6 Pro can be purchased directly from Google, but is also available from usual retail channels such as Amazon.

Google Pixel 6 Pro: focus
Google Pixel 6 Pro: focus
Google Pixel 6 Pro: colors
Google Pixel 6 Pro: colors
Google Pixel 6 Pro: sample photo
Google Pixel 6 Pro: sample photo

Pricecompare

3rd – Xiaomi 12S Ultra

Xiaomi 12S Ultra
Xiaomi 12S Ultra

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra shows itself to be very well positioned in the camera department with the new Leica partnership and the Sony IMX989 as the image sensor. On the back, the Xiaomi flagship has three lenses. In addition to the 1-inch IMX989 with 50 megapixels (23 mm), two 48-megapixel sensors are used for the ultra-wide-angle (13 mm) and periscope camera with five times the optical zoom (120 mm).
The excellent image quality in daylight and low-light as well as the natural bokeh convinced us in the review. However, Xiaomi lags behind the competition with the lack of a UHD video recording option on the front camera and the somewhat lower-quality ultra-wide-angle camera.   

The Xiaomi impresses with a great camera system, especially the bokeh in the pictures makes the 12S Ultra special due to the large image sensor. 

Apart from the cameras, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra offers a strong overall package consisting of a bright and high-resolution OLED panel, long runtimes and a high-quality look. However, the high-end smartphone from the Chinese manufacturer has one drawback - it is only available as an import for German-speaking countries.

Xiaomi devices are not officially sold in North America.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra: focus
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: focus
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: colors
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: colors
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: sample photo
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: sample photo

Pricecompare

4th – Apple iPhone 14 Pro

Apple iPhone 14 Pro
Apple iPhone 14 Pro

With the iPhone 14 Pro, Apple is now breaking new ground in the field of photography. Android users will certainly find pixel binning to be old hat, but Apple uses this method for the first time along with the new 48 MP sensor of the main camera. Pixel binning is supposed to provide better pictures in less light, but also more details in the pictures, according to experience. Unfortunately, Apple only leaves a limited choice to the user in terms of image size and almost always outputs a 12 MP photo. 

The picture quality is pleasing in daylight in the test and is characterized by a balanced picture composition with fine details and natural-looking colors. In general, the iPhone 14 Pro also achieves good results in low-light scenarios. The basis for zooming is a triple optical magnification, and the ultra-wide-angle sensor still only delivers 12 MP.

From a technical point of view, Apple actually does almost everything right; only small weaknesses can be criticized.

Apple has made a real step in its own evolution with the iPhone 14 Pro. The form factor remains the same, but the Apple flagship gets a new and very powerful chipset, improved cameras and the latest iOS version compared with the predecessor.

All configurations of the iPhone 14 Pro are available directly from Apple.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro: focus
Apple iPhone 14 Pro: focus
Apple iPhone 14 Pro: colors
Apple iPhone 14 Pro: colors
Apple iPhone 14 Pro: sample photo
Apple iPhone 14 Pro: sample photo

Pricecompare

5th – Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

In terms of cameras, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra hasn't changed that much compared to its predecessor. Changes to the camera setup are rather based on adjustments to the image algorithms as well as the more comprehensive possibilities offered by the new image processor of the installed Exynos 2200. On the positive side, Samsung has equipped all lenses with dual-pixel autofocus and an additional laser AF. The core of the quad-camera is still an in-house 108 MP sensor, which is probably an optimized ISOCELL HM3. The image quality is really good in daylight, but details are partly swallowed by the radical sharpening. 

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra offers very good cameras with few weaknesses.

Besides a convincing camera quality, the Galaxy S22 Ultra scores with one of the brightest and most accurate displays found in a smartphone, a powerful S Pen, state-of-the-art communication technology and really good battery runtimes. On top, there is a long update supply of four or five years. 

If you want to get an impression of the Snapdragon version of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, you can also find the differences in the cameras in our comparison review.

While you can purchase the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra directly from the online shop of the manufacturer, alternatively it is also available from other vendors such as Amazon.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: focus
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: focus
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: colors
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: colors
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: sample photo
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: sample photo

Pricecompare

6th – Huawei Mate Xs 2

Huawei Mate Xs 2
Huawei Mate Xs 2

The Huawei Mate Xs 2 uses a 50 MP True Chroma sensor, which scored with a very good picture quality in the test, even in low light. The 13 MP ultra-wide-angle lens is also convincing, but Huawei no longer relies on a high-resolution sensor, which is a bit of a shame. The telephoto camera's triple optical zoom also delivers good results, but only shows an average imaging performance in the digital zoom. 

We do not only like the extravagant folding concept in everyday use, but also the overall camera package of the Huawei Mate Xs 2 - especially for a foldable.

Besides the strong main camera, the Huawei smartphone takes a big step forward compared with the predecessor especially in terms of value and hinge architecture. The flexible OLED display is also much brighter now and even works with a fast 120 Hz refresh rate. 

The Huawei Mate Xs 2 can be purchased directly from Huawei's online store.

Huawei Mate Xs 2: focus
Huawei Mate Xs 2: focus
Huawei Mate Xs 2: colors
Huawei Mate Xs 2: colors
Huawei Mate Xs 2: sample photo
Huawei Mate Xs 2: sample photo

Pricecompare

7th – Oppo Find X5 Pro

Oppo Find X5 Pro
Oppo Find X5 Pro

Oppo manages a strong flagship with its Find X5 Pro 5G including an accurate display with adaptive refresh rate, long battery runtimes and fast charging. However, the focus is primarily on the installed cameras. This is underlined by the additional MariSilicon X image processor and the cooperation with Hasselblad.

Those looking for a really good ultra-wide-angle might find their suitable companion in the Find X5 Pro. 

The rear-facing camera setup of the Find X5 Pro has the same sensors as last year, but now more glass lens elements are used and the image stabilization is composed of a 3-axis sensor shift as well as a 2-axis OIS. The 50 MP main camera with Sony's IMX766 takes really good pictures and especially the stabilization convinced us.  

We can find Oppo Find X5 Pro at all well-known retailers. Amazon offers it at around $1,100.

Oppo Find X5 Pro: focus
Oppo Find X5 Pro: focus
Oppo Find X5 Pro: colors
Oppo Find X5 Pro: colors
Oppo Find X5 Pro: sample photo
Oppo Find X5 Pro: sample photo

Pricecompare

Pricecompare

8th – Vivo X80 Pro

Vivo X80 Pro
Vivo X80 Pro

The showpiece of the Vivo X80 Pro is the Zeiss camera setup on the back, including a 50 MP main sensor with gimbal stabilization. This is joined by two optical zooms for a 2x and 5x magnification as well as an ultra-wide-angle lens. Photos taken in daylight with all lenses were convincing in the test and delivered a correspondingly good image quality. Those who prefer natural colors can also activate the Zeiss mode. 

Vivo puts together a strong camera package with the German company Zeiss. The cooperation not only includes the Zeiss lenses, but now also software algorithms for the lenses since the X80 Pro.

The Vivo X80 Pro is one of the best Android smartphones available in the review period not only because of the strong cameras. The Vivo flagship convinces with an accurate LTPO AMOLED screen and an almost complete configuration. 

On the European mainland, the Vivo X80 Pro appears to be widely available via popular online retailers. Outside the European mainland, availability becomes sporadic.

Vivo X80 Pro: focus
Vivo X80 Pro: focus
Vivo X80 Pro: colors
Vivo X80 Pro: colors
Vivo X80 Pro: sample photo
Vivo X80 Pro: sample photo

Pricecompare

9th – Apple iPhone 14

Apple iPhone 14
Apple iPhone 14

Like its predecessor, the Apple iPhone 14 relies on a rear dual camera with 12 MP, which now includes the same main camera as in the iPhone 13 Pro. The 12 MP sensor, stabilized via sensor shift, takes excellent photos with natural colors and lots of details. Due to the faster optics, the iPhone 14 performs better in night shots than the iPhone 13. The ultra-wide-angle camera has not changed compared to the predecessor and has to make do without optical image stabilization as before.

The iPhone 14 is a very good smartphone that focuses on an appealing main camera. 

Apart from the good main camera, the iPhone 14 uses a slightly faster version of the A15 Bionic, long runtimes and a very high-quality look. The OLED panel also convinces with a nice display quality despite the low refresh rate. 

We can directly order the iPhone 14 from Apple's official store.

Apple iPhone 14: focus
Apple iPhone 14: focus
Apple iPhone 14: colors
Apple iPhone 14: colors
Apple iPhone 14: sample photo
Apple iPhone 14: sample photo

Pricecompare

10th – Samsung Galaxy S22+

Samsung Galaxy S22+
Samsung Galaxy S22+

The Samsung Galaxy S22+, like the Galaxy S22, features a triple camera consisting of a 50 MP wide-angle lens along with an optical image stabilizer as the main camera. The in-house camera sensor ISOCELL GN3 produces appealing photos with natural-looking colors, high contrasts and many details. However, as is typical for Samsung, the camera software sometimes tends to oversaturate pictures. Even in low light, the main camera of the Galaxy S22 Plus shoots good and detailed pictures.

Samsung's Galaxy S22+ is a successful upper-class smartphone paired with a very bright AMOLED panel.

Samsung also puts together a very good overall package with the Galaxy S22+ apart from the cameras. In our review, it convinces with its great build quality, a very good feel and strong performance as well as the great AMOLED screen.

The device can be purchased directly through Samsung. Amazon US also lists the Galaxy S22+ (Snapdragon, Phantom black color) for $739.

Samsung Galaxy S22+: focus
Samsung Galaxy S22+: focus
Samsung Galaxy S22+: colors
Samsung Galaxy S22+: colors
Samsung Galaxy S22+: sample photo
Samsung Galaxy S22+: sample photo

Pricecompare

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Mike Wobker (Update: 2022-12-14)