In recent years, smartphones have effectively replaced point-and-shoot cameras, and many have even outperformed them. For many of us, these portable computers have even become our main camera, making photo quality a priority when picking a new smartphone.

Are you looking to get a new phone? In this post we put together a list of the very best camera phones out there. These are all stunning performers, but there are different factors that put them on this list. Some are better in some ways, but not in others. Let’s just go through the list and find out which one is the right one for you!

Editor’s note: We will be updating this list regularly as new devices launch.
Update, December 2016: We made no changes to our list this month.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are here, and they truly are some amazing smartphones.

Not only are they the first phones to ship with the Google Assistant on board, they also come with plenty of exclusive software features.

Under the hood, they sport some killer specs, too. Both devices have an AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, plenty of on-board storage and long-lasting batteries. The overall design of these phones may not be the most unique, but they do feel like premium phones through and through.

The Pixel and Pixel XL also have some of the best cameras in existenceUnsurprisingly, these devices really shine in daylight. Images are very sharp and full of detail, which is especially true when shooting in HDR+ mode. Plus, the Google Camera app on these phones is super fast, and it’s especially easy to access it with a quick double-tap of the power button. The app doesn’t have any manual controls, but that doesn’t stop these cameras from really shining.

The cameras also continue to deliver in low-light scenarios, although there are a few downsides when shooting in minimal lighting conditions. For starters, the lack of OIS stands out here, though the cameras do offer electronic image stabilization to help keep images clear.

To learn more about the Pixel and Pixel XL’s cameras, head here.

There are a few things about these phones that will turn some people away, though. For starters, they only sport an IP53 rating for dust and water resistance, meaning they’re not nearly as waterproof as the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. There are ways around that, but none that will make the devices truly waterproof. Plus, if you buy the Verizon model, you’ll have to deal with a small amount of bloatware (though you will be able to uninstall it), you won’t be able to unlock the bootloader, and Verizon will be handling all Pixel and Pixel XL software updates (though the company swears it won’t delay them).

If you’re in the market for a new flagship Android phone and don’t mind spending over $650, you should buy the Pixel or Pixel XL… these are two of the best Android phones out there.

Specs

Google Pixel

  • 5.0-inch AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.3MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,770mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6mm, 143g

Google Pixel XL

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.3MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,450mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6mm, 168g

Read more

Buy now from the Google Store

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

As we mentioned in our Galaxy Note 7 entry, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have some of the best Android smartphone cameras out there. They feature 12MP dual-pixel rear camera sensors with an f/1.7 aperture, optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus and an LED flash. The end result is a camera with noticeably faster autofocus over competing flagship smartphones, especially in low light.

To read more about these two devices’ cameras, see our full reviews here and here.

Now let’s talk about the other things the S7 and S7 Edge do well. These devices have now made their way to the masses, and they fix many of the problems the S6 line introduced last year. While they don’t offer removable batteries, Samsung included expandable storage on both handsets in case the 32 GB of on-board storage isn’t enough. Samsung mostly stuck to the same design this time around, though they did shrink down the camera bumps on the back and made the devices a little thicker to make room for larger batteries.

In terms of specs, these are top-of-the-line smartphones. They come with Quad HD Super AMOLED displays, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processors, 4 GB of RAM and run the latest version of Android. Instead of featuring the same screen sizes this time around though, Samsung kept the S7 at a smaller 5.1 inches, while the S7 Edge has been bumped up to a larger 5.5-inch panel.

Seriously, these are some incredible smartphones. They are a little pricey, but all in all, we think the high asking price is worth it.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S7

  • 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 577 ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200 GB
  • 12 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm, 152 g

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534 ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200 GB
  • 12 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3600 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm, 157 g

Read more

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7
Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

LG V20

The V20 is basically the phone for power users. It has a a big Quad HD display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor, plenty of RAM and on-board storage, and a removable 3,200mAh battery. Of course, the unique Second Screen makes a return this year, along with the addition of Quad DAC, military standard durability, and it’s already running Android 7.0 Nougat.

The V20 also sports a dual camera setup on the back, with a 16MP main sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and OIS coupled with an 8MP wide-angle sensor with an f/2.4 aperture. It may not sound like much, but the wide-angle lens on the V20 really stands out here, and works perfectly in a variety of situations. Not only can you fit more into the frame at one time, but the wide-angle sensor helps make photos appear much more dynamic.

LG’s camera app is packed with features, especially when it comes to manual controls for photos and video. You have granular control over every aspect, including white balance, ISO, exposure, shutter speed, and focus, just as you would on a DSLR. One of the most useful additions to the camera is that it now has built-in focus peaking which makes it a lot easier to tell if your subject is in focus, and if you are a content creator, you will know exactly how useful focus peaking can be.

There are plenty of other details that you’ll want to check out in our full review, so head to this link to learn more about the V20’s camera.

If top-of-the-line specs and an impressive feature set is what you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with the V20.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch IPS LCD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 513ppi
    • Secondary display: 2.1-inch IPS LCD display with 160 x 1040 resolution, 513 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 16 and 8MP rear cameras, 5MP front camera
  • Removable 3,200mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6mm, 174g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

While the Moto Z and Moto Z Force have their differences, they do have some of the best smartphone cameras around. The Z Force sports a 21MP shooter and the Z proper has a 13MP sensor, though they both come with f/1.8 lenses, OIS, laser autofocus, and 5MP front-facing cameras. Now, if you could choose one of these devices just on camera alone, go with the Z Force; it has a higher megapixel count. While that normally doesn’t matter too much when comparing smartphone cameras, you will see a noticeable difference when cropping photos. Both devices do a great job in both bright and low lighting conditions and their camera apps are very easy to use, making the cameras on the Moto Z fantastic pocket photography companions.

To learn more about the Moto Z and Moto Z Force cameras, head here.

As for the overall design, features and under-the-hood specs, Motorola (well, Lenovo actually) is doing something different with their flagship phones this year. Instead of releasing just one flagship under the Moto X moniker, they’ve decided to release two new smartphones that do things a bit out of the ordinary. The Moto Z and Moto Z Force not only bring flagship-level specs, but also support for modules.

These modules, called Moto Mods, attach to the back of both phones via magnets. There are only a few available right now, but they actually bring some handy features to the phones. You can purchase an external battery module, a powerful speaker, and even a projector!

They both have killer specs, too. Both devices come with a 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, plenty of on-board storage, expandable memory, and run Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. You might be wondering – what’s the difference between these two phones? The standard Moto Z is super thin at only 5.2mm in thickness, but it only comes with a 2600mAh battery. The Moto Z Force is thicker, has a 3500mAh battery, and also has a shatterproof display.

These aren’t the cheapest phones on the market, but they’re certainly some of the best.

Specs

Moto Z

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 535ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 13MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2600mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 153.3 x 75.3 x 5.2mm, 136g

Moto Z Force

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 535ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 21MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3500mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 155.9 x 75.8 x 7mm, 163g

Read more

Buy the Moto Z from Verizon
Buy the Moto Z Force from Verizon

HTC 10

HTC needed a saving grace this year, and the 10 just may be it. The Taiwanese company finally designed a phone that’s different enough from its predecessor yet still sports a familiar design language. With an all-metal chassis, front-mounted fingerprint sensor and a new-and-improved speaker setup, the HTC 10 easily made its way to our best Android phones list.

HTC has never had a good reputation in the camera business, but that’s changing now. The company is now prioritizing pixel size over megapixel count, and as a result, we get a camera with a 12 Ultrapixel sensor with 1.55 micron pixel size, in addition to an f/1.8 aperture. Overall, the HTC 10 has a great rear-facing cameras. It performs will in both well-lit and low-light settings, and colors are accurately depicted in most situations. Plus, if you’re a selfie lover, you’ll be happy to hear that the 10’s 5MP front-facing camera with OIS is one of the best for taking selfies.

To learn more about the HTC 10’s camera, head here.

Under the hood, the 10 comes with some killer specs. A 5.2-inch Quad HD display, Snapdragon 820 processor and 4 GB of RAM are in line with most other flagships this year, and it also comes with expandable storage up to 200 GB and a 3000 mAh battery that will have no problems lasting an entire day on a single charge.

All in all, the HTC 10 is an awesome device. Great specs and a solid build quality are what you’ll get here… what more could you ask for?

Specs

  • 5.2-inch Super LCD5 display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 565 ppi
  • 2.15 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 32/64 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200 GB
  • 12 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000 mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 145.9 x 71.9 x 9 mm, 161 g

Read more

Buy now from HTC

LG G5

Traditionally, LG has offered a single camera array in its flagship devices, but that changed with the V10 and stuck around for the G5. The LG G5 has a dual-camera setup on the back, comprised of a 16MP sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and a second 8MP sensor with an f/2.4 aperture and wide-angle 135-degree view. It delivers sharp images with excellent amounts of detail, and, like past devices, the camera is definitely one of the best in the business.

To learn more about the LG G5’s camera, head here.

While the Galaxy S7 series is a minor refresh in terms of design, the LG G5 sees a massive departure from the design language used in the G series, ditching the rear volume/power setup that first debuted with the LG G2. The G5 also adopts a unibody metallic design that has a removable cap for access to the removable battery and a port for modules that allow users to expand the phone’s capabilities by adding a camera grip and other special accessories.

The distinctly different design of the LG G5 may not be for everyone, but there’s little denying that LG has went out of its way to try and innovate in a market where big changes like this aren’t all that common.

Spec wise, we’re looking at a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with 4 GB RAM, a 5.3-inch display, and 32 GB storage with microSD for expansion. The specs here are certainly impressive all across the board. It’s also worth mentioning that LG has revamped its software, making it faster and less bloated. One controversial move with the software, however, is the removal of the app drawer in favor of what LG says is a “simplified experience.”

Specs

  • 5.3-inch IPS LCD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 554 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200 GB
  • 16 and 8 MP dual rear cameras, 8 MP front camera
  • Removable 2800 mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7 mm, 159 g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

There you have it – our picks of the best Android camera phones you can buy right now. Missed anything? Tell us in the comments!

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