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.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL

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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

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Buy now from the Google Store

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

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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 32GB 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, 4GB 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, 577ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm, 152g

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,600mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm, 157g

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Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7
Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Huawei Mate 9

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Huawei has done a great job at making its way to the mainstream over the past few years – first with the Huawei P9, and now with the Mate 9.

With a big 5.9-inch display, powerful Kirin 960 processor, dual-SIM capabilities, and an impressive camera setup, the Mate 9 may be one of the best big phones of the year. While its display is ‘only’ 1080p and its software is a bit odd sometimes, we still think the high price tag is worth it.

Plus, the Mate 9 has an exceptional camera. Huawei’s partnership with Leica continues with the Mate 9 sporting a new and improved second generation dual camera setup. Much like the one in the Huawei P9, the camera is centred around a Leica-branded dual camera, with a 12MP RGB sensor supplemented by a 20MP monochrome sensor. Both sensors are behind lenses with f/2.2 aperture and the RGB sensor also sports Optical Image Stabilization for additional stability in photos and videos.

Image quality from the Mate 9’s dual camera array has been impressive. In daylight, you get images that are crisp, full of detail with colors that are more realistic (and less saturated) than those captured by the Galaxy S7 Edge or Pixel XL.

Huawei’s camera app means Pro mode is just a tap away and offers settings to adjust the exposure, ISO and focal point to take stunning photos. The camera app is rather straight forward to use, with options for flash, wide aperture and filters found in the viewfinder.

One of the biggest improvements in the Mate 9 camera is in low light performance, with the Mate 9 now capable of taking low light pictures that are on par with the Galaxy S7 Edge. However, while low light shots are vastly improved, the Mate 9 does struggle with slight movement in low-light, with OIS proving less effective than in other flagship devices. Overall, the camera on the Mate 9 certainly doesn’t disappoint and it seems to be on par with other Android flagships. It’s not perfect – no phone is after all – but the Mate 9 takes gorgeous photos that you’ll be proud to share. Of course, there’s still a lot you should know about the Mate 9’s camera. For more info, head here.

If you’re after a smartphone that offers exceptional battery life and incredible performance, the standard Mate 9 delivers in spades. If money is no object and you want a smartphone that is unattainable to most customers, the Porsche Design Mate 9 might be worth your while.

Specs

  • 5.9-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 373ppi
  • Octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 20 and 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm, 190g

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Buy now from Amazon

LG V20

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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

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Buy now from Amazon

OnePlus 3T

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We weren’t expecting OnePlus to release another new flagship in 2016, but it happened. If you were a fan of the OnePlus 3, you’ll certainly love the OnePlus 3T.

With its powerful Snapdragon 821 processor backed by 6GB of RAM, the 3T absolutely flies through web browsing, gaming and most other everyday tasks. It also has a bigger battery this time around (3,400mAh to be exact), which is more than enough to get you through a full day of use on a single charge. In addition, the 3T sports a dual-SIM card slot, plenty of on-board storage, and a fast front-facing fingerprint sensor on the front.

The OnePlus 3T also has one of the best smartphone cameras around. It sports a 16MP rear-facing sensor that excels in most lighting conditions. Photos are crisp and well detailed, and we really like the color reproduction the photos have to offer. You get nice, natural looking colors, and the images are sharp enough, but without looking oversharpened and artificial. If you do want some extra sharpening, the HQ mode is available, which adds a fairly noticeable amount of sharpening to the photos. However, the images looked fine in most situations, though we rarely had to use this feature.

The default camera app is pretty similar to the Google Camera, with many of the same modes to be found here, including Timelapse, Slow motion, and Panorama. The only exception is that manual controls are available if you are looking to dial in the setting yourself, but it is otherwise a very nicely laid out and easy to use camera application.

For more information on the OnePlus 3T’s camera, head here.

Basically the OnePlus 3T is a better OnePlus 3, and we’re certainly not complaining. You can buy it from OnePlus’ website in Gunmetal and Soft Gold color options.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch Optic AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
  • 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 16MP rear camera, 16MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,400mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm, 158g

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Buy now from OnePlus

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

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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 2,600mAh 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 3,500mAh 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

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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