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We asked, you told us: One phone takes the best pictures in our shootout

It looks like readers largely agree with our assessment that the Galaxy S21 Ultra reigned supreme.

Published onDecember 24, 2021

Google Pixel 6 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra backs outside
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Our own Rob Triggs held a camera shootout between some of the best flagship phones of 2021, featuring the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, Google Pixel 6 Pro, OnePlus 9 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Sony Xperia 1 III, and Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Rob didn’t crown an outright winner but felt that the Galaxy S21 Ultra had the most consistent and well-rounded smartphone camera experience. We asked readers to choose the phone that took the best pictures in this shootout, and here’s how that vote went.

Overall, which smartphone takes the best pictures?


It turns out that the most popular single pick on this list is the Galaxy S21 Ultra, as 37.5% of polled readers felt that it took the best photos. This largely lines up with Rob’s findings, saying that the phone delivers consistently good photos in terms of HDR, low-light, portraits, and selfies.

In second place was Google’s Pixel 6 Pro, as almost 25% of respondents felt that it took the best pictures. We liked the Pixel’s camera performance too, particularly due to its cheaper price tag compared to Samsung and Xiaomi’s Ultra phones, but lamented aspects like ultrawide shots, low-light snaps, and portraits.

Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro Max was in third place with ~13.6% of the vote and only slightly ahead of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (~13.3%). Rob felt the Apple device was great at portraits and selfies but stumbled when it came to color reproduction and HDR.

The OnePlus 9 Pro (5.75%) and Sony Xperia 1 III (5.25%) landed in fifth and sixth places respectively. We felt that the OnePlus device delivered great low-light shots and ultrawide performance but faltered with zoom and portrait snaps. Meanwhile, we thought the Sony phone disappointed when it came to portraits, selfies, and general consistency.

Either way, it’s interesting to see that Samsung and Google’s phones accounted for over 60% of the tally. So we’d love to see what these companies bring to the table in 2022.


  • duckofdeath: For anyone frequenting tech communities anywhere, this is the reason there is an overflow of spam complaining about the Samsung camera. I own one and it is a frigging beast. I took a bunch of GB of holiday photos from Rome this summer and it just devours any weird light condition and finds a great shot. I’ve never owned a camera, period, that is half as easy to use while consistently producing pretty mind blowing results.
  • Tim Brown: I went through the photos quickly and chose my favorites one for each category without reading much into it. I got Pixel 9, Xiaomi 7, Sony 5, Samsung 3, OnePlus 1. I think I counted correctly. Overall, just my opinion and eyes, I’d say it’s close between the Pixel, Xiaomi and Samsung and I’d be happy with any of these. Sony is just too much $$ and was the most inconsistent, even though it was my top pick in 5 of the scenes. I think the Apple was probably the most consistent, but I was surprised it was never my top pick in any of the shots. Interesting. I would love to see a video shootout.
  • Telespectador: These textures are not detail. Sharpening. Too much by the way.
  • Beardednomad: They all take excellent pictures and you can’t really go wrong with any of them. But overall I’d have to give it to the Xiaomi Mi11 Ultra which should be expected given the hardware but the one that surprised me the most was the OnePlus 9 Pro, I expected that one to get crushed in a test like this.

Thanks for voting in our poll and for leaving a comment. Are you surprised by the poll results?

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