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    Best camera phones 2020 - buyer�s guide

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    The best camera phones are usually the best phones overall, and you'll mostly find flagships in this category - the likes of the latest Galaxies and iPhones typically deliver the best image quality of the time. Huawei's top dogs have also entered this race in the past couple of years, but as of mid-2019, they do come with caveats when it comes to their software future. Google's Pixel used to be an easy recommendation, but the current, 4th generation has proven to be a letdown.

    So the S20 Ultra packs unique hardware and uses it to deliver some spectacular results. The big sensors give it an advantage in challenging light, whether its photos from the main cam or the telephoto. That telephoto is, indeed, capable of bringing distant subjects closer, but the 4x-5x is where you'd be liking the image quality and 10x is the usability threshold. Not 100x. Video turned out spectacular, particularly so in the dark. The 8K capture capability (you'd best stick to daylight for that) is a welcome addition too even if footage is not quite amazing in quality nor do we know what to do with it at this point.The ultra wide angle cam bugged us more than a little for its lack of autofocus while competitors are now making AF-capable ultra wides that double as 'macro' shooters, but maybe the Note20 will address that.All in all, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is an easy pick for the Best camera phone award. For a money-is-no-object type of consumer, that is.Read full reviewIt doesn't stop there, however, as the Mi Note 10 was the first phone with not one but two telephoto cameras, offering 2x and 5x magnification. On top of that, its ultra wide-angle cam has AF capability - it's only recently that makers are starting to catch up on that. And then there's an extra module just for close-ups - just 2MP, admittedly, but useful still.Mind you, our raving about the Mi Note 10's camera prowess mostly applies to still images - we're not as excited about the video quality, which exhibits different flaws in different modes and resolutions. We're also still standing behind our expectation that selfie cameras should have autofocus too, and the Mi Note 10's doesn't. The (upper-)midrange chipset may not be an issue if you only care about cameras and that's okay, but back when we were reviewing it, we couldn't help but wonder if a top-end SoC could have helped with video or the occasional stutters when processing 108MP shots. We finally got our answer with the release of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G, which has the same camera hardware but comes with a flagship Snapdragon 865 and the corresponding high-end image signal processor. Besides the improved processing capabilities, the chipset has also enabled 8K video recording. Unfortunately, this phone is twice as expensive and has essentially the same imaging hardware, so it's hard to recommend for its cameras alone.Read full reviewTaking Smart HDR a notch up, Apple's Deep Fusion in stills makes for even better images than the already excellent output from before the iOS 13.2 update. Now, we're not so thrilled about the generally muted color output, but that's Apple's way of doing things.Some other beefs we have with the iPhone include the lack of autofocus on the selfie cam and the ultra wide. Then there's the 2x optical zoom, bested by quite a few competing offerings by now. All in all, though, the iPhone remains one of the most competent camera phones around.Read full reviewIt's a little above the mainstream, the 7T Pro. It's got a 3x zoom telephoto, which may be shorter than the 5x periscopes that came out his season, but it still reaches further than a Galaxy Note10 or an iPhone 11 Pro. The 7T Pro's ultra wide angle cam has autofocus, adding close-ups to the list of things the OP can do and the Galaxy and the iPhone can't. The OP from last year can't focus with its selfie cam, but that's because it's a thin elevating pop-up module that leaves the display notchless, so it's a worthy trade-off.Read full reviewThe P30 Pro, as most Huaweis until the P40 Pro, isn't quite as capable in video recording, though. Additionally, last year's Pro is missing autofocus on the selfie shooter. But at half the price of a P40 Pro we figure the tradeoffs are well worth it. Plus, the P30 Pro comes from a time when Huawei phones still had proper Google backing.Read full reviewOn top of that, Google's trump card of computational photography which made the Pixel unique, is no longer exclusive - everyone does image stacking and night modes now.Read full reviewNot always the case on Huaweis, the P40 Pro can also shoot excellent video - that is, if you stay away from the 4K60 mode, which is a letdown. Stabilization in 30fps modes is top-notch, though.The reason we have some reservations about recommending this phone whole-heartedly is the lack of Google services integration. Sure, it doesn't have to do anything with camera performance, but as things stand, we feel this phone is not for everyone. This is also one of the reasons why we still keep the Huawei P30 Pro on this recommendation list as well.Read full reviewBut there's more - the Realme 6 Pro has not one but two front facing cameras. Next to the main 16MP shooter, there's a wider 8MP unit for group shots or to lend more context to your selfies. Where's the wide selfie cam of the Galaxy S20 Ultra or the Huawei P40 Pro, we ask?Read full review

    Editors' choice Video turned out spectacular, particularly so in the dark. The 8K capture capability (you'd best stick to daylight for that) is a welcome addition too even if footage is not quite amazing in quality nor do we know what to do with it at this point.The ultra wide angle cam bugged us more than a little for its lack of autofocus while competitors are now making AF-capable ultra wides that double as 'macro' shooters, but maybe the Note20 will address that.All in all, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is an easy pick for the Best camera phone award. For a money-is-no-object type of consumer, that is.Read full reviewMind you, our raving about the Mi Note 10's camera prowess mostly applies to still images - we're not as excited about the video quality, which exhibits different flaws in different modes and resolutions. We're also still standing behind our expectation that selfie cameras should have autofocus too, and the Mi Note 10's doesn't. The (upper-)midrange chipset may not be an issue if you only care about cameras and that's okay, but back when we were reviewing it, we couldn't help but wonder if a top-end SoC could have helped with video or the occasional stutters when processing 108MP shots. We finally got our answer with the release of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G, which has the same camera hardware but comes with a flagship Snapdragon 865 and the corresponding high-end image signal processor. Besides the improved processing capabilities, the chipset has also enabled 8K video recording. Unfortunately, this phone is twice as expensive and has essentially the same imaging hardware, so it's hard to recommend for its cameras alone.Read full reviewSome other beefs we have with the iPhone include the lack of autofocus on the selfie cam and the ultra wide. Then there's the 2x optical zoom, bested by quite a few competing offerings by now. All in all, though, the iPhone remains one of the most competent camera phones around.Read full reviewRead full reviewRead full reviewRead full reviewThe reason we have some reservations about recommending this phone whole-heartedly is the lack of Google services integration. Sure, it doesn't have to do anything with camera performance, but as things stand, we feel this phone is not for everyone. This is also one of the reasons why we still keep the Huawei P30 Pro on this recommendation list as well.Read full reviewRead full review

    But there's more - the Realme 6 Pro has not one but two front facing cameras. Next to the main 16MP shooter, there's a wider 8MP unit for group shots or to lend more context to your selfies. Where's the wide selfie cam of the Galaxy S20 Ultra or the Huawei P40 Pro, we ask?

     


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