Sat. May 18th, 2024


Looking to up your photo game? A new, camera-focused smartphone will do wonders for your social media pictures. These are the best Android camera phones that will make sunsets sparkle, food look irresistible, and nighttime landscapes dazzle.


UPDATE: 11/01/2023

We’ve reviewed our recommendations and have replaced our picks for the best for video, best in low light, and best overall Android camera phones you can buy.

What to Look For in an Android Camera Phone in 2023

If you’re looking for an Android smartphone with a great camera, there are a lot of factors to consider when making the purchase. Many companies try to distract customers with gimmicky features and specs that look good on paper, but they don’t tell the full story.

Take megapixels, for example. While they can increase the resolution of your photos, unless features like post-processing and color reproduction are good, you’ll wonder what went wrong with the unimpressive image or video you just captured.

Companies like Google have taken the software route with their cameras. The search giant’s smartphone line relies on advanced algorithms to produce flagship-quality photographs, and Pixel phones are well-known for their high-quality pictures.

On the other hand, the actual camera hardware is also important. You can have the best smartphone camera software on the market, but if the sensor isn’t capable enough, you’ll hit the ceiling in terms of versatility and quality sooner than you might expect.

With so many different ways to implement a smartphone camera, it’s our job to break them all down and highlight the best ones. Below, we’ve listed a handful of phones that excel in their respective categories and offer the best balance of hardware and software.

How Did We Research

Models Evaluated

Hours Researched

Reviews Analyzed

18

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How-To Geek’s product recommendations come from the same team of experts that have helped people fix their gadgets over one billion times. We only recommend the best products based on our research and expertise. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product. Read More »

Fingerprint smudges on the Google Pixel 8 Pro camera bump
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

Pros

Cons

Great camera

Mediocre battery life

Vibrant display

Expensive

Google AI helps with a variety of tasks

Google Tensor G3

The latest flagship from Google, the Pixel 8 Pro, gets just about everything right. It’s a bit pricey and doesn’t have the best battery life, but if you’re seeking an Android smartphone with a high-end camera, the Pixel 8 Pro is a great fit.

Its triple-camera system includes a wide lens, ultrawide lens, and telephoto lens, allowing you to capture all sorts of images. And thanks to a massive 6.7-inch display with up to 2400 nits of brightness, you can see exactly what you’re capturing before snapping your shot. The display also benefits from a 120Hz refresh rate, which makes operating the phone buttery smooth whether you’re shooting photos or scrolling through the news.

Other standout features include Google AI that helps optimize your photos, the fast Tensor G3 chip, and a sleek design that’ll make you want to walk around without a case. It’s quite expensive, starting at $999, but no doubt it’s a great all-around camera phone for Android users.

pixel 8pro
Google

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Best Android Camera Phone Overall

The Google Pixel 8 Pro includes the search giant’s latest CPU, the Tensor G3, is among the best smartphone cameras on the market, and has some of the best AI-powered features.

Best Budget Android Camera Phone: Google Pixel 7a

Person using the Google Pixel 7a's cameras
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

Pros

Cons

Fantastic camera for the price

$50 more expensive than the previous model

Excellent performance

Cheap-feeling build quality

Upgraded display with 90Hz refresh rate

Wireless charging support

In previous years, the A-series Pixel phones from Google were essentially the runner-up, as the Pixel 6a was to the Pixel 6. That has changed rather dramatically with the latest versions of these phones. If your main interest is the camera, the Google Pixel 7a might even be a better buy than the standard Pixel 7.

On the rear, the Pixel 7a features a 64MP, f/1.89 wide lens and a 13MP, f/2.2 ultra-wide lens. While the Pixel 7 has a larger sensor, which could theoretically allow for better image capture, the megapixel counts are smaller at 50MP and 12MP, respectively. The ultra-wide lens is also a wider angle on the 7a.

Similarly, while the front lens is 13MP, f/2.2 on the Pixel 7a, it’s 10.8MP, f/2.2 on the Pixel 7. While previously, the A-series phones shared the same processor as the main numbered series, the processors were slightly worse spec-wise. That’s no longer the case, with the Pixel 7 and 7a sharing a Google Tensor G2 chipset and 8GB RAM.

The Pixel 6a was stuck with a 60Hz refresh rate, while the 6 featured a smoother 90Hz refresh rate. While the Pixel 7a’s 6.1-inch screen is smaller than the 6.3-inch screen found on the 7, both now support 90Hz refresh rates, though the Pixel 7a is set to 60Hz by default.

Unlike the Pixel 7, which is available with 128GB or 256GB of storage, the 7a is limited to 128GB. The Google Pixel 7a is available in Charcoal, Sea, and Snow color varieties.

pixel 7a
Google

Google Pixel 7a

Best Budget Android Camera Phone

While the Google Pixel 7a doesn’t feature the same image sensor as the Pixel 7, the cameras have higher megapixel counts and wider angle lenses, which makes this a great camera phone for the price.

Person holding the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with the screen being displayed
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

Pros

Cons

Upgraded 200MP main camera

Downgraded 12MP front camera

Five total cameras

Samsung’s camera software isn’t great

Two zoom lenses

Expensive

Beastly specs

If you want a phone with everything you could possibly want from cameras, look no further than the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Like the previous Ultra model, it has five total cameras—four of them on the back—including a 200MP main camera.

Joining that massive 200MP main camera is a 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x telephoto, and 10MP 10x telephoto. There is one camera downgrade, though. The S23 Ultra’s front camera has been bumped down to 12MP from 40MP. Despite the downgrade in megapixels, Samsung claims selfies look better than ever, thanks to software improvements.

There are two telephoto lenses, so you don’t lose quality when zooming in. You can zoom in 3x or 10x without using digital zoom, essentially just cropping a photo. New this year is the ability to combine 16 pixels into one larger pixel, which results in brighter and more detailed photos in challenging lighting conditions.

Beyond cameras, the S23 Ultra is a beast of a phone in every facet. It has a massive 6.8-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, up to 12GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, and a 5,000mAh battery. All of these high-end features will cost you around $1,200 or more. It’s not cheap, but this is as premium as you’ll get.

Galaxy s23 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Best Premium Android Camera Phone

$1180 $1380 Save $200

If you want great cameras, great performance, and money is no object, the S23 Ultra is the phone for you. This high-end flagship has five powerful cameras to take the best shots.

Best Android Camera Phone in Low Light: Google Pixel 8

Close up of the two rear camera sensors on the back of the Google Pixel 8
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

Pros

Cons

Great price

Display isn’t as vibrant as Pixel 8 Pro

Impressive camera

Average battery life

Sleek design

Captures great pictures in low-light

The Google Pixel 8 shares a lot of the same DNA as the Pixel 8 Pro, so it should come as no surprise that it’s a great camera phone. It lacks a telephoto lens, but it keeps the Tensor G3 chip and 120Hz display while also shedding a few bucks from its price tag.

The main 50 MP camera is 21% more light-sensitive than the outgoing Pixel 7, allowing you to capture incredible images even when the sun goes down. Google also managed to make autofocus work faster in low-light settings than before—so you won’t be sitting around for several seconds as it tries to process what it’s seeing.

You’ll also benefit from a 6.2-inch display that makes the phone more portable than its larger sibling, even if it’s not quite as vibrant as the 6.7-inch display of the Pixel 8 Pro. You’ll also likely need to plug the phone in every night, as most people will only get just about a full day of use before needing a recharge. Beyond those small caveats, however, the Pixel 8 is a great Android camera phone at a great price.

pixel 8
Google

Google Pixel 8

Best Android Camera Phone in Low Light

Built with Pixel’s most advanced chip and Google AI to help you do more effortlessly. Its cameras are also great at capturing high-quality images even in poorly light environments.

Best Android Camera Phone for Selfies: Samsung Galaxy S23

Person holding the back of the Samsung Galaxy S23+ in Green
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

Pros

Cons

Excellent Portrait Mode software

Misses some high-end features from the Ultra

Great size

Same performance as the Ultra

Four total cameras

Selfies can sometimes be more about software than megapixels. Google is typically the king of camera software, but Samsung has the edge in this department. We already highlighted the Galaxy S23 Ultra, so let’s look at the smaller Samsung Galaxy S23.

What makes Samsung better than Google at selfies? It’s all about Portrait Mode. Samsung really nails the Portrait Mode feature. It’s incredibly good at knowing which parts of the photo should be blurred and which shouldn’t, even down to strands of hair. On top of that, Samsung upgraded the front camera from 10MP to 12MP.

Beyond cameras, the Galaxy S23 has a nice 6.1-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, and a 3,900mAh battery.

Regarding rear cameras, you’re getting a 50MP main camera, 10MP 3x telephoto, and 12MP ultrawide on the back of the device. It’s a very comparable camera setup to the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but it’s missing one extra zoom lens. Still, having a telephoto and ultrawide lens opens up a lot of photo possibilities.

galaxy s23

Samsung Galaxy S23

Best Android Selfie Phone

$725 $800 Save $75

Samsung’s latest flagship phone strikes a nice balance between price and function. The Portrait Mode software is perfect for selfies. You’ll also get a beautiful display, fantastic cameras, and top-notch Samsung support.

Xperia
Sony

The Xperia 1 V on a stylized background.

Pros

Cons

Tons of camera customization options

Incredibly expensive

Premium design and materials

Not as popular as its rivals

Headphone jack

It may not be as well-known as other smartphones, but the Xperia 1 V is an impressive device. Along with a sleek design, you’ll find a list of premium features, including the ability to record 4K video.

Filming in 4K is just the start, as the Xperia 1 V also benefits from great low-light footage capture, enhanced AI for improved image quality, and cinematic color expression with its S-Cinetone technology. Other useful features include built-in live streaming, Videography Pro for tons of customization options, and a gorgeous OLED display that makes it easy to see what you’re filming.

Aside from its filming chops, Sony packed the Xperia 1 V with tons of other great hardware. Inside you’ll find a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile processor for blazing-fast interactions, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus for a durable display, and support for 5G networks.

All these features don’t come cheap, with the smartphone clocking in at a staggering $1,400. That makes it more expensive than popular models from Google and Samsung. But if you’re after a high-quality suite of cameras that are great at recording video, it deserves a closer look.

Sony Xperia 1 V
Sony

Sony Xperia 1 V

Best Android Video Phone

$1300 $1400 Save $100

The Sony Xperia 1 V isn’t the most popular smartphone on the block, but it offers a remarkable camera that can capture 4K footage. It also benefits from a suite of customization options to help you pull off the perfect shot.

FAQ

How do you back up an Android phone?

You can use the Google One app to back up your Android. If you need help, check out our in-depth guide on how to back up and restore Android.

How do you get pictures off your Android phone?

You can connect your Android phone to your PC to move pictures to a new device. Alternatively, you can email them to yourself and access the files from another device.

Can an Android phone replace a standalone camera?

An Android phone can replace a budget camera, but no smartphone can come close to the skills of a DSLR.

How can I find my lost Android phone?

There are several ways to find a lost Android phone, including using the “Find My Phone” feature. For more details, check out our guide on how to find your lost Android phone.



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By John P.

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