For many people, the photo part is very important when choosing a new phone. Which ones are doing best? Here is our selection of the best photophones.
THE BEST SMARTPHONES FOR PHOTOGRAPHY: THE TOP 3
HUAWEI P30 PRO
- A quadruple sensor always on top
- The rest of the features are as follows
- He still has Google services
SAMSUNG GALAXY S20 ULTRA
- A complete and very versatile photo module…
- …and even a 100x digital zoom…
- This is a very (very) high-end phone by the way.
GOOGLE PIXEL 3A
- Always the best photophone around 350 euros
- The wonders of Google image processing
- A nice phone somewhere else.
From a simple way to quickly immortalize moments to real alternatives to buying an SLR, photography has improved enormously in recent years on smartphones. Today, the majority of terminals have at least two photo sensors, but beware: a large number of sensors does not necessarily mean great photo quality, only better versatility (ultra-wide-angle, telephoto, macro, depth of field for portrait modes).
In this selection, you will find only the best phones of the moment in photos, which will allow you to take excellent pictures in most situations.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S20 ULTRA
The best in pictures
The Galaxy S20 Ultra is Samsung’s newest and most advanced terminal on the market. It offers unsurprisingly high-end features such as a 6.9-inch 120 Hz Amoled screen, the most powerful processor on the market, or water resistance and a worked design. That being said, Samsung is putting a lot of effort into the photo part that makes the S20 Ultra the best photophone today. Quite simply.
In truth, it is not so much the intrinsic quality of the images that makes the S20 Ultra make the strongest impression. The images are of course of excellent quality in all situations, a few rare defects, rather software-related are sometimes to be noted, nothing more, but what makes the S20 Ultra so interesting is the versatility offered by the photo module. It consists of four sensors: a 108-megapixel main sensor, a 12 MP ultra-wide-angle sensor, a 48 MP telephoto 4x sensor and a ToF sensor.
he most interesting is the telephoto that allows a 100x hybrid zoom. This is simply impressive, even if at this zoom level the shots won’t be perfect, the shots are still usable up to 30x. A new technique of pixel binning on the 108 MP sensors, at a rate of 9 pixels for 1, for images in 12 megapixels thus. In short, the S20 Ultra impresses, so it’s currently the best option for photo enthusiasts.
Of course, the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 also remain legitimate options, especially if you’re on a tighter budget. Last year, they offered a very good photo experience. This is still the case today.
GOOGLE PIXEL 4 XL
The Google Pixel 4 XL benefits from the same photo configuration as its little brother the Pixel 4. However, the autonomy of the latter is too limited for us to recommend it, so we recommend that you turn to the larger model instead.
You will benefit from Google’s excellent know-how in terms of artificial intelligence. The Mountain View company has further improved the recipe of its AI to offer an absolutely incredible image quality. Thanks to them, the Pixel 4 XL comes out like its predecessor with the congratulations of the jury on the photo part.
This is the first generation of Pixel smartphone to take advantage of a dual sensor of 12.2 megapixels for the main and 16 megapixels for the x2 telephoto lens. This duo is able to cope with any situation, no matter how difficult it is. The Pixel 4 XL is arguably the best photophone on the market and pays tribute to its lineage.
APPLE IPHONE 11 PRO
The best at Apple
Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro brings major changes to the camera compared to its predecessor. It has more photo sensors that allow it to be more versatile in terms of shooting. So you can have fun taking classic snapshots, 2x zoom images and ultra-wide angle shots.
This last option is probably the best surprise of the iPhone 11 Pro, as it allows it to finally be at the level of Android devices that have been offering this feature for some time.
Overall, the renderings offered by the iPhone 11 Pro’s camera are really very balanced and manage to preserve a very natural look. The night mode is also particularly convincing, and Apple has added a touch of learning machine with Deep Fusion, which reduces the overall noise of the photos. Those who love large screens can also opt for the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which offers the same photo quality. To find out more, you can read our full iPhone 11 Pro test.
HUAWEI P30 PRO
The old glory
The Mate 30 Pro has been there, but in the absence of Google’s services, we still recommend the Huawei P30 Pro which remains a photo reference. With its triple sensor module 40 + 20 + 8 megapixels, accompanied by a ToF (Time of Flight) sensor to evaluate depth and distance, the early 2019 flagship of the Chinese manufacturer manages to perfect the already very good solution of its predecessor.
Whatever the environment (day/night/indoor/outdoor), the shots are always pretty with beautiful bright colours. In addition, it offers a highly effective ultra-wide-angle mode, an impressive 10x hybrid zoom and the best Portrait mode of the moment. The 32-megapixel front sensor delivers a convincing result with a level of detail that is very much appreciated for a selfies camera.
Smartphone premium obliges, it has obviously other assets under its shell, in particular its AMOLED screen of 6,47 inches, its high performances with the Kirin 980 chip and its autonomy out of the common run with its battery of 4 200 mAh (compatible fast charge, wireless and reverse wireless).
GOOGLE PIXEL 3A
The cheaper option
At the Google I/O 2019 conference, the Mountain View firm unveiled two affordable variations of its 2018 flagships. Called Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, these new smartphones promise one thing (aside from their attractive price): a photo experience worthy of the most premium models.
To achieve this, they keep the same 12.2 megapixel sensor as their predecessors and even incorporate Dual Pixel technology for better autofocus and effective portrait mode. So yes, they don’t have the power of the Snapdragon 845 or the Pixel Visual Core – a dedicated image processing chip – but the pictures are impressive. In short, Pixel quality is there.
As for the rest of the features, there’s an OLED display (5.6-inch for the 3a and 6-inch for the 3a XL), a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 SoC, 4GB of RAM, quick charge compatibility, as well as a 3.5mm jack socket and 64GB of storage capacity. The main difference is the battery life. The classic model comes with a 2,915 mAh battery, while the XL version is equipped with a 3,700 mAh battery.
WHAT ARE THE SMARTPHONE BRANDS RECOGNIZED IN PICTURES?
Over the years, several brands have stood out in the photo. The first is Huawei and for several years now each new top-of-the-range model has brought a striking innovation to the photo. Samsung, which designs its own sensors, is generally a reference in photography as well. Finally, we should not forget Apple and Google who offer excellent quality photos thanks to particularly careful software processing.
CAN WE FIND CHEAP PHOTO SMARTPHONES?
Generally speaking, this is not the case. As quality photo blocks are expensive, it is difficult to find good photophones at a low price. If this is a key criterion for you, you’ll have to turn to high-end smartphones, even if it means saving money for a longer period of time. All things considered, however, it can happen that entry-level terminals can achieve the right results. So we usually offer a cheap product in our selection of the best smartphones for photography.
APERTURE AND MEGAPIXELS, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Smartphone photo sensors are generally defined by two main elements: megapixels (MP) and aperture, expressed as f-stop and written as f/n. The former expresses the number of pixels that make up the matrix that receives the light. The more megapixels there are, the larger and more defined the image is. However, the higher the number of megapixels, the better the quality.
The aperture is a ratio between the focal length and the diameter of the diaphragm (or of the entrance lens if there is none). The lower the number, the larger the aperture, and the more light is captured. This is usually an indicator of low-light performance, but it is not sufficient on its own, other parameters come into play.
The choice is yours!