Best camera phones 2024 - buyer’s guide

GSMArena team, Last updated 13 April 2024.

Last updated: April 13, 2024 (Changelog)

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 highest image quality of the time.

Google Pixels may have lost their edge in computational photography but we still have one to recommend if you're after that Pixel look. Xiaomi and Oppo have made great strides in the camera field too and often offer unusual hardware that delivers outstanding image quality. Finally, there's also a camera phone to get if you're on a budget - non-flagships can take nice pictures too.


Editors' choice

Xiaomi 14 Ultra

Xiaomi 14 Ultra

Specs
  • Thoroughly great four-50MP camera system, flawless image quality
  • Particularly great video recording
  • Unique accessory package (if optional and not exactly cheap)
  • Impressive Dolby Vision display
  • Superb charging speed
  • Top-class performance under sustained load
  • It is finally a global phone
  • Battery life is below average
  • Selfie camera takes average quality stills, lacks AF

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is one of the best cameraphones in 2024. A favorite cameraphone in the office, the 13 Ultra didn't leave a lot to ask for, yet Xiaomi did find a few areas to touch up for the 14. Close-focusing telephotos have become the latest trend, and the two ones here are possibly the finest at that, but also excel at a distance. The variable aperture on the main camera is also welcome if you'd like that much control over DoF, though we don't see that as quite the transformational development.

An unrivaled selling point of the 14 Ultra is the Photography kit. Realizing its appeal and its potential to drive Ultra sales, Xiaomi has continued to develop the contraption and add features to it. Indeed, it adds further cost to an already expensive phone, but the two combined will get you as close to a 'real' camera as a smartphone can in ergonomics and experience.

The new Ultra is a global phone, finally! It is also a nearly perfect flagship, one that's so easy to love. Its unique design is beautiful and we do appreciate the ingress protection. Then there is one of the best displays in the industry - a 1440p LTPO OLED with 12-bit color depth, dynamic 120Hz refresh, and Dolby Vision support.

Then there is the most current Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset with class-leading performance. The Xiaomi 14 Ultra also has excellent thermal handling and offers great sustained performance, We certainly cannot praise the battery life (it’s an average one), but we can praise the the charging speed. Kudos for including the 120W charger in the box, too, as this has become a rare thing lately. We also liked the speakers' loudness and quality.

In the end, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra is quite probably the finest camera with a phone attached to it that you can buy today.

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Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

Specs
  • 'Best iPhone ever'
  • Four flagship cameras, LiDAR scanner
  • Excellent photo quality, 24MP is an option
  • Great video quality across the board, Dolby Vison capturing
  • Excellent video stabilization
  • Great selfies
  • Robust build - Titanium frame, Ceramic Shield, IP68 and then some
  • Large 120Hz Dolby Vision OLED, even if notched
  • Top-notch battery life
  • Class-leading speaker quality
  • The GPU throttles down to 50% of its max performance under load
  • No charger, no headphones in the box
  • Not the fastest to charge
  • Apple iOS is not for everyone

Apple has significantly improved its camera this year with the new iPhone 15 Pro Max and we believe it is among the best phones for photography on the go right now. It delivers superb photo and video quality across the board, its 2x zoomed prowess is great and it has some neat features like Dolby Vision and Cinematic video capturing, ProRAW, cool automation like auto portraits and auto night mode.

One of the biggest improvements targets videographers and will go under the radar for the masses. We are talking about capturing 4K60 ProRes videos straight onto an external SSD drive or memory card, which might open use cases and workflows that have never been possible before.

Also, this is the best iPhone ever made, you know. It has a stunning design, an outstanding display, great performance, impressive speakers, pro-grade cameras with a consistently good photo and class-leading video quality, long battery life and likable if weird iOS.

Overall, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is one of the most versatile and consistently good and reliable smartphone for still and video photography out there. It is a point and shoot device, but it also allows for professional capturing and massive prost processing potential.

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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Specs
  • Camera system as versatile as ever thanks to an even more useful telephoto and overall improved processing
  • Traditional Note form factor, still premium as ever
  • Tougher materials and build all around, the titanium frame is nice to the touch, the target audience will likely appreciate the return to a flat screen
  • The new display glass offers an improved viewing experience, and the display itself is plenty bright
  • Battery life is towards the top of the class; charging is faster than Pixels or iPhones
  • The S Pen is just as unique a proposition in 2024 as it has been for years
  • Exciting One UI with plenty of AI, DeX support, and great connectivity options
  • Charging speed is still behind the curve; the phone is picky about adapters, and the bundled cable is 3A only
  • Illogical image quality disparity between 10x and slightly lower zoom levels

The Galaxy S24 Ultra is not the perfect smartphone, this year we even have a cons section, but it is the one of the most versatile cameraphones on the market right now.

The camera system is mostly a source of satisfaction. The rethinking of the telephoto setup is a forward step that adds another layer of versatility. The rest of the rear modules we'd almost call stale next to what we're seeing from Chinese brands and their impressive hardware, but Samsung has managed to squeeze out such performance out of these otherwise uninspired bits that it doesn't feel like we're getting less than what is right.

And, of course, the Galaxy S24 Ultra remains Samsung's ultimate smartphone, and it's the most complete package you can buy today. Samsung didn't just coast for another year, which we felt was the case with the S23 Ultra. We got more new stuff this time around than we could have predicted. The new materials in the build don't just feel nice; they also improve the visual experience. After years of enjoying the coolness of curved displays, we've now grown up to realize that flat screens have their benefits, and Samsung's now giving us flat screens across the range.

Without much fuss around that subject, the S24 Ultra is one of the longest-lasting Androids you can buy, and even if the big names from China charge three times as fast, the Pixel and the iPhone don't. An always-with-you stylus remains elusive outside of the Samsung flagship, and you may not know you want or need one until you've had one.

Yes, there were display issues. And, yes, the charging speed is far from great. But In the end, Samsung's ultimate smart/camera/phone comes easily recommended.

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For the Pros

Sony Xperia 1 V

Sony Xperia 1 V

Specs
  • Classic design, lightweight, top-notch ingress protection
  • Class-leading grip
  • Excellent 4K 21:9 OLED screen, bright enough, can be color-accurate
  • Great battery life
  • Outstanding front speakers, loud, balanced, rich sound
  • The latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset
  • Great photo quality across all cameras, day and night
  • Dependable video quality, great sound, top-notch stabilization
  • Plenty of professional camera apps
  • 3.5mm jack, microSD expansion, physical camera shutter key
  • No charger and no cable in the box
  • No dynamic refresh rate for the screen
  • No camera macro mode
  • The Night View is more like low-light HDR, which is less than what we expected
  • Still throttles under heavy loads, but it's mostly GPU throttling now
  • The videos processing of the main camera could use some tuning, especially at night

The Sony Xperia 1 V is an excellent smartphone, something we've come to expect from Sony. In addition to the new main camera and upgraded chipset, it also brings improved thermals and Night View for all cameras. There are also thoughtful updates on the design, speaker system, and battery life. And the Xperia 1 V impressed us right out of the box with one of the greatest smartphone designs we've experienced lately - solid, well-protected, lightweight, and with the best grip on the market.

The excellent 4K OLED HDR10 screen is a feast for the eyes. It is color accurate, too, and supports 240Hz touch response and 120 refresh rate, which no longer has to turn off due to overheating like on the Xperia 1 IV! We only wish it had a dynamic refresh rate management.

The cameras offer consistently great photo and video quality, with one of the best processing out there. And, of course, there are unmatched options for tuning if you know what you are doing. We don't consider the zoom system as a decision maker, as the difference between 3.5x and 5.2x magnification is not that groundbreaking. Hopefully Sony will offer longer zoom for its next flagship by working to expand its continuous zoom system.

It's not all great, though. There is no macro mode for the camera, the Night View is nothing that impressive, and the thermal throttling is still here even if it doesn't concern the screen and the camera. The video capturing could use some boost in the detail, too. But even as is, the Sony Xperia 1 V is one of the best smartphones on the market and a pretty unique cameraphone. It is also the only phone intended for creative photographers on the go, which gives it an edge over every other competitor.

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Google Pixel 8 Pro

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Specs
  • Excellent camera hardware and lenses
  • Top-notch photo and video qualit.
  • Android from the source, exclusive feature set, 7 years of software support
  • Spectacularly bright display, but also sharp, color-accurate, and with a competent adaptive refresh rate
  • Some neat Google AI tricks
  • Battery life is not competitive
  • Some software features are limited to certain countries

The Pixel 8 Pro brings an updated camera system, an impressive display, a new and improved chipset, the promise of 7 years of software support, and an unexpected design. The bread and butter of Pixel phones has been their camera, and the 8 Pro has no shortage of improvements in that field. Key among those is the ultrawide on the back, which gets a new, larger sensor, while the main camera and the telephoto get revamped optics. It may not sound like a lot, but evolutionary steps can mean a lot when they add up.

With the Pixel 8 Pro Google has made strides to address a host of the complaints we had about the previous generation. No longer is the selfie camera a hit-and-miss affair, and the new ultrawide is also miles better than before. And the telephoto has been improved too. So, with both flanks of an already great main camera now covered, the normally excellent cameraphone is now somehow even better!

The brand-new display is now up there with the leading efforts in the industry - not that the old one was bad, it's just that this Super Actua panel is more deserving of high praise, than a simple 'yeah, that's good enough'. Similarly, the already stellar software support gets promoted to best-in-business - we'll see how quickly Google will forget about that 7-year promise, but right now, it sounds really nice.

Overall, the Pixel 8 Pro offers impressive photo and video quality across the board and if you prefer the vanilla Android experience and Google’s AI tricks, you should give this one a try.

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OnePlus 12

OnePlus 12

Specs
  • Universally great stills camera performance from the rear cameras, particularly good in low light
  • Selfies are better than most
  • Superb video stabilization
  • Excellent display, with Dolby Vision too
  • Great battery life, super-fast charging, wireless option is back
  • IP65 rating when submersion-grade IP68 is the prevalent spec in the high-end segment
  • Daylight video quality somewhat unimpressive

Excellence on the fundamentals should go without saying, after all we’ve out the phone on this list exactly for this. Even in this context, however, the OP12 is among the better ones in terms of battery life, charges faster than just about anything else mainstream, and has a display that does more HDR than a lot of competitors.

Sure, we're not quite fond of the 12's video output during the day, though we're almost convinced that the spectacular stabilization makes up for shortcomings elsewhere. Selfies are also unusually good, but more important, we feel, is the overall great stills performance from all rear cameras in all conditions.

In the end, the OnePlus 12 makes it quite easy for us. It's so great in many ways, especially in the camera department, and only has small-ish missteps in just a couple of areas - that sounds like grounds for a recommendation.

Read full review

Most affordable

Xiaomi 13T Pro

Xiaomi 13T Pro

Specs
  • Outstanding photo quality from all rear cameras
  • Outstanding video quality from all rear cameras
  • Superb OLED, 12-bit color depth, color accurate, 144Hz, Dolby Vision
  • Very good battery life, incredibly fast charging
  • Flagship-grade performance and stability
  • The selfie camera is disappointing
  • A 3x optical zoom camera would have been better than 2x

The Xiaomi 13T Pro is among the best phones you can get for €600. It delivers on every single promise and has plenty of flagship-grade, class-leading features. The new IP68-rated design, especially the one with the vegan leather back, is classy and stunning.

The Leica cooperation must be paying off, as all rear cameras deliver outstanding photo and video quality day and night with natural-looking and balanced output. We have no complaints from the video stabilization, too.

The 13T Pro impresses with one of the best OLED screens in the industry that is jam-packed with premium features, and it can also brag with the smallest punch hole. Furthermore, the Xiaomi 13T Pro employs one of the fastest chipsets on the smartphone market, which delivers excellent performance and stability across the board.

The only real setback we encountered on the Xiaomi 13T Pro was the selfie camera. It is a 20MP Quad-Bayer shooter that is just an insult to any cameraphone, let alone one developer with Leica. Its photo and video quality are quite average, too. Some might have hope for longer optical zoom, but we guess that will come with the Xiaomi 14 phones.

Long story short - the Xiaomi 13T Pro is one of the best phones right now, with top-notch hardware, exceptional execution across the board and a promising future.

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Most recent updates

April 13, 2024: Replaced the Xiaomi 13T Pro with the Xiaomi 14 Ultra (new top). Replaced the Galaxy S23 Ultra with the S24 Ultra. Replaced the OnePlus Open with the OnePlus 12. Removed the Honor Magic5 Pro, Huawei P60 Pro and the Tecno Camon 20 Premier.

November 3, 2023: Replaced the iPhone 14 Pro Max with the iPhone 15 Pro Max, also new top. Replaced the Google Pixel 7 Pro with the Pixel 8 Pro. Added the Xiaomi 13T Pro and the OnePlus Open. Removed the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, Pixel 7, Xiaomi 12 Lite.

October 17, 2023: Added the Tecno Camon 20 Premier.

May 18, 2023: Added the Xiaomi 13 Ultra. Replaced the Sony Xperia 1 IV with the Sony Xperia 1 V. Replaced the Huawei Mate 50 Pro with the Huawei P60 Pro.

March 2023: Replaced the Galaxy S22 Ultra with the Galaxy S23 Ultra (new top). Replaced the Xiaomi 12S Ultra with Xiaomi 13 Pro. Replaced the vivo X80 Pro with the vivo X90 Pro. Replaced the Huawei P50 Pro with the Huawei Mate 50 Pro. Added Honor Magic5 Pro and vivo V27 Pro (as India Special). Removed the Xiaomi 12 Pro and Oppo Reno7.

November 10 2022: Added the Xiaomi 12 Lite as an affordable option.

November 1 2022: Replaced the iPhone 13 Pro Max with the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Replaced the Pixel 6 Po with the Pixel 7 Pro. Added Pixel 7 and Huawei P50 Pro. Removed the Oppo Find X5 Pro.

July 20, 2022: Added the Xiaomi 12S Ultra as a niche option.

June 29, 2022: Replaced the Galaxy S21 Ultra with the Galaxy S22 Ultra (new top). Replaced the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra with the Xiaomi 12 Pro. Replaced the vivo X70 Pro with the vivo X80 Pro. Added Oppo Find X5 Pro, Oppo Find X5 Lite/Reno 7 5G, Sony Xperia 1 IV. Removed the OnePlus 8 Pro, Zenfone 7 Pro, Realme 8 Pro, Pixel 5a 5G.

November 5, 2021: Added Google Pixel 6 Pro and vivo X70 Pro+. Removed the Oppo Find X3 Pro.

October 20, 2021: Replaced the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max with the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max. Replaced the Pixel 4a 5G with the Pixel 5a 5G.

May 10, 2021: Replaced the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra with the Mi 11 Ultra as our Editor's choice. Replaced the Realme 7 Pro with the 8 Pro. Removed the Huawei P30 Pro (now 2 years old and hard to find), the Mi Note 10 (old and hard to find), and Mi 10 Ultra (local to China and now replaced by the 11 Ultra).

Feb 16, 2021: Replaced the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra with the Galaxy S21 Ultra as our Editor's choice.

Jan 05, 2021: Replaced the Realme 6 Pro with Realme 7 Pro.

Nov 27, 2020: Replaced the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra with the Galaxy Note20 Ultra as our Editor's choice. Replaced Apple iPhone 11 Pro with 12 Pro Max. Replaced OnePlus 7T Pro with OnePlus 8 Pro. Replaced the Pixel 4 XL with Pixel 4a 5G as the former is no longer on sale. Added the Zenfone 7 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, and Huawei P40 Pro.


Best phones by category

Reader comments

where is the vivo x100 ultra in the advices? there is no mention at all... even if is not globally spread... but everyone can buy from every place... at least an honorable mention??? Easy to use with the play store... the 99.99% can use with thei...

  • Dave X
  • 22 Jun 2024
  • Nu6

The Tecno Camon 30 premier is a good idea

  • Dave X
  • 22 Jun 2024
  • Nu6

I suggest GSMArena add the Tecno Camon 30 premier. It has everything it takes to be in this list