Best smartphone camera
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Best smartphone camera

Shortlist:

  • Apple iPhone XS
  • Google Pixel 3
  • Huawei Mate 20 Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy S9+
  • Sony Xperia XZ3

Runner up: Google Pixel 3

The Pixel 3 is the first smartphone camera to truly rival traditional dedicated cameras, surpassing 1"-type and rivaling cameras with Four Thirds sensors in 'Night Sight' mode.* It does this by improving upon the Pixel 2's already class-leading HDR+ multi-frame fusion technique, now capturing even more frames and merging them using a super resolution algorithm to extract more detail, reduce noise, and remove the need for demosaicing. A new learning-based white balance approach in this mode also renders pleasing colors even in challenging light.

Portrait Mode has been improved using machine learning to understand a variety of depth cues, rendering the most pleasing subject isolation and blur of any smartphone we've tested. 'Synthetic fill flash' uses learning-based segmentation to identify and re-light faces. 'Top Shot' captures perfect moments you may have missed before hitting the shutter button. The Pixel 3 outputs Raw, but these Raw files have image quality that far surpasses what you'd expect from such a small sensor, since they're the result of stacking and merging up to 15 rapidly captured frames. To sum up: it's the best smartphone camera for stills we've ever seen.

Read more about the Google Pixel 3


*Despite the name, you can use Night Sight mode any time of day to get its benefits, with the only downside being a positive shutter lag.