The old adage of "the best camera is the one you have with you" is still true.
Phone cameras come in all shapes and sizes, and everyone has a preference. Increasingly, dual cameras have spiced up the features of our favorite phones, adding telephoto, wide-angle and monochrome options for just the right moment.
When it comes to the Android Central team, we all have our favorites. Here are our favorite phone cameras right now, and why.
This is a tough one because there are so many great smartphone cameras out there right now and each one has specific strengths for specific situations. But if I had to pick just one, based on the camera experience alone, it'd be the LG G6 right now.
The main camera can absolutely hang with the best of 'em in terms of photo quality and speed, but the real thing that puts it over the top is that secondary wide-angle camera. It takes such a unique shot and gives you a new perspective to show off that you don't see anywhere else. Every time I use another phone I wish it had a wide-angle camera, and I think that shows just how much I like what the G6 offers.
While the Galaxy S8 is my daily driver right now for a couple of different reasons, the camera on the Pixel stands out as my favorite still. That camera has surprised me more times than any other phone camera I have ever used, especially when I go to view the photos later on a larger screen. The depth captured by HDR+ is exceptional, especially in low light.
I'm still happy I have that S8 camera close by when I want to take something fast, but there have been multiple occasions where I've taken a photo on this phone and wished I had brought the Pixel with me instead on that particular outing.
I love the camera on the Galaxy S8. It's the camera's reliability that won me over more than anything else: no matter the situation, you're guaranteed to get a decent shot the first time around. That makes all the difference in the world when you're trying to take a photo of a fleeting moment. Samsung also put in a lot of effort into its camera app, and the slow-motion mode is particularly interesting.
The one issue I have with the S8 camera is that the quick launch feature — which lets you open the camera by double pressing the power button — is disabled on the Indian variant. Samsung instead added a panic button that calls emergency services once you press the power button three times in quick succession.
I have significantly less experience with most Android cameras than my colleagues, but I am in possession of a Google Pixel and a Samsung Galaxy S8, which are two of the best cameras on the Android market right now. The Google Pixel is my daily driver, and I am in love with that special kind of stabilization magic it works, but if I need the absolute best photo I can get, I'm reaching for the S8.
The Galaxy S8's photos have truer colors, is quicker to focus and more importantly, better keeps focus while I'm fumbling around trying to get pictures for my articles. I'm not sure if it's just that I love the immersive camera app that Samsung uses, or that I seem to get faster, richer photos when I reach for the S8, but even though I can't carry the S8 everywhere, I still reach for it as a camera when I can.
I've spent a decent amount of time messing around with arguably the best Android smartphone cameras: the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Google Pixel. Throughout the summer I swapped between the two as I checked out music festivals, took pictures of my food for Instagram, and took a ton of cat photos (yes, I'm quite comfortable being a cliche millennial.)
Both cameras are amazing and were quick and easy to use in nearly every situation, yet I always find myself coming back to the Pixel in the end. I think it just comes down to Google offering a slightly cleaner interface with less bells and whistles — pretty sure I've only ever accidentally used Samsung's Snapchat copycat filters. Oh, and also Google lets you backup all your photos at full-resolution to Google Drive for no charge. Nearly forgot that bit.
There's just something about shooting with the Galaxy S8 that I love. It doesn't always capture the very best photo in a given lighting situation, but it captures the near-best photo most of the time, and to my eyes, that's preferable to a camera that captures, say, amazing low-light photos but isn't always reliable all other times.
I also love that Samsung has put so much work into its camera app: it opens quickly, snaps instantly, and most importantly, generally makes the right decision for shutter speed and exposure, which isn't something I can take for granted on other devices. It's also got a pretty fantastic manual mode should I want it, and the stabilized video, while not quite at Pixel levels, does a great job.
This is a tough call. I think the HTC U11 takes some incredible photos and the phone itself is easier for me to hold without fingers or hair or anything else ending up in front of the lens. But I think the Pixel takes incredible photos and as a bonus, I can automatically upload them all at full resolution and quality to Google Photos without it cutting into my storage space.
The newest phones from Samsung, LG, HTC, and Google all take really nice pictures. Nice enough for just about anyone. But the extras count, too. Taking a picture is supposed to be fun and easy and If I'm picking just one I'll go with the U11. It just gets the job done the way I like it done. I can get a great picture just by tapping the button, or I can dig into the settings if I like. Both give excellent results.