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The Best Camera Phones For Every Budget (2021)


Luis Silva - (January 2021)


There was a time that more megapixels meant better picture quality. But that time is long gone.

Then, great photos meant bigger pixel sizes, which implies larger sensors or fewer megapixels.

But on this day and age, manufacturers are trying to give us the best of both worlds: Hundreds of megapixels that (thanks to pixel binning) alternate with bigger pixel sizes (when needed) while keeping sensors small enough to fit on our thin smartphones.

That means one can't guess the picture quality of any phone's camera, just by looking at the number of megapixels or pixel size alone.

Fortunately, there are companies like the DXOMARK IMAGE LABS with specialized state-of-the-art lab equipment, engineers, and expert technicians that test and rate our favorite smartphone cameras, so we can get an overall idea of how they fare against other cameras.

Unfortunately, they don't test every smartphone camera out there, so I've put together an in-house formula that usually gets about the same value, by evaluating every camera's technical detail. That formula analyses sensor and pixel size, number of LED flashes, release date, brand, aperture, optical image stabilization, HDR capabilities, depth sensors, and wide-angle and telephoto (zoom) capabilities.

That formula is regularly tested to make sure that you can trust its results. I usually run it against the smartphones that have a known DxO score, and they never fall above nor below 3 points compared to that score. Nevertheless, you should be aware that some scores aren't from DxO labs.

These top 10 lists are frequently updated. At least once a month.

Last October, they've changed their protocol to include preview image evaluation and trustability.

I had to rewrite my formula, but you can expect the same (or a bit bigger) deviation for high-end cameras, but anything with a score below 100-110 (or 6-7 out of 10) should be taken with a grain of salt.

As soon as they review more cameras, I expect the formula to be more accurate. This is also valid for all cameras tested with the previous protocol. For those that they didn't test, the deviation may be up to twice as much.

If you don't have a budget for smartphones like the ultra-expensive Huawei P40 Pro, don't worry, you can also find the right one for your own budget on one of the other seven top 10 lists.

Phones like the Google Pixel 2 or the Xiaomi Mi 9 are probably good enough for those who aren't looking to spend that much on a new phone.

Then there's the P30 Pro, but at twice the price of the Mi 9, it may be too expensive, despite everything that it adds.

If you also want to know what are the top 10 smartphones with most megapixels, check out the links at the end of this page. There's something there for you.

If you're looking for something else (besides the best camera-phone), each list has another nine alternatives.

Tips: You can click on any phone to check out some of its specs. Prices marked with ! are from renewed/refurbished/carrier-locked phones. You can also find links to Amazon, eBay, Best Buy, and Walmart (and updated prices) in any comparison article.



 Top 10 

  • #5 Samsung

    Gal. S20 FE 4G
    $540    8.6

  • +Pros/-Cons
    +Performance
    +Always-On-Disp.
    +Cameras
    +Battery Life
    +Wireless Charg.
    +Storage
    -Weight
    -3.5mm Jack
    -Price


  • All About The Samsung Gal. S20 FE 4G - Specs, Scores, Rivals, Price, Info, and more


  • Samsung
    Gal. S20 FE 4G
    vs
    Samsung
    Gal. S20 FE 5G
  • #6 Samsung

    Gal. S20 FE 5G
    $589    8.6

  • +Pros/-Cons
    +Performance
    +Always-On-Disp.
    +Cameras
    +Battery Life
    +Wireless Charg.
    -Weight
    -3.5mm Jack
    -Price
    -Glass Protection


  • All About The Samsung Gal. S20 FE 5G - Specs, Scores, Rivals, Price, Info, and more


  • Samsung
    Gal. S20 FE 4G
    vs
    Samsung
    Gal. S20 FE 5G
 Top Camera-phones 



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Top 10 Lists For Every Budget