These are the cameras you've looked for — and at.
We're increasingly using our phones to take photos more than any other single function, and 2018 saw some big increases in the quality and flexibility of smartphone photography. But it was the Huawei Mate 20 Pro that, with its incredible resolution and sharpness, along with its flexibility, that took the crown this year.
The Best Android Phone Camera
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Wide, telephoto, and everything in between.
On specs alone, the Mate 20 Pro would be a great camera, but Huawei has added a bunch of AI-based special sauce that gives everything from food to flower to low-light shots an edge over the competition. The Mate 20 Pro revels in its multi-faceted approach to photography; this thing can do everything. Not only is its primary sensor a whopping 40 megapixels, but there are wide-angle and telephoto options to fall back on should you need a unique shot. Plus great portraits and a robust Pro mode, the Mate 20 Pro can do it all.
Why we picked the Mate 20 Pro as the Best Android Camera Phone of 2018
Huawei's Mate 20 Pro approaches smartphone photography from every conceivable angle: you can take it out of your pocket and take great shots in Auto mode, sure, but with a bit of time and experimentation you can do so much more, too. With three rear cameras of varying focal lengths, plus a wealth of AI-enhanced features from an excellent Night Mode to capable portraits, the Mate 20 Pro is the utility knife that always stays sharp.
The Chinese company has been working for years to achieve this success, and it's finally paying off in the Mate 20 Pro. You could see glimpses of it with the P20 Pro, which introduced many of the features you see here, but the Mate 20 Pro substitutes that phone's monochrome sensor for a wide-angle one, allowing shots from 0.6x all the way to 5x with no appreciable photo degradation. To put that in perspective, it's like having a point-and-shoot camera with a lens that goes from 18mm to 70mm — except that there are no moving parts and they all work in tandem with the phone's Kirin processor to make everything seamless.
Huawei's achievement here can't be overstated: the phone delivers outstanding photos in almost every condition. It picks up gobs of light when the sun goes down; it takes portrait photos with great edge detection; and its wide-angle photos convey the scope of a landscape scene better while maintaining fantastic dynamic range. Even its Master AI mode, which was overbearing on the P20 Pro, has been toned down, so instead of oversaturating grass and over-contrasting food, it adds just enough of the right qualities to make them better.
While it's hard to find the Mate 20 Pro in the U.S., it's a phone that can and should be appreciated, and will serve as notice to other companies to step up their photography game.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
A tried and true camera system from Samsung.
There's a reason the Galaxy Note 9 is our
The easy choice
Google Pixel 3 + 3 XL
The easiest way to take the best photos, again and again.
There's simply no way to overlook Google's achievement in computational photography with the Pixel 3, from Top Shot to Night Sight to taking a top-notch photo at night, Google's 2018 flagship can do no wrong — on the front and back.
This year was a great one for smartphone photography. You can buy a $230
Our phone of the year, the
At the same time, Huawei did a lot with a lot. It stuffed the largest possible mobile camera sensor into its phone, gave it two companion lenses at different focal lengths, and used an abundance of AI and machine learning to eke as much detail as possible from every photo. The