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Best camera phones 2023: The top choices we’ve tested and reviewed

Trusted Reviews rates and ranks the top smartphones to give our definitive verdict on which phone has the best camera for you.

Looking for the perfect camera phone? You’re in luck! We’ve put together a guide featuring the best smartphones for capturing stunning photos and videos in 2023.

With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which is best for your needs. But fear not, we’ve tested a wide variety of smartphones and compiled a list of our favourite picks to make your decision easier.

Whether you’re a social media influencer looking to capture the perfect TikTok or simply looking to snap everyday moments with friends and family, your smartphone is the perfect device for the job. With your phone always within reach, it’s easy to quickly snap a photo whenever the opportunity arises. And with the countless editing apps available, you can even edit and post your photos and videos without ever leaving your phone.

While camera phones can’t quite match the capabilities of high-end mirrorless or DSLR cameras, they’ve come a long way in recent years. Many modern smartphones now feature multiple sensors, including ultra-wide, telephoto, and macro lenses, allowing you to capture a wide range of shots with ease. Additionally, advanced camera software allows for features like portrait mode and night mode, making it easier than ever to capture stunning photos in any lighting situation.

Don’t think you need to break the bank to get a great camera on your phone, either. While the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra are fantastic options, you can get similar results from mid-range devices if you know where to look.

At Trusted Reviews, we take our reviews seriously, examining every aspect of a smartphone, including design, display, specs, battery, and camera. We use each device as our main phone for at least a week, putting them through rigorous lab and real-world tests. For the camera, we test low-light capabilities, portrait mode, and video quality, ensuring we provide you with the most accurate and useful information possible.

So if you’re in the market for a new camera phone, trust us to guide you towards the best options available.

Scroll down to see all our best camera phones right now, or head over to our best phones guide for a more general overview of the best mobiles on the market.

Best camera phones at a glance

How we test

Learn more about how we test mobile phones

We review a smartphone’s camera based on our experience with it, not a manufacturer’s claims or boasts. We shoot sample images and video in varying conditions to properly test its skills and we include sample images in our review wherever possible. 

If a smartphone has a specific camera setting – a night mode, for example – we’ll test it thoroughly, while always comparing it to what else is on the market.

iPhone 14 Pro

The best for video
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Pros

  • Great screen that gets very bright outdoors
  • Versatile camera system for both photography and videography
  • Always-on display and Dynamic Island are both neat tricks
  • Additional safety features are always welcome

Cons

  • Not the quickest to charge
  • Zoom photography isn’t on the level of the competition
  • Only really a day of battery life

We think the iPhone 14 Pro is the best all-round camera phone. It’s reliable in all conditions, captures the best video out of any other phone on this list, and boasts three distinct cameras for versatility, with each capturing different focal lengths.

However, it’s not actually the best camera phone across every specific area. We much prefer the zoom skills on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, for one thing, as it captures a much clearer overall image when you zoom in to a subject. But that said, when taken as a whole, the iPhone 14 Pro comes out top.

In terms of the overall spec of the camera hardware, the iPhone 14 Pro makes some drastic changes to the formula we’ve been familiar with for a number of years. It’s the first iPhone to move on from the 12-megapixel sensor, switch to a 48MP version for its main wide camera. This works in a similar way to the S23 Ultra and others, binning down images to 12MP but utilising the larger amount pixels. You can shoot 48MP shots if you want, but this is a separate mode.

When compared to the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Oppo Find X5 Pro, the shots from the iPhone are a little more realistic and skins tones feel more natural. There is some minor oversharpening on the iPhone, though for the most part the image processing churns out reliable images.

There’s a dedicated Night Mode for shooting in darker surroundings, and the effects are great, with plenty of detail retained and dark spots kept mostly free of noise. That said, it would still be nice to be able to turn the Night Mode on and off as you please, since with this phone it just bursts into life automatically when the camera can’t pick up enough light. Night Mode is much quicker this year and the 14 Pro is capable of some of the best night shots around.

The excellent results continue when we look at video capture. While it still doesn’t shoot video in the same 8K resolution as the S23 Ultra, the 4K capture we recorded was well-stabilised without looking fake, and packed the same great colour reproduction as the photos. The Cinematic Mode now supports 4K, and there’s a new Action Mode that ups the stabilisation.

On top of the camera itself, you’ll also be treated to good battery life, so you won’t run out of juice on a busy shooting day, and a gorgeous display to view the images back on.

Reviewer: Max Parker 

Full review: iPhone 14 Pro review

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Best for zooming
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Pros

  • 200MP camera delivers in both well-lit and low-light conditions
  • Top-notch performance from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
  • All-day battery life
  • Stunningly detailed 6.8in 120Hz display

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Relatively slow 45W charging
  • Difficult to use one-handed

While all the cameras of Samsung’s top-end Galaxy S23 Ultra are of note, its zooming prowess remains unmatched by the competition. That’s particularly true of the 10x optical zoom, which manages to capture plenty more detail than the digital zoom of the likes of the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Oppo Find X5 Pro which were comparatively blurrier in tests.

There’s also a 3X zoom for portrait photography and Samsung’s famed 100x space zoom that’s particularly well suited to taking photos of the moon – though admittedly not much else.

The main 200-megapixel camera is another big reason to opt for the Galaxy S23 Ultra over the likes of the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Google Pixel 7 Pro. Using 16-in-1 pixel binning tech, the phone manages to capture vibrant, detailed shots in both well-lit and low-light environments, with the latter representing a huge step forward compared to the already-capable S22 Ultra. It’s almost effortless to capture stunning images with the main sensor.

It’s not just hardware either; the camera app comes with a range of shooting modes including an upgraded Expert RAW mode that allows you to capture RAW images at up to 50 megapixels as well as take long-exposure shots of the night sky. It’ll also record 8K video at 30fps at a wider angle than much of the competition, perfect if you’re one of the few people with an 8K TV to show it off on.

Reviewer: Lewis Painter

Full review: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review

Google Pixel 7 Pro

Best for stills
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Pros

  • Excellent camera and loads of clever camera tricks
  • The best version of Android on the market
  • Priced well for the European market

Cons

  • Charging could, and should, be faster
  • Very glossy finish and some odd design elements
  • Not a huge upgrade on the Pixel 6 Pro

If you’re purely wanting a phone camera for stills photography we think the Pixel 7 Pro is the one to go for, just like the Pixel 6 Pro before it.

While it disappoints a bit with video capture and lacks some of the versatility of the iPhone 14 Pro or the S23 Ultra, the beautiful images it captures are rich in detail and vibrancy and are the most pleasing of all the phones on this list. The way it utilises HDR to level out contrast and exposure is fantastic, ensuring photos taken on sunny days really “pop”. We’ve taken hundreds of snaps on the Pixel 7 Pro and very rarely get a dud.

Google’s Night Mode remains strong – though not the quickest to capture – and does a great job at producing bright and detailed images in low light.

The zoom skills of this phone are better than the Oppo Find X5 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro, but can’t compare to the S23 Ultra. Google’s software can only get you so far, and the better zoom hardware on the Samsung just produces clearer images. It’s a similar story too for the ultrawide, which produces adequate images that sit somewhere in the middle in terms of quality.

The Pixel 7 Pro also impressed our reviewer with its numerous camera tricks. Magic Eraser is even better with the Tensor G2 chip, easily removing photobombers from photos.

Reviewer: Max Parker

Full review: Pixel 7 Pro review

Vivo X90 Pro

Best for low-light photography
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Pros

  • Truly impressive low-light photography performance
  • Wonderfully detailed 6.78-inch AMOLED display
  • Charges from flat to full in less than 30 minutes
  • Flagship-level performance

Cons

  • Only available in a vegan leather finish
  • No Dolby Atmos or Dolby Vision support
  • Only 2x optical zoom available

When it comes to low-light photography, the Vivo X90 Pro is undoubtedly the most capable phone on the market right now with some truly stunning low-light results.

That’s largely down to the inclusion of a 1-inch sensor and f/1.75 aperture with its main 50.3MP main camera which allows it to let in much more light than the capable iPhone 14 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, and the results are instantly noticeable.

Low-light images taken on the Vivo X90 Pro boast not only more light than the competition, but decent detail and colour accuracy too.

In fact, Vivo’s claims that it can take images with less than 1 lux rings true in our experience, with the ability to take a photo of a garden at 11pm with nothing more than moonlight and make it look like it was taken on a cloudy day. Some might argue that it’s not true to life, and it’s certainly not, but it’s better to have too much light than not enough in my opinion.

Besides, the night mode is split into two – standard and advanced – that changes the amount of light let into the lens. The former offers something a little more true to life while the latter produces something closer to night vision. You don’t need a tripod either, even when taking snaps of the stars.

It’s not just focused on low light though; the combination of the main 50.3MP sensor, a 12MP ultrawide and a 50MP 2X telephoto lens provides a versatile shooting experience, though the 2X zoom does seem a bit limited compared to most flagships on the market.

Elsewhere, key specs including a top-end Dimensity 9200 chipset, 5000mAh battery with 120W fast charging tech and a pixel-packed 6.78-inch AMOLED display make for a tempting flagship smartphone.

Reviewer: Lewis Painter

Full Review: Vivo X90 Pro review

OnePlus 11

Best flagship alternative
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Pros

  • Stunning 6.7in AMOLED display
  • Solid flagship performance
  • Great rear camera performance
  • All-day battery life

Cons

  • No wireless charging
  • Basic selfie camera setup

The OnePlus 11 is a fantastic all-rounder that hits almost all the points expected of a flagship phone in 2023, including a great display, top-end performance, all-day battery life and a brilliant camera. 

The smartphone has an eye-catching design with a slightly sparkly finish. On the front, there’s a 6.7-inch AMOLED screen with a 2K resolution, 120Hz refresh rate and LTPO 3.0 technology, meaning it can drop as low as 1Hz to save battery life on the always-on display. 

Turn the phone around and you’ll find a triple camera, including a 50-megapixel main sensor, a 48-megapixel ultra-wide sensor and a 32-megapixel telephoto lens. We found that the camera was capable of impressive colour reproduction with 10-bit colour, while HDR helped to tackle bright backlighting. 

Low-light performance is particularly impressive and you can even record video at 8K/24fps, though the rather aggressive crop means that most people will probably want to stick to 4K/60fps. Likewise, the 16-megapixel selfie camera is good enough for calls, but the 1080p limit and lack of autofocus means we’d recommend using the rear camera for video. 

The OnePlus 11 combines the flagship performance of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 with its own OxygenOS Android skin, offering a more user-friendly and intuitive experience than software from other Chinese manufacturers like Vivo’s FunTouchOS and Xiaomi’s MIUI. 

Widgets and music controls can be easily reached with the Shelf feature and the phone comes with four years of OS upgrades, meaning you won’t need to worry about outdated software this time next year. 

The OnePlus 11 also boasts an all-day battery life, and our reviewer was left with around 30% battery at the end of each day. There’s support for speedy 100W fast charging, although wireless charging is sadly nowhere to be found. 

While there are a number of minor ways in which OnePlus could improve this phone, we have no major complaints after testing the OnePlus 11, making it one of the best all-rounders available right now. 

Reviewer: Lewis Painter

Full Review: OnePlus 11 review

Google Pixel 7a

The best value camera phone
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Pros

  • Excellent camera for the price
  • Plenty of upgrades over the Pixel 6a
  • Smart software
  • Some nice colour options

Cons

  • Middling battery life
  • Achingly slow charging

Google’s Pixel line has consistently impressed us with its camera performance since we reviewed the first generation Pixel all the way back in 2016, and it’s not just the flagship phones. The much more affordable A-series has produced some of the best value camera phones in recent years and the Pixel 7a lives up to its predecessors.

The phone features a much better primary camera than the 6a, with a far larger 64MP sensor. It’s powered by the same Google-made Tensor chip, which lets it offer a few Pixel-specific features including Magic Eraser, which enables you to use the AI smarts to remove unwanted photobombers and elements from your photo in the main camera app.

Night photos shot using the excellent Night Sight mode retain excellent contrast and remain noise-free, while the speed at which photos are captured is much faster than on the Pixel 6a. Regular photos look realistic, featuring neutral, accurate colours and remain blissfully free of oversharpening we experience on other phones at this price. This earns it a place in this list as our recommended camera phone for buyers looking for the best value option.

Next to the primary camera there’s a very capable 12MP ultrawide that matches colours well with the main camera and there’s a 13MP selfie camera around the front in a small cutout.

Video maxes out at 4K 60fps and once again our reviewer was impressed, noting how the pleasing colours from the photo capture transferred across to video too.

Our reviewer wasn’t just impressed with the phone’s camera skills but with other areas too. There’s a nice 90Hz display, pleasingly small dimensions and wireless charging.

Reviewer: Max Parker 

Full review: Google Pixel 7a review

Sony Xperia 1 V

Best for pro shooting
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Pros

  • Speedy performance with top-notch internals
  • Brilliant sound with a dedicated headphone jack
  • Superb stamina with multi-day battery life

Cons

  • It’s as expensive as non-folding phones get
  • Bloatware is insulting in a phone this expensive
  • Textured glass back feels a lot like plastic

It wouldn’t be a camera phone chart without an Xperia present, and our top pick of the 2023 bunch is the top-end Sony Xperia 1 V.

Rather than packing in the most pixel-packed sensor or the largest sensor around, Sony has taken a different approach with its Xperia 1 V rear camera offering. The main 52MP Exmor T sensor has a unique two-layer transistor within the CMOS that allows for a big improvement to low-light capabilities while still retaining a fairly slimline camera bump.

That’s flanked by a 12MP ultrawide and a 12MP telephoto lens with an impressive 5.2x optical zoom – ideal for close-ups and portrait photography.

Our reviewer was impressed with the quality of the main lens both in well-lit and low-light environments, with decent colour and detail on offer – and that’s from the standard Android camera app.

And this is where the Xperia 1 V comes into its own; as well as the standard Camera app we all know and love, Sony ships a plethora of pro-level apps focused on photo, video and even audio capture. The pro apps allow for much more granular control over photo and video capture than any other smartphone around right now, with a layout that mimics Sony’s DSLR and video offering for added familiarity for existing fans.

Yes, some of these capture settings can be provided by third-party apps, but it saves you hunting through paid (or ad-filled) camera apps on Google Play.

Camera chops aside, the Xperia 1 V is very much a top-end Sony smartphone with its blocky, angular design, a 4K display and Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 performance. It’s also pretty solid on the battery front. The catch? All that tech comes at a cost, with the Xperia 1 V starting at £1,299/$1,399, making it one of the most expensive phones around right now.

Reviewer: Alan Martin 

Full review: Sony Xperia 1 V review

Xiaomi 13 Ultra

Best for versatility
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Pros

  • Interesting camera-focussed design
  • Huge camera versatility
  • Ticks all the performance and display boxes

Cons

  • Poor front camera
  • Shoddy microphone quality
  • No worldwide release (yet)
  • No worldwide release (yet)

Let’s start with a caveat – while the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is deserving of a place on this list simply because it’s one of the best camera phones our reviewer had ever used, it is a difficult phone to purchase due to the lack of a proper launch outside of China. 

We’d have placed it higher if a wider, more accessible release was available and if this does happen in the future we will evaluate its position again. For now, the only way to get it in places like the UK and the USA is to import it – and there are lots of downsides including software that isn’t fully translated.

But, with that out of the way, let’s get onto the phone itself and there is certainly a lot to like when it comes to the cameras. There are four 50MP sensors on the back, including a primary camera with a variable aperture lens that can switch between f/1.9 and f/4. There are two zoom cameras, plus a very capable ultra wide.

Xiaomi has teamed up with imaging icon Leica, and the German camera brand has helped develop a number of authentic-looking shooting presets for the 13 Ultra. In an attempt to ensure images from this phone are more like those from a mirrorless camera rather than a phone, snaps have a realistic, less saturated look. There are huge amounts of details, excellent dynamic range and seriously impressive bokeh when you’re shooting portraits.

Not all is standout, though. While video recording is good – the microphone is poor, picking up far too much wind distortion. The front selfie camera is also very disappointing, falling below even budget options like the Pixel 7a

The phone is designed to very much mimic traditional cameras in its design. The back has a leather feel, while the camera housing is suitably massive. Some will dislike the look, but our reviewer felt it worked well what the focus of the device being the optics.

There’s also a fantastic OLED display, quick charging and good battery life.

Reviewer: Max Parker 

Full review: Xiaomi 13 Ultra review

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FAQs

What is an optical zoom?

Optical zoom is a camera phone feature that allows you to take images of your subject from afar without allowing the quality to suffer as you might see with digital zoom.

What is a telephoto camera?

Having a telephoto lens on your phone lets you to get very close to your subject without reducing the quality of your image.

What is OIS?

OIS – or optical image stablisation – uses a gyroscope to compensate for shake, keeping your videos stable and your images crisp even in low light.

Specs Comparison

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
AUD RRP
Manufacturer
Screen Size
Storage Capacity
Rear Camera
Front Camera
Video Recording
IP rating
Battery
Wireless charging
Fast Charging
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
Operating System
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Resolution
HDR
Refresh Rate
Ports
Chipset
RAM
Colours
Stated Power

Trusted Reviews test data

You can see all the test data for the smartphones in this list in the below chart.

Geekbench 5 single core
Geekbench 5 multi core
Geekbench 6 single core
Geekbench 6 multi core
sRGB
Adobe RGB
DCI-P3
Max brightness
1 hour video playback (Netflix, HDR)
Battery drain 60-min (music streaming online)
Battery drain 60-min (music streaming offline)
30 minute gaming (intensive)
30 minute gaming (light)
1 hour music streaming (online)
1 hour music streaming (offline)
Time from 0-100% charge
Time from 0-50% charge
30-min recharge (included charger)
15-min recharge (included charger)
30-min recharge (no charger included)
15-min recharge (no charger included)
3D Mark – Wild Life
3D Mark – Wild Life Stress Test
GFXBench – Aztec Ruins
GFXBench – Car Chase

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