If you're looking for the best all-around Android camera that is simple to use but also extremely powerful, look no further than the Google Pixel.

Andrew Martonik Andrew has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at Android Central since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at andrew.martonik@androidcentral.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.

Best overall

Google Pixel

Google pixel

See at Verizon See at Google

Google's new Pixel phone comes out on top when you look at photo quality, overall performance and simplicity of shooting. Interestingly, it does it with what would normally be considered middle-of-the-road camera specs. You get a 12MP sensor and f/2.0 lens without the support OIS (optical image stabilization), but that isn't an issue for the Pixel.

It also has a simple camera interface that doesn't have a ton of features, but makes up for it in terms of overall quality. Just point and shoot, and you're going to get a great photo every single time. Daylight shots are crisp and bright with just the right amount of extra saturation, and low-light shots are surprisingly smooth and lack the extra noise that other phones often introduce.

Add in the extra perk that the Pixel includes unlimited full-resolution photo backup with Google Photos, and it's a truly great smartphone camera.

Bottom line: For the best possible photos from every type of situation, the Pixel is your best choice.

One more thing: For the same camera experience in a larger size with a bigger battery, consider the (more expensive) Google Pixel XL.

Why the Google Pixel is the best

After years of Nexuses with hit-or-miss cameras, Google finally delivered on its promise with the Pixel — and it's doing it with a similar formula we first saw in the Nexus 6P and 5X. You don't get OIS (optical image stabilization), but instead a 12MP sensor with really large pixels that can take in extra light and HDR+ software that does the extra work to bring multiple exposures together.

The results are absolutely fantastic, no matter the shooting situation. As Alex Dobie said in our Pixel review:

Captures are quick, there's plenty of fine detail in a wide variety of lighting conditions, and Google's Auto-HDR+ trickery produces photos with excellent dynamic range in situations where many rivals stumble. Colors are punchy, but not excessively saturated. And even in challenging lighting conditions, such as dark restaurants at night, a good amount of fine detail and color detail is preserved.

The Pixel doesn't offer a ton of shooting modes or lots of tweaking options in the camera interface, but that doesn't really matter — the end result when you press the shutter key matches or beats the competition, and offers amazing consistency from shot to shot. Photos are crisp with just the right amount of punchy color, and when the light is at a minimum it manages to still take smooth shots anyway. It's incredibly impressive what Google was able to do in the Pixel, and the results are to your benefit every time you open the camera.

Best runner-up

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

See at AT&T See at Sprint See at T-Mobile See at Verizon

Samsung launched the Galaxy S7 back in March 2016, and until the Pixel arrived it was the best camera out there. The 12MP resolution gives you plenty of pixels to work with, and the OIS keeps everything clear whether you're taking low-light shots or shooting video on the move.

Just as important as the photo output is how quickly the camera operates. Two presses of the home button launch the camera in less than a second, and photos are taken instantaneously even when shooting in HDR or a tough lighting situation. The camera interface is simple but also powerful if you choose to move to the full Manual mode, which can enable great shots if you want to tweak and use a tripod.

Bottom line: For a nearly compromise-free experience, the Galaxy S7 has a fantastic camera and it's connected to a great phone too.

One more thing: The Galaxy S7 has a 5.1-inch display, but if you want something larger with the same camera, you can consider the 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 edge.

Best for tweaking

LG V20

LG V20

See at T-Mobile See at AT&T

The new LG V20 borrows the same dual-camera setup from the LG G5, but that's not a bad thing. The main 16MP rear camera is capable of taking crisp, well-balanced shots with the support of a bright f/1.8 lens and OIS. Where the V20 looks to stand out is its second rear camera, which is an 8MP sensor with a super wide-angle lens. The wide-angle shooter can be toggled to quickly for awesome and unique shots you don't get on other phones, though the sensor itself is unfortunately just not as good as the main 16MP offering.

Its camera interface isn't quite as simple or fast as Samsung's, but it's not far off. And what you give up in simplicity you gain in manual controls and tweaks. The Manual mode is comprehensive and powerful, and if you're into recording video there's even a Manual video mode that incorporates high-quality microphones for audio and new electronic image stabilization to keep things steady.

Bottom line: For a great camera that has a few extra options to play with, the V20 is worth considering over the Galaxy S7.

One more thing: The V20 is only on sale in some regions right now, with U.S. availability coming soon. If you want one in the States, you'll have to wait a bit longer.

Best on a budget

OnePlus 3

OnePlus 3

See at OnePlus

Everyone wants a great camera in their smartphone, but not everyone can spend the kind of money it takes to get a Galaxy S7 or LG V20. For a much more reasonable $399, the OnePlus 3 has a really solid shooter that's better than the price would suggest. When we compared the OnePlus 3's camera to the Galaxy S7 edge's (which is the same as the GS7), we found the OnePlus 3 to match it in quality in many situations.

You get plenty of resolution here at 16MP, but smaller 1.12-micron pixels that aren't as great in low-light scenes — though the inclusion of a relatively quick f/2.0 lens and OIS help, as does the camera app's HDR processing. The camera app isn't great and can still be a little slow, and you don't get full manual controls, but for a camera that can get the job done and won't break the bank, this is a great choice.

Bottom line: For a really solid camera in a phone that won't break the bank, the OnePlus 3 is a great choice.

One more thing: Remember that the OnePlus 3 is only designed to work on GSM networks, like T-Mobile, AT&T and their MVNO partners.

Conclusion

2016 has produced some great smartphone cameras, and you have a few great choices here. But if you're looking for the absolute best camera across the board, you're going to want the Google Pixel. The Galaxy S7 is a close second, the LG V20 offers tons of options and the OnePlus 3 does well on a budget.

Best overall

Google Pixel

Google pixel

See at Verizon See at Google

Google's new Pixel phone comes out on top when you look at photo quality, overall performance and simplicity of shooting. Interestingly, it does it with what would normally be considered middle-of-the-road camera specs. You get a 12MP sensor and f/2.0 lens without the support OIS (optical image stabilization), but that isn't an issue for the Pixel.

It also has a simple camera interface that doesn't have a ton of features, but makes up for it in terms of overall quality. Just point and shoot, and you're going to get a great photo every single time. Daylight shots are crisp and bright with just the right amount of extra saturation, and low-light shots are surprisingly smooth and lack the extra noise that other phones often introduce.

Add in the extra perk that the Pixel includes unlimited full-resolution photo backup with Google Photos, and it's a truly great smartphone camera.

Bottom line: For the best possible photos from every type of situation, the Pixel is your best choice.

One more thing: For the same camera experience in a larger size with a bigger battery, consider the (more expensive) Google Pixel XL.