Best Android Camera Android Central 2021
One of the biggest reasons to buy a high-end phone is for the camera. Whether through computational processing or the use of as many lenses as possible, phones are taking good enough photos these days that most people don't even consider a dedicated camera. Luckily, there are plenty of options for people that want effortless point-and-shoot style photography, as well as those who want to go more in-depth or have different needs in a phone beyond the camera. The best Android camera is on the Google Pixel 5 because it's simple to use yet produces amazing photos in all conditions.
- Point and shoot: Google Pixel 5
- Incredibly consistent: Samsung Galaxy S20
- Solid camera, incredible value: OnePlus 8 Pro
- Amazing camera on a budget: Google Pixel 4a
- The best zoom: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- Perfect for video: Sony Xperia 1 II
If you want the very best camera experience you can get on an Android phone, the Pixel 5 is what you need to buy. The 12MP primary and 16MP ultra-wide sensors might not sound all that impressive, but when combined with Google's unmatched image processing, you end up with a phone that takes incredible pictures every time you press the shutter button. Day or night, inside or outside, the Pixel 5 churns out consistently amazing results.
Samsung's phones have always had strong cameras, but the S20 series made a big leap. All-new sensors across the front and back take in more light and produce better photos in all conditions. You still get the potent combination of a main, telephoto, and ultra-wide camera for a variety of shooting styles — allowing for more flexibility than you get with the Pixel 5. Samsung still favors over-saturated colors and smooth faces, but there's no denying the power on offer here.
The OnePlus 8 Pro really upped its game in the camera department, with a great main sensor that rivals the best out there. Its wide-angle and telephoto shooters aren't quite as good, but at the same time, it's also less expensive than phones like the Galaxy S20 despite having the same specs and features (at least when the S20 isn't on sale). This is the best camera system OnePlus has ever made, and it's well worth your attention.
The Pixel 4a makes cuts across the hardware and specs to meet a much lower-than-flagship price, but one area Google didn't skimp on is the camera. This is the exact same camera you get with the more expensive Pixel 5, and the front-facing camera produces the same sort of results as well. If you want access to one of the best cameras around while staying on a budget, you can't do better than the 4a.
Some may argue that the S20 Ultra is the best zoom camera on the market, but if you ask us, the Note 20 Ultra actually delivers the better overall camera experience. The S20 Ultra suffered from endless autofocus issues, but that's not a problem on the Note at all. You can take incredible photos with the Note 20 Ultra, with the star of the show being its zoom capabilities that allow for shots up to 50x.
All of the phones on this list are capable of taking very good video, but if you want to make sure your home movies look as good as can be, the Xperia 1 II comes out ahead as the go-to pick. Offering three cameras and a time-of-flight sensor, the Xperia 1 II has incredibly fast focus speeds, records in 4K HDR, and offers full manual video controls you won't find anywhere else. It takes some time to master, but once you get a feel for it, the potential is unreal.
If we're making some Android camera suggestions
The Google Pixel 5 is the best overall Android camera available, and one of the best Android phones around, based on its fantastic ability to capture beautiful photos in every situation without any tweaking, guessing with settings, or edits after capture. You are getting fewer sensors than other options on this list, but you'll forget all about that when you see the kinds of pictures you can take with the primary and ultra-wide cameras that are present. An intriguing option for budget buyers is the Pixel 4a, which nearly matches the Pixel 5's camera quality for hundreds of dollars less.
The Galaxy S20 is more versatile than the Pixels, with improved zooming, an ultra-wide camera and wide-reaching software that combine to give you more shooting options. It's retail price is much more expensive than the Pixel 5, though, and ultimately doesn't reach the incredible heights of photo quality — and its low light capture, though much improved, isn't as good as what you can get on either Pixel.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.