Our most recent lab tests show that your mobile is capable of taking some great pictures. The latest models can even outperform some compact cameras from big names like Canon, Nikon and Fujifilm. So what phone should you get if you want to save on buying a standard point-and-click camera?
From the iPhone 5s to Nokia’s Lumia 1020, we’ve rounded up the top five camera phones available. Read on to find out which handset will give you the best snaps.
Smartphone reviews – all the latest handsets rated
LG G3 – best for autofocus
Phone-based cameras are best used for point-and-shoot snaps, meaning they need a quick autofocus (AF) to take accurate photos. LG’s G3 is especially well-suited to this thanks to its laser-guided AF, which uses a laser beam to calculate the distance between the 13-megapixel camera and its subject. Sadly for sci-fi fans, this beam is entirely invisible – so it’s not like you’re carrying around a smartphone phaser.
As for the camera’s actual photos, they’re sharp and well-saturated with colour. It’s easy to take a shareable shot.
Read how the LG G3 fared in our first look hands-on with the flagship phone.
Nokia Lumia 1020 – best for quality
The Lumia 1020’s 41-megapixel sensor is its main selling point, allowing you to take super-detailed shots on your mobile. The sensor is particularly handy in low light conditions with the phone picking out a lot more detail than rivals like the iPhone 5s. For those who still like a photo for their mantelpiece, the Lumia 1020 usefully produces two images when you take a photo – a low res image for sharing and high res alternative that you can print out and frame.
As good as the Lumia’s photographic functions are, they can be difficult to find and use. Plus, it can’t print wirelessly.
Read our full Nokia Lumia 1020 review to find out how the battery life, screen quality and other key features measure up.
iPhones 5s – best for flash
One way of improving a phone’s performance in low light is to make sure the flash works well. too much white light from the flash will ‘wash out’ the faces of those you’re trying to photograph – a common smartphone complaint. Apple’s iPhone 5s nimbly navigates this problem with its dual-LED flash, which helps give a better colour balance for shots. Combined with quality image processing software, you’ll generally get a good photo from the iPhone 5s.
Unfortunately, this 8Mp camera’s digital zoom lacks finesse – so you quickly lose detail when cropping into shots.
Read the iPhone 5s review to see how it stacks up against the competition.
Sony Xperia Z2 – best for 4K
The 4K TV explosion kicked off in earnest at this year’s CES with Sony and Samsung both launching sets designed to display Ultra HD video. Since there’s so little content available for viewers to watch, it’s no wonder that Sony gifted the Xperia Z2 with 4K video abilities. This means you can relive those home movies in unsparing detail.
As for the Z2’s 20.7Mp camera, it’s pretty much the same as what was offered by last year’s Z1. Despite this high megapixel count, the Z1 failed to take a great photo – you can find out whether the Z2’s camera remedies the situation in our full review.
Samsung Galaxy S5 – best for speed
When you want to capture a memorable moment on camera, speed is often of the essence. Step up the Samsung’s Galaxy S5, which claims to be able to take a photo in just 0.3-seconds – focusing in on your subjects in double-quick time. The 16Mp camera is also an improvement over the 13Mp sensor on its predecessor, the Galaxy S4.
That said, the Galaxy S4 didn’t quite match the iPhone 5s and Lumia 1020 in taking a good photo. You can see if Samsung’s new flagship phone has improved on its predecessor in our full Galaxy S5 review.