For now, the Galaxy S7 reigns supreme. Its 12-megapixel dual-pixel sensor is a first in smartphones, enabling superfast autofocus so you never miss a shot. Large 1.4-micron pixels and a wide f/1.7 aperture let in more light than before for bright, vivid and sharp photos especially in low-light conditions.
Samsung’s superior camera isn’t limited to the S7 and S7 Edge. You’ll also find it in the Samsung Galaxy S7 Active, which offers the same photographic prowess but with a shatterproof screen.
For those looking for a bit of extra reach, the iPhone 7 Plus is a clear winner thanks to its clever dual rear camera setup. By adding a camera with a f/2.8 56mm zoom lens in addition to the standard iPhone 7 camera, the Plus provides a true 2x optical zoom unlike other phones which have to resort to digital enhancement.
Google's new Pixel is also a strong pick, especially for people who want fantastic high-dynamic range. The Pixel and Pixel XL's HDR+ mode makes is easy to tackle shots where you want to have good exposure on both the foreground and background, such as landscapes on a sunny day, and unlike the older Nexus 6P, the Pixel's HDR processing is almost completely lag-free.
On the other hand, if you want a camera made for shooting video, the LG V20 is the phone you want. It's 16-MP rear camera has built-in optical image stabilization for shake-free clips, and some of the best manual controls around. It even has three high-gain mics to make capturing clear audio in challenging environments even easier.
Also check out cheaper options like the Honor 8, whose dual shooters deliver very good image quality for just $399.
Seasonal Buying Advice: Unless you desperately need a new phone right now, Android phone buyers may want to hold off upgrading for another couple months. Sony, LG and other major phone makers are expected to announce new flagship phones at Mobile World Congress which starts Feb. 27. If you wait until after the event, you'll be able to decide if you want to pick up one of the upcoming handsets, or are willing to go with something older, and save money by taking advantage of discounts as companies try to clear space for new inventory.
How We Test Phone Cameras
We put the market's leading handsets through a variety of common shooting situations, such as landscapes, portraits and selfies in daylight and at night.
Then, we analyzed each set of images on a color-calibrated monitor to see which smartphone had the best combination of color accuracy, clarity and contrast. The Galaxy S7 Edge stood out for its superior performance both in daylight and low light, but more so for its ability to swiftly focus on subjects.
In each of our smartphone reviews, we also factor in the phone's camera performance by testing it in bright, indoor and low-light conditions, as well as by recording and analyzing video clips.
Check out all of our top picks below.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Active By Carrier: AT&T
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