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 Edge. You’ll also find it in the bigger-screen Galaxy S7 Edge. And if you want something that's tough and rugged, Samsung's Galaxy S7 Active offers the same photographic prowess but with a shatterproof screen.
Editors’ Note: The Galaxy Note 7 has the same great camera as the Galaxy S7 but we aren’t recommending this phablet until Samsung resumes sales following a safety-related recall.
With a new 36mm f/1.8 lens, Apple has made big improvements on the iPhone 7's rear camera. However based on our head-to-head comparisons, we found that photos from the iPhone 7 couldn't quite match the sharpness and level of detail we saw in pictures from Samsung's Galaxy S7.
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.
If you’re not wedded to Apple or Samsung, LG G5's second wide-angle camera enables stunning landscape photography, and its regular 16-MP shooter is solid, earning the device a spot on this list. Also check out cheaper options like the Honor 8, whose dual shooters deliver very good image quality for just $399.
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