We’ve been taking pictures with our phones for over a decade now, but once upon a time no one would have conceived replacing your regular camera with a phone camera by any means. Nowadays it’s more common to see someone taking a picture with a smartphone than anything else out there, but not all smartphones are created equal in this or any other category for that matter. Generally when you buy a company’s flagship device, you expect a certain level of quality when it comes to the overall experience, but especially the camera quality. Manufacturers make huge strides every year in many different areas of photography quality on their smartphones, and this year has seen a significant bump in the lowest common denominator when it comes to camera quality.
Xiaomi’s Mi 5 takes up the bottom spot in the list in terms of price, retailing for as little as $300 if you’re lucky enough to find it on sale. The OnePlus 3 sits at around $400 with similar specs but an increase in internal storage space and a metal build, while Samsung’s Galaxy S7 retails for around $550 or so. The Galaxy S7 Edge features the same specs as the Galaxy S7 and thus the same results you’ll find here, and ups that baseline price by about $100, and Sony’s Xperia X Performance tops out the flagship market right now at $700. All of these phones are powered by the same Snapdragon 820 SoC inside, meaning the fastest mobile chipset on the market can be had in any of these phones.
Where the big difference comes is not just in camera software, which varies wildly between each of these phones, but also the camera sensors used. Xiaomi and OnePlus each have opted for a 16-megapixel Sony sensor, while Samsung has chosen a unique 12-megapixel Sony sensor with 100% of the pixels being used for Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF). Sony’s Xperia X Performance utilizes their latest 23-megapixel sensor, and the choices you’ll find here all work better under completely different circumstances. Who comes out on top overall though? You’ll have to watch the video below to see which one is best in any of the categories we’ve tested them in!