With smartphones trending towards the same black glass rectangle notch-having design, it’s difficult for manufacturers to truly differentiate themselves from the crowd. Mostly, it comes down to small stuff: A headphone jack here, SD card slot there.
But one feature where everything is very much not equal is the camera. Thanks to the complicated intermeshing of lens elements, fancy new sensors, dedicated image processing chips and AI photo enhancements, there’s a big difference between the best and worst smartphone cameras on the market these days. According to Consumer Reports, Apple’s 2017 iPhones dominate the rankings, and it’s not even close.
The top three smartphone cameras, in order, are the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus. That obviously gives a clean sweep to Apple on the top three places, but also raises a few questions. The iPhone 8 Plus should, at the very least, beat out the iPhone 8, given that it has an objectively more advanced camera module. Consumer Reports might be saying the price difference doesn’t show up in images, but it’s still an unusual ranking.
Samsung’s top-ranking device is the Galaxy S8+, since the testing was done before the release of the Galaxy S9. Samsung’s newest smartphone comes with a novel camera setup, including an adjustable aperture that should produce sharper images than what you can find on most other phones. Interestingly, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 didn’t manage to beat out the iPhone 7 or iPhone 6s Plus, which isn’t fantastic news for Samsung.
The full top-10 ranking is below, and the entire writeup is available for Consumer Reports subscribers here.
- Apple iPhone X
- Apple iPhone 8
- Apple iPhone 8 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S8+
- Apple iPhone 7
- Apple iPhone 6s Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S8
- Samsung Galaxy Note8
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S8 Active