The 5 Best Smartphone Cameras of 2023

The best camera you own can be the one you carry every day

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Modern smartphones have enough smarts in them to be the best camera you've ever owned.

Our experts reviewed a variety of smartphones to find out which devices offered the best cameras. Read on to see our picks in different categories and price ranges.

in this article

Best iPhone

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max.


What We Like
  • Night mode is awesome

  • More zoom on the telephoto lens

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Apple's iPhone 14 Pro Max delivers impressive specs as the company continues to improve its rear-camera system, adding more perks per generation. The sensor in the primary camera is considerably larger than the 13 Pro Max's, and its optical image stabilization system has been revamped.

These improvements result in better overall pictures, mainly low-light photos. Its front-facing cam produces clean, sharp selfies.

Rear Cameras: 48MP main camera, 12MP Ultra-wide, 12MP telephoto | Front Camera: 12MP TrueDepth camera system | Video Recording: 4K resolution at 60 frames per second

Best Android

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Best Buy

What We Like
  • Ultra-detailed images

  • Excellent night photos

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra has four rear cameras, including two telephoto lenses (3x and 10x optional zoom). The cameras perform well in all sorts of situations—outside, inside, in low light, portrait mode—with effective image stabilization and high levels of detail.

Rear Cameras: 12MP Ultra Wide; 200MP Wide, 10MP Telephoto (F2.4), 10MP Telephoto (F4.9) | Front Camera: 12MP | Video Recording: 8K resolution at 30 frames per second, 4K resolution at 60 frames per second

Best Google

Google Pixel 7 Pro

Google Pixel 7 Pro


What We Like
  • Excellent three camera system

  • Good camera software

What We Don't Like
  • Battery life isn't great

The Google Pixel 7 Pro takes fantastic photos thanks to its three rear cameras, a 50MP primary camera, 16MP ultra-wide, and a 48MP telephoto with 5X optical zoom. It also has a 10.8MP selfie camera. 

Google updated its Real Tone algorithm to better capture darker skin tones and its Photo Unblur tool sharpens out-of-focus pictures.

Rear Cameras: 50MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, 48MP telephoto | Front Camera: 10.8MP | Video Recording: 4K resolution at 60 frames per second

Best Compact

Apple iPhone 13 mini

Apple iPhone 13 mini
iPhone 13 mini.


What We Like
  • Fits in pocket

  • Excellent stabilization features

What We Don't Like
  • Only a dual-camera array

The iPhone 13 mini doesn’t have the advanced three-camera system as the Pro Max, but you get the same camera as the iPhone 13. It includes a 12MP wide-angle sensor and a 12MP ultra-wide sensor with a 120-degree field of view. You can record 4K video at up to 60 FPS, and the front camera is a 12MP TrueDepth Camera, as you’ll find on the Pro models.

Rear Cameras: 12MP main, 12MP ultra-wide | Front Camera: 12MP | Video Recording: HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 frames per second, 4K at 30 frames per second

Best Budget iPhone

Apple iPhone SE

Apple iPhone SE


What We Like
  • Budget price

  • Sturdy design

What We Don't Like
  • Not as good as other iPhone cameras

The 3rd gen iPhone SE won't give you the same level of camera that you'd get with others on this list, but it's still a reliable point-and-shoot smartphone camera.

It's only a single-camera configuration, so you don't get separate wide-angle and telephoto sensors, but you get the benefits of Apple's quality and software. The primary camera is a 12MP wide camera with f/1.8 aperture, while the front camera is 7MP with f/2.2 aperture. 

Rear Cameras: 12MP | Front Camera: 7MP | Video Recording: 4K at 60 FPS

What to Look For in a Smartphone Camera


More megapixels means higher fidelity, so higher generally means better. You'll want this number to be no lower than 12 (as in 12 megapixels) if you're looking for a new phone to be your primary camera.


The number of lenses added onto a camera seems to increase with each generation, but which kind of lenses matters as much as how many. Depending on your typical subjects, you may want a phone with ultra-wide angle or telephoto lenses for more options.


Some fun features you may want are high-speed or slow-motion video and HDR. These little extras can sweeten the deal when looking for a good camera.

  • Does phone camera quality get worse?

    If you don’t update your software on your phone and protect your camera lenses, your smartphone camera quality can get worse over time. To protect your smartphone camera’s quality, continue to update your software to the latest version, clean your lenses, and consider adding a screen protector to the camera lens portion of your phone.

  • How do you know if your smartphone has good camera quality?

    If you have a phone with more than one camera lens on the back, your phone likely has a pretty good camera. This is not to say single-lens configurations aren’t good, as some single-lens rear cameras are effective at taking clear pictures, but many modern smartphones have a main camera, a wide-angle lens, and a telephoto lens. 

  • How can you improve your phone camera quality?

    You can improve your phone’s camera quality by taking photos in optimal lighting conditions, taking advantage of software that enhances photo quality, and by keeping your lenses free from dirt and debris.

Was this page helpful?