The best camera phones of 2017
2017 rocked the smartphone market, introducing increased photo-taking capabilities as never seen before. Here are the models to keep in mind.
If you once used to go crazy trying to take a decent photo with your cell phone, today that is no longer an issue. Actually, for a few years now, a few hundred dollars was enough to bring home a remarkable smartphone, with sensors and lenses that give even bridge cameras a run for their money – a step up from a compact camera yet a few beneath a reflex, which is still superior for many technical reasons.
It’s not by chance that, over the past few months, DxO’s ranking of the best camera phones has been making headlines. The organization, which analyzes the photo quality of top-of-the-line cameras and mobile phones, creates this ranking with several particular factors in mind, each of which obtains a number points based on DxOMark criteria. These points are then averaged together for the overall assessment. Currently, out of all of the cutting-edge models on the market, the Google Pixel 2 has taken 1st place, ahead of the iPhone X and the Huawei Mate 10 Pro. Let’s find out why.
The DxOMark test analyzes various smartphone features: not only the physical components (sensors, lenses), but also its performance in different situations, which depends on factors such as the amount of light, visibility, and subjects and objects in the foreground and background.
A good chunk of the analysis focuses on software optimization. And that’s why a smartphone like the Pixel 2, despite not having two cameras like the rest of the competition, manages to snag first place, thanks to an advanced scene reproduction and rendering system, made possible by a dedicated capture algorithm.
According to the DxO experts, it’s the best smartphone for taking photos, receiving a score of 99 — an average of its exposure, contrast, color, autofocus, flash, zoom, bokeh, noise, and texture scores. The average drops slightly for video recording (96): a bit less than its photo capture score, but a number that still allows it to take the top spot on the podium with a good margin. The XL version can be purchased online for 989 Euro.
When it comes to the photosensor, Apple surpasses Google with 101 points. But this takeover is quickly halted by its video recording, which only garners 86 points, a good 10 points behind the Pixel 2. How come? The sensor on the back, dedicated to video recording, is the same found on the iPhone 8 Plus: certainly great but just not enough to match up to the Pixel 2, which dominates in this field. The stockpile of iPhone Xs were gone just a few hours after the pre-sale opened. Those of you who can’t find one in stores will have to rely on Apple’s website.
Mate 10 Pro
A professional device that is absolutely capable of offering itself as a well-rounded multimedia tool. In just a few years, the Chinese company has jumped from an emerging brand to a leader in the mobile industry, and the Mate 10 Pro is proof: its exceptional hardware, the first neural processing unit, promises to make the processor smarter, while its camera is on par with the iPhone X, Apple’s latest addition. The bonus is the NPU, which also works offline, recognizing the type of subject in front of the camera. Sifting through dozens of categories, it automatically chooses the best settings to snap an exceptional photo.
Out of the three, it costs the least, for at least two reasons: it was presented first and the brand has a less notable history than Google (which gave life to the Android brand) and Apple (there’s no need to recap its 360-degree role in high tech). The price, however, is significant: 848 Euro, with the advantage of the Kirin 960, a CPU that, over time, should become smarter and capable of recognizing the information needs of users and providing useful feedback, such as traffic conditions at the same time every weekday and weather forecasts on the weekend, in addition to battery optimization when the smartphone isn’t in use for a long period of time, like at night, for example.