Most smartphones do a pretty good job of making calls, sending text messages and getting you on the Internet – but the real difference is in the cameras.
Smartphone cameras: $600 difference
Prior to the release of the iPhone 7 and Google Pixel, two phones praised for their cameras, Consumer Reports ranked the seven best smartphone cameras. Interestingly, the iPhone didn’t make the list, but here are the smartphones that did:
- LG V10
- Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
- Samsung Galaxy S7
- Nexus 6P
- Nexus 5X
- Microsoft Lumia 950
- Motorola Droid Turbo 2
If picture quality is important to you and you’re constantly trading in smartphones for the latest and greatest technology, you might be better off buying a digital camera instead. Of course, those aren’t cheap either. They can cost a few hundred bucks or more, and you’ll lose the convenience of having a phone and camera in one device.
For those of us who just want to use our smartphones for an occasional photo or video, there’s no reason to spend a fortune. The pictures below were taken using smartphone cameras in way different price ranges:
It’s clear that the picture on the left is lower quality compared to the one on the right, but what if we put a filter on the weaker photo? You may not be able to notice much of a difference.
The picture on the left was snapped using a Motorola Moto E (Gen 2) that comes with a 5-megapixel camera and no flash. The lackluster camera was something that multiple reviewers pointed out when the phone was first released in 2015. But to many people, the picture is just fine — and the price couldn’t be better. A member of Team Clark bought the device for just $39 and uses it on RingPlus, a free cell phone provider.
Meanwhile, the picture on the right was taken with an iPhone 6s Plus, which sells for $649 on Apple’s website, as of November 2016. In addition to a 12-megapixel camera, it has features like autofocus, image stabilization, flash and more.
How to find the right smartphone for you
So is the difference in picture quality worth $600 to you? If you’re perfectly happy taking good photos — not great ones — consider a budget smartphone. And if you can’t seem to decide which one to buy, YouTube reviews are a great place to start. There are dozens of new reviews added daily to help you decide which phone is best for you and your wallet.