Smartphone cameras have become increasingly important for people looking to capture memorable moments — or just take a really good selfie. The latter option is so popular that Google went as far as to incorporate A.I. with its Pixel 3 to automatically take the “best selfies” a smartphone can do, as Engadget reported on April 17. According to the site, all you have to do is press the shutter on your Pixel 3 in PhotoBooth mode to enable it to do a quality assessment test that’ll determine whether a selfie is “good” (i.e. whether you’re making a cute expression, or whether all of the subjects’ eyes are open). Once it finds the “best” moment, the A.I. will take the photo, and boom — you’ve got yourself a perfect selfie.
The Pixel 3 isn’t the only phone capable of taking great selfies, though. If you’re in the market for a device with features that can help you take high-quality shots, these are the best smartphone cameras for selfies currently on the market.
iPhone XS Max
This Apple phone offers a front-facing camera with multiple features meant specifically for taking selfies and portraits. When combined, the phone’s TrueDepth camera and depth of field adjustment slider allow users to focus on a subject’s face instead of the busy setting behind them. The enhanced colors and bokeh effect — i.e. the way a camera automatically blurs a photo’s background without losing it completely — also make photos look great when in Portrait Mode.
Max Parker, an author and smartphone tester from Trusted Reviews, found that what the XS Max camera lacks is an ability to capture fine details as nicely as its competitors. However, it makes up for this weakness with features that enhance light and shadows; combine multiple shots to create a single, optimal photo; and document subjects in motion, all of which help produce exceptional selfie results.
The latest OnePlus model offers features such as Intelligent Scene Recognition that can significantly enhance the details and colors of photos. Selfie-takers wanting artsier images can also utilize the Android phone’s Studio Lighting function, which perfectly balances black and white lighting in portraits.
Mashable praised the 6T’s keen ability to detect and highlight little details about the selfie-taker’s face, like moles or spots, while Digital Camera World noted that photos taken on this phone did not look over-processed. The testers at Tom’s Guide agreed that their photos had a more natural look than those taken on other phones, although they did note that the device’s night mode struggled to take good photos in the dark.
Standing out from its competitors, the HTC U12+ has dual cameras on its front and back. The device has a high speed autofocus that captures clear photos of moving subjects, plus intricate color details for both indoor or outdoor environments that keep photos not looking too saturated or filtered.
DxOMark considers the U12+ to feature the highest-quality selfie cameras currently available to users. During tests using the flash, subjects’ skin tones didn’t suffer from any discoloration (a common selfie problem), and the phone’s ability to display gradual and realistic depth in a photo while keeping subjects’ faces clear and focused made backgrounds blur extremely well.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The Galaxy Note 9 comes with camera features that specifically call out to selfie enthusiasts. The Live Focus automatically blurs out the background to focus on the subject without environmental distractions, while the dual OIS stabilizes shots so you can take daring selfies while on the move. As an additional bonus, you can use the button on the stylus pen as a camera shutter from a distance of 30 feet away — a feature totally unique to the Galaxy Note.
DxOMark rated the phone’s camera high on the selfie scale due to the autofocus lens that produces sharper facial and group images than those of other devices. The site also praised the phone’s accuracy in rendering faces in various types of lighting, overall citing the Galaxy Note 9 to be one of the best selfie cameras on the market.
Google Pixel 3
Instead of putting a single camera in the front, the Google Pixel 3 uses a dual camera, ideal for taking both single and group selfies. The phone’s Portrait Mode comes with adjustable background blurring that leaves the subject in focus with astounding detail, and the new Top Shot feature takes multiple photos with one tap, so you can easily browse for your favorite one. The camera is also notable for being ultra-wide, able to fit more subjects in one shot than the average phone.
Max Parker of Trusted Reviews raved about the Pixel 3’s high-quality selfies, photos so detailed they picked up different subtle colors in facial hair. DxOMark agreed, calling the Pixel 3 one of the best devices for taking selfies due to its autofocus, accuracy in details and colors and the HDR+ algorithms that capture high-contrast photos.
Smartphone cameras can capture people during the most memorable moments of their lives — and yes, that includes selfies. If taking those kinds of shots is important to you, make sure you do your research before picking up a new phone and find one that gives you consistent colors, clear details and generally great photos.