200MP vs 1-inch – testing the best Android phones for photography

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Here at GSMArena we are shutterbugs above all else. Camera upgrades are probably the single biggest reason we get excited about new flagship phone releases, and when it comes to them, we’ve certainly been spoiled for choice over the past few years.

We’ve seen so many great phones come around, each outdoing the next in hardware and software, with photo improvements coming by leaps and bounds. Our office has seen many heated discussions about which phone has the best camera. Honestly, we were all looking forward to coming up with a direct head-to-head comparison that can settle this – at least for now.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra
Xiaomi 13 Pro
vivo x90 pro

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra • Xiaomi 12S Ultra • Xiaomi 13 Pro • vivo X90 Pro

So we decided to pit several of the best Android camera phones against each other in a photography-only battle. We lined up the new Galaxy S23 Ultra, Xiaomi 13 Pro and Vivo X90 Pro, as well as the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, and we shot a few (hundred) photos and put them side by side and see what’s what. We intended to include the Pixel 7 Pro in this comparison, but it wasn’t available at the time of testing so we could include it in a follow-up to this head-to-head.

Three of these phones have a 1-inch type sensor, one has 200 million pixels, all can record 8k video, and some can zoom to the moon and back from your pocket. You could even say that they don’t even need to see the moon to take a picture of it (too early?). It’s crazy to think that phones have come this far. It’s even crazier to think what will be possible in just a few more years.

But let’s focus on the present and see which phone deserves to be called the best camera phone in 2023. We’re focusing on taking pictures for this one to keep things simple. Video is a completely different matter.

We also focus on the main, ultra-wide and mid-range zoom cameras on the Galaxy, Xiaomi and Vivo – Samsung’s 10x zoom is more of a specialist lens that can’t be directly compared to the mid-range zooms on our selected phones. We also look at the performance behind the lens, so you won’t see any selfies here.

Two professionals, two ultras: vivo X90 Pro • Xiaomi 13 Pro • Galaxy S23 Ultra • Xiaomi 12S Ultra

Finally, we look at results straight out of the camera. We do not do post processing or RAW editing. Each phone in this range has the ability to shoot RAW as well as powerful built-in apps and features to give the budding photographer more ways to capture the moment – our aim is to see which phone gives you the best baseline.

Does that sound fun? Let’s look at some pictures.

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