Every time I tell phone camera enthusiasts that Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and Google Pixel phones have not been the best camera phones in a couple of years, they look at me like I have gone mad. And then, they launch into a winding defence of their favourite brand, depending on which it is. Like clockwork.
But facts are facts, and they do not respect our feelings. Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones are more popular, so it is easy for the idea that their top models are the best camera phones to gain traction and thrive. In reality, neither of these two brands have produced the best camera phones in at least three years.
What mobile brand makes the best camera phones?
One word: Huawei (and by extension, Honor). The stone that the builders rejected. The phone brand that has been labelled a pariah by the West. So, even if you wanted, if you live in North America or Europe, it is difficult to buy the Honor Magic4 Ultimate and Huawei P50 Pro, the world’s best camera phones right now. And even if you are able to get your hands on the P50 Pro, the lack of Google integration will frustrate you quite a bit and make the phone a less than ideal experience.
The logical thing is to look for the next best camera phone in the world, and that honour falls to Xiaomi. Which phone? A model from 2021 – Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. Yes; that model. It beats both the Apple iPhone 13 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s cameras hands down.
The Mi 11 Ultra is a 5G phone that features a 6.81-inch AMOLED 120Hz display with Gorilla Glass Victus protection, a ceramic back panel, and IP68 dust/water resistance. It is powered by a Snapdragon 888 5G chipset, and has up to 12 GB RAM and 512 GB built-in storage.
For photography and video, it is fitted with a 50 MP main camera with a large sensor, laser autofocus and OIS at the back, along with a 48 MP ultra wide angle lens, and a 48 MP telephoto lens with OIS and 5x optical zoom. the front camera is a 20 MP lens. Lastly, it has a 5000mAh battery, with 67W fast charging. There is reverse wireless charging, fast wireless charging, too. A complete premium flagship, in every sense of the word.
But does Google not make the best camera phones?
Ah, dear dinosaur. You live in the past. Some years ago, Google Pixels fell off the wagon of the top smartphone cameras. The Pixel 4 was not the world’s best camera phone in its time. Neither was the Pixel 5. And even now, the Pixel 6 Pro is not. It is not even in the top 5 list. Samsung S22 Ultra is not either. Apple iPhone 13 Pro (not Pro Max) manages to make the 5th position.
The top 4 best camera phones in the world today are made by Huawei, Honor (which spun off from Huawei), and Xiaomi. And for you to know how good Huawei and Xiaomi have become at this camera phone business, they have produced the best camera phones in the world for at least 3 years running. Mostly unchallenged.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is the ultimate camera phone
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra was the world’s best camera phone at its launch in 2021; it beat everything else available. And in 2022, it still performs head and shoulder above anything that Apple, Samsung, and Google have in the market.
Don’t take my word for it. Who else thinks that the Mi 11 Ultra is the best camera phone you can have today (if we factor in the limited availability of Huawei and Honor phones)? GSMArena has this to say: “The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is the ultimate camera phone, if the shapely camera assembly on the back wasn’t enough of a giveaway. It captures photos and video as good or even better than any competitor…”
And from DOMARK: “The numbers say it all. The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra delivers new high scores for Photo and Video and comes very close to the top in the Zoom category, making it an all-round excellent mobile imaging tool that is easy to recommend to any mobile content creator. In photo mode, it does very well across all light levels, from daylight to night shots, and at all zoom settings, from wide to long tele. It has no real weaknesses in terms of video capture either, and deservedly is the new number one in the DXOMARK Camera ranking.”
Apple and Samsung fans will disagree. They will huff and puff. But facts are facts. Forget the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Put aside the Samsung S22 Ultra. This is the camera phone you want to have in your hands. If you can’t find it to buy in your region, or do not like Xiaomi’s MIUI custom user interface, you can settle for one of the next best camera phones, and go buy an iPhone 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max, or Google Pixel 6 Pro, in that order.
Meanwhile, if you are based in North America, you will be interested in knowing which are the best camera phones in 2022 in the US and Canada.
- Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review: source.
- Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra Camera test: source.
- DXOMARK Smartphone Ranking: source.
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Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.