Take the Cameraphone Taste Test

Which Phone Has the Best Camera?

By Jason Cipriani

Smartphone manufactures make a big deal about photo quality—and rightly so. Because smartphones are with us at all times, they’ve effectively replaced stand-alone cameras for every task from taking family photos to sharing brunch shots on Instagram.

Instead of assessing the photo quality of the cameras on the current crop of flagship smartphones ourselves, we thought it would be fun to set up a blind photo test in which you vote for the photos you think are best, then later we reveal which phone shot each picture. Below you’ll find a series of photos taken with the top five smartphones available right now: Apple iPhone 6S, LG G5, HTC 10, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, and Huawei Nexus 6P.

Vote and Win!

Casting a vote will take a little effort on your part, so in exchange we will reward one lucky (and randomly selected) voter with a BoostCube four-port USB wall charger from iClever ($20 retail value).

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There are three ways to vote (and enter the giveaway):

  1. Comment at the end of this article.

  2. Send an email to editorial@techwalla.com.

  3. Tweet to @techwallahq and include #TasteTest.

Each photo is numbered, so just tell us which photo you think is the best in each of the six categories in this article:

  • Landscape

  • HDR

  • Water

  • Close-up

  • Colors

  • Selfies

On June 1, we’ll update this article with the big reveal of which phone shot each photo.

It can be hard to tell the difference between photos that have been shrunk down to webpage size. To get a closer look at any of these photos, you can click and download the full-resolution version, and then scrutinize it if you so desire. (To keep everyone honest, we removed the metadata from the photos—so you still won’t be able to tell which phone shot which photo.)

Update!

The polling is now over, and we’ve picked a winner. Scroll to the end of the article to read the details.

How We Shot

We captured all photos using each smartphone’s equivalent to an "Auto" mode. The photos remain unedited. Beneath each photo we’ve included a link to a full-resolution version, should you wish to examine the photo more closely.

Without further ado, let’s see the photos.

Landscape

Water, trees, clouds, and buildings are frequent subjects of photos you routinely take with your phone. Here’s the same shot, taken with each of the five phones in our Taste Test.

And don't forget: For a closer look at each of these photos, click and download the full-resolution version, which you can then inspect in detail.

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See the full-size image: Camera 1

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See the full-size image: Camera 2

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See the full-size image: Camera 3

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See the full-size image: Camera 4

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See the full-size image: Camera 5

HDR

HDR—short for High Dynamic Range—can be a hit-or-miss feature on smartphones. But when a phone gets it right, HDR can deliver fantastic shots. Here we’ve applied this camera mode to an old business sign on a brick building.

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 1 image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 2

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See the full-size image: Camera 3

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See the full-size image: Camera 4

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 5

Water

We also used the HDR mode for this shot—a landscape featuring moving water in bright daylight.

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 1

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 2

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See the full-size image: Camera 3

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 4

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 5

Close-up

How well does your phone shoot close-up photos? To test our five phones, we shot some Legos in low indoor light.

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 1

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 2

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 3

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 4

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 5

Colors

This colorful art installment looks pretty cool. How will each phone handle it?

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 1

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 2

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 3

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 4

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 5

Selfies

And finally, here’s a collection of selfies. Everyone loves selfies, and you’ll probably take as many of these as of any other sort of photo. Oh, and in case you're wondering why some of the photos are flipped, that's exactly the way each phone took the picture.

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See the full-size image: Camera 1

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 2

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See the full-size image: Camera 3

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See the full-size image: Camera 4

image alt textSee the full-size image: Camera 5

So there you have it—five phones used to take more or less the same photo in six categories. Let us know which photo you think looks best in each category; and on June 1, we’ll tell you which phone shot each photo. And if you vote, you have a chance to win.

Photo credits: Jason Cipriani

Update: We Reveal the Winning Smartphone

And the votes are in!

Here is a guide to which phone was which:

Phone by NumberPhone by Name
Camera 1HTC 10
Camera 2Apple iPhone 6S
Camera 3Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Camera 4LG G5
Camera 5Huawei Nexus 6P

Curious about how each cameraphone fared in our blind taste test? The iPhone 6S finished first (and by a fairly wide margin), with 28 total votes. Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge came in second with 17 votes. From there, all of the other phones trailed by miles, with the Nexus 6P, HTC 10, and LG G5 receiving hardly any votes at all.

Here's what the voting results look like:

Phone by NumberPhone by NameVotes
Camera 2Apple iPhone 6S28
Camera 3Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge17
Camera 5Huawei Nexus 6P5
Camera 1HTC 103
Camera 4LG G52

Also, congratulations to Techwalla reader Prince Ella Brown for winning the four-port USB wall charger from iClever! Thanks for voting in our poll.