What is the best Samsung or Asus

From Asus to Samsung: These are the best camera phones of the year

The demands on cell phones have changed significantly over the years. Long battery life, polyphonic ringtones and support for split SMS for the purpose of long text messages were once at the top of buyers' wish lists, but in the age of smartphones, things are sometimes completely different. A good camera in particular has become an indispensable criterion for many people. Manufacturers also know this and pay a lot of attention to the photo and video functions in their presentations and promotional videos.

But the big promises are far from always being fulfilled. So it is time to put some order into the confusing offer. In our opinion, these are the best camera phones of 2020.

Enthusiastic testers: Huawei Mate 40 Pro

According to reviews, Huawei's Mate 40 Pro could earn the title of "Photo Phone of the Year". Practically every test of the device raves about what the camera is capable of. It has a triple cam, the heart of which is an "Ultravision" sensor with 50 MP resolution. There are also two sensors with 20 and 12 MP.

There is praise for detailed photos with good color reproduction, as well as the zoom functions, provided that one stays in the range of the tenfold optical zoom. The cell phone also copes well with poor lighting conditions. And good image stabilization ensures smooth videos, even in 4K resolution. It also tops the ranking for the - somewhat controversial - DXO Mark camera benchmark.

The Mate 40 Pro also delivers high-end equipment in other ways. However, there is a very important catch: Due to the embargo of the Trump administration, the mobile phone does not offer access to Google's Play Store and the programs from US providers are also missing in their own "App Gallery". In addition, the cell phone is not exactly a bargain with a retail price of around 1200 euros.

Apple's best camera phone: iPhone 12 Pro Max

When it comes to cell phone cameras, Apple has been consistently at the forefront for a number of years. That hasn't changed with the iPhone 12 series either. And here it is the Pro Max model that has the best camera. The main sensor installed in the module with the three 12 MP sensors is 47 percent larger. It offers 1.7 micrometer pixels instead of 1.4 and also uses sensor shift image stabilization instead of classic optical stabilization.

In practice, it proves to be a little more sensitive to light, which allows it a good depth of detail and, above all, a reduction in image noise. Accordingly, the iPhone 12 Pro Max received a lot of praise for its photo and video quality, even if it still lags behind the competition with the optical 2.5x zoom.

In addition, you get the familiar qualities of the iPhone 12 Pro with a larger screen. That means: high-end performance, good workmanship, a very bright and high-contrast display and of course all the amenities of iOS and the Apple ecosystem. For fans of the manufacturer, for whom the photo and video performance is particularly important, it is the first, but with a price of around 1200 euros and the most expensive choice.

Zoom king: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is not exactly a small device either. And while it mainly scores with the included stylus and matching software features, it has also received a small camera upgrade compared to the Galaxy S20 Ultra, which improves an already strong package. The wide-angle camera in particular does an excellent job.

But the zoom can also be seen. While the "hybrid zoom" is rather pointless in the maximum version of 50x magnification, one benefits from the purely optical five-fold magnification. And especially from five times the magnification it leaves the competition well behind. At a lower magnification, however, it is not the camera's hardware, but Samsung's software that reduces the details somewhat too radically in the automatic post-processing.

Samsung also delivers a strong package beyond the camera. Because the camera is not only accompanied by a powerful processor, but also by a number of other features and sensors with which the mobile phone scores. At least if you want to, you have to pay the purchase price. Because the Note 20 Ultra is only available from just under 1000 euros.

Champions of the night: Google Pixel 5 / 4a 5G

What other manufacturers are doing with a small armada of camera sensors, Google is doing primarily with its "software magic" when it comes to photography. The Pixel 5 is no exception with its dual camera, whose main sensor - Sony IMX 363 - is still the same one that has been in use since the Pixel 3.

Sony has of course improved the production process since then and there have also been all sorts of upgrades around it. With the result that the Pixel 5 takes very good photos in general, even if it is criticized for the lack of a telecamera in some tests. But where it stands out from the competition, thanks to the aforementioned software tricks, is the night mode. Even from extremely dark scenes, the mobile phone can still take photos in which you can still easily recognize the scene. And as soon as there is at least a bit of lighting, you can take photos that, at first glance, could also be mistaken for long exposures from stand-alone cameras.

In addition, there are a number of additional features, such as astrophotography, which the cell phone brings with it. The whole thing sits in a package with hardware from the lower high-end or upper middle class - depending on your personal opinion. Purists can look forward to "pure" Android with a few of Google's own additions, as well as regular updates over several years. Dealers in this country are currently charging around 800 euros for the device, the availability is still manageable. Those who can live with a few fewer features (for example 90 Hz display and wireless charging) can also use the Pixel 4a 5G from around 560 euros, which has exactly the same camera setup.

Best Selfiecam: Asus Zenfone 7 (Pro)

In our part of the world, the Asus Zenfone range is not particularly popular. It's a shame, because the Taiwanese manufacturer generally delivers interesting and competitive devices on a regular basis. The current Zenfone 7 and Zenfone 7 Pro can also keep up with the high-end models of many competitors, at least on paper.

The camera uses a trick similar to that which Oppo once demonstrated with the N1 and N3. Here the main camera is also the selfie camera at the same time, because the photo module can simply be folded up at a joint. A package of 64 MP wide-angle, 12 MP ultra-wide-angle and 8 MP telephoto is also available for selfies. The main camera is absolutely presentable during the day, but struggles with little ambient light. However, under most conditions it is still the best selfie solution currently available on a cell phone.

This is joined by Qualcomm's current high-end chip, a display with HDR and 90 Hz support and rapid charging with 30 watts along with reverse charging. The regular model and the Pro version only differ in the memory equipment and slightly in the processor. While the Zenfone 7, which is available from around 580 euros, uses the Snapdragon 865, the Zenfone 7 Pro (from 740 euros) contains the slightly faster Snapdragon 865+.

Price-performance recommendation: Xiaomi Mi Note 10

It's not the fastest mobile phone, and doesn't have pen support, but it's big and offers a strong camera setup for the price. The manufacturer has given the Xiaomi Note 10 no less than five sensors, with the 108 MP wide-angle camera standing out in particular.

This is also the one that received the most praise in some tests, as it ensures images with good contrasts and details. But beyond that, the cell phone does passably in photo and video matters, even if not always on the level of Samsung, Apple and Huawei.

In addition, there is a middle class with a bright and HDR-compatible AMOLED display, 30W fast charging and a lush 5,260 mAh battery for 450 euros. The only downer: the successor could be presented this month. (gpi, December 15, 2020)