If you’re looking for a phone with a great camera, you’ll quickly realize that most of today’s options are four digits. That is too expensive. But surprisingly, the best budget phone usually delivers a similar experience.
Low cost doesn̵
Why is it so difficult to find a good camera in a cheap phone?
There are several reasons why it is nearly impossible to find a decent camera in a cheap phone. Consumers today expect, or even demand, more than ever, making it difficult for any brand to provide a great all-round camera phone for those on a tight budget. Brands have to compete with parts, and as we know those parts are expensive and are starting to add up. So they compromise on things like the camera.
Often times, manufacturers put the biggest and best screen they can into a cheap phone to entice buyers. Or they put three cameras on the back so it looks convincing, but then you come home and realize it’s awful. Worse, some phones try to sound like a flagship device for $ 300, packed in everything but the sink, and none of the devices are very good. Instead, it just has “everything.”
Honestly, that’s where Google’s Pixel line shines. Google focused on an excellent camera, smooth software, and a good screen, then removed any gimmicks or extras that most people rarely use. It nails all the essentials. Apple did something similar with the iPhone SE. As a result, they both top our list.
Best Overall: Google Pixel 4a
The Google Pixel 4a is an incredible value, offering the best smartphone camera in any budget configuration, period. See, the key here is that Google has put the same excellent camera sensor as its flagship phone into the budget Pixel 4a, powered by excellent computational photo software that makes it one of the best on the market, so you get Google’s excellent night and portrait modes, for example. Our own Michael Crider has awarded him an editorial choice award, saying it is “Google’s best phone yet, at any price.”
As a refresher, you get a 5.8-inch hole punch display, 128 GB storage for all your photos and videos, 6 GB RAM, standard Android, long battery life and one of the best cameras on a smartphone. And while it doesn’t have multiple rear cameras like the Galaxy A51 or the original Pixel 4, for example, it’s still the same great main camera as the more expensive Google phone. As a result, taking great photos is always fun, easy and hassle-free.
The Pixel 4a raises the bar significantly for how good a budget phone’s camera can be.
Best Budget Camera Phone
As an alternative, we wanted to mention Google’s slightly more expensive Pixel 4a 5G. Strange name aside, it’s the same great phone as the Pixel 4a, just bigger, slightly better, adds 5G connectivity, and has dual rear cameras. Yes, you get a larger 6.2-inch screen and a secondary ultra-wide camera to enjoy, but it does cost a little extra. When we reviewed it, we decided it’s the best camera phone for those on a slightly higher budget who want more from their phone.
Even better cameras
Best Budget iPhone Camera: iPhone SE (2020)
This list wouldn’t be complete without the iPhone SE, especially since it’s the best cheap iPhone camera. You could pay over a thousand dollars for the iPhone 12 Pro Max, or save most of it and get Apple’s 2020 budget phone.
The iPhone SE is a powerful new phone in a familiar old design. It looks like the iPhone 8, but underneath the small 4.7-inch screen are upgrades such as Apple’s A13 bionic processor, 3 GB RAM, 64 GB storage, TouchID, and the same rear-facing camera as the iPhone 11. It’s a mix. of devices, but the result is a phone that takes great photos without breaking the bank. If you don’t want an Android or Galaxy phone, the iPhone SE (2020) is the best camera phone that’s affordable.
Best for iOS
Second place: Samsung Galaxy A51
Finally, we wanted to offer a runner-up for Samsung fans or those who have invested in the brand and Galaxy ecosystem. The Samsung Galaxy A51 is one of those phones that looks great on paper. You have a huge, beautiful 6.5-inch screen, 128 GB of storage, a large battery from 4000 mAh and four cameras on the back.
Yes. it’s kind of what we mentioned above where the manufacturer packed in a ton of cameras and a huge screen to lure you in. But then again, this is Samsung making some pretty good phones. That aside, the Galaxy A51 is a solid option for buyers. You can record in 4K video and the phone is surprisingly versatile in terms of taking photos day in and day out. Thanks to a good array of standard, ultra-wide angle and macro lenses on the back, it can take good photos with ease.
If you’re trying to buy a cheap camera phone, the options are somewhat limited. However, at the end of the day, everyone has different wants, needs, preferences and budgets.
Without a doubt, the Google Pixel 4a is the best phone and camera for the price, but anything on this list will make you happy.