YouTuber Gathers Millions of Votes to Determine the Best Smartphone Camera of 2022

This article could have easily been headlined "the best smartphone camera of 2022" and still been accurate, but in what is an astounding piece of data-gathering work, popular tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee has gathered millions of votes on 16 phones from hundreds of thousands of users to produce what is likely the definitive test for smartphone photography.

While in previous years, Brownlee has often gone with bracket-style comparisons that would pit phones against each other until two phones would eventually duke it out for supremacy, he noted that this approach could potentially pit, for instance, the top two phones against each other in the first round and knock out a potentially very good camera phone. For 2022, Brownlee enlisted the help of Discord and talented programmers to create a blind test that would fairly match up 16 different smartphones from various manufacturers in a battle for the title of best smartphone camera.

Brownlee tested the phone in three categories: standard photos, low-light photos, and portrait mode photos. Since standard photos are (arguably) more useful than the other modes, that mode was weighted a bit heavier as well to produce a more accurate result from his viewer-driven poll.

Some patterns from previous years continued: brighter exposures tended to rank higher, though as Brownlee noted, there is such a thing as too bright, and that knocked some phones lower in the rankings.

What was also surprising was in how many categories one of the cheapest phones showed up at or near the top: the $299 Google Pixel 6A ranked first in the standard photo category. I'm personally perplexed by this because I owned that phone for only a month before I gave up on its (to me) terrible camera. It's possible that at the web-resolutions that these tests were conducted at, the phone held up fine, but when it comes to pixel-peeping (pardon the pun), the iPhone 14 Pro that I replaced it with is hands-down the winner.

But which phone came out on top of all of them? Check out the video above to find out.

What do you think of the results of the test? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Wasim Ahmad's picture

Wasim Ahmad is an assistant teaching professor teaching journalism at Quinnipiac University. He's worked at newspapers in Minnesota, Florida and upstate New York, and has previously taught multimedia journalism at Stony Brook University and Syracuse University. He's also worked as a technical specialist at Canon USA for Still/Cinema EOS cameras.

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1 Comment

This kind of confirms the battle on upgrading my camera: the vast majority of people are looking at photos on their phones/tablets/laptops. Which depending on many different variables, can significantly effect the end viewer experience. 24 million megapixels is more than enough with good glass. Most people can’t tell the difference between APC, full frame or cell phones.