Best phones for selfies, Jan 2020
Selfies are an integral part of each and every one of our smartphone reviews, as they are a part of our daily lives. Even so, every now and again we round up a bunch of handsets and do a dedicated selfie shootout, and the time has come for one of these.
The previous edition was entirely focused on video capture with the front-facing cameras. Back then, we discovered that it was pretty hard to find a decently capable selfie video recording machine. Part of the reason we're doing this article is to find out if there are leaps in this direction two years later. Additionally, for this iteration, we'll also have a look at stills. While, yes, we do test the front cameras for the reviews, a comparison with samples taken at the same time will allow for a more controlled testing environment and a truly level playing field.
We ended our previous selfie shootout two years ago with a general sentiment of disappointment. That's a long time in smartphone evolution terms, and indeed we're now seeing considerable advancements in selfie photo and video capture. While front-facing cameras aren't quite as good as the 'main' ones on the back just yet, the big two (Apple and Samsung) have adopted 4K as the standard resolution. It's an evolutionary step for Samsung, which has been offering 1440p on the front for a few years, but it's a step that still took them a while. Apple, on the other hand, is even taking it a notch further with a 4K60 selfie video option.
Even so, 4K is hardly the norm and a lot of top-end devices still max out at 1080p. OnePlus is done flagship-killing, but it would be nice if they do some flagship-matching in the selfie video department. Huawei's video capture as a whole isn't stellar, and that extends to selfies too, where 4K is missing, and 1080p isn't flagship-grade. Google's approach to video has been somewhat negligent too, and the Pixel's 1080p selfie footage is towards the bottom of the pack, with no 4K available.
Then the Zenfone 6's flippy camera is more than just a party trick and offers some of the most detailed footage when the light is right. Ultimately though, it's the iPhone 11 Pro (Max in our case) that delivers the most consistently good selfie video across the most varied conditions. It may be overdoing the HDR in low light, but that's about all we can think of to complain about. And it's not like any phone actually does truly nice selfie video in low light anyway.
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