Skip to main content

Best camera phone 2022: Our picks for the best smartphone cameras in the UAE and Saudi Arabia

A selection of the best camera phones, including Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Huawei Mate 40 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max
(Image credit: Samsung, Huawei, Apple)

With so many options on the market, picking the best camera phone is a very hard task, as different photography-centric mobiles take very different approaches to capturing fantastic images. That's why this list is so long, with loads of great options.

Do you want the lens overload and extensive zoom of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra? The point and shoot simplicity of the iPhone 13? Or maybe something that offers a great camera experience but doesn't break bank in the process?

Perhaps you want to get in close with macro shots, or maybe you’re more interested in selfies. Then there are other considerations like megapixel counts, low light performance, and most importantly, your budget- you might not want to spend all your salary on a phone.

These are all things to consider when buying, so the choice can be overwhelming. But to help you decide we’ve put this guide together, highlighting the very best camera phones overall. These won’t all fit everyone equally, but we’ve included an overview of each, so you can see their strengths and weaknesses and make an informed decision.

If you just want the best of the best though, we’ve got you covered there too, as this list is ranked according to our own personal preference, so you’ll find our star pick in the number one slot.

Best camera phones of 2022 in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman

Image 1 of 2

An iPhone 13 Pro in blue, against a white background

The iPhone 13 Pro (Image credit: Apple)
Image 2 of 2

An iPhone 13 Pro Max in gold, against a white background

The iPhone 13 Pro Max (Image credit: Apple)

The best camera phone

Specifications
Weight: 204g / 240g
Dimensions: 146.7mm x 71.5mm x 7.7mm / 160.8mm x 78.1mm x 7.7mm
OS: iOS 15
Screen size: 6.1-inch / 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1170 x 2532 / 1284 x 2778
CPU: A15 Bionic
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 3,095mAh / 4,352mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP
Front camera: 12MP
Reasons to buy
+
Great overall performance
+
Strong battery life
Reasons to avoid
-
Limited design changes
-
Notch still too large

The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are stunning camera phones, each packing a 12MP f/1.5 main sensor with big 1.9µm pixels, a 12MP f/1.8 ultra-wide, and a 12MP f/2.8 telephoto, with 3x optical zoom.

While they don’t have the lens numbers or optical zoom length of some phones on this list, their performance is sublime, and while they lack a dedicated macro lens, they’re still arguably better for macro photography than any rival.

Low light performance particularly impressed us in our tests, but whatever type of shot you’re aiming for, the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max should be able to do it justice.

The new Photographic Styles feature and Cinematic mode both impress too, though we suspect they might not be massively used by most buyers. But with an improved Portrait mode, the return of ProRAW, and a great point-and-shoot experience, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are photography beasts.

Read our full iPhone 13 Pro review and iPhone 13 Pro Max review

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)

The absolute best camera phone

Specifications
Release date: January 2021
Weight: 227g
Dimensions: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3200
CPU: Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100
RAM: 12GB / 16GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 108MP + 10MP + 10MP + 12MP
Front camera: 40MP
Reasons to buy
+
The best camera zoom
+
Mesmerizing design
Reasons to avoid
-
Expensive at any level
-
No microSD card slot

While the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra’s camera didn’t quite deliver on its promise, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra’s very much does.

As with everything in the S21 Ultra, the camera is top-end, with a 108MP f/1.8 main snapper, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide one, and – in a move that’s pretty much unheard of on phones – two telephoto cameras. These are both 10MP, but one has an f/2.4 aperture and allows for 3x optical zoom, while the other has an f/4.9 aperture and allows for a massive 10x optical zoom.

And the results are as impressive as the numbers – so much so that we labeled this the best camera zoom on a phone in our Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review.

Non-zoomed shots look great too, though sometimes not as good as the best rivals. But coupled with a wealth of camera modes, including new additions like Director’s View (which lets you shoot video with both the front and rear cameras at the same time), along with a highly capable 40MP front-facing camera, this makes for a smartphone photographer’s dream.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review

Huawei Mate 40 Pro

(Image credit: Huawei)

Almost the best camera phone money can buy

Specifications
Release date: November 2020
Weight: 212g
Dimensions: 162.9 x 75.5 x 9.1 mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.76-inch
CPU: Kirin 9000 5G
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 256/512GB
Battery: 4,400mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 12MP + 20MP
Front camera: 13MP
Reasons to buy
+
Great camera
+
Excellent design
Reasons to avoid
-
Limited apps
-
Expensive

You might be surprised to see the Huawei Mate 40 Pro here – after all, it’s a phone that we only gave 3.5 stars to, and it’s nowhere near our best smartphone list. But the reason we can’t rank it higher in general is everything to do with its limited app situation (due to not having access to the Google Play Store) and nothing to do with its cameras.

In fact, its cameras are exceptional. It has a 50MP f/1.9 main camera, a 12MP f/3.4 periscope one (with 5x optical zoom), and a 20MP f/1.8 ultra-wide one.

While that’s not quite as many lenses as some rivals, it’s got all the most important kinds accounted for, and they all perform very well.

From portrait shots to wide landscapes, zoomed photos, and close up subjects, we found in our review that the Huawei Mate 40 Pro could cope brilliantly with just about every kind of photo. It even does a great job in low-light conditions.

And while our focus is the rear snappers, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro also has a decent setup on the front, with a 13MP f/2.4 camera joined by a time-of-flight (ToF) sensor for sensing depth.

There are loads of photography modes and tools available on the Huawei Mate 40 Pro as well, from a light painting feature to a dedicated moon photography mode.

Read our full Huawei Mate 40 Pro review

OnePlus 9 Pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)

The best camera phone for ultra-wide shots

Specifications
Release date: March 2021
Weight: 197g
Dimensions: 163.2 x 73.6 x 8.7mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3216
CPU: Snapdragon 888
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 50MP + 8MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP
Reasons to buy
+
The best OnePlus camera phone
+
Strong performance
Reasons to avoid
-
Middling battery life
-
No microSD support

OnePlus phones aren’t often included on this list, and while the OnePlus 9 Pro still doesn’t threaten the top spot, it’s by far the best camera phone the company has put out at the time of its launch.

It has a 48MP f/1.8 main camera, an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto one (with 3.3x optical zoom), a 50MP f/2.2 ultra-wide one, and a 2MP monochrome one, for boosting black and white shots. Of those, the ultra-wide is arguably the most notable, as it has a freeform lens design that reduces the ‘barrel’ distortion often found at the edges of ultra-wide shots taken on other phones.

The cameras on the OnePlus 9 Pro were also developed in collaboration with Hasselblad, though that collaboration mostly only extended to color calibration and the design of the camera app. We expect more from this partnership on future OnePlus phones, but even here the results are noticeable in our experience, with accurate colors in photos.

And while the OnePlus 9 Pro has powerful manual controls, it also works well when taking photos in auto, so this is a strong point-and-shoot choice. With video recording at up to 8K quality too, and a capable 16MP front-facing camera, the OnePlus 9 Pro is a good all-rounder as far as photography goes – and in most other ways.

Read our full OnePlus 9 Pro review

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)

A great camera phone with an excellent zoom lens

Specifications
Release date: August 2020
Weight: 208g
Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.9-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3088
CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus / Exynos 990
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 128/256/512GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 108MP, 12MP, 12MP
Front camera: 10MP
Reasons to buy
+
Useful S Pen features
+
Great-looking screen
Reasons to avoid
-
Slow charging
-
Ultra-expensive

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a high-spec camera, but it’s the telephoto camera that really stands out. This is a 12MP f/3.0 snapper with 5x optical zoom and 50x digital zoom.

Both of those specs are impressive, and while the S20 Ultra offers 100x digital zoom, that was little more than a gimmick, with the Note 20 Ultra actually bettering that snapper thanks to a wider aperture and larger pixels.

And while the telephoto camera is the highlight, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s 108MP f/1.8 main camera and 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide one also perform well.

The Note 20 Ultra’s camera is also incredibly easy and fun to use, and it benefits from extras like 8K video and Single Take mode, which takes a bunch of photos and videos at the same time using the various lenses and modes, to increase the chance of you capturing something good.

Low-light photos aren’t quite as detailed as some of the competition, such as the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but otherwise this is an exceptional camera setup.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review

An iPhone 13 against a white background

(Image credit: Apple)

The best Apple iPhone bang for your buck

Specifications
Weight: 174g
Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.7mm
OS: iOS 15
Screen size: 6.1-inch
Resolution: 1170 x 2532
CPU: A15 Bionic
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: Up to 19 hours
Rear camera: 12MP+12MP
Front camera: 12MP
Reasons to buy
+
Strong battery life
+
Powerful internals
Reasons to avoid
-
Minimal design changes
-
No 120Hz screen

The iPhone 13 has just two rear cameras – a 12MP f/1.6 main one and a 12MP f/2.4 ultra-wide (with a 120-degree field of view), but both of them perform well, and they’re an upgrade on the iPhone 12’s snappers.

For one thing, you get bigger 1.7µm pixels on the main camera, which in our review we found made a noticeable difference to the picture quality. There’s also sensor shift OIS, which does an excellent job of stabilizing images so they come out sharp even when the phone isn’t held perfectly still.

In general we found images also had less noise than those taken with an iPhone 12, and when it comes to video we were quite fond of the new Cinematic mode, which adds a bokeh effect and smartly shifts the focus between subjects.

With a new Photographic Styles mode for stills too, plus a capable 12MP f/2.2 front-facing camera, there’s a lot to like here, it’s just a shame there’s no telephoto lens. For that you’ll have to opt for a Pro model – or a different company’s phones.

Read our full iPhone 13 review

Samsung Galaxy S21

(Image credit: Samsung)

Not the best of the S series, but nevertheless great

Specifications
Release date: January 2021
Weight: 169g/200g
Dimensions: 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm / 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.2-inch / 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 4,000mAh / 4,800mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 64MP + 12MP
Front camera: 10MP
Reasons to buy
+
Fantastic, versatile camera
+
Cheaper than the Galaxy S20
Reasons to avoid
-
No microSD support
-
Screen isn’t the best

The Samsung Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus have a different camera configuration to the S21 Ultra, hence these phones ranking lower in our best camera phone list, but it’s still a very impressive setup on each handset.

There’s a 12MP f/1.8 main camera, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide one, and a 64MP f/2.0 telephoto, making for a setup that’s basically the same as the Samsung Galaxy S20's – but that phone’s cameras still impress, and there are software improvements here.

Those improvements include things like new modes for Single Take. This mode lets the phone take a variety of photos and videos using all three cameras with a single button press, and now it includes a slow-mo option.

There’s also now a Director’s View mode, which lets you shoot with the front and rear cameras at the same time.

So you have a lot more options for your photographer’s toolkit, and away from the new features the core camera experience is still great, whichever lens you’re using – though the 3x hybrid optical zoom here is no match for the 10x offered by the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 review and Galaxy S21 Plus review

How we tested

We've fully reviewed every phone on this list and that includes extensively testing all of their cameras, so we know exactly how they perform. That allows us to look beyond specs and create a ranking based on how these camera phones are in practice. We've also considered price, value and features when deciding on a ranking.

What should I look for when buying a camera phone?

When choosing a camera phone you should consider the types of photo you want to take. If you want to photograph wildlife or other things you can't easily get close to then a telephoto lens is essential, while for landscapes a good ultra-wide is your friend. Check out our reviews to see how camera phones perform in practice too, as some sound better than they are.

Which phone has the best camera?

The best camera phone changes regularly, but our current top pick will be sitting in the number one spot of this guide. That doesn't mean it will be the best choice for everyone though - consider what you actually need from your camera phone before choosing one.

  • Turn your snaps into a beautiful photo book - we've picked out the best