Digital cameras are now so ubiquitous in cell phones that's its became rather hard to find a handset without one. Indeed, the feature has come a long way since cameras entered the cell phone world, first as detachable accessories and then as integrated features. The VGA resolution was long the norm--and it still exists at the low end of the market--but that changed with the introduction of handsets like Sprint's, which was the first 1.3-megapixel camera phone in the United States. And from that point, the technology only got better.
The problem, however, is that the more camera phones there are, the harder it is choose the best models. U.S. carriers now offer handsets with 8-megapixel resolution, a ton of features, and even high-end lenses and sensors that you'd find on a regular camera. Photo quality also can vary quite widely, which makes the buying process even more difficult. CNET, however, is here to help. Not only can you compare photo quality for yourself in our camera phone photo gallery, but also we've selected what we think are the five best camera phones right now. Granted, there are unlocked handsets with more photo prowess, but we've stuck with handsets that we've reviewed.
The iPhone's 5-megapixel camera is good enough by itself, but when you combine it with the huge selection of photography apps available in the iTunes App Store, you wind up with a powerful shooter that offers decent quality for both still shots and video. You can get it with AT&T or Verizon Wireless.
A CNET Editors' Choice Award winner, T-Mobile's Sensation 4G wowed Bonnie Cha on all fronts, including the camera. The 8-megapixel shooter delivers great image quality under most conditions and you're offered a large selection of features, including autofocus, a dual LED flash, and a variety of editing options and effects.
Forget the 3D photos, for the regular 2D photos are all we need. The quality was excellent, we appreciate the broad selection of features, and it has 720p video playback.
Another CNET Editors' Choice winner, the 8-megapixel Galaxy S II is easy to use, offers a broad selection of editing controls, and delivers great photo quality, both indoors and outside. Reviewer Jessica Dolcourt even was pleased with shots taken with the front-facing camera.
Before it went on sale, T-Mobile billed the MyTouch 4G Slide as the most advanced camera phone to date. Jessica didn't quite agree, though she was impressed nonetheless. The 8-megapixel camera rivals a standalone camera in features, and the quality was very nice. You can see a comparison between the MyTouch 4G Slide and other top phones .