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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Arguably this 2007 smartphone changed how we use phones today, but the Apple iPhone only packed a measly 2-megapixel shooter.

The first Android phone, the HTC Dream, was a tad better at 3.15 megapixels.

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With the Samsung Galaxy S still two years away, Samsung released an 8-megapixel shooter that outshone current smartphone cameras.

Looking more like an actual camera from the rear, the Samsung M8800 Pixon would be the template for future phones such as the Samsung K Zoom.

Caption by / Photo by Samsung

The 2009 3GS wasn't much of an upgrade in pixel count, but its 3-megapixel camera had auto-focus and could do video as well.

Caption by / Photo by Apple

The Motorola Droid X was remarkably advanced for its debut in 2010. It featured an 8-megapixel camera with dual LED and could record HD (720p) video.

Caption by / Photo by CBS Interactive

Released in 2011, the HTC Evo V 4G's rear-facing camera was capable of shooting 3D HD video and taking 3D pictures as well.

Caption by / Photo by CNET

The 2011 iPhone 4 only had a 5-megapixel camera, compared with the 8-megapixel shooter of the Droid X. But it was one of the first phones to sport a backside-illuminated sensor (the other being the HTC Evo 4G).

Caption by / Photo by Apple

In 2012, Nokia turned heads with the announcement of its 808 Pureview, which packed a whopping 41-megapixel camera. The phone ran on the clunky Symbian OS, but it took remarkably beautiful pictures.

Nokia's pact with Microsoft to use its Windows Phone operating system led many to hope the camera tech would be ported over to a Windows Phone, giving the struggling operating system something buzzworthy.

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It took about a year for the 41-megapixel camera found on the Nokia 808 PureView to make the move over to a Windows-based phone. The result is 2013's Lumia 1020.

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Where the megapixel counts were heading upwards, HTC decided to look backwards with the 2013 HTC One.

The phone featured a 4-megapixel camera, but its larger sensor used 2μm pixels for better low-light shots. The company used the same camera for the sequel, but was widely panned by consumers for the low resolution despite it taking pretty good images.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

LG finally stepped up its game in 2014 with a great flagship phone, the LG G3, which touted a 13-megapixel camera with laser assist focus. It was one of the first phones to sport this technology.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Where high-end phones were sporting new cool features, Asus took a different route with its midrange ZenFone 5. The phone had a 8-megapixel camera, but had software enhancements that let it take pictures in pitch dark environments by combining four pixels into one.

The process, known as pixel binning, wasn't new (the 41-megapixel Nokia phones used a similar method), but it gave this midrange phone something to shout about.

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While the 2014 iPhone 6 Plus kept the 8-megapixel camera, Apple finally added optical image stabilization to the phone. There's a chance that Apple may introduce a larger megapixel camera in its next phone, due later this year.

Caption by / Photo by CNET

While Apple kept to the 8-megapixel count, the 2014 Samsung Galaxy S5 kicked it up a notch with a 16-megapixel shooter. Despite the higher count, image quality didn't suffer and Samsung's flagship phone showed just how good its camera had become.

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