Verizon is a massive wireless carrier, and the chances are that many customers are shopping for a new smartphone right now. Having a powerful camera system is a high priority for the overwhelming majority of buyers, and this is where our Uber HW Camera benchmark can help.
We have ranked 50 Verizon phones’ camera hardware, going from $100 to $1399, so you can find the best camera for your budget. Along the way, we’ll drop some additional nuggets of information since we have hands-on experience with many of these phones.
Our Uber HW Camera score is an accurate hardware-based mobile camera benchmark and score, built from this general truth: “better camera hardware captures higher-quality photos.”
To date, no other scores have ranked so many cameras (~160 as of today) with a precision that often matches experts’ sentiment. For more information, you can read our Uber HW Camera FAQ and visit this camera benchmark’s homepage.
Above $1000 Verizon Camera-Phones
The cost isn’t generally considered a problem at this price point, and other factors will decide, such as design. As far as the camera is concerned, Samsung occupies 4 of the top 5 spots, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max shares a 4th place with the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
We’re not sure why Verizon keeps the original MSRP for 2019 phones, but there’s no need even to consider these. Go for a 2020 smartphone if you’re going to pay the full price.
“SAMSUNG OCCUPIES 4 OF THE TOP 5 SPOTS”
The Galaxy S20 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra have the absolute most powerful camera hardware at Verizon. We also know that the score reflects real-world usage because we also tested the actual image quality (IQ) for these cameras. Read our Camera Reviews for the Galaxy S20 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra.
Our iPhone 12 Pro Max image quality (IQ) review is still underway, but the preliminary results didn’t put it above these Samsung phones. If you absolutely want iOS, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has the better camera hardware of all iPhones, so that’s the one you want as a photo enthusiast. You can also read our iPhone 12 camera hardware analysis.
$900-$1000 Verizon Camera-Phones
Just below $1000, the situation is quite similar since the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy S20 (non-Ultra) grab the two top spots, followed closely by the iPhone 12 Pro (non-Max). A new battleground, but the same battle lines.
Apple is more competitive in this category, and while there is a difference, it is certainly not as large as with Samsung’s “Ultra” series.
The LG Wing and LG V60 Thin Q offer decent camera strength in this category, but their Bill-of-Material (BOM) budget has gone towards dual-screen, a new use case that LG is promoting with some success. You can read our LG Wing review, which is a stunningly exciting device.
$700-$900 Verizon Camera-Phones
There are surprisingly few Verizon phones above $850, so we’ll combine it with the 700-800 USD one. The Galaxy S10 and S10+ have the most potent hardware in this category, with the OnePlus 8 5G trailing close by.
“THE ONEPLUS 8 5G AND THE IPHONE 12 WOULD BE YOUR 5G PHONES OF CHOICE UNDER $800”
This is where 5G might be a factor: if you want 5G, the OnePlus 8 5G and the iPhone 12 would be your 5G camera-phones of choice under $800. If instead, you want the absolute best camera hardware, follow the numbers.
$600-$700 Verizon Camera-Phones
The competition is stiff just below $700, but the Galaxy S20 FE 5G (Fan Edition) is hard to beat. Not only it has a powerful camera system, but it is also an excellent phone all around.
It’s nice to see Nokia competing with Samsung closely, thanks to its Nokia 8 V 5G, a technically very promising phone.
We love the Google Pixel 5 design and features. However, despite having a new Ultrawide rear camera, its Primary camera sensor is relatively old. It has not changed since the Google Pixel 3.
Still, Google’s camera has a unique rendering “style” that a large following reveres. Read our Pixel 5 Camera IQ review to know more.
$400-$600 Verizon Camera-Phones
The Google Pixel 4a 5G is an excellent contender, and despite having a slightly lower-score in camera hardware, it can compete very well with the S10e’s camera. The Pixel 4a 5G is your best 5G camera-phone pick here.
“THE PIXEL 4A 5G IS YOUR BEST 5G CAMERA-PHONE PICK”
Verizon still features the iPhone 8 at this price point, but the iPhone 11 is clearly better, so don’t pick the iPhone 8.
In the 400-500 USD price range, the Motorola Moto Z4 seems like the obvious one to consider, unless you want an iPhone, in which case, the iPhone XR would be your best bet.
$300-$400 Verizon Camera-Phones
At $399, the TCL 10 5G has an excellent camera configuration on paper and is worth considering at this price. This new phone is the most affordable 5G handset on the market and certainly at Verizon.
The TCL 10 5G camera captures more realistic colors than the TCL 10 Pro, which was launched earlier in 2020. That’s because the 10 Pro has a rendering “style” that goes overboard with color-saturation.
The Samsung A51 (non-5G) and Google Pixel 4a are good contenders and might sway your decision based on their ecosystem, user interfaces, or brand power. Note that the Pixel 4a has a different camera system than the Pixel 4a 5G.
Finally, the iPhone 7/7+ and iPhone SE have weak camera systems than Google, Samsung, or TCL phones. For the same price, you’re likely to get a noticeably lower photo quality.
$200-$300 Verizon Camera-Phones
The Motorola Moto G stylus seems good for that price range, and that would make it the easy choice when it comes to sub-$300 photography. Next, the Galaxy A21 and the LG Stylo 6 run neck to neck but seem like a distant second option.
Sub-$200 Verizon Camera-Phones
As budgets get tighter, it becomes more challenging to integrate quality cameras, but the Galaxy A11 and the LG K51 are sharing the two leading positions. Despite being in the higher price tier of this category, they offer the best cameras for your money.
Camera hardware strenght is not always proportional to a phone’s price and we’ve shown that more expensive phones can come with camera tradeoffs.
Many manufacturers will balance their budgets differently across the phone’s components. Camera hardware can easily be sacrificed for a higher frequency display, more expensive materials, gaming performance etc.
With our objective camera hardware score, you can maximize your smartphone investment, discover new options, and squeeze all the camera value for every dollar you are putting into a shiny new phone.