A Leica camera in a phone?!

Cell phones have revolutionized the “vacation brag” with high definition, rich photos rivaling the quality of the best clunky cameras. With one touch, they’re on Instagram or Facebook, ready to dazzle and delight friends, families and frenemies. And thanks to emerging artificial intelligence, on board software automatically edits photos into detailed masterpieces, instantly resembling something far more professional. But which new phone will bring the best pictures to your social media feeds? We’ve crunched the numbers, played with phones and compared notes to bring you the five best camera phones for travelers – and what makes each one unique.

Huawei P20 Pro

The Specs

Leica 40 megapixel, 20 megapixel and 8 megapixel zoom rear cameras – yes, three of them. 24 megapixel front (selfie) camera, adjustable shutter speed for slow release photos.

The Pitch

It’s almost insulting to call this a camera phone. This is a bonafide industry leading digital camera, which just so happens to be installed into a very large phone. The phone utilizes onboard neural processing to recognize shapes, such as faces and make automatic adjustments for brilliant photos. Basically, if you’re looking at the Leaning Tower Of Pisa – it knows.

The X Factor

This is unquestionably the most powerful camera ever installed into a mobile phone and that’s not limited to close in photos. The camera offers the best zoom by far, and when combined with the high spec optics, makes for instantly wowing photos.

The Price

$1000/£799.

Google Pixel 2

The Specs

12.2 Megapixel rear camera. 8 mega pixel front (selfie) camera, AI stickers.

The Pitch

Google’s phone ties or bests most cameras in terms of megapixels and zoom, but it’s got a secret weapon too. The Pixel Visual Core is a processor which uses intelligence and wildly advanced technology to automatically improve every photo, without a single touch required on your end. It knows what should be darker, lighter or more defined and automatically improves every single photo you take. Take that!

The X Factor

Google phones come with unlimited storage via Google Photos. You’ll never run out of space or need to pay for a cloud storage plan. In addition, if your device happens to be low on storage space, Google will automatically send some photos to the cloud to clear things up. The Project Fi service is pretty incredible for travelers too.

The Price

$649-$679/£699

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

The Specs

Dual 12 Megapixel rear cameras with 2x zoom. 7 mega pixel front (selfie) camera. Super slow-mo video.

The Pitch

Any of these phones will do you proud in great lighting, but when the sun is setting against the water and you want to catch that beautiful glow, you need a good low light winner. The Samsung on board rendering software does a masterful job in low light and challenging conditions and with the ability to switch apertures to let in more or less light, you have some cool customization options.

The X Factor

This is a camera and camera app designed for photo enthusiasts. You can customize almost every part of the image including ISO and Shutter Speed, which could be a welcome addition for any serious photo enthusiasts tempted to leave their DSLR at home. And for any vein travelers, there’s a beauty slider in the camera app. Who doesn’t love that?

The Price

$650/£550

iPhone X

The Specs

Dual 12 Megapixel rear cameras with 2x zoom. 7 mega pixel front (selfie) camera. Portrait lighting.

The Pitch

Apple needed a winning camera to keep the most popular phone in the world, and they succeeded. The camera can capture ultra slow-mo video with it’s 60fps 4k resolution. 4k is about as good as it gets and the more frames per second, the richer. On spec it ties the Google Pixel 2, but with the addition of a 2x zoom it’s better for people who love to zoom – not that you ever should with a camera phone.

The X Factor

Selfie game is an important factor in travel Instagram domination. The iPhone X offers portrait mode, which automatically processes beautiful selfies and front camera images, with artistic effects sure to wow any crowd. Couple that with dual sensor 12.2 megapixel cameras and improved image stabilization and this is a serious contender.

The Price

$1000/£999

Sony XZ1

The Specs: 19 Megapixel rear camera with 2x zoom. 13 mega pixel front (selfie) camera. Motion Eye focus.

The Pitch

Sony’s phone doesn’t get a whole lot of play, since it’s rarely sold in phone stores, but that shouldn’t stop you from considering it. The 19 megapixel rear camera offers incredible depth, and Sony’s Motion Eye technology makes it one of the very best cameras for capturing action shots. The idea is that the camera knows what’s moving, and will keep it in focus on things like a smile or a cheetah across a burst of photos. You’ll always get the right shot.

The X Factor

The phone offers one of the quickest app launches on the market, helping to capture those quick chance encounters all travelers incur. From celeb sightings, to flying eagles the dedicated camera button and multi step manual shooting app help to curate and customize photos at an extremely high level. We hear things will go even further with the new XZ2.

The Price

$500/£449

Which phone do you use for travel photos?