Why it matters: 2019 has been a great year for smartphone cameras in which the technology has not only enabled consumers to capture better photos and videos than before, especially in the dark, but also played a major role in hardware design by pushing manufacturers to come up with all sorts of interesting rear camera layouts.
DxOMark tested camera(s) performance of 31 smartphones this year across a variety of price points and picked the winners for each of its five major categories.
In terms of overall camera performance, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro Premium Edition came out on top with a score of 121 "making both devices an excellent choice for mobile photographers who need top-end performance in any mobile photo or video situation."
The remaining three options in the overall ranking include the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max (117), the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G (117) and the Galaxy S10 5G (116).
Best for Video
For shooting video, the website reckons Apple's flagship to be the top choice with a score of 102, which was equaled by the aforementioned Xiaomi smartphone. Google's Pixel 4 came in third (101), followed by the 5G versions of Samsung's Note 10 and Galaxy S10.
Citing Apple's focus on the video performance of its iPhones as well as their huge popularity in the mobile video community, DxOMark pointed to the "abundance of choices in terms of mobile video accessories, such as external microphones, video grips, and lighting solutions, as well as video editing apps," enabling consumers to shoot high-quality footage with lightweight and compact equipment.
Best for Zoom
For those looking to make out the finer details in their shots, the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro stood out once again, thanks to its complex zoom system that's "currently unrivaled." The phone was praised for its true optical zoom and for producing high-quality telephoto images at different focal lengths.
The second and third place went to Huawei P30 Pro (95) and Mate30 Pro (91), respectively, followed by the latest Pixel (81) at fourth and Honor 20 Pro (79) in fifth place.
Best for Ultra-wide
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G came out first when it came to ultra-wide photography with a score of 42. DxoMark noted the device's wide field of view and good image quality across indoor and outdoor environments.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max came in at second by a difference of 2 points (40), which is shared with the Galaxy S10 5G. The fourth and fifth positions in this category went to the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro (39) and the Galaxy S10+ (38).
Best for Night photography
The last category is the one in which smartphone photography has been making strides. Thanks to software trickery and better sensors, taking good pictures in low-light or at night is now a possibility, even if limited to a few high-end smartphones at the moment.
Interestingly, neither Apple nor Google were able to secure any place in the top 5 positions. The Huawei Mate 30 Pro came out on top once again with a score of 61 and was praised for its good exposure, color saturation, wide dynamic range and low noise levels in dark conditions.
The company's P30 Pro came in at second with a score of 59, which was matched by the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G and the Galaxy S10 5G, while the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro ranked fifth with a total of 56 points.