The camera is arguably the most important smartphone feature these days. It is the most contested field of battle for manufacturers: they spend enormous resources on R&D, and they often dedicate the largest chunk of time during launch events to showcase their new camera innovations. Meanwhile, emotions always run high among fans as they try to establish who has the best camera of all. In the race towards the most advanced imaging setup, phones started to come along with two, three, four, and sometimes even more snappers on board, each serving a different function. This made them extremely versatile, but the fact is that the smartphone camera became an increasingly complex monster. The increase in complexity, as well as the ever more heated competition in this field meant that surface-level, subjective evaluation no longer cut it. We realized that a reliable, holistic approach to smartphone camera testing was needed.
Here’s how the PhoneArena Camera Score works
We evaluate each camera on a phone across a multitude of criteria: from essentials like exposure, color representation and detail resolution, to specialties like portrait mode separation quality and viewfinder reliability. Right now, our testing procedure covers more than 15 different criteria just for the main camera! To get a better idea of the type of things we look at, here are some examples:
- Subject exposure
- Color temperature
- Color tint
- Detail resolution level
- Oversharpening artifacts
- Portrait mode separation quality
- Preview reliability (HDR, resolution, portrait mode)
At PhoneArena, we’ve had the chance to test and evaluate hundreds of phone cameras over the years. We’re confident the breadth of experience we’ve accumulated across our team of industry veterans and tech enthusiasts has been successfully integrated into this new camera evaluation process.
The Camera Score widget
Along with this brand new rating procedure, today we’re launching our Camera Score widget, the purpose of which is to display all camera ratings for a particular phone model.
It’s important to note that we’ve assigned different weights to the different types of cameras (main, zoom, ultrawide and selfie). The ratios of the weights are as follows: 100 for the Main camera; 35 for Zoom; 30 for Ultrawide; and 35 for Selfie. These ratios are the same between the photo and video categories.
The road ahead
This is just the beginning of the PhoneArena Camera Score, which ushers in a new era of sophisticated, objective, yet easy-to-understand camera rating, and we’re thrilled to offer this solution to every smartphone fan out there who wants to make the right decision when choosing their new product. Today, we’re launching v1 of the PhoneArena Camera Score, but we already have plans to add more testing criteria to our procedure, for an even deeper, more holistic and relevant smartphone camera rating. Our controlled testing setup is only bound to become more sophisticated with time.
You can already find the Camera Score widgets for some of the current top flagships (the whole iPhone 15 family, Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max, Galaxy S23 Ultra and Pixel 7 Pro) in the camera sections of their reviews, as well as in our dedicated camera review articles for each of these products. Over the coming weeks and months we’ll be adding the Camera Scores of all new phones that come in for review, as well as the big releases that hit the market over the last year.