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April 7, 2018

Best Selfie Camera Phone in 2018

by John_A

The front-facing camera is the window to your soul. Here’s the best one.

  • Best overall
  • Best for features
  • Best on a budget

Best overall

Google Pixel 2 / Pixel 2 XL

google-pixel-2-selfie-1.jpg?itok=TGgH4GF

See at Verizon
See at Best Buy
See at Google Store

The Google Pixel 2 takes amazing selfies. Google’s 8MP front-facing camera may not have the autofocus of the Galaxy S9, but it doesn’t need it: it’s incredible at picking up the foreground subject (that’s you!) and turning it into a sharp, detailed, and in-focus miracle. Even better, Google’s portrait mode is also available, artificially separating you from the background, resulting in some really striking images.

Bottom line: Google’s figured out how to make selfies an art, especially if you’re looking for simplicity over customization.

One more thing: The Pixel 2’s front-facing portrait mode is a feature you won’t find on any other Android flagship phone right now.

Why the Pixel 2 is the best

Google doesn’t want you to mess around with features and settings when you’re taking a photo; it just wants you to press the shutter button and get great results every time. That’s the beauty of the using a Pixel 2: it’s guaranteed that you’re going to get a decent selfie in almost any lighting condition, and if there’s enough light, you’ll even get some decent separation from the background.

What makes the Pixel 2 stand out among other phones when it comes to its front-facing camera is just how sharp photos turn out. This is the opposite of what companies like Huawei, Samsung, and LG are churning out, since they tend to turn on “beauty mode” by default, which softens the face and (problematically) lightens complexion. The Pixel 2 produces photos so sharp and lifelike that some people may be put off by the amount of detail, but in my opinion, it’s better to have those details and edit them out later than not have them from the beginning.

The Pixel 2’s portrait mode is also really fun to use on the selfie camera. Google is really good at separating the foreground subject from the background, the effect of that sharp photo is heightened even more. Thankfully, the camera also pulls out plenty of color and dynamic range, so you’re going to look your best at all times.

Best for features

Samsung Galaxy S9 / S9+

galaxy-s8-macro-phone20.jpg?itok=MRDB5b0

See at Amazon

The Galaxy S9 series builds off the success of the S8 in more than a few ways. Its front-facing camera, in particular, is largely unchanged from last year’s model, with an 8MP sensor, f/1.7 lens, and autofocus. The last point is important, because it makes it easier for the phone to pick up on a subject, which it does quickly in good lighting.

Samsung’s selfie camera is great because it’s got so many features, including AR Emoji, stickers, and plenty of filters and editing tools to get you looking your best. Quality isn’t as good as the Pixel 2, but it has tons of features to make up for it.

Bottom line: Samsung’s selfies are softer and generally less detailed, but its features, including AR Emoji, more than make up for it.

One more thing: The Galaxy S9 is one of the only phones with an autofocusing front-facing camera.

Best on a budget

Honor 7X

honor-7x-second-review-1.jpg?itok=3QYfSZ

See at Amazon

If you don’t want to spend a lot but want to take the best possible budget selfies, the Honor 7X is your jam. It’s got a 8MP front-facing camera and plenty of features to get you looking at sharp or soft as your heart desires. And at $200, it’s the best deal on a budget smartphone right now.

Bottom line: A metal phone with plenty of speed and a kick-butt selfie camera? Yes, please!

One more thing: Fancy an upgrade? The Honor View 10 has an even better selfie shooter for a few hundred more.

Conclusion

It used to be Samsung, Samsung, Samsung every year, but as with its rear camera, Google now owns the selfie game. That doesn’t mean the S9 shoots bad selfies — on the contrary — but the front-facing photos you get from the Pixel 2 are just astounding.

On the budget side, the Honor 7X has many virtues for the price, and the selfie camera is definitely one of them.

Best overall

Google Pixel 2 / Pixel 2 XL

google-pixel-2-selfie-1.jpg?itok=TGgH4GF

See at Verizon
See at Best Buy
See at Google Store

The Google Pixel 2 takes amazing selfies. Google’s 8MP front-facing camera may not have the autofocus of the Galaxy S9, but it doesn’t need it: it’s incredible at picking up the foreground subject (that’s you!) and turning it into a sharp, detailed, and in-focus miracle. Even better, Google’s portrait mode is also available, artificially separating you from the background, resulting in some really striking images.

Bottom line: Google’s figured out how to make selfies an art, especially if you’re looking for simplicity over customization.

One more thing: The Pixel 2’s front-facing portrait mode is a feature you won’t find on any other Android flagship phone right now.

Update April, 2018: The Pixel 2 is now our favorite selfie shooter, but the new Galaxy S9 and excellent Honor 7X round out our list.

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