When a smartphone is deemed a flagship, it’s expected to have one of the best cameras on the market. In the growing jungle of Android handsets, camera performance is one of the key ways to distinguish who’s got the goods and who doesn’t. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, LG G5, and HTC 10 are all flagships for their respective brands, and each company has taken the camera very seriously, looking to improve it in every possible way. That said, we took all three smartphones on various photography outings to gauge their performance and see who ultimately wins this shootout.
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There is an irony here in that each of these devices uses a different primary design. Curved glass is the calling card for the Galaxy S7 Edge, metal with a modular design for the G5, and the metal tradition continues for the HTC 10. None of these design treatments affect camera output in any particular way, though it is worth noting that the G5 does have a separately sold camera grip that fits with the device’s modular theme.
Despite dropping the overall megapixel count on the image sensor to 12 megapixels, the micron pixels are larger on the Galaxy S7 Edge, and the aperture is wider at f/1.7. These work together to bring in more light. Optical image stabilization (OIS) helps keep images from coming out blurry, while a fast startup time (0.7 seconds) and quick focusing round out an impressive shooter. It should be noted, however, that the regular “flat” Galaxy S7 has the exact same camera specs.
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Coming off what was one of the best cameras on any phone in 2015 with the G4, LG aimed to push things further with the G5. It added rather than replaced, however, choosing to go with the same 16-megapixel image sensor in the rear, along with the same optical image stabilization, wide f/1.8 aperture, and color spectrum sensor next to the LED flash. The main differentiator is the inclusion of a second ultra wide-angle (135-degree) lens that users can shoot with separately or together with the regular 75-degree lens.
After HTC fumbled the camera with the One M9 last year, the company finally brought its groove back with a more competitive shooter this year in the 10. The UltraPixel 2 image sensor moves back to the rear, with 12-megapixels, a wide f/1.8 aperture, and OIS on board.
Even though all three have astonishing cameras on paper, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge win this one.