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Pure/near-pure Android phones with best cameras (excluding Pixel)

ozaz

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 27, 2011
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Which stock/nearly-stock Android phones are considered to have the best cameras, excluding Google Pixel?

I've been a Samsung Galaxy user for a few years but for a change I would like to switch to a more pure Android experience for my next purchase, which will be in the next couple of weeks.

A new Pixel 2 is more than I'm willing to pay for a phone. A refurbished/used Pixel 2 purchase is an option I'm considering but would also like to now what my other options are at lower price points than a new Pixel (don't really want to pay more than Oneplus prices for a new phone).

I'd like the phone to
* have best or near best camera (for its price point)
* have a good chance of getting regular and prompt security updates
* have pure or near-pure Android without multiple pre-installed apps that do the same thing like you get on Samsung phones (i.e. not have multiple browsers and emails apps for example).
 
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MarkX

macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2015
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Fochabers, Scotland
I'm not sure any of the manafacturers of Android phones other than the pixels receive timely security updates/software.

I know people on here have mixed experiences/opinions on what is acceptable to them.

What's your budget? New or used?
 
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ozaz

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 27, 2011
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286
I'm not sure any of the manafacturers of Android phones other than the pixels receive timely security updates/software.

I know people on here have mixed experiences/opinions on what is acceptable to them.

What's your budget? New or used?

Don't all Android One phones get security updates just as quickly as Pixel phones?

But I'll loosen this requirement to widen the pool. Let's say a reasonable expectation that security updates get pushed out within 1.5 months of Google releasing them. My Samsung phones seem to achieve this.

I don't really have a budget as such. But if purchasing a new phone my preference would be to spend less than the cost of a Pixel 2. Lets say around 20-25% less than the price of a base Pixel 2 ($650), so a phone that would be around $500 in the US market I suppose (upper mid-range / budget premium).

But I'm also asking this question with friends in mind who would be willing to pay even less for a phone. When suggesting phones to these friends I would like to recommend a phone with a non-confusing Android experience (absence of multiple apps for the same task) and as good a camera as they can get given price and these software constraints (which rule out Samsung, for example). So am interested in suggestions at lower price points as well (i.e. budget and mid-range).

If I decide to get a used phone for my own needs, I'd just get a used Pixel 2.

Buy a Pixel 1.

Does this have better a better camera than all phones released more recently with relatively pure Android feel, absence of multiple apps doing the same thing, expectation of security updates within around 1.5 months, and max price point of $500ish?
 
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Glmnet1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2017
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I recommend the Motorola phones for your need. Almost pure Android experience, frequent updates (I own a moto g4 plus and I'm still getting frequent updates, I'm not sure exactly how long it takes to get them after release but it seems fast enough) and they are quite affordable.

I haven't done my research for the camera but I'm sure they have a model with a good one.
 
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tbayrgs

macrumors 604
Jul 5, 2009
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Don't all Android One phones get security updates just as quickly as Pixel phones?

But I'll loosen this requirement to widen the pool. Let's say a reasonable expectation that security updates get pushed out within 1.5 months of Google releasing them. My Samsung phones seem to achieve this.

I don't really have a budget as such. But if purchasing a new phone my preference would be to spend less than the cost of a Pixel 2. Lets say around 20-25% less than the price of a base Pixel 2 ($650), so a phone that would be around $500 in the US market I suppose (upper mid-range / budget premium).

But I'm also asking this question with friends in mind who would be willing to pay even less for a phone. When suggesting phones to these friends I would like to recommend a phone with a non-confusing Android experience (absence of multiple apps for the same task) and as good a camera as they can get given price and these software constraints (which rule out Samsung, for example). So am interested in suggestions at lower price points as well (i.e. budget and mid-range).

If I decide to get a used phone for my own needs, I'd just get a used Pixel 2.



Does this have better a better camera than all phones released more recently with relatively pure Android feel, absence of multiple apps doing the same thing, expectation of security updates within around 1.5 months, and max price point of $500ish?

Save for recent Samsung, Huawei, maybe the LGs, and the newer Pixels, I don't think anything else is close. The original Pixel was at the top of the list the year it was released.

What's the second hand market like for you? I was able to get a pristine Pixel 2 for $475 recently and see lots of similarly priced phones available now.

How about the recently announced/released Nokia phones? I'm admittedly completely unaware of their availability but they're Android One phones that caught my eye at their CES unveiling. No idea how their camera rate though.
 
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ozaz

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 27, 2011
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Save for recent Samsung, Huawei, maybe the LGs, and the newer Pixels, I don't think anything else is close. The original Pixel was at the top of the list the year it was released.

What's the second hand market like for you? I was able to get a pristine Pixel 2 for $475 recently and see lots of similarly priced phones available now.

How about the recently announced/released Nokia phones? I'm admittedly completely unaware of their availability but they're Android One phones that caught my eye at their CES unveiling. No idea how their camera rate though.

Thanks.

I can probably get a used Pixel 2 for £350 ($470) including taxes. Not pristine, but should be no more than minor markings. To be honest this is most likely what I will get. But started this thread to gain awareness of what else might be out there particularly as I have friends who won't buy used phones and would be interested in new phones in the $200-$500 range.

The Android One Nokias look very appealing from software point of view and span a range of price points, potentially providing a better option than Motorolas (and I have a soft spot for Nokia). But yes, I'm not sure about the the cameras either. Would be interesting to know how the cameras rate in relation to similarly priced Motorolas and to budget flagships like Oneplus and Essential.
 
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Roadstar

macrumors 68000
Sep 24, 2006
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Vantaa, Finland
The Android One Nokias look very appealing from software point of view and span a range of price points, potentially providing a better option than Motorolas (and I have a soft spot for Nokia). But yes, I'm not sure about the the cameras either. Would be interesting to know how the cameras rate in relation to similarly priced Motorolas and to budget flagships like Oneplus and Essential.

The Nokia 7 Plus looks quite promising actually. Sure the camera isn't as awesome as the old Nokias were, but it seems like HMD is getting back on the track with their Android Nokias. A user on a Finnish forum took these comparison shots with the Nokia 7 Plus and his iPhone X and the results are quite promising. The Nokia photos are darker, but according to the user the lighting is closer to the actual situation in the Nokia photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/h8rvv9f1fjnk36o/AACDg63s0_a8w6C6WVCjHnMRa?dl=0
 
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IowaLynn

Contributor
Feb 22, 2015
1,765
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Essential is nice solid phone with Oreo 8.1. I think it has gotten better with the hardware too in newest phones being sold. I find it at $495 to be good value, Camera? Not as bad as I've read. Still have my iPhone X but if i need highest quality, invest in a standalone camera. $600 can get you started with DSLR im sure.
 
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nviz22

Cancelled
Jun 24, 2013
5,277
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Was wondering this too. I am leaning towards going with a phone $500 USD or less. I was going to compromise with a first gen Pixel XL 128gb refurbished for about $250 or so. I would use that for a bit and then get the Pixel 3 in a year or so.
 
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Blaze4G

macrumors 65816
Oct 31, 2015
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HTC U11? Frequent updates, close to stock Android and better camera than every phone not named pixel 2 or Samsung S9.
 
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Falhófnir

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Aug 19, 2017
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Worth looking at the current crop of Nokias - android one (pure android with good support from google) and from a company which was just about la creme de la creme of smartphone cameras before...
 
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ozaz

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 27, 2011
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HTC U11? Frequent updates, close to stock Android and better camera than every phone not named pixel 2 or Samsung S9.

Do HTC phones have multiple apps that perform the same function (multiple browsers, multiple email apps, etc) like Samsung phones?
 
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Blaze4G

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Oct 31, 2015
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Do HTC phones have multiple apps that perform the same function (multiple browsers, multiple email apps, etc) like Samsung phones?
The only duplicate app I believe they have is a mail app.
 
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dumastudetto

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2013
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Worth looking at the current crop of Nokias - android one (pure android with good support from google) and from a company which was just about la creme de la creme of smartphone cameras before...

I don't think much of the talent that was at Nokia remains at the company after the Microsoft mayhem destroyed them.
 
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Macalicious2011

macrumors 65816
May 15, 2011
1,003
737
London
Not to be biased but get a Pixel 2 XL.

I dislike paying full price for gadgets and got my phone at an amazing price. On ebay I found one with an open box, just turned on twice. Basically brand new and it came with a receipt from the Google store. Bought it for £540 instead of paying £799.

My previous phone was a Samsung ans it was great. However after the Pixel I don't think I will buy a Samsung anytime soon.
 
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ozaz

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 27, 2011
1,278
286
Thanks for ongoing replies.

I've relaxed the camera consideration and narrowed down my pool of phones to Pixel phones and Android One phones. Here are my thoughts having considered the replies and doing a bit of searching myself.

At flagship end (around £650 and upwards) there are the Pixels and Nokia 8 Sirocco to choose from. Unless you're a Nokia aficionado I don't really see any reason to choose it over the Pixels.

Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be an Android One phone at the premium-mid-range/budget-flagship price point (~ £500; i.e. OnePlus / Essential pricing). Would be good to see an Android One option at this price point in the future. Perhaps Nokia 8 Sirocco will fall to this price point after it fails to sell (I presume) at its current price point.

Mid-range options (~ £350) are Nokia 7 Plus and HTC U11 Life. Nokia 7 Plus seems to me to be great value and perhaps the superior choice here. It has a faster processor, better battery life, dual rear camera, and electronic image stabilization.

Budget options (~£200) are Nokia 6 2018 and Xiaomi Mi A1. Although a bit more expensive I'd go with the Nokia 6 since the Xiaomi lacks NFC.

For my own needs I'm going to get a refurbished Pixel 2. But this thread and my search has also been useful for identifying some lower cost options I could recommend to family and friends who won't pay flagship prices and won't buy refurb phones. My preference for these recommendations would be phones with no duplicate apps and with guaranteed updates. Nokia 6 2018 and Nokia 7 Plus seem to be a couple of great options in this regard.

Edit: Those in the US could also consider the Android One version of Moto X4, but I think this is US only so I haven't looked into how it compares to the above phones.
 
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