The best smartphone camera of 2022 is not the iPhone 14 Pro

It’s that time of year. YouTuber MKBHD conducted another blind camera test to select the best smartphone camera in 2022. More than 600,000 people voted for images captured by 16 smartphones launched this year.

MKBHD decided that these 16 smartphones would take three different photos: a standard photo, but with light coming from the window, a night mode photo, and a portrait photo. He would then combine each smartphone position to select the overall winner.

With over 600,000 people entering and 20 million votes, the YouTuber used an Elo-style power ranking system hosted on a dedicated website to discover the best smartphone camera of 2022. After showing the photos with the most votes, MKBHD revealed the smartphones that took part in the blind test:

  • Huawei Mate 50 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • Moto Edge 2022
  • Nothing Phone 1
  • OnePlus 10 Pro
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
  • Pixel 6A
  • Realme 10 Pro+
  • ROG phone 6
  • iPhone SE3
  • Pixel 7 Pro
  • Galaxy S22Ultra
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV
  • Xiaomi 12s Ultra
  • Asus Zenfone 9
  • Vivo X80 Pro+

While the media usually portrays iPhone releases as having some of the best cameras, the iPhone 14 Pro wasn’t quite as good. Out of 16 smartphones, it took 7th place (behind Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra). Even with Apple’s new Photonic Engine feature for computational photography and the A16 Bionic chip, the company couldn’t deliver the sharpest image or best night mode shot.

Comparison between default shots on smartphones launched in 2022. Image source: MKBHD

This blind test showed that paying more doesn’t mean you get the best quality, as the Pixel 6A was the overall winner, followed by Google Pixel 7 Pro and Asus Zenfone 9. To be clear, the Google Pixel 6A came in third place in standard photo, 2nd in night mode photo and 2nd in portrait mode.

Pixel 7 Pro took 2nd, 4th and 1st. That said, this blind test showed that even if you are the best in one type of photography if you score very poorly in another category, you won’t win the award as best smartphone camera. The Oppo Find X5 Pro had the best overall standard photo, taking first place. But it ranked 3rd in night mode shooting and 15th in portrait shooting. Yuck.

The iPhone 14 Pro, just to be sure, was ranked 6th, 10th and 5th. The worst average phones were (from worst to not-so-bad) Sony Xperia I IV, Motorola Edge 30 Ultra, the Nothing Phone (1), and iPhone SE 3. The iPhone SE 3 scored poorly, mainly in night mode recording, because it does not have the correct setting for this technology.

Below is the full video highlighting the best smartphone camera of 2022.