Since we’ve added popular budget phone camera scores, it has been a while, so here they are, covering the sub-$199 to the sub-$499 market segment from the biggest names in the phone industry:  Oppo, Samsung, Vivo, and Xiaomi.

This update shows the tremendous rise of mobile camera hardware quality in the lower segments of the mobile market. While high-end phones such as the Galaxy S21 Ultra have seen a relatively slow progression after last year’s big jump, some sub-$199 phones feature cameras that were impressive just a couple of years ago.

We rank these mobile camera systems based on our mobile camera HardWare benchmark called Camera HW. It ranks the hardware strength of an unprecedented number of mobile camera systems (180 today) with a proprietary algorithm that analyzes the cameras’ hardware.

For more details about this benchmark, check the Camera HW FAQ. The complete list of cameras is at the bottom of the page. The algorithm is tuned and adjusted with real-world image analysis from our image-based Camera IQ benchmark (IQ = Image Quality).

Camera HW scores update #8, Camera HW v1.1
SoC Segment
119 Oppo Reno5 4G Snapdragon 720 $399 32
109 Samsung Galaxy A51 5G Samsung Exynos 980 $499 22
106 Xiaomi Redmi 9T Snapdragon 662 $199 71
89 Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T Dimensity 800U 5G $199 48
87 Samsung Galaxy A12 Helio P35 $199 48
64 Samsung Galaxy A02s Snapdragon 450 $199 58
56 Oppo A53 Snapdragon 616 $199 32
41 Vivo Y20s Snapdragon 460 $199 23

In this round, the top sub-$400 camera is the Oppo Reno5 4G which captures an above-average value in its category. If that model is not available in your area, we recommend looking at the OnePlus Nord N10 5G or the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite.

You can compare these two phones’ specifications side by side, but essentially, the Reno5 has a slight advantage with the primary camera’s optics. At the same time, the Nord N10 gets a slightly better ultrawide camera.

Under $200, the MediaTek-powered Samsung Galaxy A12 and especially the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T brings an excellent camera value for the price. Still, they both have to contend with the new Moto G Power 2021, which we recently mentioned.

For those having access to the Realme 6i or Micromax IN Note 1 in their area, both are also impressive mobile camera value-propositions under $200.

Despite being classified as “under $200”, the Samsung Galaxy A02s actually retails close to $100. Even though the score of 64, you probably get more for your money than some of the handsets that retail at the upper-tier of that segment.

Data update

A recent data update has affected the following Camera HW scores: OnePlus Nord N10 5G (-13%), Galaxy A71 5G (-12%), OnePlus 9 (-6%) and OnePlus 9 Pro (-5%).

We are always looking for more accurate data points and are applying the same evaluation algorithm across all mobile cameras. For more scores, head to the Camera HW benchmark page.

We’re going to rank more 2021 mobile cameras recently announced, so stay tuned and keep in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. To get notifications in your browser, click on the orange subscribe button.

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