5 Best Single-Lens Camera Phones That You Can (Still) Buy

Within a year, we have seen a huge spike in the number of smartphones featuring dual-lens camera setups. Even in the handsets priced in lower middle price segment, the trend of employing a twin-lens camera module has become a hot trend.

With the flashy bits of features such as portrait mode and AI-based experiences, no wonder it is tempting to opt for the latest bandwagon and skip the yesteryear’s technology.

But, having said that, buying a smartphone with a single-lens camera setup can’t be blown out as an obsolete choice. Today, we round of the 5 best smartphones packing a single-lens rear camera:

1. Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9 is the company’s flagship device for the year 2018. It was made available publicly by the Korean giant starting from March last year. It was launched alongside its bigger sibling Galaxy S9+.


Even after completing almost a year of its lifespan, it remains the top choice as a handset with a single-lens rear camera.

The 12-megapixel sensor on Galaxy S9 comes with a focal length of 26mm and features a variable aperture of f/1.5-2.4, giving it a great advantage under different light situations.

The camera is also equipped with optical image stabilization for the best picture steadiness, dual-pixel PDAF, auto-HDR and panorama modes.


Camera Highlights:

  • 12MP single-lens rear camera, f/1.5-2.4, dual-pixel PDAF, OIS, LED flash.
  • 4K video recording @60fps, [email protected], 720 ultra slo-mo @960fps from the rear camera
  • 8MP front camera, f/1.7, 1440p (QHD) video recording @30fps

Other Key Features:

  • 5.8-inch Infinity Display, 1440 x 2960 pixels, 570PPI, HDR10
  • Exynos 9810 octa-core processor or Snapdragon 845, 4GB RAM
  • 64, 128, 256 GB storage (expandable up to 512 GB)
  • Android Oreo
  • Iris-scanner, rear-mounted fingerprint reader, USB Type-C
  • 3000mAh battery, Qi supported wireless charging, QC 2.0

2. Apple iPhone XR

iPhone XR is one of the trio launched by Apple at the company’s annual event in September. It was pitched along with the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.


Being the cheapest among the family of current-gen iPhones, it’s also the only model with a single-lens camera system. Interestingly, Apple has opted for a notched-display for the iPhone XR even though it is the cheapest-priced model of the three devices.

Talking about its camera system, its 12-megapixel rear camera setup comes with features which you would generally find on a dual-lens module. Its TrueDepth camera, along with Depth Control, is touted to blur the background to generate Portrait mode selfies.

The camera on iPhone XR has an adjustable depth of field which can be adjusted accordingly to obtain the now-famous ‘bokeh’ effect. The company has also thrown-in new LCD display which they refer to as Liquid Retina display. According to Apple, iPhone XR packs the most advanced LCD in the industry.


Camera Highlights:

  • Rear 12-megapixel single-lens, f/1.8, OIS, Quad-LED True Tone flash
  • Portrait mode with Depth Control and bokeh, Portrait Lighting
  • Panorama, Smart HDR for photos
  • 4K video recording @ 24/30/60fps, 1080p @ 30/60fps, 720p @ 30fps
  • Slo-mo with 1080p @ 120/240fps
  • 8-Megapixel still photos while recording in 4K
  • Front 7-megapixel TrueDepth camera, f/2.2
  • Face ID unlocking
  • Portrait mode with Depth Control and bokeh, Portrait Lighting
  • 1080p full HD recording @ 30/60fps
  • Animoji and Memoji
  • Smart HDR for photos, Retina Flash

Other Key Features:

  • 6.1-inch Liquid Retina HD LCD display, 1792x828pixels, 326 PPI
  • A12 Bionic chip with next-gen Neural Engine, iOS 12
  • 64GB, 128GB, 256GB storage
  • IP67 dust and water resistance, Qi supported wireless charging
  • Up to 25 hours talk time, 16 hours of video playback and 65 hours of audio playback time on a single charge

3. Google Pixel 3

When it comes to mobile photography, you can’t rule out Google Pixel phones, no matter what. Over the years with its Pixel lineup, Google has achieved so much appreciation for the quality of camera content that their phones produce.


Google Pixel 3, along with Pixel 3 XL, was launched in November last year. Its 12.2MP dual-pixel camera is capable of taking outstanding portraits, even though it has a single-lens module.

Adding to that, Google Pixel 3 boasts of its night photography too. The phone uses the new Night Sight feature which fills the photos with much more light, giving the optimum quality in the dark.

One of the perks of getting a Pixel phone is – Unlimited online photo storage. The Google Pixel phone user can store all of their photos and videos in full quality using Google Photo. This is no less than a boon for the users who take tons of photos all the time.


Camera Features:

  • 12MP dual-pixel main camera, f/1.8 aperture, 1.4 μm, OIS+EIS
  • Single-lens portrait mode
  • 4K video recording @ 30fps
  • 1080p full HD recording @ 30/60/120fps, 720p HD recording @ 30/60/240fps
  • 8MP wide-angle+telephoto dual front cameras
  • Wide-angle: f/2.2 aperture, Telephoto lens: f/1.8 aperture
  • Front camera records up to 1080p video @ 30fps

Other Key Features:

  • 5.5-inch FHD+ (1080x2160pixels) flexible OLED, 443 PPI, 18:9
  • 100,000:1 super contrast ratio
  • Android Pie OS
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core CPU, Adreno 630 GPU
  • 4GB RAM, 64/128GB storage, USB Type-C port
  • 2915mAh battery, 18W fast charging, Qi wireless charging

4. Apple iPhone 8

It might seem strange but the Apple iPhone 8 is still one of the best phones you can consider buying.


Due to the fact that it was the last generation of the iPhone without a display notch, it is a worthy choice for a single-lens camera phone. Not everyone is looking for a phone with a display notch, even in the times when they are aplenty.

Although the camera on iPhone 8 lacks the much-talked Portrait mode, it still hands the photography very well with its 12-megapixel primary sensor. Other than that, the mobile has a 7MP front camera for taking care of your selfie needs.

Camera Highlights:

  • 12MP main camera, f/1.8, OIS, Quad-LED True Tone flash
  • 4K recording @ 24/30/60fps
  • 1080p full HD video @30/60fps
  • 7MP FaceTime HD camera, f/2.2


Other Key Features:

  • 4.7-inch Retina HD LCD display, 1334x750pixels, 326 PPI
  • A11 Bionic processor with Neural Engine, iOS 12
  • Up to 14 hours of talk time, 12 hours of internet, 13 hours of video playback, and 40 hours of audio playback time
  • Touch ID, Lightning connector
  • Fast charging ( up to 50% in 30 minutes) with 18W adapter

5. Apple iPhone SE

Yes, you read that right! Apple’s long-gone iPhone SE is still a great single-lens camera phone you can buy even in this day and age.


With its 12-megapixel main camera performance being similar to what iPhone 6S offered, it is a great choice for the audience looking for an ultra-compact mobile. The iPhone SE also handles 4K video recording effortlessly without breaking a sweat.

No wonder that the idea of choosing a 4-incher might seem off-putting to many, but the iPhone SE still offers value for the low asking price it is being sold for.

Apple Clearance is currently selling this discontinue handset model till their stocks last. It is available for purchase at a price of $249 for 32GB, and $299 for 128GB storage variants.

Other than the mentioned option, the iPhone SE can be bought from different online e-commerce and retail websites too.


Camera Features:

  • 12MP primary camera, f/2.2, PDAF, Dual-LED dual-tone flash
  • 4K video recording @30fps
  • 1080p full HD recording @ 30/60fps
  • Ultra slo-mo 720p HD recording @240fps
  • 1.2MP selfie camera, f/2.4, face detection, HDR
  • Front camera records 720p HD videos @30fps

Other Key Features:

  • 4” IPS LCD Retina display, 640 x 1136pixels, 326 PPI
  • Apple A9 processor
  • iOS 12 operating system
  • 32/64/128GB storage, 2GB RAM
  • Touch ID, 3.5mm headphone jack

These are the smartphones with single-lens camera setups that we have rounded off as worthy of consideration. What are your thoughts?

Which phones do you think can make to the list? Let us know in the comments below.




Prateek Sharma

Prateek Sharma

Prateek is a Computer Science engineering graduate. He is excessively active in the field since the day Android had just taken off.

2 thoughts on “5 Best Single-Lens Camera Phones That You Can (Still) Buy

  • January 26, 2019 at 3:34 PM

    This is a great review of single-lens camera phones available. It’s good to know that there are reasonably priced phones out there that still do the job of current phones. Good review and informative detail – it’s nice to read what each phone offers rather than just seeing the glossy pictures of the handsets!

    • Prateek Sharma
      January 26, 2019 at 7:57 PM

      Hi Carolyn, thank you for your feedback! Yes, most of the ‘old’ phones are as good as the more flashy and trendy phones that are coming out these days.


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