What’s the best phone for video recording? We’ve drawn on our long experience of reviewing phones to bring you the best models for the job. So whether you want to shoot professionally, make clips for TikTok, YouTube and Twitch, or just capture that dream family holiday for posterity, you’ll find some great choices in our roundup.
You might think that the best camera phone for stills would automatically be the best phone for video too, but that’s not always the case. Great video doesn’t just mean having a great lens: it also means having a lot of computational power and smart software to produce a good-looking finished product.
For many years, Apple has led the way in delivering cutting edge, high-quality video recording capabilities. But more recently Samsung, Sony, Google and others have been putting more emphasis on video, closing the gap significantly. Read on, as we reveal the best phone for video, both for recording and streaming live.
As an experienced journalist, Jon has been reviewing gadgets and tech since 2013. He has road-tested a number of smartphones for Digital Camera World as well as reviewing a variety of cameras for streaming video. He also covers camera and broadcast product content for WIRED UK, Metro Newspaper, TechRadar, Amateur Photographer Magazine and Trusted Reviews.
The quick list
1. Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max
Each generation has built on the success of the last and the iPhone 15 series is the best yet. Our reviewer found that video from this phone looks exceptional, whether capturing nearby or faraway subjects.
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2. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
If you don’t want an iPhone, here’s our top pick. We found video from the S23 Ultra to be punchy, crisp, and stable. Headline specs including 8K recording at up to 30fps, 10x zoom, and 480fps Full HD slow-motion capture.
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The latest Pixel phone captures great quality videos at 4K resolution and 60fps. There’s also a brilliant Audio Eraser tool, which does a brilliant job of reducing background noise on busy streets, and a new Cinematic video mode.
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Sony designed this smartphone’s video UI around its pro camera bodies, so it will feel familiar to Sony shooters. Video benefits from optical image stabilization, subject tracking and eye autofocus and a physical aperture.
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Good for night
Good choice for night
Oppo has created an advanced noise reduction algorithm to eliminate grainy footage. It works by using artificial intelligence to scan each frame for and reduce image noise in low-light videos, pixel by pixel.
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Best of the rest
Large Sony sensor and 8K video
This phone comes with a large Sony sensor, excellent screen, versatile camera software and long-lasting battery life. You can capture 8K (30fps) and 4K (60fps) from the rear camera, and as 1080p from the front.
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Best phone for video recording today
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The best phone for video overall
Since the launch of the iPhone 5S, we’ve been found Apple’s flagship phones to be a great choice for filmmakers. Each generation has built on the success of the last and the iPhone 15 series is the best yet.
Although the headline stats of 4K and 60fps are the same as its predecessor, Apple has introduced a number of video upgrades with this phone, including digital zoom up to 3x with Cinematic mode and exporting ProRes footage via USB-C. Overall, our reviewer found that video from this phone looks exceptional, whether capturing nearby or faraway subjects.
A more general benefit of choosing an iPhone is that third party manufacturers prioritize making accessories specifically for them. Plus, because iOS is a single platform, apps like Instagram and TikTok are optimized primarily for it, which generally leads to fewer issues with compression ruining the quality of the content you upload. For more information, read our iPhone 15 Pro Max review.
The best Android phone for video
Samsung’s Galaxy S-series phones have received a significant bump in video-recording capabilities since the launch of the Galaxy S9 Plus. Since that benchmark release, Samsung has consistently delivered year-on-year improvements to both photography and video recording, making Samsung flagship devices a go-to choice for content creators.
In general, our reviewer found video from the S23 Ultra to be punchy, crisp, and stable, thanks to its optical image stabilization system. And that’s not surprising: this premium phone is capable of 8K video recording at up to 30fps, 10x zoom, and 480fps Full HD slow-motion capture. It has a large battery, too, which is ideal for those who want to do a lot of filming. (If you’re on a budget, though, Samsung’s previous Galaxy S22 Ultra flagship is worth considering too.)
Our reviewer also liked a quirky mode on the Galaxy S23 Ultra called Director’s View, which is available when you use the dedicated Samsung Galaxy camera app. This is aimed at vloggers and YouTubers, enabling you to record video from all of the device’s cameras simultaneously. It’s not a tool that will appeal to everyone, but it could be great for filming something taking place while capturing your reactions and commentary. For more details, see our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review.
The best Google phone for video
The Pixel 8 Pro is one of the best Android phones for video we’ve seen to date. It captures great quality videos at 4K resolution and 60fps. There’s also a brilliant Audio Eraser tool which does a brilliant job of reducing background noise on busy streets. You can either isolate the sound of your voice completely, or add back in a little noise for atmosphere: it’s up to you.
Our reviewer also loved the Cinematic video mode, first introduced in the Google Pixel 7 Pro, which blurs out the background; kind of like a portrait mode, but for videos not stills. In both phones you also get great electronic image stabilization, using computational photography to sharpen shots.
Note, though, that the Pixel 8 Pro starts with just 128GB storage, and there’s no SD card, which doesn’t make it great for storing tons of video footage. Read our full Google Pixel 8 Pro review for more details.
The best Sony phone for video
It may be a couple of years old now, but we remain big fans of the Sony Xperia Pro-I. It has a boxy form factor, with a 6.5-inch 21:9 4K HDR OLED display. It also has a dedicated button for opening the camera app and another right beside it for opening one of its three video recording modes.
And there’s more. The Xperia Pro-I has a 3.5mm headphone jack and expandable memory via microSDXC support up to 1TB. When it’s time to record video, the Sony Xperia Pro-I offers full manual controls, optical image stabilization, subject tracking and eye autofocus and a physical aperture that switches the lens from f2 to f4. Videography Pro mode allows you to control every aspect of exposure and focusing, even allowing you to make cinematic manual focus pulls.
Sony says it designed this smartphone’s video UI around the same menus and functions it deploys in its pro camera bodies, so it will feel familiar to Sony shooters in particular. However, that also means that the wealth of settings, cinema picture profiles and controls may feel daunting to the uninitiated.
Sony has some interesting accessories for this device that allow you to add a vlogging monitor via USB-C and a Bluetooth remote grip with physical controls. This combo allows you to plug in a microphone and use the main rear camera for vlogging. And if you have a Sony mirrorless camera, you can also use the Xperia Pro-I as an external 4K HDR monitor. For more details, see our Sony Xperia Pro I review.
Good choice for night
We like to look outside the best-known brands at Digital Camera World, and one smartphone that’s really surprised this year has been the Oppo Find X5 Pro. Its camera is built around the 50MP Sony IMX766 camera and its proprietary MariSilicon X chip, which is designed to deliver greater levels of picture detail, color depth and low noise.
The main camera is capable of recording up to 4K/60p video and FullHD video at an impressive 240fps, for those of you who are interested in capturing slow motion content. Its front-facing, or selfie camera is limited to only FullHD/30p.
Oppo has identified night time video recording as one area where most smartphones typically let people down. With that in focus, Oppo has created an advanced noise reduction algorithm to eliminate grainy footage. It works by using artificial intelligence to scan each frame for and reduce image noise in low-light videos, pixel by pixel. The advantage of taking this approach is that the phone cleverly manages to deliver cleaner 4K footage in low light, without heavily destroying details and compromising color accuracy.
Autofocusing and auto-exposure is another area where its neural processing unit performs well. The Find X5 Pro detects subjects, including faces quickly and adjusts the exposure to deliver a pleasing look, depending on what it thinks you’re filming. The only major set back here is the device’s humble telephoto capability, which taps out at limiting 2x optical zoom.
Best of the rest
Xiaomi is a brand that’s still flying under the radar to a degree, but we found many of its phones to be surprisingly capable when it comes to photography and video. Indeed, one of our reviewers recently described the Xiaomi 12s Ultra as “the best camera phone I’ve ever used”; the only drawback being that it’s currently available only in China.
In the meantime, the Xiaomi 13T Pro is also well worth checking out, especially if you spend a lot of time in auto mode and want a camera phone that does a lot of the grunt work for you via computational photography.
The primary camera has a 50MP resolution thanks to its large 1/1.28″ Sony IMX 707 sensor with a 24mm focal length and an f/1.9 aspherical lens, complete with OIS. also comes with an excellent screen, versatile camera software and long-lasting battery life, and you can capture 8K (30fps) and 4K (60fps) from the rear camera, as well as 1080p at 30fps on the front. For more details, see our Xiaomi 13T Pro review.
How much storage do I need for video recording?
The amount of storage you’ll need for video recording will depend largely on the resolution and frame rate you’re shooting at. For example, 4K 60fps can eat up space quickly, so you’ll probably need a phone with at least 128GB on board storage, as well as the potential to expand this via a microSD card.
Does the lens matter when buying a phone for video?
Yes! More and more phones are arriving with high resolutions of 50MP+, but that’s not all you need to capture professional looking video. Look for phones with wide-angle lenses for capturing more in the frame and telephoto lenses for zooming. (Optical zoom generally offers better quality than digital zoom.)
Which phone is better for video: Android or iPhone?
In truth, the best Android phones and the best iPhones both offer excellent video recording and streaming capabilities. So the choice between Android and Apple really comes down to personal preference and specific device features.
How to choose the best phone for video recording
Smartphones are increasingly becoming miniature film studios, but the ones which are best for video recording aren’t always obvious. When making your choice, firstly consider both resolution and sensor size. Look for 50MP resolution or above, but bear in mind that higher megapixels aren’t everything. So also look for a phone that has a large sensor to capture more light, especially if you’re interested low-light performance. You also want versatility when it comes to shooting video, so ideally look for a phone with at least three rear cameras: wide, ultrawide, and a telephoto zoom for close-ups. Also pay attention to stabilisation (as no one wants shaky footage) and audio features.
How we test the best phone for video recording
As a photography website, we pay special attention to the photo and video quality of smartphones. Camera phones are all-around digital assistants too, of course, so we will also check general handling, usability, and practicality – such as battery life. For Android camera phones we rate resolution, noise and color rendition in the context of what rival Android phones can do, and where there are any special features, such as ‘night modes’ or ‘portrait modes’, we check that these perform as the makers describe.