September 01, 2011, 11:16 AM — Over the past month, how many photos have you taken with your smartphone versus your stand-alone camera? Sure, for special events or portraits, you'll probably want to use an advanced point-and-shoot, an interchangeable-lens camera, or a DSLR--but when you're on the go, a phone with a good camera is more than sufficient. At the very least, you'll want a phone capable of taking photos that are decent enough to share, whether it's with your Facebook friends or via email to your relatives.
Most new Android phones have a 5- to 8-megapixel camera, as well as a handful of automated in-camera settings. Pretty much all phones have a flash these days, as well as the ability to capture video. Many higher-end phones support high-definition video capture at 720p; many dual-core phones, such as those powered by a Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, support video capture up to 1080p resolution. And unlike Apple's iPhone, many Android phones allow you to tweak basic camera settings, such as white balance and exposure compensation.
When you're shopping for a phone, you might be tempted to go for one that has a camera with a higher megapixel count, or one that shoots video at 720p or 1080p. Those are important specs to consider, but they don't tell the full story. In fact, two phones with 8-megapixel sensors can take very different-looking photos, as you'll see from our test results.