Best selfie apps, cameras, smartphones and accessories

Yes, you can take a better selfie. This gallery of gadgets and apps includes a 'selfie stick,' a selfie button, and even a drone.

selfies

At CIO.com, we don't normally write about such fads as "selfies." We're much more interested in bringing you news, reviews and opinions about technology that will help you become a better IT leader and -- oh, who are we kidding? It's summer vacay time! Just like you, we love to hit the road, and we're not above snapping a few selfies along the way. Join us as we kick off our shoes, wiggle our toes in the sand and strike a pose. The following cameras, smartphones, apps and accessories are designed to help you capture the best selfies possibly.

Samsung NX Mini Camera
Samsung NX Mini Camera

$399 - $499 and up

With its pop-up, 3-inch LCD touch screen, the new Samsung NX Mini camera aims to be the ultimate selfie machine. Point the camera at yourself, and you can snap the shutter by winking, smiling or pressing the shutter button. The NX Mini is an interchangeable lens camera that comes in five colors and two consumer packages. For $399 on Amazon and other retailers (prices vary), you get a 9mm lens. For $499, you get a 9-27mm lens, which gives you 3x optical zoom and a flash attachment. Both versions have a built-in flash. I bought the latter for an upcoming Europe trip. I like the camera but the 9-27mm lens makes it bulky.

Samsung NX300M Camera
Samsung NX300M Camera

$650 and up

If the NX Mini seems a bit consumer-ish, Samsung also makes the NX300M, a more traditional mirror-less camera with a pop-up LCD that's great for selfies. The NX300M features a larger sensor than the NX Mini and is designed to capture better-quality images. Unlike the NX Mini, this camera is compatible with a much more diverse range of Samsung's NX interchangeable lenses. Both cameras use microSD cards for storage and have micro-HDMI ports for displaying photos and video on HDTVs. The NX300M ships with a 16-50mm power zoom lens and detachable flash.

HTC One and HTC One Mini 2
HTC One and HTC One Mini 2

$99 and up

Smartphone front-facing cameras make your selfies look like they were taken with a 1995-vintage digital camera. The HTC One Android smartphone has a 2.1MP front-facing shooter that has earned kudos from selfie fans and tech reviewers. Takes the best selfies compared to the iPhone 5s, Nokia Lumia 1020 and Samsung Galaxy S4, according to The New York Times. HTC One selfies "were consistently in focus and had rich, true colors, and the camera performed better in low light than the competition," The Times said. In late May, the HTC One Mini 2 was released for markets outside North America with a 5MP front-facing camera, "the best you'll find from a phone," according to CNET.

Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2

Price in U.S. TBA

Sony's Android smartphone, the Xperia Z2, features a 2.2MP front camera that, when combined with its mobile image-processing engine, helps the Xperia take selfies in low-light conditions. Beach bums listen up: The Xperia ZS is among the few smartphones that is "waterproof." Engadget calls it "the best Sony phone that has ever been." The Xperia Z2 is said to be coming to the United States via Verizon Wireless in August.

PicsArt for Android and iOS
PicsArt for Android and iOS

Free

PicsArt, a developer of free image-editing apps for Android and iOS, conducted a survey and found 44 percent of photo editing app users create "artistic selfies" by applying motion blur, photo blending, digital makeup and other effects. PicsArt is a perfect app for this job, because it combines drawing and photo-editing tools, collage making, and other utilities. A "DrawCam" mode also lets you combine photos you take in real-time using drawing, editing and layer features.

Frontback for Android and iOS
Frontback for Android and iOS

Free

Frontback for Android and iOS adds context to your selfies. The idea is to first shoot a pic of your surrounding environment, whether it's a beach or the Eiffel Tower, using your device's rear-facing camera. The app then automatically switches to the front-facing camera for your selfie and merges the two pictures into one. From there, you can share your selfie collage on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or via email or other message. (Note: Some Android users have complained of bugs.) Dual Cam for Android is another similar app.

Scoopshot for Android and iOS
Scoopshot for Android and iOS

Free

Want to make money from your selfies? Yup, there's an app for that: Scoopshot, for Android and iOS. The app's developer, P2S Media Group, acts as a kind of clearinghouse between selfie photographers and businesses that want to purchase self-portraits for use in social media campaigns, ads, news articles and elsewhere. For example, airline Finnair asked Scoopshot users to take selfies during their travels, and it bought 50 of the roughly 800 selfies that were submitted for about $15 each, according to CBS New York. One man claims to have made more than $19,000 selling his selfies via Scoopshot. 

YouCam Perfect for Android and iOS
YouCam Perfect for Android and iOS

Free

Selfies aren't always flattering. The older you get, the further away you want the camera -- Outer Mongolia may come to mind. If so, try YouCam Perfect for Android and iOS. It features retouching tools to make your selfie more flattering. You can shoot with "live" camera effects, such as "Warm," "Gentle," "Fresh" and "Soft Light." Afterwards, you can apply various "Beautifer" effects -- not the least of which are "Skin Toner," "Nose Enhance" and "Face Contour." You can also remove objects (and people) from the background, stylize selfies with frames or in collages, and share them on social media. The free Perfect 365 app for Android and iOS is another similar option.

Urturn for iOS
Urturn for iOS

Free

Today, the world's most famous selfie is the one Ellen DeGeneres took at the 2014 Oscars. The free Urturn iOS service got some mileage out of that famed photo because the company let its users insert themselves into Ellen's selfie. Though it's not technically a selfie app, Urturn is made for the selfie generation. It lets you add all sorts of overlays to your mug shots and then share them with friends via social media. You can also check out what others have created with the app.

Stacheify for iOS
Stacheify for iOS

$1

Mustaches are still the "it" facial accessory for men. Already have one? Great. But if your 'stache ends up looking like a baby's eyebrows, consider Stacheify, a $1 iOS app. As the name suggests, it lets you add a variety of mustache styles to your selfies, as well as other people's photos. Note: You need to pony up some cash for the more elaborate 'staches, such as the Salvador Dali ($1).

GorillaCam for iOS
GorillaCam for iOS

Free

GorillaCam is one of my favorite iOS photography apps because it combines self-timer and burst-camera modes. A self-timer is essential for capturing the best selfies, because it gives you and your buds time to prepare for the shutter release. The burst camera mode is great for hamming it up. I've instructed friends to assume a new pose for each time the camera fires, which has often yielded hilarious group photos. The app also includes modes for time lapse and stop motion, as well as support for multiple camera resolutions and more. GorillaCam is a must-have app for iPhone-toting selfie lovers.

Dronies
"Dronies"

Think the basic selfie is boring? How about taking a "dronie?" That's when you use a camera mounted on a flying drone to film a video or take pictures of you and your BFFs from a lofty height. It's the next phase in selfies -- if you have access to a drone, that is. Twitter started its own Dronie account, @dronie, and its first official #dronie, shot in Cannes with actor Sir Patrick Stewart, was turned into a six-second Vine video. One specific drone/camera getting attention is Parrot's AR Drone 2.0 ($300). If you live in San Francisco, you can rent one for $49 and get a one-hour lesson from Photojojo.

Looq G Selfie Stick
Looq G Selfie Stick

$45

None of us have limbs that extend, so the Looq G, available from Amazon, could come in handy. This "extended selfie arm" is a pole that can extend from 5.5 inches (collapsed) to 24 inches, and it has a remote shutter button on its handle that lets you grab group selfies from a greater distance. There's also a mirror on the back, which is meant to let you use your smartphone’s higher-res rear camera for selfies. It is unclear just how well you can see the smartphone screen from two feet away. Wouldn't it also be easier to simply, oh, ask a stranger to snap the photo? Then again, the selfie stick has its own Facebook/Twitter/Instagram hashtag: #selfiestick. So, yeah.

HISY Bluetooth Shutter Release
HISY Bluetooth Shutter Release

$25

Don't feel like carting around a selfie stick? The HISY device, which comes in five colors and works only with iOS devices, may be for you. It's a simple shutter-release remote button that communicates wirelessly with your iPhone camera via Bluetooth Low Energy (LE). It uses a standard CR2032 cell battery that is supposedly good for more than two years, and it comes with a headphone attachment so you can easily carry the wireless button. I suspect a self-timer photo app, such as GorillaCam, would accomplish the same thing without the need for an additional piece of hardware, but the HISY does come with a foldable iPhone stand.