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The best smartphones for selfies

By Simon Thomas on 16th March 2016


We live in a world where selfie is in the dictionary and as such no self-respecting smartphone manufacturer can afford to ignore people’s desire to take pictures of themselves.

While the rear cameras still tend to be better than front-facing ones on phones a growing number of handsets have impressive selfie snappers, in many cases packing in a whole lot of megapixels, wide angle lenses, a flash and editing tools to help you take the best selfie possible.

In fact it’s becoming an ever more competitive aspect of smartphone creation, with some handsets specifically billed as selfie phones and even those which aren’t often feel the need to compete in that area.

As such there’s a surprising amount of choice for the discerning selfie fan, but to make the decision a little easier here are the best smartphones for selfies.

Oppo N1

Oppo N1 - Best smartphones for selfies
The Oppo N1 is one of the best phones there is for taking selfies. That’s not because of the quality of its front-facing camera, in fact it doesn’t even have a separate front-facing camera. What it does have though is a main camera which can swivel round to face the front.

It’s a clever idea and it’s not wasted as the Oppo N1 has a pretty decent snapper. It has a 13 megapixel sensor along with a dual-LED flash, which emits a softer light when positioned in the front-facing selfie mode.

It also includes a selection of scene modes such as ‘Portrait’ and ‘Night’ and there’s even a ‘Beautify’ mode which applies virtual makeup to facial features. All in all we wouldn’t say it’s one of the best cameras around but it’s certainly one of the best for selfies.

If you’re feeling adventurous though you could always hunt out an Oppo N3. It’s a newer take on the same idea with a better 16 megapixel sensor. However it’s not currently readily available in the UK, so you might have to import it.

HTC Desire Eye

HTC Desire Eye - Best smartphone for selfies

HTC has gone and pushed the selfie boat out with the Desire Eye. This is a phone which not only has a 13 megapixel rear camera but also a 13 megapixel front-facing camera. So it should be as good for selfies as the Oppo N1.

That front-facing snapper has a dual-LED flash, an HDR mode and an autofocus, so it’s as well specced all round as the main camera.

Of course HTC has made the most of its powerful selfie camera by packing in some powerful selfie tools as well, such as split selfies, which let you take a photo of both you and the person you’re looking at by using both cameras at once.

All that and it’s a fairly high-end phone to boot, but its plastic build and mid-range branding means it’s not overly expensive.

HTC One M9

HTC One M9 - Best smartphone for selfies

The HTC One M9 takes a different approach to selfies to the HTC Desire Eye, but it’s no less impressive.

It has a 4 UltraPixel camera on the front, the same one which got star billing as the main camera on the HTC One M8.

The upshot of that is that it has larger pixels than most smartphone cameras, allowing it to take in more light, which in turn ensures that shots taken in dark environments aren’t too gloomy, noisy or lacking in detail.

Beyond that 4 megapixels isn’t bad for a front-facing camera in any case, so it’s incredibly versatile, allowing you to take great shots no matter what the light is like.

Of course the HTC One M9 is also HTC’s latest flagship, so as well as a great selfie camera you get a stylish metal build and loads of power. We can't wait to see whether the HTC One M10 will top it, but for now this is a great selfie option.


LG G4 - Best smartphones for selfies

While most of the LG G4’s camera smarts are saved for its rear snapper the front-facing camera hasn’t been neglected.

It has an 8 megapixel sensor, allowing it to take detailed shots that look as good blown up on a big screen as they do on your smartphone.

As well as good image quality it includes a handy Gesture Interval Shot mode, which allows you to take photos with a hand gesture, so you don’t have to reach for a button and can even have the phone propped up at a distance to fit more in the shot.

But it does more than that, because rather than just snapping one photo it will take four, with a two second gap between each, allowing you to change your pose if you want so you can get four distinct photos to choose from.

Like the HTC One M9 this is a flagship phone, so as well as a great selfie camera you get an abundance of specs and features, plus one of the best rear cameras we’ve ever seen on a smartphone. The LG G5 is just around the corner and that has an 8MP selfie camera too, so once it's available there's every chance it will take the G4's place in this list.

iPhone 6S

The best smartphones for selfies

There’s good news if you’re fans of Apple’s handsets, as the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus have significantly upgraded front-facing cameras. Going from a 1.2MP one to a 5MP one.

5MP selfie snappers aren’t that rare these days, but it’s still notable in Apple’s case as only the latest iPhone models have them.

They’re high quality cameras too, capable of taking sharp shots and they even have a flash of a kind. Dubbed ‘Retina Flash’, it lights up the screen three times brighter than normal, to ensure your face is well lit in any and all photos.

As good as it is for selfies the iPhone 6S is an even better phone in other ways, with a great 12MP rear camera, lots of power, a stylish metal build and loads of features, like its Touch ID fingerprint scanner and 3D Touch screen.

Nokia Lumia 735

Nokia Lumia 735 - Best smartphones for selfies

The Nokia Lumia 735 was actually billed as a selfie phone, so you know it’s going to be good. That said this is a mid-range option so it’s still not quite a match for some of the high-end selfie shooters, but if you’re on a budget it’s a strong choice.

With a 5 megapixel front-facing snapper it’s well equipped to take selfies. Its wide angle lens makes it great for group selfies too and the Lumia Selfie app adds various filters and editing tools, to make your shots look as good, or as ridiculous, as you want.

There’s also a Lumia 730 which is every bit as good for selfies but a worse phone overall as it doesn’t support 4G.

Sony Xperia C3

Sony Xperia C3 - Best smartphones for selfies
Sony has so much confidence in the Xperia C3’s selfie-taking abilities that it’s the main thing it’s selling it on. The handset comes with a 5 megapixel front facing camera, complete with an LED flash. Not many affordable smartphones have that many megapixels in their front cameras and even fewer have a flash, so that’s a good start.

Like the Oppo N1, the Xperia C3’s front-facing flash is designed to omit a soft, flattering light. The camera also has a wide-angle lens so you can fit more people into a shot and with the smile detection feature you don’t need to press a button to take a picture, just smile.

However if you want to use a button it has a hardware shutter button so there’s no need to jab at the screen to snap a photo.

There’s also a selection of camera apps, some of which are designed with selfies in mind. For example there’s an ‘AR Effect’ mode, which can be used to add hats and other funny features to selfies and, perhaps more usefully, there’s a ‘Portrait retouch’ feature, which allows you to add makeup effects.

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