Typically, we’d wait a little more than nine months to bring an old listicle up to date. But Android device release cycles in general have shortened lately, and when it comes to trendy smartphones endowed with skillful front-facing cameras, a year changes everything.
Best Selfie Phones
Even six months flip over selfie hierarchies, which is proven by the fact only one of last September’s narcissistic-targeted “magnificent seven” endured age and booming competition, winding up in our top ten for June 2015.
And on the horizon, there’s the front dual-LED flash-sporting Asus ZenFone Selfie, as well as Samsung’s most gifted handhelds yet in this department, the low-cost Galaxy J5 and J7. Let’s not obsess with the future, though, stay in the moment and check out the best of the best selfie soldiers available today stateside, ordered by Amazon’s no-contract price tags:
Far from a specialized gadget, the G6 is what you’d call the ideal multitasker, always ready to play the part of cameraphone, a hardcore gamer’s wet dream, diminutive media streamer, prodigious web browser and, last but not least, super-sharp selfie producer.
Granted, next to the Quad HD AMOLED display, octa-core Exynos 7420 SoC, 3 GB RAM and 16 MP OIS rear cam, the secondary 5 MP snapper feels like a trivial selling point. Yet the wide-angle lens supposedly “changes the way you take selfies” completely, fitting everybody and everything into the same frame. Technically therefore, the Galaxy S6 is an excellent “groupie” phone, but you know, potayto, potahto.
Another multi-purpose flagship rather than a niche product, once again a bunch of specs more glamorous and eye-catching than the 8 MP front shooter. But, ahem, 8 megapixels! Also, Gesture Shutter, Gesture View and a “soft selfie light that brightens around the border of the photo preview window.”
Sooo, mostly gimmicks, except for the rear camera-grade megapixel count. That’s one thing you can’t argue with.
Forget the overpriced, boring, underwhelming One M9. The Desire Eye is true flagship material for self-portrait fanatics, despite a chintzier plastic build, with a 13 MP camera on the back… and another on the front. Both offering autofocus, dual-LED flash and BSI sensors for exceptional low-light clarity.
Oh, and you can even strike a pose underwater, as long as you keep the Full HD 5.2 incher above 1 meter depth for less than 30 minutes.
Yeesh, that’s expensive for a 5.5-inch phablet with octa-core MediaTek power, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage, a 2,600 mAh battery, 13 MP main photographic unit and “just” a 5 MP 720p LED flash selfie pro. The thing is Sony hasn’t released the “explosive” C4 stateside yet, so basically, you’re also paying import taxes.
On the bright side, the costs should go down very soon, and Sony has a slew of software tricks up its sleeve to polish your prettiest duckface. Plus, natural light-mimicking LED prowess.
Also not technically launched in the States, the imported Vibe Shot is a slightly better deal, thanks to a more “mainstream” Snapdragon 615 chip, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB ROM and especially 16 and 8 MP cameras.
Clearly, the former is the standout performer, with OIS and triple-LED flash, but the latter is no slouch either, with handy gesture controls, advanced voice commands and various post-processing effects and ploys to make you look your very best. Probably better.
We’re trudging on decidedly affordable turf now, so you might expect a share of compromises. Guess the 720p resolution of Desire 820’s 5.5-inch panel fits the description, and the 2,600 mAh battery sounds like a featherweight as well.
Not the 13 and 8 MP cameras, though, even if the selfie specialist lacks flash. Such a shame US carriers, including prepaid operators, have so far avoided picking up the budget-friendly 2014 giant.
And here’s our beloved veteran and sole survivor of last year’s selfie rampage. Turned one already, the P7 still runs Android 4.4 KitKat… and still impresses with a potent 8 MP “secondary” camera. Of course, you can do better (cough, Desire Eye, cough), but not at sub-$300, with steel and glass all over and a 441 ppi IPS LCD screen.
There’s no comparing the decrepit C3 to its remarkable follow-up, however for a touch of nostalgia… and tight budgets, a 720p 5.5-inch display, quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB RAM, 2,500 mAh cell, 8 MP and 5 cams will do.
No ordinary 5 MP front shooter either, but one with a “soft” LED flash headlining its bag of tricks, alongside a 25 mm wide-angle lens and very convenient Superior Auto mode for automatically adjusting to the perfect settings for the perfect situation and environment. Yeah, yeah, you know better to manually prepare everything, but why refuse professional help?
Tacky name, sleazy design, unimpressive 4.7-inch 720p screen, fairly meager 2,300 mAh battery, antiquated KitKat software, but boy, what amazing cameras for the price point! 13 megapixels on the back, 13 on the front, a dual-LED flash plus a single LED flash, autofocus and something called BLU Bright + Technology for “consistent quasi-professional lighting.” Also, “an instant image enhancer that gives you multiple levels of beautifying effect”, dubbed BLU Final Touch Software.
Photoshop? Who needs that anymore to look like a model with minimal makeup on? Facebook and Tinder hook-up perspectives: unlimited.
Before the J5 and J7 drop, we’re afraid you’ll have to settle for this bag of 960 x 540 pix res/1 GB RAM/8 GB ROM mediocrity. If you absolutely need to buy Samsung, that is, and can’t spare over $200. Now, repeat after me – it’s only $170, it’s only $170, only $170… And again, and again, and again.
Otherwise, you won’t be able to make all the compromises. Including the non-LED 5 MP front camera sacrifice. Good thing the 85 degree wide angle lens can capture the entire family for the occasional group portrait.