The best phone for video recording and vlogging in 2023 (2023)

By Jon Devo

Contributions from

Tom May

last updated

Featuring great cameras and slick software, these are the best phones for video recording and streaming on sale today

The best phone for video recording and vlogging in 2023 (1)

What's the best phone for video recording? It's a question more and more people are asking, as social media becomes increasingly dominated by video. As TikTok grows in importance, and Facebook and Instagram put more and more emphasis on video in retaliation, you need to know which phone will help you capture the best quality footage, right out of the box.

You might think that the best camera phone for stills would automatically be the best phone for video too, but that's not necessarily the case. Because 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.

Our top picks

Best for pros: Sony Xperia Pro I
Best value: Oppo Find X5 Pro
Best for most people: iPhone 14 Pro Max

For many years, Apple has led the way in delivering cutting edge, high-quality video recording capabilities. But more recently Samsung, Oppo and others have placed more emphasis on video, closing the gap significantly.

So what's the best phone for video, right now? Read on, as we reveal our choices, and what makes them so good for recording and streaming video.

Best phone for video recording in 2023

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

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1. iPhone 14 Pro Max

The best phone for video recording overall

Specifications

Release date: September 2022

Cameras: 48 MP, 24mm (f/1.8), 12 MP, 77mm (f/2.8), 12 MP, 13mm, (f/2.2), TOF 3D LiDAR scanner

Front video: 4K/60fps

Rear video: 4K/60fps

OIS: Yes

Weight: 240g

Dimensions: 160.7 x 77.6 x 7.9mm

RAM: 6GB

Storage: 128GB-1TB

Battery: 4,323mAh

Reasons to buy

+

Brilliant cameras

+

Incredible stablization

+

Great in low light

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive

Since the launch of the iPhone 5S, Apple’s flagship phones have been a consistently popular choice for filmmakers. Each generation has built on the success of the last and the iPhone 14 series is the best yet. Not only do you get 4K resolution, 60fps and 10-bit HDR video capture as you did with the 13s, you now get a wider ISO range for better low-light capture and a new Action Mode that does an amazing job as image stabilization, whether or not you use a gimbal. For anyone who's had issues with shaky footage in the past, this is a true game changer.

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 14 Pro Max review.

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2. Sony Xperia Pro I

The most thoughtfully designed phone for video recording

Specifications

Release date: December 2021

Cameras: 12MP 50mm (f/2.4), 12MP 1-inch 24mm (f/2-4), 12MP 16mm (f/2.2)

Front video: 1080p/30fps

Rear video: 4K/120fps

OIS: Yes

Weight: 211g

Dimensions: 166 x 72 x 8.9mm

RAM: 12GB

Storage: 512GB + microSDXC (up to 1TB)

Battery: 4,500mAh

Reasons to buy

+

Thoughtful design

+

Expandable storage

+

Dedicated physical camera buttons

Reasons to avoid

-

Not best for point-and-shoot

In a world where phones are so samey, the Sony Xperia Pro-I goes its own way. It has a boxy form factor, with a 6.5-inch 21:9 4K HDR OLED display, one of the sharpest available on any smartphone right now. 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; two things no other major flagship offers right now. 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 also produced 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.

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3. Google Pixel 7 Pro

The smartest Pixel camera yet

Specifications

Release date: October 2022

Cameras: 50 MP, 25mm (f/1.9), 48 MP, 120mm (f/3.5), 12 MP, 126˚ (f/2.2)

Front video: 4K/60fps

Rear video: 4K/60fps

OIS: Yes

Weight: 212g

Dimensions: 162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9mm

RAM: 8-12GB

Storage: 128/256/512GB

Battery: 5000mAh

Reasons to buy

+

4K/60fps from both front & back

+

Great image stabilization

+

Low noise

Reasons to avoid

-

Slower charging than rivals

Pixel devices have been very innovative when it comes to video capture and the Pixel 7 Pro is the company’s best yet. Highlights in this area include a new Cinematic video mode introduced to bring the line up to speed with the iPhone 14 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22. This blurs out the background, kind of like a portrait mode but for videos not stills. There's also enhanced electronic image stabilization, using computational photography to sharpen shots. Plus all three cameras on the Pixel 7 Pro support recording in 4K up to 60fps. For more details, see our Google Pixel 7 Pro review.

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4. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

One of the zoom kings of the smartphone world

Specifications

Release date: February 2023

Cameras: 200MP 1/1.33” 23mm (f/1.8),10MP 1/3.52” 230mm Periscope (f/4.9), 10MP 1/3.52” 70mm (f/2.4), 12MP 1/2.55” 13mm 120° ultra-wide (f/2.2)

Front video: 4K/30p

Rear video: 8K/24p

OIS: Yes

Weight: 228g

Dimensions: 163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm

RAM: 8/12GB

Storage: 128/256/512GB/1TB

Battery: 5000mAh

Reasons to buy

+

Super high-definition 8K video

+

Innovative video functionality

+

Large battery

+

10x Optical Zoom

+

Remote control via S-Pen

Reasons to avoid

-

No microSD card slot

-

The S22 Galaxy Ultra is still attractive

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.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra has some eye-catching headline specs, including 8K video recording at up to 30fps, 10x zoom, and 480fps Full HD slow-motion capture. It also has a quirky mode called “Director’s View”, which is only available when you use the dedicated Samsung Galaxy camera app. Director’s view 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.

Video from the S23 Ultra is punchy, crisp, and stable, thanks to its optical image stabilization system. It also has a large battery, which is ideal for those of us who want to stay connected and enjoy heavy camera use. It also still holds its own when it comes to video and camera performance. If you’re on a budget, maybe Samsung’s previous Galaxy S22 Ultra flagship is worth considering too.

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5. Oppo Find X5 Pro

Powered by its bespoke MariSilicon X neural processing unit

Specifications

Release date: March 2021

Cameras: Main camera 50MP (f/1.7), telephoto 13MP (f/2.4), ultra-wide 50MP (f/2.2)

Front video: FullHD/30p

Rear video: 8K/30p

OIS: Yes

Weight: 195g

Dimensions: 163.7 x 73.9 x 8.5mm

RAM: 8/12GB

Storage: 256/512GB

Battery: 5,000 mAh

Reasons to buy

+

Premium design

+

Consistently impressive main camera

Reasons to avoid

-

Limited zoom

The Oppo Find X5 Pro’s 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.

The autofocusing and auto-exposure of the Oppo Find X5 Pro 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.

How we test Android phones

As a photography website, we pay special attention to the photo and video quality of Android phones. 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.

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The best phone for video recording and vlogging in 2023 (7)

Jon Devo

Jon is a gadget reviewer, content creator and influencer. He spends his time reviewing products, covering technology news, giving talks on content strategy and creating content in partnership with a wide variety of forward-thinking brands. He also contributes to commercial radio, as well as in national print newspapers and magazines.

With contributions from

  • Tom May

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