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The holiday shopping madness is about to start, and phones are high on people’s lists. Everyone agrees that the phone’s camera is the most important purchase criterion, so we will go over the whole T-Mobile USA line of products to tell you which camera you get your hard-earned money.

First, how did we rank these phone’s cameras? We use our Uber HW Camera score, a very accurate hardware-based mobile camera score, built from this general truth: better camera hardware often captures a higher-quality photo.

To date, no other scores have ranked so many cameras with such accuracy that often matches experts’ sentiment. For more information, you can read our Uber HW Camera FAQ and visit the camera benchmark’s homepage.

"A SCORE THAT OFTEN MATCHES EXPERTS SENTIMENT"

We will break up currently available T-Mobile phones (as of Nov 18, 2020) by price, putting everything above $1000 in one bucket, then creating groups every $100. We will look at the absolute camera hardware score (how good the hardware looks) and talk about these cameras’ value/price ratio.

Note: the Uber HW Camera scores for the Galaxy S20, S20+, and Note 20 are provisional and expected to be slightly higher when finalized. Samsung uses a rather unconventional sensor-crop zoom instead of a lens-based zoom, so we are fine-tuning our hardware score algorithm for that.

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Above $1000 T-Mobile Phones

HW Camera score Phone Price Value score 5G
201 Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G $1299.99 15.5 Y
162 Galaxy S20+ 5G $1099.99 14.7 Y
157 Galaxy Z Fold2 5G $1999.99 7.9 Y
157 iphone 12 Pro Max $1099.99 14.3 Y
116 Galaxy Z Flip 5G $1499.99 8.0 Y
94 Motorola Razr 5G $1399.99 6.7 Y

Here, we assume that if you’re willing to spend more than $1000 on a smartphone, adding a few hundred dollars more might not be a problem, but drop a comment to let us know if we should revise that stance.

Looking at the data, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G would be the best camera pick, both in terms of absolute camera strength, but also because it gives you the best value (camera for your money). The Galaxy S20+ is the next best option and is $200 less expensive.

The Note 20 Ultra’s hardware strenght was visually confirmed by our Camera image quality (IQ) analysis and review.

iPhone users also get good camera value with the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which has the best camera hardware across the iPhone 12 family.

Many of the more expensive handsets at T-Mobile are foldable phones such as the Samsung Z Fold 2, Samsung Z Flip, and the Motorola RAZR 5G. Their Value score is significantly lower because a lot of the cost involves the foldable screen, which sometimes comes at the camera hardware expense.

$900 to $1000 T-Mobile Phones

HW Camera score Phone Price Value score 5G
164 Galaxy Note 20 5G 999.99 16.4 Y
144 LG Wing 5G 999.99 14.4 Y
120 iPhone 11 Pro Max 999.99 12.0 N
114 iPhone 12 mini 999.99 11.4 Y

Despite having a provisional Uber HW Camera score, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G ranks the highest in this T-Mobile price segment. The iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 12 are relatively outgunned, but for iPhone users, we would recommend the 3-cameras iPhone 11 Pro over the iPhone 12.

The LG Wing is an incredibly unique phone, and its camera scores relatively well in this category. We would encourage people to consider the value of its swivel screen and dedicated ultrawide video camera used in Gimbal mode.

$700 to $900 T-Mobile Phones

HW Camera score Phone Price Value score 5G
161 Galaxy S20 5G $899.99 17.9 Y
120 iPhone 11 Pro $899.99 13.3 N
115 iPhone 12 $829.99 13.9 Y
122 OnePlus 8T 5G $749.99 16.3 Y

The Galaxy S20 5G leads the pack, with a clear Camera Hardware advantage, and for many T-Mobile users within that price range, it will come down to Android vs. iOS.

In the $700-$800 range, the OnePlus 8T 5G is the only game in town. It is a pretty sensible option given the good camera/price ratio and overall performance in our preliminary image capture tests.

$600 to $700 T-Mobile Phones

HW Camera score Phone Price Value score 5G
160 Galaxy S20 FE 5G $699.99 22.9 Y
137 LG V60 ThinQ 5G DS $699.99 19.6 Y
137 LG V60 ThinQ 5G $649.99 21.1 Y

The Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition) camera completely dominates this segment. It can even compete with the more expensive Galaxy S20 5G, thanks to a powerful primary new camera sensor and an optical zoom. From a camera perspective, this is a no-brainer within this category.

The LG V60 ThinQ 5G gives you a dual-screen option within the same budget, even if you take a small camera hardware hit.

$400 to $600 T-Mobile Phones

HW Camera score Phone Price Value score 5G
145 Galaxy A71 5G $599.99 24.2 Y
120 OnePlus 8 5G $599.99 20.0 Y
114 LG Velvet 5G $588.00 19.4 Y
110 iPhone 11 $599.99 18.3 N
103 Galaxy A51 5G $504.00 20.4 Y
88 iPhone XR $499.99 17.6 N

The competition is ferocious, with most cameras scoring in a narrow 17-points range, except the Galaxy A71 5G, which is ahead in the $500-$600 price point.

I am not sure why T-Mobile has chosen a $504 price for the Galaxy A51 5G (instead of 499.99), but if you were going for a 499.99 iPhone XR, you might want to add $4 and get better camera hardware.

$200 to $400 T-Mobile Phones

HW Camera score Phone Price Value score 5G
79 iPhone SE (2020) $399.99 19.8 N
N/A REVVL 5G $399.99 N/A Y
76 Galaxy A21 $250.00 30.4 N
122 LG Stylo 6 $252.00 29.08 N

If you have $399.99 to spend with T-Mobile, the iPhone SE 2020’s camera seems like a sure bet when compared to the REVVL 5G, which is a TCL phone re-branded for T-Mobile only.

In the $250 range, both the Galaxy A21 and the LG Stylo 6 cameras run neck to neck, so the differentiator might be the E-Pen support, which gives LG a potentially decisive advantage.

Sub-$200 T-Mobile Phones

HW Camera score Phone Price Value score 5G
81 Galaxy A11 $180.00 45.0 N
70 LG Aristo 5 $150.00 46.7 N
137 Galaxy A10e $180.00 36.1 N

There are few options here, and frankly, at this price range, you know that the camera is not going to be “amazing,” but this is a good example where having a bit more data can help you make the most with your budget.

The Galaxy A11’s camera would be the obvious choice for the same price as the Galaxy A10e. Also, if you want to spend 25% less, the LG Aristo 5 camera gives you the best value.

T-Mobile has a handfull more sub-$200 phones that we have not (yet) ranked, but we went for the most promising ones first.

Conclusion

With our Uber HW Camera score and its comprehensive coverage of the market, we can unlock an unprecedented smartphone camera market view.

Sometimes, you can see if a specialty form-factor will cost you dearly in terms of photo quality and be reassured that going for a Foldable phone will not kill your photo experience.

"UNLOCK AN UNPRECEDENTED SMARTPHONE CAMERA MARKET VIEW"

You can other times pick a higher-performance camera system for a marginally higher price or decide that paying $100 more brings you near-linear camera value – that’s particularly true when going from the $800-$900 to the $900-$1000 segment.

In this T-Mobile USA round-up, it is shocking to see that Samsung has carefully crafted its products and pricing to win at nearly every price point they compete in, often coming up with both the best camera score and best camera value.

In any case, having clear and accurate data can save time and reveal options that you had not considered before. Stay tuned for more.

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