Top 7 Best Phones for Vlogging on YouTube in 2021

It’s that time again. You need a new phone. Maybe your screen cracked. Maybe it fell out of your pocket at a concert. Maybe you’re just ready for an upgrade.

But your situation is slightly different than the average person’s. You’re trying to grow your YouTube channel and your phone has become a vital device in helping you create quality content.

The trouble is, how do you choose? Should you stick with the same brand you’ve been using for the last ten years or is it time to switch things up?

To help you make the right decision, I’ve taken an in-depth look at the newest phones on the market and picked out the 7 best smartphones for YouTube vlogging. To get things going, I’ll start with the most popular choices:

best smartphones for vlogging on youtube

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The Best Smartphones For Vlogging on YouTube

Why Use a Smartphone for Vlogging

Vlogging is a creative and social expedition that can easily run your bank account dry.

From expensive cameras to almost necessary accessories like tripods, external mics, and even light setups to make your vlog look professional, the costs can skyrocket easier and much quicker than expected.

However, vlogging doesn’t have to drain your bank account if you don’t want it to.

In fact, it’s recommended to not invest so much on a camera when you’re starting.

Almost all of us have smartphones. Smartphones nowadays are smarter and more advanced than ever, many of them containing the same technology and specs as some sophisticated DSLR cameras.

Most flagships from 2021 already have 4k recording. Well, guess what? Many real cameras can’t even do that. For something that you already carry around with you all day, you actually might have more options available to you using your smartphone, the same piece of technology you use to text, call, and “social media.”

One of the benefits of using your smartphone to vlog is that it’s always with you. DSLRs can take up quite a bit of carrying space, and even thin mirrorless cameras will need a separate pocket to carry.

Using your phone to vlog can save valuable space and money as you’ll already have it by your side.

With that said, let’s look at the in-depth reviews of some of the best phones for video blogs you can get this year.

1. iPhone 12

The Good

  • Ease of use
  • Most compatible with other Apple products
  • New double camera

The Bad

  • Expensive
  • Still lacks low-light capabilities

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I know plenty of people who are ‘Apple People’. To them, it’s ‘Apple or nothing’.

They don’t care that their phone doesn’t have all the capabilities that other phones do. They don’t care that it costs more. Apple is part of their identity.

And, thankfully, for any vloggers out there who fall into the same category, the iPhone 12 is going to enable you to maintain your lifestyle.

The camera is simply superb. They did this with smarter software configurations, rather than a significant change in hardware.

The combination of the two cameras, one wide and another ultrawide provide a powerful punch. They capture color accurately and the one even has a telephoto sensor, meaning it can get incredible detail from impressive distances—more so than just about any other phone on the market.

Additionally, Apple has paired a new sensor with a new chipset. This means incredible speed, Smart HDR, and Depth Control. It can get great shots in lighting that isn’t ideal (i.e. subject detail when the sun is in the background).

It is important to note that video doesn’t get true and total HDR, but the phone does have noticeably enhanced video quality.

This phone isn’t for every vlogger. For those needing to shoot in low-light situations, there are better options.

However, for those who need to be able to pull out their phone quickly and shoot something at the last minute, iPhone has the most user-friendly, simple interface. With little effort, vloggers and YouTubers can get high-quality, stable footage, while still having access to fancy features, like various studio lighting effects.

Specifications:

  • Frontal camera: 12 MP, f/1.6, 26mm (wide), 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS 12 MP, f/2.4, 13mm, 120˚ (ultrawide), 1/3.6″
  • Selfie camera: 12 MP, f/2.2, 23mm (wide), 1/3.6″
  • Video Quality: 2160p@24/30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps, HDR, stereo sound rec.
  • Chip: Apple A14 Bionic
  • Display: 6.1 inches, 90.2 cm2
  • Weight: 164 g (5.78 oz)
  • Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm (5.78 x 2.81 x 0.29 in)
  • Battery: Li-Ion 2815 mAh, non-removable (10.78 Wh)

2. Samsung Galaxy S21

The Good

  • Amazing triple camera
  • Consistent video quality
  • Strong tracking autofocus

The Bad

  • You could get the previous models and still get a similar phone
  • Expensive

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The Galaxy S21 has a sensor larger than the IPhone 12’s, which makes it better for low-light recording.

Since the sensor of the camera is larger, it can capture more light, and thus it can produce a higher quality image with little noise when there’s not a lot of lighting.

This automatically makes the S20 better for recording and taking pictures at night than the iPhone 12.

And it gets even better if you get the S20 Ultra, which comes with an even bigger sensor.

In addition to this, the S20’s camera also comes with excellent Dual-Pixel autofocus, which is the best autofocus technology that will keep tracking your face as you move around while vlogging.

Also, its telephoto lens comes with 64MPs, which is a lot more than the iPhone’s 12MP. This allows it to take pictures with higher detail.

The camera does fall a bit short when it comes to Bokeh effect (the beautiful blurry background effect).

The iPhone can achieve a more intense Bokeh, but this is still one of my main choices for vlogging thanks to its reliable autofocus and higher quality in low light.

Specifications:

  • Main Cameras: 12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS — 64 MP, f/2.0, 29mm (telephoto), 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS, 1.1x optical zoom, 3x hybrid zoom — 12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚ (ultrawide), 1/2.55″ 1.4µm, Super Steady video
  • Selfie Camera: 10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/3.24″, 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF
  • Chip: Exynos 2100
  • Display: 6.2 inches, 94.1 cm2
  • Weight: 169g (5.96 oz)
  • Dimensions: 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm (5.97 x 2.80 x 0.31 in)
  • Battery: Li-Ion 4000 mAh, non-removable

3. Samsung Galaxy S20

The Good

  • Amazing triple camera
  • Consistent video quality
  • Strong tracking autofocus

The Bad

  • Expensive

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The fact that the older version of this Samsung phone still makes this list should say something.

It is all about providing unparalleled detail in every shot, both photographs, and videos. It really does prove that quality isn’t necessarily only born from megapixels.

The combination of a wider aperture and OIS means it’s perfect for vloggers who are shooting on the move and in low-light situations.

The camera can record in 4k with HDR one, which is a huge improvement over previous versions. Basically, it’s the same camera that is found in the newer S21.

This means that you can get the same video capabilities for a lower price. You should invest in the S21 only if you want a slightly faster phone with a few more smartphone features here and there. The S20 is even lighter, although not by a lot.

Specifications:

  • Main Cameras: 12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS — 64 MP, f/2.0, 29mm (telephoto), 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS, 1.1x optical zoom, 3x hybrid zoom — 12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚ (ultrawide), 1/2.55″ 1.4µm, Super Steady video
  • Selfie Camera: 10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/3.24″, 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF
  • Chip: Exynos 990
  • Display: 6.2 inches, 93.8 cm2
  • Weight: 163g (5.54 oz)
  • Dimensions: 151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9 mm (5.97 x 2.72 x 0.31 in)
  • Battery: Li-Ion 4000 mAh, non-removable

4. Google Pixel 5

The Good

  • Excellent auto focus
  • Impressive low-light functionality
  • Consistent stabilization

The Bad

  • No real optical zoom
  • Expensive
  • Only offers 30fps at 4k

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Samsung and Apple may have led the way with camera phones over the last few years, but I predict Google has officially put this to an end with their Pixel 5 offering.

The real revelation with this phone is its low-light capabilities. There is simply no other phone that does it better. So if you vlog at night or in poor lighting on a regular basis, there is a strong argument that this is the phone for you.

The contrast of quality between the Pixel 4 and most other phones is so significant that it can be picked out in a blind comparison with ease. This exceptional quality is mainly due to impressive processing power and the software rather than fancy camera hardware.

The main problems with the Pixel 4 are the front-facing camera and the zoom. The front camera can sometimes cause distortion and the zoom just isn’t as good as some of the other phones.

A final aspect of this phone that will make it better suited for certain vloggers is the front-facing camera quality—it’s really good. Vloggers who prefer to shoot this way will really like the results that the Pixel 4 provides.

Specifications:

  • Main Camera:12.2 MP, f/1.7, 27mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS16 MP, f/2.2, 107˚ (ultrawide), 1.0µm
  • Selfie Camera: 8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm
  • Video Quality: 4k60, 1080p HD, 720p HD, 480p (30, 60, 120, or 240 fps)
  • Chip: Qualcomm SM7250 Snapdragon 765G
  • Display: 6.0 inches, 87.6 cm2
  • Weight: 151g (5.33 oz)
  • Dimensions: 144.7 x 70.4 x 8 mm (5.70 x 2.77 x 0.31 in)
  • Battery: Roughly 11 hours (wireless video playbaLi-Po 4080 mAh, non-removable

5. LG V60 ThinQ

The Good

  • Feature-rich
  • Log profile
  • Incredible color vibrancy

The Bad

  • Selfie camera has a small field of view
  • Heavy

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Vloggers who don’t do their research will likely overlook the V30+. LG just didn’t heavily advertise it like Samsung, Google, and Apple did with theirs. But this doesn’t mean it’s not on the same level.

The V60 ThinQ provides professional-quality videography. It can do 8k video at 30fps, although this is probably a resolution you won’t use for vlogging. It still can do 4k at 60fps and 1080p.

The thing I don’t like about the camera is that the selfie camera doesn’t offer a wide field of view with only a 30mm focal length. You won’t be able to show a lot of your surroundings and people will mostly just see your face. So you’ll probably have to use the 12mm ultrawide rear camera or the 27mm with optical stabilization.

Also, since it’s slightly larger than most phones, it also has a huge battery that can last you for a long time. This is one of its main selling points.

Finally, I can’t talk about the V60 ThinQ and not mention the huge array of features. To put it simply, when it comes to shooting content, I have only seen this many photography and videography functions and features on mirrorless and DSLR cameras.

Specifications:

  • Main Camera: 64 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (standard), 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, Dual pixel PDAF, OIS13 MP, f/1.9, 12mm (ultrawide), 1/3.4″, 1.0µm
  • Selfie Camera: 10 MP, f/1.9, 30mm (standard), 1/3.1″, 1.22µm
  • Video Quality: 8k30p, 4k60p, 1080p, 720p (30 and 60 fps)
  • Chip: Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865
  • Display: 6.8 inches, 109.8 cm2
  • Weight: 213g (Global)/ 218g (Verizon) (7.51 oz)
  • Dimensions: 169.3 x 77.6 x 8.9 mm (6.67 x 3.06 x 0.35 in)
  • Battery: Li-Po 5000 mAh, non-removable

6. Huawei P50 Pro

The Good

  • Best phone camera on the market
  • Impressive pro features
  • 4 rear cameras

The Bad

  • Expensive
  • No Google apps

For vloggers who need a good-all-around camera phone, the Huawei P40 Pro is the answer. It captures well in just about any lighting situation, it has a great zoom range, and its overall video quality is amazing.

Huawei’s main flagship never disappoints, and the same thing can be said about the P50. Its 4-camera setup, which includes a monochromatic camera, is probably the best one in the smartphone market.

If you’re wondering what a monochromatic camera is, it’s a camera with a type of sensor that is able to capture more light and details than a normal camera, with the only disadvantage of lacking colors.

However, with this setup, both the monochromatic and the main camera will take the same picture and merge them so the result is a higher quality image with color.

Finally, at both 4k60 and 1080 up to 240fps. There is also stabilization in both the 23mm and the impressive 90mm telephoto camera.

It might not be able to record 8k like other cameras this year, but this is more of a marketing thing than anything meaningful. The difference between 4k and 8k is barely noticeable, and you need an expensive 8k TV to experience it.

The reason it’s so further down in this list is the lack of Google Apps. As a vlogger, you want all the native support to upload to social media and YouTube, and having a Huawei phone will make it more difficult.

If it weren’t for that, this phone would be our most recommended phone for vlogging, for sure.

Specifications:

  • Main Camera: 50 MP, f/1.8, 23mm (wide), PDAF, Laser AF, OIS — 64 MP, f/3.5, 90mm (periscope telephoto), PDAF, OIS, 3.5x optical zoom — 13 MP, f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide) — 40 MP, f/1.6, 23mm (B/W)
  • Front 13 MP, f/2.4, (wide)
  • Chip: Huawei Kirin 9000
  • Display: 6.6 inches, 105.4 cm2
  • Weight: 195g (6.88 oz)
  • Dimensions: 158.8 x 72.8 x 8.5 mm (6.25 x 2.87 x 0.33 in)
  • Battery: Li-Po 4360 mAh, non-removable

7. OnePlus 9

The Good

  • Monochromatic camera
  • High-quality front-facing camera abilities
  • Strong stabilization

The Bad

  • A bit heavy for a smartphone
  • No built-in stabilization

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I feel like this phone was built for vloggers. Its videography is extraordinarily high-resolution. And it cleverly gives nearly equal emphasis on both the front and rear-facing cameras.

The camera can perform well in low light due to the monochromatic camera. But this is something that will only work for photography.

As a vlogger, you’ll get up to 8k recording quality, but the big problem is the lack of stabilization. The Pro version does come with built-in stabilization, but after seeing multiple test videos, I can say that it’s not so good either and looks basically the same as the basic OnePlus 9.

Compared to the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, the built-in stabilization is miles behind.

Still, it doesn’t mean that it’s useless for vlogging. If it was, it wouldn’t be on this list. It still has electronic stabilization, although it will only allow you to record in 1080p and with a focal length of around 23mm.

The recording quality and colors are really good, but the lack of stabilization might make you think twice before going for it.

Specifications:

  • Main Quality: 48 MP, f/1.8, 23mm (wide), 1/1.43″, 1.12µm, omnidirectional PDAF50 MP, f/2.2, 14mm (ultrawide), 1/1.56″, 1.0µm, AF2 MP, f/2.4, (monochrome)
  • Video Quality: 8k30, 4k60, 1080p240
  • Chip: Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888
  • Display: 6.55 inches, 103.6 cm2
  • Weight: 192 g (EU/NA) — 183 g (IN/CN) (6.46 oz)
  • Dimensions: 160 x 74.2 x 8.7 mm (EU/NA) — 160 x 73.9 x 8.1 mm (IN/CN)
  • Battery: Li-Po 4500 mAh, non-removable

Don’t Forget Your Add-Ons

Whichever smartphone you choose in the end, you will need a selfie stick. Here I made a list of some options you can get straight from Amazon. Also, you will certainly want a microphone to go with it. There are extremely cheap mics for 10-20$ that will improve your audio a lot.

After these two cheap add-ons and a fast micro SD for 4k recording with decent storage, you will be good to go to start vlogging with your phone.

And finally, you can check here the best apps for vlogging.

Conclusion

Vloggers have a growing number of tools at their disposal. A great camera phone is one that is non-negotiable. However, when it comes time to pick and choose, the vast variety can be overwhelming. Properly vetting the options and identifying your device priorities is the most effective way of making the right decision.

The above list includes all of my favorite phones going into 2021. However, it is important to dig deeper before making the final call. Know what you want and do your research.

There are other excellent phones are the market and some of those could better fit your vlogging needs, especially for niche bloggers who want very specific features and functions. In the end, it’s worth the time and effort that a little research requires.