The best smartphone camera of 2017 - here’s what we think

We've picked our favourite smartphone snapper of 2017 - because clearly democracy doesn't work

We tried to listen to you, but let's be honest - Stuff is a dictatorship, not a democracy.

Last month, we published a blind test of photos shot with the eight best smartphones doing the rounds right now: Apple's iPhone 7 Plus, the Google Pixel XL, HTC U11, Huawei P10 Plus, LG G6, OnePlus 5, Samsung Galaxy S8 and Sony's Xperia XZ Premium.

When we opened the voting up to our dear, dear readers, thousands of you picked your favourite images from seven categories: Landscape, Portrait, HDR, night (no flash), night (with flash), selfie, and Macro. Turns out you can't be trusted, though: your choices didn't always match up with ours.

Scroll on down to see which phones we gave the win to in each category, which one was our overall winner - and where our opinions split from yours.

ROUND 1: LANDSCAPE

OK, so it had a bit of an advantage because of the blue sky, but hey - we can't stop the clouds from moving. Even so, there's no denying Google's Pixel XL does the best job here. Overall colour balance is excellent, and exposure is superb. None of the detail is lost from the trees on the left, and detail throughout the scene is top notch too. 25% of you agreed, voting the Pixel XL your favourite phone for landscapes.

The second-place LG G6, for our money, is a little too aggressive on the sharpening, and the overall exposure is a little higher than the actual scene was when we pressed the shutter button. Apple and Samsung err towards a warmer scene, which again isn't all that true-to-life, and the rest of the pack struggle with detail in the trees.

WE AGREE

ROUND 2: PORTRAIT

The combination of bright, sunny day and the light wood of the picnic bench bouncing light into magazine editor Rob's face? Guaranteed to be tricky for even the best smartphone snapper. Most of our cameras either underexposed the whole scene, leading to a washed-out look (see Samsung, Sony) or overly saturated and warm skin tones, creating a yellow hue (just about everything else - including the readers' favourite, the Huawei P10 Plus).

The one that got it spot on was the HTC 11. It managed natural colours, plenty of detail, and no over-exposure in the window reflections. So sorry, the 24% of you that voted Huawei the winner of this category - we felt it was a little too agressive on the old sharpening algorithms, turning Rob's hair into even more of a waxy mess than it is in real life.

WE DISAGREE

ROUND 3: HDR

This was a difficult round to call. It's hard to argue with the 21% of you that voted for the Pixel XL - but we're going to give it a go anyway. Google's phone gets the sky right, but again - we can't stop the clouds while we take 8 identical photos, so it had a bit of an edge. 

In order to expose that sky, though, it has crushed the whites on the statues, making them look a little washed out and without any real definition. That's a shame, as the rest of the scene was colourful and packed with detail. Samsung's Galaxy S8, on the other hand, keeps all the colours accurate - including the bright white statues. It doesn't blow out the sky, either, with a hint of blue poking through the clouds. And yet it only earned a single-digit percentage of the vote, you crazy kids.

WE AGREE - MOSTLY.

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