Android

Best Android phones with a telephoto camera in 2024

When people talk about what phones have the best cameras, they are generally referring to the primary lens. While a top-of-the-line primary lens is undoubtedly important, for a smartphone to be considered a great camera phone, it must have a comprehensive lens suite. In addition to the primary lens, a great ultrawide camera should be on board to tackle scenes that require a wider field of view. The standard combinations of a primary lens and ultrawide lens are so commonplace that even the most basic smartphones often have them.



To push smartphones to the next level, manufacturers add a third lens to the mix to increase the camera system’s overall versatility. On the best devices, this third camera is a telephoto lens. A telephoto lens excels at capturing subjects and scenes often out of range for primary or ultrawide lenses. The telephoto lens essentially gives the phone a proper zoom lens, allowing you to get stunning photos that would otherwise have been impossible. Not many phones come with a telephoto lens, but the following are the best models currently available to get excellent photos.



Top Android phones with a telephoto camera

Google Pixel 8 Pro in Bay, front and back views

Google Pixel 8 Pro
Best overall

Google’s best device

The Pixel 8 Pro is hands down the best device Google currently offers. With a stellar camera setup, great overall performance, and a beautiful display, it’s undeniably one of the best devices currently available. Its camera system is one area where it truly excels, offering a perfect shot almost every time.

Pros

  • Stellar camera setup
  • Great overall performance
  • Seven years of software support
Cons

  • Still gets hot when pushed
  • More expensive than last year

It should come as no surprise to see the Google Pixel 8 Pro as the best overall device with a telephoto camera. It regularly places at the top of blind camera tests and features three quality lenses for a complete camera system. This three-camera combination is very versatile, and more importantly, very reliable camera system. Google’s great lens hardware and computational photography skills allow just about everyone to capture breathtaking photos.



google pixel 8 pro nest to birdhouse and candle

The telephoto camera consists of a 48MP f/2.8 lens with 5x optical zoom. The optical zoom can expand up to 30x using what Google refers to as Super Res Zoom. Essentially, Google harnesses the power of AI to determine what the photo should look like, resulting in a much sharper image than normal. It even has optical image stabilization (OIS), which should help eliminate blurry photos from shaky hands. The Pixel also has a 50MP f/1.68 primary camera, with an 82-degree field of view and a 48MP f/1.95 ultrawide camera. The ultrawide has a 125.5-degree field of view for capturing breathtaking landscape images.

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Read our review

Google Pixel 8 Pro review: Living up to its name

If you want to see the future of Google, the Pixel 8 Pro is the phone to buy


The Pixel 8 Pro comes with a Tensor G3 processor, 12GB of RAM, and plenty of storage for some great performance. The Tensor G3 processor isn’t as fast as the devices equipped with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, but it won’t struggle with your daily needs. It also ships with a high-quality 6.7-inch LTPO OLED display. This 120Hz display has a peak of 2400 nits, allowing you to see your subjects on the brightest days. And your pictures will look great thanks to its 2992 x 1344 resolution.

The S Pen, Front, and Back of the Galaxy S24 Ultra in Titanium Violet on a white background

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Premium pick

Excels at almost everything

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is for those who aren’t willing to compromise on their phone. This device excels in just about every area imaginable and doesn’t have many flaws, except for taking images of moving subjects.

Pros

  • Great overal camera system
  • Gorgeous display that ditches the curved edges
  • Performance is top notch
Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Cameras struggle with motion

If you want the best telephoto camera system, and you don’t care how much you have to spend to get it, then you owe it to yourself to check out the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. The S24 Ultra outdoes every model on this list, bringing four cameras to the table, and two of the cameras are telephoto.


A close up on the S24 Ultra's camera lenses.

Samsung equipped the Galaxy S24 Ultra with a 10MP f/2.4 telephoto lens with OIS and 3x optical zoom. It has phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and a 67mm focal length. The S24 Ultra also has a 50MP f/3.4 periscope telephoto lens with OIS and a 5x optical zoom. With PDAF and a 111mm focal length, you should have no trouble capturing far-away photos.

The S24 Ultra also has a 200MP f/1.7 primary camera and a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide camera. The combination of all four cameras gives it unparalleled versatility when capturing your shots. Just keep in mind that Samsung’s Galaxy devices struggle with moving subjects, so it isn’t ideal for all types of photography.



Read our review

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review: Still the best, unless you take photos

Without any meaningful changes, Samsung’s latest phablet feels like a do-over for last year’s smartphone

Outside the camera system, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is a pure powerhouse. It comes with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, 12GB of RAM, and a 5000mAh battery that goes for days. It also has one of the best displays on the market with a 6.8-inch, 120Hz, Dynamic LTPO AMOLED 2x display.

OnePlus 12 Flowy Emerald, back view

OnePlus 12
Best value

Punches far above its weight

$700 $800 Save $100

The OnePlus 12 is a device that pushes the envelope for what you should expect out of a sub-$1000 device. It is a complete package with almost no real negatives. It even comes with specs that punch far above its weight class, making it a tremendous overall value.

Pros

  • Great overall camera system
  • Top-notch performance
  • Amazing battery life
Cons

  • Software inconsistencies
  • Not available through carriers

The OnePlus 12 and Galaxy S24 battled it out for the best value device, but the OnePlus 12 prevailed, and for good reason. It’s an excellent phone that offers a tremendous amount of power at a great price. OnePlus has also tuned its Hasselblad camera system, allowing you to get some seriously good shots.



OnePlus 12 showing the homescreen in a hand with light panels behind it

It ships with a 64MP f/2.6 periscope telephoto camera with OIS and 3x optical zoom. The telephoto lens has a 70mm focal length and PDAF. The OnePlus 12 also has a 50MP f/1.6 main camera and a 48MP f/2.2, 114-degree ultrawide. The OnePlus 12 delivers crisp photos with true-to-life colors. It also does quite well when taking low-light shots.

The OnePlus 12 is a joy to use daily thanks to its Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor and generous 12GB of RAM. In addition to its power, its 6.82-inch LTPO AMOLED display is just a sight to behold. With a 318 x 1440 resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, and 4500 nits of peak brightness, the panel on this phone is simply beautiful. OnePlus also did an amazing job in the battery department. With a 5400mAh battery, the OnePlus 12 can make it through a couple of days between charges.


Read our review

OnePlus 12 review: All flagship, no AI

This phone leaves nothing on the table, making for a truly complete package

Its design, complete with a large circular camera system, isn’t for everyone. It also lags behind the competition with only four OS updates and five years of security updates. If you don’t mind the styling or its update policy, then you would be hard-pressed to find a better device on this list.

The front and back of an Amber Yellow Galaxy S24 on a white background

Samsung Galaxy S24
Best small

Small stature, big performance

The Samsung Galaxy S24 is the perfect device for all those small phone lovers out there. With plenty of performance, a great display, and a competent camera system, this svelte device does it all. And it does all that while being one of the smaller devices on the market.

Pros

  • Good overall camera system
  • Nearly perfect display
  • Great battery life
Cons

  • Camera struggles with motion
  • Slow charging speeds

If there is one common thread among phones with telephoto lenses, it’s that they are all flagship devices that carry high price tags. The Samsung Galaxy S24 is one of the lower-priced options on this list. It’s also the smallest, which is a huge bonus for those who don’t like large devices.


Google Maps on the Samsung Galaxy S24 in the wilds of Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Galaxy S24 has the same standard telephoto lens as its much more expensive sibling. The phone loses the periscope telephoto camera but keeps the 10MP f/2.4 telephoto lens with its 67mm focal length, PDAF, and OIS. It also has a 50MP f/1.8 primary lens with OIS and a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide camera with a 120-degree field of view. Keep in mind that this device suffers when taking images of moving objects, so consider your subjects carefully.

At just 147 x 70.6 x 7.6mm and weighing 167g, the Galaxy S24 is pure bliss for those tight pockets. Samsung managed to cram a beautiful, 6.2-inch, 120Hz, Dynamic LTPO AMOLED 2x display into this tiny frame. It also ships with the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 as the S24 Ultra, but the RAM does drop to 8GB.



Read our review

Samsung Galaxy S24 review: Small but super

Bright screen, flat sides, can’t lose

For the price, the Galaxy S24 is a beast of a device that excels at just about everything. It even comes with a 4000mAh battery that can easily get you through an entire day.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Best Samsung foldable

A tablet in your pocket

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is a cross between a Samsung phone and a Galaxy tablet. As a two-in-one device, you can use the cover display like a traditional phone or unfold it to reveal a tablet-sized display. This versatility does come with a high cost.

Pros

  • Solid overall performance
  • Slimmed down design
  • Good camera setup
Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Slow charging
  • Camera struggles with motion

Samsung loves to put telephoto lenses on their premier phones, and that continues with the Galaxy Z Fold 5. Unlike the smaller flip phone design, this foldable offers Samsung’s typical triple camera setup.

A photo of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 open on a table top displaying the home screen
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5


The Z Fold 5 gets the same camera setup as the Galaxy S24. It has a 10MP f/2.4 telephoto camera with OIS and 3x optical zoom. It also gets a 50MP f/1.8 primary camera with PDAF and OIS, as well as a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide with a 123-degree field of view.

Having launched in 2023, it comes with a slightly inferior, but still very powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor and 12GB of RAM. It has a 4,400mAh battery, which is suitable, but doesn’t offer anything special in terms of battery life.

Read our review

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review: Polished to a sheen

With more competition than ever before, Samsung chooses to coast

The real claim to fame with a foldable like this is its versatile displays. Its outer cover display is a 6.2-inch, dynamic AMOLED 2x display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The internal display is massive at 7.6 inches. It also has a dynamic AMOLED display with a 2176 x 1812 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate.


Angled Google Pixel Fold in Porcelain colorway

Google Pixel Fold
A foldable Pixel

A Pixel tablet in your pocket

The Pixel Fold is Google’s first attempt at making a foldable device. While it didn’t perfect the category on its first go around, it did enough to make Samsung uncomfortable. With solid performance and a great camera system, the Pixel Fold is a quality device.

Pros

  • Awesome camera system
  • Great cover display
Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Durability concerns

If you prefer Google’s Pixel lineup but have been craving a foldable device, then the Pixel Fold offers a ton of features. With a sky-high price, the Pixel Fold falls in line with the other foldable devices on this list. It also has a better overall camera compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 5.

The Pixel Fold rests on a red backdrop, face down.

The Pixel Fold ships with a 10.8MP f/3.1 telephoto lens with OIS and 5x optical zoom. It also has a 48MP f/1.7 primary camera and a 10.8MP f/2.2, 121-degree ultrawide camera. Thanks to Google’s computational photography skills, you can expect the Pixel Fold to be a fair bit more reliable than the Z Fold 5. It also handles moving subjects significantly better than Samsung’s offering.


But the Pixel Fold falls behind a bit in overall power. With a Tensor G2 processor and 12GB of RAM, it’ll handle your daily needs, but it’s a far cry from the latest Snapdragon processors. It also tends to run hot when pushed.

Read our review

Google Pixel Fold review: An $1,800 rough draft

Google’s first foldable fails to live up to its full potential

What is great is its OLED panels, which provide a pleasurable viewing experience. The Pixel Fold has a 5.8-inch 2092 x 1080 cover display and a 7.6-inch 2208 x 1840 internal display. The internal display has a 120Hz refresh rate and 1450 nits of peak brightness.

OnePlus Open, showing 3 phones, closed and open, on white background

OnePlus Open
Best foldable

A great first attempt

$1400 $1700 Save $300

The OnePlus Open may single-handedly be responsible for pushing Samsung to stop resting on its laurels. With top-tier performance and battery life, the Open came to play. The camera hardware that OnePlus managed to squeeze onto this device is where this foldable truly excels.

Pros

  • Amazing performance and battery life
  • Best camera setup on a foldable
  • Great big screen customization
Cons

  • Lacks wireless charging
  • OxygenOS doesn’t feel polished



The OnePlus Open is for those who are dead set on getting a foldable device, and aren’t willing to sacrifice anything. OnePlus was even able to push the category forward by proving that you could put three high-quality lenses on a foldable device.

Unfolded OnePlus Open laying face down on a blanket

OnePlus blows the foldable competition away when comparing telephoto cameras. They were somehow able to cram a 64MP f/2.6 telephoto camera with OIS and a 3x optical zoom into this device. It also has a 48MP f/1.7 main camera and a 48MP f/2.2, 114-degree ultrawide camera. Like most recent OnePlus devices, the cameras have been tuned by Hasselblad, resulting in true-to-life colors and rich images.



It’s also outfitted with some serious tech in the display. The cover display is a 6.31-inch, 2484 x 1116, OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and 2800 nits of peak brightness. The internal display is an AMOLED, 2440 x 2268, 7.82-inch display. And the screen is fluid thanks to its LTPO3, 120Hz panel, and is easy to see with 2800 nits of peak brightness.

Read our review

OnePlus Open review: What every foldable should be

Leave it to OnePlus to supply the competition Samsung so desperately needs

With a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, it doesn’t have the same power as the recent Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor but should be more than sufficient for everyday tasks or playing the latest games. It ships with 16GB of RAM, which will help keep things running smoothly and allow you to keep a ton of apps open without needing to refresh them.

moto-edge-plus-2023-render

Motorola Edge+ (2023)
The wild card

Great when on sale

$600 $800 Save $200

Motorola sneaks on this list with the Edge+ (2023) edition and, when on sale, proves to be a great option. It has respectable performance and excellent battery life. Too bad the camera system is good, but can’t keep up with the competition.

Pros

  • Great performance
  • Excellent battery life
Cons

  • Camera system not as good as the competition
  • Lack of timely updates


Nobody would blame you for thinking that only Google, Samsung, and OnePlus offer devices with telephoto cameras here in the United States. To a large degree, that’s how it feels, but Motorola incorporated a telephoto lens in its 2023 iteration of the Edge+.

A hand holding up a Moto Edge Plus in front of a window.

The telephoto lens consists of a 12MP f/1.6 telephoto camera, PDAF, and 2x optical zoom. It’s a bit more limited than most of the devices on this list. Mostly because it’s missing OIS and only has a 2x zoom, but in a pinch, it’ll give you more range than its 50MP f/1.8 primary camera. Rounding out the camera setup is a 50MP f/2.2, 114-degree ultrawide camera. While the camera setup isn’t bad and will be serviceable, Motorola isn’t as known for its computational photo prowess, which makes it the weakest camera system on this list.


It also ships with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor and 8GB of RAM, which is good for most tasks, but lacks the overall power of the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor. The 6.67-inch, 2400 x 1080, OLED display features a 120Hz refresh rate and 1300 nits of peak brightness.

Read our review

Moto Edge+ (2023) review: It’s time to take Motorola seriously again

The company’s latest smartphone is a surprisingly competent alternative to Samsung or Google

Add it all up and the Edge+ is lagging a bit behind the rest of the competition. It’s not a bad phone, but at full retail price, it faces some stiff competition. It’s a solid option if you can find it at a steep discount.


The best telephoto camera for you

When looking for a telephoto camera, there are limited options. Luckily, the available models are some of the best devices currently available. Depending on what you want in a device, any one of these phones could be your next daily driver.



The Pixel 8 Pro is a standout here for those who love Google devices. It offers an amazing camera system, a fantastic display, as well as good performance and battery life. It gets seven years of software support, which will allow you to stretch that $1,000 investment.

If you want something a bit more powerful, with a gorgeous display, and a great camera system, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is your go-to device. It has the latest processor, a top-of-the-line display, and a quad-camera setup. The S24 Ultra’s versatility is unrivaled and Samsung even matched Google with seven years of software updates.

If saving some money is a priority, take a hard look at the OnePlus 12. It’s far less expensive but still rivals the significantly more expensive S24 Ultra. It has an amazing display, the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, and a well-tuned camera setup.

Google Pixel 8 Pro in Bay, front and back views

Google Pixel 8 Pro
Best overall

Such a good camera

The Pixel 8 Pro is the best device overall thanks to its blend of performance, battery life, display, and camera system. It does it all and does much of it very well. Google’s camera system in particular is always impressive and that continues here. You can’t do much better than this.


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