Camera phones have quickly turned from a mostly useless novelty into a great way to capture memories on the spur of a moment. While aspiring photojournalists won't want to give up their standalone shooters just yet, the best of today's cameraphones are capable of capturing photographs suitable for 4 x 6 or even 5 x 7 prints - so long as you're careful about lighting conditions when you shoot.
The best cameraphones that will work on American cell networks currently top out at 3.2 megapixels. LG's 5 megapixel KG920 has proven a disappointment with its image quality, and while Samsung has shown off 5, 7, and even 10 MP cameraphones, they won't be working on American networks anytime soon. Nokia's forthcoming N95 promises a 5-megpixel Carl Zeiss lens that just might leave the competition in the dust. Until it debuts, however, these are my picks for Top 5 cameraphones on the market today:
1. Nokia N93 - GSM, Unbranded
The N93 wins the top spot by virtue of its near-DVD quality video recording, capable of taking movies at 640 x 480 pixels at a full 30 frames per second. Combined with a 3.2 MP camera that's second to none, the N93 puts a full-fledged imaging machine inside of a cell phone. The downside? It's bulky and pricey.
2. Sony Ericsson K790a - GSM, Unbranded
Sony's US-spec entry in its new CyberShot lineup features a 3.2 MP camera that's the N93's equal, with a true Xenon flash that yields the best low-light photos of any cameraphone. Combined with a big, bright, QVGA screen and excellent media player software, the K790a's camera makes it the best all-around multimedia phone currently on the market.
3. Nokia N73 - GSM, Unbranded
With a 3.2 MP camera similar to the one found in the N93, the N73 is a Symbian OS smartphone with a serious penchant for photography. If you can live without the N93's stellar camcorder feature, the N73 gives you all the camera you can handle - plus a quad band phone with a great media player - in a candybar package that's easier to pocket than it's big brother. And the N73 is a few hundred dollars cheaper, to boot.
4. Sharp 903 - GSM, Unbranded
Sharp's 903 was the first 3 MP cameraphone that really made people think, "One day I'll be able to leave my digital camera behind." Available only as an Asian import, the 903 combines a great camera with a swivel-screen flip, and many other features that (sadly) won't work in the US. If you want a top-notch cameraphone that's a little different, check out the 903.
5. Samsung SCH-A990 - CDMA, Verizon
The A990 is the best cameraphone that's branded and supported by a US carrier. With a 3.2 MP camera and a swivel-screen flip, the A990 is a great performer, if a little bulky in the pocket.