Which smartphone to buy next?

I need to buy an older smartphone for its camera.
This should have a GPS that would seamlessly transfer the geodata through Google Photos and on to the iNat upload function on a desktop platform.
Currently as a sloppy photographer I have been happy with iPhone 4S and 7 (sic), except their systems are becoming slow due to zero updates. i7 has had excellent contrast management. The battery life and charge time in both are impressive.
I don’t need to use a smartphone for telephoning. Just so it would have a good focal length and focusing abilities. I understand that newer smartphones have several cameras, so which camera would be good for closeups of small plants on green backgrounds (the hardest scenario for me to photograph)?

If you don’t need a phone for telephoning, would you be open to buying a dedicated camera? The Olympus (now rebranded OM System) TG-6 is popular here on iNat because of its impressive close-up capabilities, and it has a built-in GPS. Realize, however, that this model just became discontinued, though some stores may still have inventory on hand. Whether there will be a TG-7 to replace it, nobody knows.

Buying a camera may be a cheaper option, too, depending on the phone you compare it to. And if you can’t find a TG-6 any more, a used, older-generation model should be even cheaper still.


The Google Pixel series have great cameras and obviously work pretty seamlessly with Google Photos. I used my Pixel 3 for a long time before upgrading to the Pixel 6.


Dedicated cameras can’t have the iNaturalist app and upload directly. It sounds like he still wants the app functionality.


Updated the topic’s title to make the question more clear.

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actually I’ve stopped using the iNat app. I need to upload photos to Google Photos, then crop them on my laptop, and upload them directly to the iNat website.
I do need it to be a smartphone, for occasional referencing online maps and compass.

What about add-ons lenses? You can get different ones to add either telephoto or close-up capabilities to your phone, depending on your needs.

I think it’s probably obvious by now that I can’t offer any advice specifically on phones (alone) as cameras. If you want to stay with iPhones, the only thing I have to say is to get one that will run iOS 17 when it’s released in a few weeks so you’ll continue to receive updates. The newer the model, the longer it’ll receive updates, of course. Apple has a list of iOS 17-compatible devices here (scroll way, way down).

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The TG-7 is here!

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No word about them fixing the atrocious ‘purple spot’ issue that has plagued the optics of their previous models. Very minor changes, $100 price hike. As a former TG5 owner, I’ll pass. :grimacing:

Last year, for my job as a Nature guide (in Bolivia) I needed to get a more modern cell phone, my tourists were complaining about my old Motorola that had a “slow” GPS and how we had to return everytime we missed another exit road. My wife bought me a Xiaomi Redmi K40, knowing I needed fast updating GPS, that was the only criteria really. The case is that it comes with stunning camara’s on it and all my (macro) photos uploaded on iNaturalist about plants and insects are made with that phone now. It also has a very good full wide view for landscapes. I am very surprised with the results. Costs are around 350 U$
The 256 Gb memory makes it possible to save space and battery on my Nikon camara and use it exclusively for a lot of zooming with birds.


entrenched as I am in the Apple ecosystem and unlikely to change…

I just note that the newer iPhone cameras (I’m using a 13 now) are sort of disappointing in their camera functionality. They are slow to focus! And the focus is very fiddly - once in a while I get a well focused picture, but it’s not something I can get every time.

My niece had to get an Android last year (she prefers iPhones, usually). She discovered that she ~loves~ the camera (Galaxy S23 Ultra ), which has a 10x zoom lens. However, she is quite unhappy with the user interface as a phone. But, you are less interested in those features. I will ask her which phone and model she is using.

Edit: to show she has
A Galaxy 23 Ultra.

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Depending on her issue, user interfaces are easily changed on Android phones. I use a different launcher on mine (so my homescreen look/behavior and list of apps are different to the “stock” experience).

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I think the issue maybe the confusing interface (as you say, configurable); but also important, difficulty of connectivity with devices she uses. In the Apple ecosystem, with iCloud, the iPhones, iPad, Mac sync almost seamlessly. Android and Apple devices don’t together work together as easily.

Still, I don’t think the OP particularly cares about that aspect of the phones.

The Olympus TG-6 is a popular camera for iNat’ing, and I use it as a great pairing for my phone (when I need better macro, or if I’m in an environment where I’m nervous about bringing my phone in and out of my pocket like a tidepool, or as a backup if phone battery dies). The reviews are out for the TG-7 and the general consensus seems to be that it’s still a good camera for what it does, but the update has minimal upgrades over the TG-6/5: https://m.dpreview.com/news/9499959515/om-digital-solutions-announces-tough-tg-7-rugged-camera

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Take a look at the Galaxy XCover 5. I used the previous version for a couple of years and still use it now as a GPS. It’s a bit tougher than the “normal” smartphone, with the very big advantage that the battery is interchangeable, so you don’t have to worry about running out of battery while you’re on the road, you just need to take a fully-charged spare.


looks like Galaxy is the candidate.

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