- What is vlogging?
- Can you use your phone to vlog?
- What to look out for in a phone for vlogging
- Other accessories you might need
- Best phones for vlogging
What is vlogging?
Vlogging is a blend of the words ‘video’ and ‘blogging’, where the content being produced is published as a video. As you would with a written blog, a vlog is when you discuss a particular topic or show something to others.
It is a form of communication that has been growing in popularity over the last decade, especially on YouTube. YouTube isn’t the only place for vlogging though - vloggers (the person doing the vlog) often publish their content across various other platforms, like Facebook and Instagram.
The purpose of a vlog is to create a relationship between the vlogger and their audience, with a look to share experiences, build a fanbase, get to know more people from around the world, and possibly even earn an income.
More recently, TikTok has boomed in popularity as the place to share video content, and vlogs are no exception, providing you don’t mind them in short bursts. (Although TikTok now allows you to upload up to 10 minutes of video, its 15-second, 60-second and 3-minute formats remain the most popular with viewers.)
Can you use your phone to vlog?
Vlogging, like anything where you’re trying to grow a respectable audience, is difficult to do. So if you’re just starting out, purchasing all of the expensive equipment and high-tech cameras probably isn’t the best idea, in case it doesn’t work out or you find that it’s not for you.
Therefore, starting off with a smartphone is a safer option. You’ll no doubt already have one, but if you don’t, you can generally pick one up for much cheaper than a high-end camera. Phone technology has come a long way in the last few years, and you’ll now find that some handsets out there are just as advanced as professional video cameras.
What to look out for in a phone for vlogging
The number one thing you need to consider when deciding between phones for vlogging is their camera quality. You’re going to be filming yourself, your surroundings, and other people around you, so you’ll need a phone that’s able to produce clear, vivid, and detailed imagery.
Likewise, you’ll also need a good microphone and speakers on the device, so that your audio isn’t ruined by external sound. A high-quality microphone will go a long way in making your videos sound professional, and good speakers will make it easy to test and playback your own recordings. Phones that produce clear sound for music usually have strong speakers.
If you’re going to be creating and uploading videos, you’ll need to make sure that your smartphone has a large enough storage capacity to cope with the amount of content you’ll be saving. You should also invest in cloud storage to keep your video content backed up.
Finally, a phone with a long battery life is a necessity, to ensure you’re not constantly running to plug it in, taking time away from your vlogging opportunities.
Other accessories you might need
While your phone will be the most important piece of kit for vlogging, there are a multitude of other accessories that might come in handy as you grow your channel, such as:
Video recordings are never without interruption and mistakes, but even if you did manage to pull off a near-perfect first take, you’ll still need to invest some time in learning how to edit your videos. You can edit to create transitions, cut down clips, increase the brightness or contrast, add effects, and improve the overall quality of your vlog. Some editing software can be expensive, so look around for the best one for what you need to do.
It’s not easy to do all this on your phone, so having a more appropriate device for editing is a common addition to any vlogger’s lifestyle. You can upload your video from your phone to your laptop, then use the larger screen and more powerful system to edit your videos ready for publication.
A tripod is a three-legged stand that cameras and phones can be clipped into. It means you don’t have to be holding your phone up the entire time, and can instead place it on a stand completely still. This will improve the overall professionalism of your videos, as a shaky camera isn’t a good look!
Lighting is notoriously hard to fix on videos, so having a dedicated clear, bright light is a good idea. A ring light is a stand with a circular ring at the top that provides a sheet of even lighting for you. If you’re doing a lot of filming inside your house, they can really improve the lighting in your videos, especially if there’s low lighting, increasing the overall professionalism of them. These work best for sit-down videos, not ones where you’re wandering around, as it would be too difficult to lug it around with you. You can find desktop sized ring lights with a built-in holder for your phone.
You may need a more professional microphone if your smartphone isn’t picking up your audio very well, or if you’re too far away from the device for it to catch your voice.
Even if you’ve taken steps to make your battery last longer, you should still invest in a portable charger to carry around with you, especially if you’re nowhere near a plug socket. If your phone starts dying, you can plug it into the portable charger and keep using it to film.
As you progress with your vlogging venture, you may wish to invest in a small secondary camera to work in conjunction with your smartphone for recording more than one angle.
Best phones for vlogging
Although there are a number of features necessary to produce a successful vlog, a good camera is the most important asset. Therefore, looking for phones with excellent camera quality should be your first priority. Here are our top picks for vlogging phones.
Best Samsung - Samsung S22 Ultra
Cameras: 4 rear (108MP Wide, 12MP Ultra Wide, 10MP 3x Optical Zoom Telephoto, 10MP 10x Optical Zoom Telephoto) 1 front (40MP)
Video recording: 4K (8K with main camera, but only at 24fps)
Other helpful features: Detail Enhancer Mode, Portrait Mode, Super steady modes, Slow motion and Hyperlapse support, AI image enhancers, Video stabilisation, Digital zoom up to 20x
If you’re an ambitious videographer looking to make your mark in the vlogging world, then you need the Samsung S22 Ultra. Able to record effortlessly during the day or night, its four highly versatile rear cameras are equipped with all the resolution you need to capture those special moments for your vlog in crystal clear definition. Plus, the various AI-powered modes available can intuitively make your footage even more flawless.
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Best iPhone - iPhone 12 Pro Max
Cameras: Triple lens (12MP Wide, 12MP Ultra Wide, 12MP Telephoto) 1 front (12MP)
Video recording: 4K
Other helpful features: LiDAR depth sensing, 12x digital zoom photo / 7x digital zoom video, Night mode, Portrait mode, Panorama, Slow-motion, Time-lapse
The iPhone 12 Pro Max has some of the best camera qualities we’ve ever seen on an Apple phone. With a built-in sensor, it produces stable, clear, and detailed images that can be further enhanced by the various ‘modes’ available. The 4K recording is fast and smooth, with optical image stabilisation on the wide lens camera, ideal for any aspiring vlogger.
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Best durability - Nokia XR20
Cameras: Double rear (48MP Main, 13MP Ultrawide) 1 front (8MP)
Video recording: 1080P
Other helpful features: ZEISS Optics, ZEISS Portrait, ZEISS Cinematic Effects, SpeedWarp mode, Action Cam mode, Night mode, Cinema mode, HDR, Beautification, Panorama, Watermark
With the XR20, Nokia have proved that they are more than capable of catering for vloggers everywhere. Thanks to the robustness of its rear and selfie cameras, you can shoot all the scenes you want without ever compromising on quality. Once you’ve stopped rolling, you can then use the handset’s extensive camera features to impeccably edit your videos.
Best budget-friendly phone - TCL 20R
Cameras: 4 rear (8MP Main, 13MP AI Wide, 2MP Macro, 2MP Depth) 1 front (8MP)
Video recording: 1080P
Other helpful features: LED flash, HDR, Panorama, Pro-Mode, Slow Motion, Stop Motion, Light Trace
One of the most reasonably priced handsets on today’s market, the TCL 20R lets you record material for your vlog in stunning clarity. With its triple-lens rear camera, expect picture-perfect videos every time. And thanks to 5G connectivity, upload times have been considerably reduced!
Best for starting out - Doro 8100
Cameras: 3 rear (13MP Main, 2MP Bokeh, 2M Macro) 1 front (5MP)
Video recording: 1080P
Other helpful features: Photo mode, Video mode, Portrait mode, Panorama mode, Macro mode, QR code mode, Night mode, DV night mode, DV macro mode
Described as a smartphone that’s both easy to use and easy to love, the Doro 8100 is ideal for casual smartphone users who like the idea of vlogging but aren’t quite sure how to get started. Making full use of the triple lens, you can record videos in many different modes, such as Panorama for wide angles or Macro for anything close up. As two pre-installed apps enable trusted contacts to provide support if you need it, social-media-savvy seniors and aspiring young YouTubers alike can benefit from this device.
Best Google phone - Pixel 4 XL
Price: From £829
Cameras: Double rear (12.2MP Wide Angle and 16MP Telephoto) 1 front (8MP)
Video recording: 4K
Other helpful features: 2x optical zoom, Astro Mode for detailed images, Night Sight, Auto focus, optical stabilisation
The Google Pixel 4 XL is a solid choice for vlogging, especially if you want to include photos too. You can zoom in while recording and maintain a clear, detailed picture of whatever you’re filming - perfect for capturing things from a distance. The wide angle lens means you’ll be able to capture huge landscapes, which is great if you do a lot of filming outdoors.
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Best Huawei - Huawei P40 Pro
Price: From £899
Cameras: Ultra Vision Leica Quad; 4 rear (50MP Ultra Vision, 12MP Telephoto, 40MP Ultra Wide Cine, 3D Depth Sensing) 1 front (32MP)
Video recording: 4K
Other helpful features: 50x Max Zoom on Telephoto lens, slow-motion, time-lapse, RYYB colour filter array for maximum light and noise control, auto focus, AI technology
Huawei phones are renowned for their cameras that produce stunning photography and videography. Currently, the P40 Pro is one of the finest handsets Huawei have on offer, with its powerful and high-resolution quad cameras (some of the best on the market) and huge capabilities to zoom into footage. The AI technology keeps videos balanced, coloured, lit, and stable.
It’s worth noting that this Huawei handset does not support Google apps as standard, which may prove tricky if you’re a vlogger and can't easily upload your videos to YouTube. However, with some careful research and downloading, you should be able to install Google Play, sign in and use the platform as easily as always.
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Best camera range - Xiaomi Mi Note 10
Price: From £459
Cameras: 5 rear (108MP AI Rear Penta, 12MP Portrait, 20MP Ultra Wide Angle, 5MP Ultra Telephoto, 2MP Macro) 1 front (32MP)
Video recording: 4K
Other helpful features: Moon mode, Portrait mode, Panorama mode, AI technology, distortion correction on Ultra Wide Angle, blur adjustment on Portrait mode, slow-motion
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 has a wide range of cameras on its rear for all sorts of photography and videography needs. You can take advantage of the various modes to enhance the appearance of your vlog, as well as the automatic blur and distortion adjustments to keep your video steady and balanced. This phone is one of the more affordable handsets on the market, so it might be a better option if you’re on a budget.
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If you're just starting out on your vlogging journey, one of these phones might be the perfect start, and would be a safer bet then investing all your money on a camera. Mastering the art of vlogging will take time, but you can practise with these editing apps on your new smartphone.