What is the best phone for Mobile Journalism?  I have a simple checklist that I will share with you.

People often ask me which phone they should buy for making mobile journalism videos.

And, I have students bring all types of phones to my classes and workshops.

Best phone for mobile journalism - Mobile Journalists in India with their phones

Journalists in Rajasthan show their phones in a Mobile Journalism workshop led by Robb Montgomery. Most of these are low-cost Android models produced just for the market in India.

Many of the low-cost models running Android OS are often limited as to the apps they use and the kinds of filming and editing that can be done.

Almost any modern phone is great for taking photos, and perhaps recording audio interviews in the field. Perhaps that is all you need  for your reporting tasks.

If you want to film and edit video, livestream video or make make social video, then you are going to need a phone that has a powerful chipset and lots of available memory storage. There are both Android and iOS models that can do this work handily.

Manufacturers like to point out the latest whiz-bang special effects to entice you to get a new model every year. You can ignore the hype and buzzwords by focusing only on the fundamentals.

Best phone for mobile journalism - Mobile journalists in a workshop with Robb Montgomery

Mobile journalists in India check out Robb Montgomery’s iPhone rig

My shortlist for a minimum set of features:

  • Record 4K video with Filmic Pro app at useful frame rates like 25p and 100p
  • Edit 4K clips in a multi-track video editing app (like LumaFusion) without trouble
  • Can connect an external mic and power

Those are the #Mojo essentials!

Let me show you why I believe those three details are the most critical features for selecting a smartphone model for mobile journalism.

Exhibit A – Ice Swimming

This short film was shot and edited on an iPhone 6S+
It was just named a FINALIST in the One World Film Competition along with . . .

Exhibit B – The Treehouse

This film is also named as a FINALIST in the One World Film Competition (in a different category) .

Best phone for mobile journalism? - The Treehouse - A Finalist in the One World Film Contest

Best phone for mobile journalism?  “The Treehouse” was names a Finalist in the One World Film Contest – It was shot and edited on a smartphone.

It too was shot and edited on an iPhone 6S+ – but is that the best phone for mobile journalism?

I also have a Samsung S8 and a GoPro and some quality microphones that work with all these cameras. That is the key for me – to be able to have a phone that can ingest footage from other cameras and devices and work with my mounts, mics and cables.

For example The Treehouse film was shot and edited in real time during a visit to the word’s highest treehouse. We did not know who our travel companions would be until we started our hike in the jungle. Our group had people from many countries – and everyone had a camera or two with them. One of them – had a drone. Using my camera adapter kit, I was able to insert a couple of shots from the GoPro and a couple from the drone’s chip.

And, more importantly, be able to bring that material into a video editor so that we can quickly edit sequences and make a first assembly before leaving the jungle and going our separate ways.

Best phone for mobile journalism - Editing video

Editing “The Treehouse” with the Lumafusion video editor app.

Best phone for mobile journalism

The best phone to have is the one that can do all of those things without trouble. If your Android phone can pass that kind of rigorous test – great! Please share what you think is the Best phone for mobile journalism in the comments.

For me, the best phone for mobile journalism is still the iPhone 6S+.

Why is this the best phone for mobile journalism?

  1. Apple still sells and supports this model
  2. It films in 4K
  3. Has a lot of memory storage
  4. Has the coveted mic / headphone jack.
  5. Supports the widest range of accessories.

I show the best Mobile Journalism kit on my Gear page .

Also, note that I do not prefer to film in the field with any Apple iPhone that does not have a headphone/mic jack along with a power connection. The reason for that is very simple – Livestreaming.

Journalists need to be able to livestream with external battery and a microphone connected.

And the final reason is Filmic Pro – which is the camera app that makes this all possible.
Every smartphone is made to comply to the North American TV standard of 30 frames per second. (This frame rate presents a serious problem for many reasons that I explain in detail in my video tutorials)

Best phone for mobile journalism? Filmic Pro 25p

Best phone for mobile journalism? One that can film in 25p

Filmic Pro lets you change that to useful frame rates like 25p for filming outside of North America. And it gives you manual controls and many other things that will improve the quality of your videos without having to get the latest model of your favorite phone.